The Smallville Project: Episode 1.04 – “X-Ray”
|July 4, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Happy Independence Day! What’s more American than Superman?
Jess: Smallville Bank. Lex walks in, looking dapper in a suit, but he ruins the effect with the red backpack slung over his shoulder. A man in an office marked “Personal Loans Department” stands up and hustles over to Lex: “Mr. Luthor! What can I do for you today?” “I want to close all my accounts,” Lex says, and Mr. Personal Loans Department tries to hide his dismay. He tries to politely dissuade Lex, but Lex just smiles, clearly enjoying Mr. PLD’s misfortune, and says he’d like it all in cash. Lex’s glee here is really palpable and hilarious.
Lex signs for his money and Mr. PLD discreetly compares the signature to something else Lex has signed. They don’t match at all. He asks to see Lex’s driver’s license, and Lex – or, obviously Not-Lex – starts to squirm. When Mr. PLD insists, Not-Lex whips the backpack off his shoulder and points a gun in his face: “I need money, now. Fill the bag.”
Cut to Not-Lex running out of the bank with the gun in one hand and a backpack full of cash in the other. He crashes into Clark, who asks him what’s going on. Not-Lex throws him through the window of the nearest store. Clark makes some hilariously confused faces, and suddenly his X-ray vision turns on. There’s kryptonite-green…something swirling around Not-Lex’s skeleton.
Rebecca: Is it in the skeleton? Are they bones made of kryptonite? Why is this person so strong? We’ll never know.
Jess: In a house crammed with knickknacks, a middle-aged woman storms up the stairs, holding the red backpack. The bathroom door opens and a teenage girl with damp hair and a bathrobe steps out.
Rebecca: LIZZY CAPLAN! The first future famous person whose Tour to Fame makes a stop here.
Jess: “Tina, where did you get this?” her mother demands, taking a wad of cash out of the backpack. Tina smirks: “I promise I’d solve all of our problems.”
“Please tell me you didn’t rob the bank yesterday,” her mother says, rather hilariously. Teenagers, man! “I didn’t,” Tina says, and morphs into Lex. “Lex Luthor did.”
She morphs back and tells her mother that now they can afford to have the perfect life. “Tina, nobody’s life is perfect,” her mother snaps. “Lana’s is,” Tina mutters. OH GOOD, MORE PEOPLE OBSESSED WITH LANA.
Tina’s mom says she’s taking the money back and Tina tells her they deserve to be happy. They each start pulling on the backpack – and a strap rips, sending Tina’s mom tumbling down the stairs. Tina screams and runs after her, but it’s too late. In tears, Tina runs for the phone and dials 911, then stops, catching sight of herself in a mirror that was broken by her mother’s fall oh my GOD, show. “Sorry, it’s nothing,” she tells the operator, and hangs up.
SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Kent Farm. Martha is reading the Smallville Ledger and wondering aloud why Lex would need to rob a bank. “I’ve seen some pretty strange things in my day, but this definitely takes the cake,” Jonathan says, then catches sight of Clark and grins. “Well, almost.” It’s the grin that takes it from potentially-dickish to completely adorable. Well done, John Schneider.
Rebecca: Awww, a rare moment of the Kents not all being bummed that their kid is weird.
Jess: Clark insists that it wasn’t Lex, and Jonathan points out that Clark saw him. Martha hopes that there’s some kind of reasonable explanation – and so does Lex, who is standing outside their screen door: “I’d hate to think I have an evil twin.” I wasn’t sure why he’d come to the Kents for help, but then I remembered that Clark is probably his only friend. LEX. 🙁
Rebecca: I realized that this is the first scene where Martha and Lex meet. And yet they’re so friendly! I’m okay with that, Lex needs more friends.
Jess: Jonathan looks displeased. “May I come in? I promise I’m not packing heat,” Lex says crankily, and walks in without waiting for an answer. Clark asks why he’s not in jail, and Lex says he was hosting a reception for fertilizer distributors in Metropolis at the time of the robbery – which gives him 200+ eyewitnesses for his alibi. Also, I’m gonna guess Smallville doesn’t have a jail, just some stocks. Jonathan asks if the police has any leads, and Lex says no, but he’s here to find out what Clark saw. Clark swears that the thief looked just like Lex, and Lex angrily points out that the fingerprints and signature didn’t match: “You sure your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you?”
Rather than answer, Clark asks what happens next. Lex says that hopefully the money will turn up, and that certain people’s opinions of him are probably now “cemented in stone,” which makes no sense, but Rosenbaum sells it with the defensive look he gives Jonathan. Jonathan snits back and leaves, and Lex tells Clark he’s not a criminal mastermind, which: I c whut u did there, show. “No, a criminal mastermind would’ve worn a mask,” Clark says with mock seriousness, then smiles at Lex. BOYS.
Rebecca: AHHH THAT LOOK.
Jess: School. In gym class, the boys are climbing rope. Man, we never did this in my school and I’m bummed, because I bet I would’ve been really good at it. (I had a lot of upper body strength as a kid. Meanwhile, any sport involving a ball renders me incapable of moving without injuring myself. SO GUESS WHAT WE PLAYED.) Clark ogles Lana as the girls walk by, then suddenly winces. The gym teacher yells at him, because he is a gym teacher on TV, and tells him he and Pete are next.
Cut to Pete shimmying up the rope like he was born on a pirate ship. Maybe that would manage to make Pete interesting. Clark hustles to catch up with him, but his X-ray vision kicks in again, and he stares at Pete’s sinews and things in horror before falling off the rope.
Rebecca: Which probably would have seriously hurt a normal kid, because there’s no mat or anything, but the TV Gym Teacher DGAF.
Jess: He hits the ground, rolls over, and looks straight through the wall into the girls’ locker room. Oh look, there’s Lana taking off her towel. Clark smiles. Grosssss. (Not Kristin Kreuk’s lovely back, this scene.) The X-ray vision was established just fine without exploiting Lana and making Clark a dick about it.
Rebecca: This is such a Fortysomething Dudebro Writers move. The “of course Superman would look into the girls’ locker room, hee hee” – no! He wouldn’t! That’s gross! It’s not funny, dudebros!
Jess: Also, do schools really still have kids shower after gym class? They just made us change back into our clothes and spend the rest of the day stinky. Also also, I find it hard to believe that even a girl as beautiful and confident as Lana would strut around the locker room naked at 14.
Kent Farm. Martha and Jonathan are alarmed by this new power of Clark’s, understandably, but Martha’s sure there’s a way to control it. “I can see through things!” Clark snaps. “How do you control that?” “You gotta practice, Clark. Your eyes have muscles, just like your legs,” she says. Clark gets weirdly huffy, like, way angrier at their support than he was last episode at Jonathan’s lack thereof, and storms out. Dude, you didn’t mind the X-ray vision when you were invading Lana’s privacy.
Rebecca: This scene comes across as so whiny and silly. You’re not seeing through things right now! Or crushing people when you hug them! You’re fine, stop whining! And, like, you don’t want to acknowledge that this is even a little cool? You’re such a bummer, Captain Cheekbones.
Jess: Cut to Clark sauntering down Smallville’s main drag when he starts wincing and holding his temples. His X-ray vision kicks in again, turning the people around him into skeletons. One of them has green stuff in her…and as the X-ray vision cuts out, it’s Tina, of course.
Clark stares at her quizzically as she lets herself into the antique store. Martha walks up to him and asks if it happened again. He tells her it did, but he’s okay, and suggests they go into the antique store.
In they go. Tina, shifted into her mom, walks in: “Mrs. Kent! I mean, Martha. How are you?” The slip-up with the name is a nice touch. She tells Martha that she’s hoping to sell the store, which surprises Martha, but Tina-Not-Her-Mom says she never wanted this life, “it just kinda happened.” Clark asks if Tina’s around, and Tina-Not-Her-Mom says “She’s at Lana’s. They’re inseparable these days.” Tina, you are creepy. Clark’s all “But I just saw…” and Tina-Not-Her-Mom is like “NO YOU DIDN’T SHUT UP FOREVER.”
Clark decides to get some air, and Martha asks about “the lamp.” Tina-Not-Her-Mom has no idea what she’s talking about. “The lamp you were restoring for Jonathan?” Martha says, and Tina-Not-Her-Mom goes to the back to get it. Martha starts browsing the shop – and spots a wad of bills half-hidden under a side table. She picks it up just as Tina-Not-Her-Mom returns. Tina-Not-Her-Mom babbles an excuse about a client paying her in cash and tells her the lamp will be ready next week. Martha starts to leave, her purse forgotten on the counter. Tina-Not-Her-Mom steals Martha’s keys out of it and then gives the purse to Martha. Martha leaves, and Tina-Not-Her-Mom locks the door, flips the Open sign to Closed, and turns back into Tina. Uh, just because the sign’s flipped doesn’t mean no one can see through the window, Tina. She looks at the keys in her hand and smiles.
Outside, Martha sadly contemplates a newspaper reporting the bank robbery when her truck comes careening onto the sidewalk. Clark – well, Tina-Not-Clark, obviously – is behind the wheel. Martha gasps his name and leaps out of the way just in time. Tina-Not-Clark looks over her shoulder, clearly disappointed that she missed. Why does she want to kill Martha?
Rebecca: Yeah, and why did she want to do it as Clark? Tina’s level of evil and murderous intent makes so very little sense.
Jess: She drives off and the real Clark runs up and helps her up. She stares at him in confusion, then hugs him, clearly shaken. Annette O’Toole is pretty great.
Rebecca: 😀 SHE IS 😀
Jess: Kent Farm. Jonathan tells the others that the police have found the truck abandoned by “the Stewart farm.” (John, is that you?) No sign of the driver. “I could’ve sworn it was you, Clark,” Martha says. I’m glad the Kents trust Clark, but technically he is fast enough that it could’ve been him.
Rebecca: OMG what if part of the manifestation of Clark’s alien puberty is that he just went evil? I would probably watch a show about a superpowered teen psychopath who was just pretending to be nice and lying to everybody. I feel like ABC Family’s probably developing it already.
Jess: “Guess I’m not the only one with a vision problem,” Clark says. Jonathan wants to know how Not-Clark got Martha’s keys, and Martha starts to say she only went into the antique store, then stops and adds that Tina’s mom was acting strange. She tells them about the money, and they wonder if it’s from the bank robbery – and if Tina’s mom stole the keys and turned into Clark.
Jonathan’s skeptical, but Clark’s not. “I saw a flash of Tina Greer’s skeleton. It was weird and green. It didn’t look human.” Martha tells him that Tina was born with a soft bone disease and almost died as a child. Jonathan adds that she got better after her third birthday, and they all pause, realizing it was right after the meteor shower. Martha asks what Clark thinks Tina’s doing, and he says he doesn’t know, but he saw the same green skeleton after the robbery. If only he could control his X-ray vision!
Martha suggests he try focusing it, and Jonathan slips something out of his pocket, hides it in his fist, and asks Clark to tell him what it is. I’m really enjoying seeing the Kents as a supportive unit, working out Clark’s powers together.
“It’s your pocket knife,” Clark says, and he’s right. “You could see through my hand?” Jonathan asks. “No, you always carry your knife in that pocket,” Clark says, and they both laugh. ADORBZ.
Rebecca: I just want to clutch the Kents to my chest forever. KENTS.
Jess: In her garage, Lana wistfully unpacks a box of various girlish belongings until she comes to a book. She opens it up, and we see that it’s a diary. She caresses a page, eyes misting up.
Inside, Nell is frosting a cake. Lana storms in holding the diary and Nell asks what’s wrong. “You lied to me about my mother,” Lana says, and stalks off.
Rebecca: Great conversation. Just very productive.
Jess: Downtown Smallville. Lex comes out of what’s presumably the Beanery to see a dude lounging against his convertible (the vanity plates of which say “LEX,” because of course they do). The dude turns out to be a tabloid reporter named Roger and Lex tells him to scram. “I’ve read comic books with less fiction than your rag.” I c whut u did there.
Rebecca: This is nice and totally undeliberate foreshadowing of Lex’s childhood obsession with the fake comic book character Warrior Angel, which we’ll get to before the end of the season. It’s one of the show’s weirder unsubtleties.
Jess: Roger the Reporter pulls out Lex’s juvenile record: “Fascinating reading. It must’ve taken a freight of your dad’s money to keep all those people quiet.” “Those records are sealed,” Lex snaps. Roger tells him he’s planning on a follow-up about Lex’s wild “youth” (reminder: Lex is 20) in Metropolis and “Club Zero.”
Rebecca: I understand that Lionel ostensibly paid people off, but I find it really hard to believe that Lex’s “wild youth” isn’t old news. Paparazzi culture and tabloids still existed in 1998.
Jess: Lex threatens to sue him, and Roger’s like “Psh, lawsuits take years, ruining a life takes a minute.” Lex says that if Roger wanted to print this story, it’d already be in the paper, so he must be looking for a payoff. Bingo! “I’d question your integrity, but you’re a journalist,” Lex says, getting into the car. Future burn, Clark! (And Lois, and Chloe.) Roger tells Lex he has 24 hours before the story hits the front page. Lex takes his card and drives off.
Lana’s house, nighttime. Lana returns to find Nell sitting on the porch waiting for her. Is Nell a different actress than she was in the pilot? “Lana, I didn’t lie to you. I told you your mother would’ve been proud of you and she would’ve. She loved you.” “You told me a fairy tale about a woman who led the perfect life,” Lana says. “That life was a lie.” Turns out Mama Lang hated cheerleading and wanted to leave Smallville and see the world.
Rebecca: LIES! LIFE-RUINING LIES! Calm down, girl. Every teen hates their hobbies and wants to travel.
Jess: Nell asks if she should’ve told Lana that her mother was unhappy, and that she told her what she thought Lana could handle. Lana’s upset because she’s been trying to model herself on the perfect adolescence she thought her mother had, and Nell points out that Mama Lang’s diary is from one very specific time in her life – age 17 – and doesn’t show the whole picture. I could not care less about Mama Lang, you guys. Anyway, Nell says that Mama Lang was pretty and smart and was picked to give the graduation speech, at which point she announced that she felt suffocated in Smallville. Apparently it opened with “I never made a difference here, but maybe my children can.” What. What. What. The writers are desperately trying to give Lana some depth and background and something to do, but this is incredibly hollow and unrealistic.
Rebecca: And such a bummer! Every teen on this show is a bummer, including Past Teens!
Jess: School the next day. Clark stares at Tina like he’s trying to see inside her head, which of course he is. Chloe and Pete appear and jolt him out of it. He asks if they ever noticed anything strange about Tina, which I would imagine is Chloe’s cue to ask what the meteors did to this one, but they’re like “Nah. She’s obsessed with Lana, but who isn’t?” Who indeed. Tina catches him staring and glares. Clark skedaddles.
Rebecca: I love his “Uhhh I’m definitely looking somewhere else” face. I feel like I make that exact face daily.
Jess: Lana and Flash walk out of a classroom and Tina brightens. She hurries to catch up with Lana, whose smile becomes forced. “I swear, that girl’s got you Lojacked,” Flash mutters. Hee!
“How do you like the sweater?” Tina asks, smoothing down her cardigan. “It’s great! I’ve got one just like it,” Lana says. Oh, Tina knows. She even found an emerald necklace in the antique store! Lana looks totally creeped out, and Flash is all “Why am I not surprised?” Hee, Flash is pretty great in this episode. Alas, he takes off and we’re left with the girls.
Tina asks if Lana’s okay, since she went by her house and Nell said she was in a bad mood. Lana says she’s fine and Tina’s like “AWESOME CAN I MOVE INTO YOUR HOUSE THEN???” No, seriously, she tells Lana her mom’s moving to Metropolis but she doesn’t want to pull Tina out of school, so… Lana gapes, and Tina’s like “I CAN PAY YOU I CAN GET A HORSE AND WE CAN GO RIDING TOGETHER CAN I PLEASE SMELL YOUR HAIR???”
Lana’s like “Uh, let me run it by Nell,” and Tina’s like “NELL LOVES ME. ALSO WE ARE BEST FRIENDS. I WANT TO WEAR YOUR SCALP LIKE A HAT.” She also claims that everyone says they look alike and could be sisters, which, not even if you were biracial, Tina. Lana, presumably cursing Flash for abandoning her, says she’s not sure it’s a good idea. Tina starts yelling about how Lana DECEIVED HER and this is HER HOUR OF NEED and HOW DARE YOU and storms off. I just want to take Lana away from this crazy town where everyone’s obsessed with her and send her somewhere people understand boundaries.
Rebecca: I wish there was an episode where Lana discovers that Mama Lang also had hordes of creeps stalking her every move.
Jess: It’s just that Lang family charm! Augh.
Tina angrily crams her stuff into her locker, including the necklace, and walks away. Clark pops out of a classroom and stares at her locker. The teacher just let him walk out? Also, how did he know it was her? We haven’t seen evidence of super hearing yet. I’m fairly confused in general as to when SHS’s classes are, since Flash and Lana walked out of a classroom earlier but Clark and Tina were just lurking in the halls, and the bell hasn’t rung this whole time.
Anyway, Clark managed to turn on his X-ray vision, and there’s the red backpack from the robbery in Tina’s locker. He probably could’ve just spotted that, like, on her on the way to school or something. He looks harder…and there’s the money inside the backpack.
“Clark!” Tina snaps. “What’s your glitch, huh? Why do you keep staring at me?” Actually, he was staring at your locker, Tina. “Uh…I dunno,” he says, which mollifies her slightly. Aw, this just makes me think of how Lois and Clark’s Clark so frequently didn’t even bother to make excuses for weird behavior. It’s actually a really good disarming tactic.
Hey, where did Tina get the gun?
Rebecca: Maybe she morphed into her mom? Or maybe Kansas doesn’t have very strict gun control?
Jess: It would be really cute if it turned out to be a non-working antique or something, but the writers don’t seem too interested in making Tina make sense.
Kent Farm. Clark walks into the barn and tells his folks he managed to control the X-ray vision briefly, and what he saw.
The antique shop. Tina practices Lana’s signature over and over. She spots two cops approaching and morphs into her mother, then heads out of the shop and locks the door. The cops ask where Tina is and tell her the money was recovered in her backpack. The actress playing Tina’s mom is actually pretty good at being a bad liar as she says that doesn’t sound like Tina. The cops ask her to bring Tina to the station when she gets home, and she agrees, then asks who told them the money was in Tina’s locker. “Some kid with an anonymous tip,” Cop #1 says, and they mosey off. Tina-Not-Her-Mom glowers.
Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Clark stares at a bank shaped like a football. Lana (or Not-Lana…?) walks in and they exchange some small talk before she asks if he heard about Tina: “They found the money from the robbery in her locker.” Clark plays dumb, and Lana adds that Tina asked if she could come live with her. “Just what you need, a bank-robbing roommate,” Clark says. Lana says she’s having enough trouble with Nell without adding Crazypants McGee into the mix. She’s meaner here than her normal cloying friendliness and is also playing this scene with a weird urgency, which makes me think she’s Tina, but I don’t know how Tina would know about the Nell stuff. I think Lana would be a lot more interesting if she was a little mean, though.
Rebecca: Lana would be more interesting if she was a little ANYTHING. Also, the tip-off here is that her sweatshirt is yellow, not pink.
Jess: Clark says he always thought Lana and Nell were really close, and Lana says Nell wants her to be something she’s not. “It’s like having a dual identity: there’s the person that everybody sees, and the person you wanna be.” SUBTLE, SHOW. Clark says he knows the feeling, and Lana says he’s the only person who sees her for who she truly is. Didn’t they just start hanging out, like, last week? And by “hanging out,” I mean they had like one conversation at a coffee shop.
She grabs him and kisses him.
Rebecca: AUGH THESE TWO ARE THE WORST SCREEN KISSERS. Like fish, I swear.
Also, I think all of Clark’s kisses until, like the end of season 2 somehow involve shapeshifting or possession or mind control or red kryptonite. It’s such a weird choice! I want to keep an eye on this to see if my memories are correct. So! Why this kiss? Shapeshifting.
Jess: Clark pulls back to ask about Flash, and she’s all “No, baby, you’re all the man I need” and kisses him again…and morphs into Tina. Okay, so yeah, how did she know about the Nell stuff? “I don’t know how you found out about that money, but you should’ve stayed out of my life, Clark,” she snaps, and shoves him. He goes flying through the wall and lands on the hood of the truck. So she has super strength, too? I guess? Why’d she make out with him? I have a lot of questions, you guys.
Rebecca: The strength thing REALLY bothers me. Going forward, it becomes clear that krypto-mutants typically have one power, and there’s nothing in Tina’s origin story that explains the strength AND the shapeshifting. But also, she really only pushes Clark around, and it’s worth remembering that HER SKELETON IS MADE OF KRYPTONITE (basically). Why couldn’t they just have Clark get sick around her, and then she’s able to shove him as a normal person would, or a little bit more? Ugh.
Jess: Yeah, he doesn’t seem to react at all to the kryptonite inside her, which is dumb. But apparently if we can’t see Lana’s necklace, that also doesn’t affect him, so whatever. Basically only kryptonite he can see is a problem. Just run around with your eyes closed all the time, Clark!
Cut to the Kents asking Clark if he’s sure of what he saw. “I think the meteor shower did something to her bones,” he says. “So she can change appearance at will?” Jonathan asks. Yes! Because of bones! Also, her voice. Martha asks what they’re supposed to tell the police, but Clark says they can’t tell them anything, since Tina can turn into whoever she wants and he’s the only one who can tell the difference.
Journalism room, the next day. Chloe hears someone come in while she’s typing and snaps at who she assumes is Pete, but it’s Lana. Chloe’s randomly mean to her, of course, and Lana tells her she “really likes what you’ve done with the paper this year.” Okay, but you’re freshmen, so how would you know what it was like the year before? Chloe actually smiles and says “Well, that puts you in the majority of one,” which makes no sense, but WOW do these two have more chemistry than Lana and ol’ Captain Cheekbones.
Rebecca: As I recall, these two actresses were friends IRL, which really helps their (too few) scenes together. See also: Rosenbaum, Michael & Welling, Thomas.
Jess: D’aw. Chloe apologizes for being mean, and I want them to be best friends immediately, or maybe make out. Lana tells Chloe she admires her moxie, and also hey, the Torch prints the graduation speech every year, right? Chloe agrees, and notes that she transcribed last year’s, which…wouldn’t she have been in middle school? Whatever. Lana asks for 1977’s, and Chloe stands really, really close to her while they banter before pulling the paper in question out of a filing cabinet. It does not look like 24-year-old newsprint, but whatever.
“Due to the controversial nature of this year’s graduation address, the editors have elected not to run the text in this issue of the Torch,” Lana reads. “Meaning ironically it’s probably the only one worth reading,” Chloe adds. She offers to try and track it down and asks who gave the speech. “My mother,” Lana says, and Chloe doesn’t quite seem to know how to respond to that. THEN THEY RUN AWAY TOGETHER, MAYBE? :D???
Rebecca: Get away from these asshole dudes and mutant stalkers! Go to Metropolis and move into a cute loft and giggle together while you put together your Ikea furniture! Then make out!
Jess: I WANT IT SO BADLY.
Luthor Castle. Lex sips brandy before a roaring fire, several stacks of money beside him. Now this is the Lex I’ve been waiting for! Roger the Reporter walks in and Lex calmly offers him a drink, which he refuses. Lex tosses him a bag and he starts packing up the money. “You’re feeling pretty good about yourself right now, aren’t you?” Lex asks. “You’d think after my father spent all that money to make this disappear…” Roger dumps the incriminating files on Lex’s side table, picks up the bag of money, and starts to leave. “If you walk out that door I will make you disappear,” Lex says.
“You gonna have me killed?” Roger asks, amused. Lex smiles, gets up, and starts racking up the balls on the pool table. “No. You’ll be very much alive. But there won’t be any evidence of your existence… Driver’s license, passport, social security number, bank account, will all be erased. With one call, I can ensure that there will be no record that you actually walk this earth.” Roger accuses Lex of bluffing and Lex tells him to call his bank and see if his account still exists…if the phone hasn’t already been disconnected. Sure enough, it has. Lex tells him not to worry about it: “I’m gonna give you another identity. One that’s a little less upstanding. Maybe a murderer. Maybe a drug dealer. Either way you’d lose your job, your house, and your family.” Lex is having so much fun here. It’s pretty great.
Rebecca: This is the kind of bad guy I’m happy to root for. Taking down jerks with intelligence and hyper-competence? Yes! Lex!
Jess: Roger gives the money back, and Lex reveals that he knows Roger’s brother works for “juvenile court,” which is how the reporter got the dirt on Lex. “He could do time for this,” he adds gleefully. Roger tells him to leave his brother out of this, and Lex points out that Roger brought this on himself. Totally cowed, Roger asks what Lex wants, and Lex says that though Lionel’s obsessed with the Daily Planet (shoutout!), Lex knows that Ordinary Joes read the Inquisitor. He informs Roger that he will print the stories Lex feeds him and kill any negative ones.
They walk into a big empty void of a room somewhere, and four spotlights turn on, illuminating Lex’s trashed car from the pilot. “I drove it off a bridge at 60 miles an hour,” Lex says. “How are you still alive?” Roger asks. Lex smiles. “That’s the mystery I need your help solving.” Finally, an actual Lex plotline begins!
Rebecca: Yes!! Lex, you glorious weirdo!
Jess: Kent porch. Clark stares at the lead box Lex gave him to no avail. Lana walks up and he stares at her. She asks why he’s looking at her like that, and he’s like “I wasn’t sure it was you,” which she decides to ignore. Good call, Lana. Apparently she was out jogging (in the woods in the dark of night?) and didn’t feel like going home. She tells him about the diary and how weird it is that her mother felt the exact way she does. He says – supportively, not jealously – that it’s nice that at least she has that connection. She asks if he’s ever tried to find his biological parents, and he shakes his head: “I figure they’re a million light years away from my life now,” he adds, gazing up at the stars, which is cute.
“If you could ask them a question, what would you ask?” Lana asks. “What happened,” he says. “Why they let me go. How to make sense of all the strangeness in my life.” He says it calmly, which is probably more Welling’s lack of affect than anything else, but comes off like he’s pretty content and secure as a Kent, which is nice. She says neither of them will ever get a straight answer, and he says he hopes she finds what she’s looking for.
Rebecca: This is really hammering it home after the “boo parents!” plot last week, but it’s still nice to be reminded that Clark, Lex and Lana are all orphans of a sort. I’m in favor of Clark feeling a little less alone, even if he’s not allowed to tell anyone his secret for another season or so.
Jess: The next day at school, Flash bumps into Lana, but the minute she moves it’s obvious that she’s Tina in disguise. She throws herself at him pretty aggressively (for Lana, at least), which he’s into, then asks to borrow his jacket. He gives it to her and leaves, and we get an unnecessary shot of her turning into Tina.
Clark and Pete cruise downtown Smallville. Pete marblemouths basically the whole plot of the episode so far, just in case we missed it, then insults Clark for good measure. Clark: “Why are we friends again?” HE ACTUALLY SAYS THIS.
Rebecca: I actually kind of think their banter and ribbing is cute, because they’ve been friends their whole lives, but I hear your point about Pete being an asshole.
Jess: It would be cuter if Pete had been given absolutely anything to do so far. I like ribbing, but all we’ve gotten is Pete smirking about Clark missing the bus and insulting Chloe.
They reach the (closed) antique shop and Clark peers in the front window. Pete’s impatient, but Clark manages to turn the X-ray vision on – and sees a skeleton hidden inside a piece of furniture. Claiming he’s got a hunch, he insists on breaking in and opens the cabinet he saw the skeleton in. Tina’s mom’s corpse falls out. Pete and Clark look only mildly dismayed at finding a second dead body before they’re old enough to drive.
Rebecca: Second dead mom! Yipes.
Jess: Pete asks how Clark knew she was there, and Clark tells him he saw through the door, which Pete luckily does not believe. Clark u r dumb.
Rebecca: And he doesn’t grow out of it, apparently.
Jess: Pete says Tina’s probably already skipped town, but then they find the pages and pages of Lana signatures Tina was writing. “She wants to kill Lana?” Pete asks. “Worse: she wants to become Lana,” Clark says. But, like, by killing her, right?
Smallville Cemetery. Lana tells her mother’s grave about the diary, but is interrupted by the arrival of Tina-Not-Flash. I love that Tina’s like “No way I could pass for Flash without his varsity jacket!” To be fair, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen him without it.
Rebecca: But also, when she was Lex and her mom, she morphed into their clothes, right? Right?
Jess: Varsity jackets are special, obviously. Tina-Not-Flash nastily tells Lana that her parents are dead and to get over it: “You have this great life and you can’t even see it.” I’m not entirely sure why Tina thinks Lana’s life is so great, since she doesn’t seem to be interested in Flash, cheerleading, or getting fired from cafes, and we haven’t seen Lana have or do anything else.
“You don’t deserve your life,” Tina-Not-Flash says, and morphs back into Tina. “I do.” She chokes Lana until she passes out and straightens up, holding the kryptonite necklace triumphantly. I guess that thing’s going back to the jeweler to have the clasp repaired for the second time this year.
Lana wakes in a coffin inside a small crypt and starts banging on the lid, gasping for air. Clark runs into the cemetery and is hailed by Tina-Not-Flash. The necklace makes him do his hunchy kryptonite thing, and Tina-Not-Flash takes advantage of this to whack him with a metal pipe (you know, the kind that’s so common in cemeteries). “Tina, where’s Lana?” Clark wheezes. “Tina doesn’t exist anymore!” Tina-Not-Flash snaps, and hits Clark again, sending him flying (but not actually flying, of course).
Rebecca: No! Flights! No! Tights!
Jess: Clark tells Tina-Not-Flash he knows about her mother. Tina-Not-Flash shucks off the varsity jacket for absolutely no reason and flings it away. The kryptonite stops glowing. “I thought I killed you once,” Tina-Not-Flash says, hefting the pipe. “I’m not gonna make the same mistake twice.” Question: Why is everyone in this town homicidal? Seriously, does the kryptonite cause sociopathy as well as random powers? Because this is three episodes in a row of unrepentant murderers, two of whom are children.
Rebecca: One can only assume that kryptonite doesn’t have a positive effect, since there are very few non-villainous mutants in, like, the entire series. If the meteors just caused superpowers but not evilness, Smallville would have their own Justice League by now, probably.
Jess: Maybe this whole thing is just DC’s elaborate X-Men hatefic. I mean, I suspect the murderous mutant of the week thing comes from ripping off, like Buffy, but demons eat people.
Tina-Not-Flash slams the pipe down, but Clark superspeeds out of the way and comes to rest behind her. “Where’s Lana?” he asks. A slugfest ensues. Clark demands Lana’s whereabouts again, and Tina-Not-Flash says she’s dead. Clark hurls her against a tree, and she slumps, morphing back to Tina as she does.
“LANA!” Clark yells, and turns on the X-ray vision. He spots a moving skeleton in the crypt and yanks the gate out of the way. Locating the correct stone tomb, he punches a hole in it, which seems like a terrible idea that could kill Lana. He moves the lid out of the way and lifts the unconscious Lana out.
Rebecca: Why not just shove the lid over instead of leaving Clark-fist-shaped holes in everything you touch, idiot?
Jess: P.S. This show would be much better if every time someone threw Clark through a wall (which has happened approximately 731 times in the past 4 episodes) he left a Welling-shaped cutout like in a cartoon.
Cut to a cluster of emergency vehicles at Lana’s house. Chloe walks up to Clark: “Hey, I heard what happened.” That’s a useful way to avoid clarifying if what she heard is that Clark has superpowers. He grins and asked if she came by to see if he was okay, and she’s like “Psh, no, I’m here for Lana.” GET IT, GIRL.
She scampers over to Lana and hands her a cassette tape labeled “Graduation 1977.” Lana asks how she found it. “If I told you I’d have to kill you, and it looks like you’ve had enough trauma for one night,” Chloe says. Lana laughs and then sincerely thanks her, and Chloe gives her the flirty eyes before walking away. INTO. IT.
The Kents walk over to Clark and inform him that Tina “won’t be able to hurt anyone else,” which…doesn’t mean anything. Jonathan doesn’t understand why Tina would do all this, and Clark says he can relate: “Go through life with a gift you have to keep a secret and you see everyone around you being normal, you get jealous. You just wanna be somebody else.” That’s sweet, Clark, but I think you’re overidentifying. Tina didn’t want to be normal, she wanted to be rich and popular.
Flash runs in and hugs Lana. Clark makes a mopey face at them. After two episodes of people stalking Lana, you haven’t learned to back off, dude? He even uses his X-ray vision to watch them after they go into Lana’s house, ew, Clark, you are the worst.
“Mom, if you could see anything, what would you do?” he asks. “Learn to close my eyes,” she says. Martha’s pretty great.
Cut to Lana in a truck, rain drumming on the roof. She puts the tape into the tape deck and listens as the principal introduces her mother. The speech begins, but all we really get is the opening line Nell already told us as the camera pans away and into the end credits. Lana may feel closer to her mother now, but I don’t feel closer to either of them.
Rebecca: Considering that this is the first episode that introduces a new Iconic Superman Power, it’s pretty dull. The formula shouldn’t seem this repetitive in Episode 4. Also, Clark never acknowledges (with words or in a non-pervy way) that having x-ray vision is pretty cool. Where is the joy, show? Even Man of Steel could muster up some new-power joy! Anyway, it’s always nice to see talented comedy actor Lizzy Caplan in an utterly unfunny role.
Jess: Yeah, this one was just a no for me. I’m glad Lex actually had a reason to be there, but his plotline diverged from Clark’s way too sharply, meaning that once again Clark is Scooby Dooing around some murdering kid’s house in a way that doesn’t feel intimate for the characters at all. Lana’s plot was utterly pointless (“You told me my mom never had any feelings, but she did! Lots of feelings! Feelings I also feel! I’m not going to tell you what they are, though.”) The Kents and Clark’s buddies had nothing to do. There was just nothing to latch onto in this episode at all, which is a shame, because Rosenbaum, Welling, Kreuk, and Flash Actor Whose Name I Don’t Care About all seemed to have a lot of fun playing Tina.
Rebecca: Well, if you want more excuses for this cast to not play their characters, I have good news for you about the next 10 seasons. Here’s a list off the top of my head (I’m sure I’m missing plenty) of upcoming reasons for these actors to act weird: shape-shifting, body-swapping, parallel universes, alien parasites, kryptonite flowers, kryptonite Gatorade, black kryptonite, silver kryptonite, red kryptonite, red kryptonite lipstick, French witches, French witch possession, prom queen possession, Zod possession, Greek god possession, vampirism, kryptonian brainwashing, magical brainwashing, Maxima brainwashing, super-pheromones, super-persuasion, being drugged, being themselves in the future, being their relatives in the past, being inside a noir fantasy, being inside a Christmas fantasy, being from the Phantom Zone, and Darkseid.
Rating: Slowing down to a trudge.
Next week: Chloe finds out what’s cooler than being cool, and Clark does a magic trick.