The Smallville Project: Episode 1.05 – “Cool”
|July 12, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Kryptonite meteorites glow underwater. We pan up to the frozen surface of a lake, and then to a nighttime party on the shore. Various teenagers chat, drink, and make out. Clark and Chloe walk in, and Chloe mocks the party until Clark points out that coming there was her idea. She complains about the cold, which doesn’t bother him, and heads over to warm up by the fire. Clark catches sight of Flash and Lana snuggling chastely under a blanket and sighs.
Rebecca: Wait, you missed it! Chloe said, “What are you, from an ice planet?” Do you get it? DO YOU??
Jess: A vaguely cute blond in a varsity jacket approaches. “Hey Kent, you’re friends with Chloe. Is she flying solo tonight?” His delivery makes him seem way more interested in Clark than Chloe. Clark stiffly tells “Sean” that he’s not Chloe’s type, but Sean trots over to talk to Chloe anyway. Clark seethes.
Rebecca: You missed it again! Sean’s last name is “Kelvin!” DO YOU GET IT THOUGH???
Jess: Over at the fire, Chloe’s rubbing her hands, trying to get them warm. “If you want I could rub them for you. Nothing heats up a body like friction,” Sean says. Ugh. Chloe, girl, I trust you to tell this guy where to stick it. Disappointingly, she just tells him it was a bad line, and then he gets her in her weak spot: “I’ve read your editorials in the Torch. Pretty cool.” Chloe mentions that she knows the girl he dumped last week, and he tells her not to worry: “I’m not gonna make a move on you…no matter how pretty you are.” It works. Dammit.
Flash and another bro pop up and ask Sean to come do football things with them. Sean asks Chloe for her number, and she laughs shyly as she says he’ll never call. He promises to call tomorrow. “Well, I won’t hold my breath,” she says, but writes her number on his palm anyway. He walks off, and she taps the pen against her lips and grins. Girl, you could do better. Like a sexy blond archer who I hear will show up in, like, eleven years. Or Jimmy Olsen, I guess.
Flash, Sean, and Other Bro run off into the bushes past a sign warning people to stay the hell away from “Crater Lake.” Clark sits down next to Chloe and is all “What was that?” “Don’t sound so shocked, Clark,” she teases. “Guys do find me attractive even though I don’t have raven hair and the initials L.L.” I love you, Chloe. Clark tells her Sean’s a dog, and she assures him she just gave him her number to get rid of him, and that it’s time to go. They just got there. Fun party!
Rebecca: Clark calls Sean a “dog” no less than three times in this episode, which is how you can tell his dialogue was written by men in their forties.
Jess: Down by the lake, Flash asks Sean what’s up with him and Chloe, and Sean’s all “Another notch, dawg.” Aren’t these kids 14?
Rebecca: No teen has ever used the word “dog” like this!
Jess: At least it’s more current than Clark’s usage.
Sean misses a catch and runs out onto the ice to get the ball while Flash gets distracted by the just-arrived pizza. Sean seems amazed to discover that ice is slippery. Fetching the ball, he turns to head towards shore – and the ice starts to crack.
A few steps later, he plunges through and finds himself trapped beneath the ice. “Hey, where’s Sean?” someone on shore asks. “Probably in the back of some car,” someone else says. See what promiscuity will get you, teens? Seriously, even only having seen a little over four episodes, I can safely say that this show is simultaneously obsessed with and horrified by sex. Sean frantically looks for the hole in the ice, then goes limp and starts to sink, skin glowing green. Uh, even dead/unconscious bodies don’t sink.
Morning finds the football frozen to the ice. Suddenly a fist punches up through the ice next to it.
Sean walks over to the remains of last night’s fire. Man, I expect country/farm kids to know better than to leave a fire burning like that. His skin is blue, but as he holds his shaking hands up to the flames, they turn back to a healthy color. He inhales, drawing the heat of the fire into him, and the rest of him goes back to normal. Giving the lake a quizzical look, he walks away, and the camera pans down to reveal that the fire…is frozen.
Rebecca: THIS IS NOT HOW WATER, ICE, OR FIRE WORK. DID NO ONE WHO WORKED ON THIS SHOW PASS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SCIENCE??????
Jess: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Kent Farm. Jonathan and Martha are working out their finances when Clark walks in and does some amazing arithmetic in his head. Um, is super-intelligence once of his powers on this show? (Because I haven’t seen any evidence of it so far. Zing!) Anyway, the finances are bad and Clark frets, which his folks apologize for. D’aw. Clark offers to help by dropping out of high school, joining a pro sports team, and making bank with endorsements, then smiles at his parents’ expressions and tells them he’s just trying to lighten the mood. This is the most I’ve ever liked him, and it’s only a little bit because he just described Booster Gold’s origin. Martha tells him to get to school and he superspeeds off, zips back to catch his Pop-Tart as it flies out of the toaster and corrects Martha’s math, then zips off again. UM, ADORABLE.
Rebecca: THIS SCENE IS PERFECT. If the whole show was Clark doing mental math, caring about his parents, making deadpan jokes, and eating Pop-Tarts cutely, I wouldn’t have complained about this series lasting twenty seasons.
Jess: It’s basically perfect. Clark saunters down the lane with Chloe and Pete. Sean did not in fact call, but Chloe acts like she doesn’t care. Clark thinks she’s better off, but Pete assures them that Sean is cool. I c whut u did there.
Rebecca: You’re getting it!
Jess: Pete reminds Clark that there are other people in the world to date besides Lana and Clark is all “Lana who? I don’t know a Lana. What were we talking about again?” Pete suggests Clark date Chloe instead, and she calls a halt: “I am not some crash dummy you can practice your dating skills on! You, if you like Lana so much, why don’t you just ask her out? And you, stop acting like a Vegas bookie picks your dates. And both of you, treat me better.” CHLOE I LOVE YOUUUUUU.
Rebecca: CHLOE!!!!! Please shut down this idiots all day, every day, please and thank you. Also, I would just like to note that perhaps the reason that Clark hasn’t asked Lana out is because SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND.
Jess: At school, a blue-ish Sean shivers in the nurse’s office with a thermometer in his mouth. She wraps a blanket around him as she tells him he probably has the flu, then checks the thermometer: 35 degrees. She puts a hand on his forehead and he clamps it down, which sends a rush of pink back into his cheeks. She shivers: “Now you’re giving me the chills.” He tells her he’s feeling better and leaves.
Back on the Kent Farm, Martha nearly accidentally kills Lex with a chainsaw. Hee!
Rebecca: Lex says, “I’m just glad you weren’t welding,” which is an actually funny joke that I’ve never noticed before.
Jess: He’s there for 30 artichokes for a dinner party for “the local farming community” to talk about financial options. Martha tells him most people aren’t looking for yet more loans, and Lex says he’s offering himself as an investor: “Help people modernize and expand. This town once grew 20% of the corn in the state. It used to be a heavy hitter, it just lost the drive to stay competitive.” “Or its connections,” Martha replies. “If this town ever had any connections, they wouldn’t have named it Smallville,” Lex says. Hee again!
Lex gets down to brass tacks: Jonathan may not like him, but he’d like to hear Martha’s opinion on the proposal, even if she’s not interested. I love that he respects her as a business-savvy, independent thinker. She tells him Jonathan doesn’t hate him, just what the Luthors have done in Smallville, but Lex plans to change that reputation too.
Rebecca: I’m interested in how the show is using its first few episodes to really explore the dynamics of every configuration of the characters. I don’t know that I would have expected to see a substantial Lex/Martha subplot in episode 5. And it’s surprisingly great!
Jess: The Beanery. Lana is studying the cheapest-ass pamphlet ever – seriously, it’s just printed on 8.5 x11 paper – when Lex walks up. “That’s a great exhibit,” he says. “I saw it in St. Petersburg.” I hope he means St. Petersburg, Florida. Lana tells him she and Flash are going to see it in Metropolis tomorrow. Lex snarks on Flash’s intelligence and Lana calls him on it, which is great. Lex does his weird little “you should be with Claaaaaaark” winkyface dance and scurries off to the nearest table as Flash arrives.
But alas, Flash has forgotten about the trip to the Big Apricot! (I’m not kidding. That’s its nickname in the comics.) And he’s already made plans – and paid – to watch “the fight on Pay-Per-View” with the guys. He’s at least smart enough to realize that Lana will be disproportionately upset about this, because he delivers the news like he’s telling her that her dog just died. Lana eventually relents, and Flash promises her they’ll go to Metropolis next week and skips out. Lex smirks at Lana and leaves.
And who should be shambling down the street but the Boy of Steel himself? He implausibly spots Lana through the window and gazes rapturously. “You know, she’s free tomorrow night,” Lex says, strolling up to him. “This is the perfect time for you to ask her out.” Clark is like “Um, boyfriend?” and Lex is like, “Psh, she’s not married. Go ask her to the Radiohead concert. Here are some tickets.” LEX U R WEIRD.
Rebecca: Lex is just waltzing around town with Radiohead tickets in his pocket??
Jess: I mean, I buy that Lex’s entire life is a complicated series of Xanatos Gambits, but this seems like a particularly silly and contrived one. Unless he’s trying to goad Clark into a relationship with Lana in order to get her out of Clark’s system.
Rebecca: I wouldn’t put it past him.
Jess: Clark finally twigs that Lex’s investment in his non-relationship is bizarre. “Why are you doing this?” he asks. “You’re like the younger brother I never had,” Lex says, before being struck down by a lightning bolt for his lies and deceit. “I figure someone should benefit from my experience.” Uh, not to be crass, but there’s a more direct way to impart that knowledge, Alexander.
Clark shuffles his metaphorical feet, and Lex assures him that “the hardest thing in the world is telling the girl you love that you like her.” Is it, though? Is it really.
Rebecca: “Girl.” “Her.” Right.
Jess: Lex ups the ante by offering a limo ride if Clark asks Lana in the next 60 seconds and bats his eyelashes at Clark. Clark snags the tickets and heads into the lion’s den.
He approaches Lana, who tries to engage him in banter, which he awkwardly fails at. “There’s this thing tonight,” he fumbles. “Define ‘thing,’” she smiles. He thrusts the tickets at her, and she is v. v. impressed. Guys, I wasn’t cool in 2001, as I have thoroughly documented. Were 14-year-olds really into Radiohead then? Because I feel like they weren’t.
Rebecca: They weren’t. Not that I was a cool tween, but I remember the glory days of OK Computer being safely behind us by then. Again: 40-year-olds.
Jess: Side note: is Flash older than the others? Because the driving age in Kansas is 16, although I suppose he could have a restricted license at 15 and just be violating it. But he’s also captain of the football team, which is an unlikely position for a freshman to hold.
Rebecca: Canonically, he’s a senior. And he’s been with Lana for a while. So…gross.
Jess: Ew. Clark manages to stammer out an invite, and when Lana pauses, adds: “Just as friends.” I’m not sure that counts as asking her out, Clarktopher. Lana agrees, and okay, fine, Welling’s doofy smitten face is pretty cute.
At school, Chloe and Pete are impressed that Clark finally managed to ask Lana out. Chloe’s pants are a really odd length. Pete asks how Clark got the tickets, and Chloe guesses Lex. Adorably, she grabs on to Clark’s arm for balance as she walks along some kind of out-of-frame railing or curb, and he doesn’t even bother to take his hands out of his pockets. Great, casually comfortable body language.
Rebecca: Oh my god, I love this tiny bit of business, which I fully believe was 100% Allison Mack improv. So cute.
Jess: Clark tells her she’s the one who actually goaded him into action, and she pretends she’s happy about it. I want Rosenbaum and Mack to run off and be on their own, better show together. (Oh man, if they were a will-they-or-won’t-they on a sitcom I would watch it so hard.)
Rebecca: YOU AND ME BOTH, SISTER.
Jess: Sean appears, looking a little gray around the gills and rubbing his hands together, and Pete and Clark make hilarious “get it, girl” faces. He asks what she’s up to, and she says she’s got to put the paper to bed but maybe after…but he’s already scoping out the grounds for another lady, and literally runs off mid-Chloe’s-sentence, calling after “Jenna.” Clark winces sympathetically as Chloe’s like “I was playing barely hard-to-get. What’s the problem?” She tries to make a joke about it but the sting is palpable. Pete puts an arm around her and leads her away, rubbing her back, which is sweet.
Cut to Jenna singing along to her shower radio. Through the open bathroom door, we see steam billowing, but it’s not actually leaving the bathroom and it’s way too thick. You guys, Fire Coach is back!
Someone walks into the truly enormous bathroom, which is full of lit candles for no particular reason.
Rebecca: There are also lit candles INSIDE THE SHOWER?????
Jess: “Sean, is that you?” Jenna asks. So presumably they’re post-coital, which makes the fact that she’s about to get killed for having sex really gross. Also, if he made the nurse that cold just by putting her hand on his forehead, how could Jenna survive that much full-body contact? She invites him in, but he just stands outside the shower curtain, breathing heavily. “What are you waiting for? The water’s nice and warm.”
Suddenly he yanks the curtain back. He’s very blue, with purple lips and frost around his temples. She screams and jerks back: “What happened to you?” Rather than answer, he grabs the showerhead, and the water falling out of it turns to hail. Yeah, okay.
Rebecca: Water turning to ice at least makes some sense. The science bar here is extremely low.
Jess: She scrambles out of the tub, grabbing the shower curtain, which wraps around her as it falls down so that we can get a nice blurry shot of a teenage girl’s naked body. SHOW YOU ARE GROSS. Wrapping the shower curtain around her, she backs away and asks what he wants. “I just want to get warm,” he says, and grabs her. She turns blue. He kisses her and she freezes solid while he turns pink. He lets her go and we hear a crash as she shatters on the ground. Ew. Well, at least this one has a motive for killing, although he seems remarkably unaffected by becoming a murderer. He smirks and walks past the candles, the flames of which freeze in his wake. Science is dead.
Rebecca: This scene is gross, but yeah, I actually think it’s kind of smart to follow four people purposely and maliciously using their powers with a guy who has just kind of lost control and can’t help himself. The result is the same (dead teens), but at least it feels a little different.
Jess: I think it would work better if he wasn’t so gleeful about it, or if there was any work put into showing that actually taking people’s heat makes him unhinged, or something. On the other hand, we’ve now been shown four terrible people being given the power to enact their terrible desires – two stalkers, a child abuser, and now a chronic manipulator and user (though again, his being sexually active does not mean that he is evil and deserves to die) – so theoretically this could be used as a way to show that power corrupts and/or that Clark is exceptional for using his power to help instead of hurt. But, uh, they’re not really doing that, and also I feel like arguing the essential corrupt nature of humanity is not really what a Superman story should be doing.
(I have now thought about this far more than any of the writers.)
Rebecca: “Wait, this is a Superman show?” – the writers.
Jess: Kent Farm, morning. Martha is heading out when she stops to scold Jonathan for repairing his motorcycle parts at the dining room table. After some cute banter, she asks him to come to Lex’s. He reminds her that “the Luthors have sold out anyone who ever trusted them.” Martha points out that Lex and Lionel are two different people, and that Jonathan has never seen Lex be anything but generous. “Arrogant and a little strange, yes, but he’s been a good friend to Clark.” Hee! Also, they do in fact need financial help, and oh yeah, she already told Lex Jonathan would come.
Clark doofs into the room at this point, unaware of the tension: “Hello, citizens!”
Rebecca: HELLO. CITIZENS. I die. I’m dead.
Jess: “I’m not familiar with this child,” Martha says, frowning. “Where’s the moody one? Lives upstairs, runs real fast?” MARTHA. <3 Rebecca: This dialogue is the light of my life.
Jess: Clark beams that he is totally taking Lana on a stealth-date thanks to Lex, and Jonathan’s all “Well, I guess Lex Luthor has worked out all of our evenings for us.” Martha rolls her eyes, and then is like “Wait, doesn’t Lana have a boyfriend?” “She’s not married, Mom,” Clark smirks, and trots upstairs. Martha and Jonathan exchange glances, like “Will we finally get to use the attic for something other than stalking now?”
Sean’s house. Shivering, he calls up an ex and asks her out. She is uninterested. He hangs up the phone and glances down at his hand, on which Chloe’s number is still totally readable despite having been submerged for 12 hours and then subjected to a lot of rubbing. (Insert your off-color joke here.)
Kent Farm. Chloe gently teases Clark about his date and he’s like “It’s not a date, whatever, shut up.” Except how you keep telling everyone it is, dude. He also reminds her that she’s there for fashion advice, which is so cute I can’t even. “Burn that,” she says of his suggested shirt in a delivery the hilarity of which I cannot possibly convey, and as he walks off the phone rings. It kinda looks like the Kents’ landline, which is odd.
Anyway, it’s Sean, of course, which Chloe triumphantly tells Clark a minute later. He asks if Sean apologized for earlier, and Chloe says he wasn’t feeling well. “Chloe, I saw him go off with Jenna,” Clark says, and I really like his protective side here.
Rebecca: I dunno – it’s cute because they are cuties, but I think we’re also supposed to be getting a layer of jealousy from Clark here, which I have no need for (yet). Again, though, it’s hard to tell because, y’know, Welling.
Jess: I was getting a vague jealous vibe off of him in the opener but not for the rest of the episode. I don’t doubt that it was written with that interpretation in mind, but Welling’s not playing it that way. Intentionally? Who the hell knows.
Chloe says Sean promised it was completely over with Jenna, and Clark smiles incredulously: “You like him, don’t you?” Chloe’s like “Okay, yeah, he’s dumb but hot.”
Rebecca: I guess that’s Chloe’s type. Zing! J/K, it’s also my type and I’m guessing yours, too.
Jess: Actually, this fella’s more my speed. PERFECT MAN.
Rebecca: But don’t tell me Booster couldn’t get it. The Ultimate Dumb But Hot.
Jess: He could get it SO HARD. Call me, Booster!
Chloe tells Clark she told Sean to bring her a cup of coffee at the Torch tonight. “Sounds like a date,” Clark says. “It’s not a date. It’s a fact-finding mission to see if he deserves a date.” Chloe, I heart you. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt,” Clark says, and Chloe tells him if he can take a risk, so can she, then picks out a shirt for him to wear. These two are adorable.
Rebecca: IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
Jess: Luthor Castle. The Kents are let into Lex’s study, which it is becoming ever more clear is the only set they built. Lex cracks wise about the size of the house and Martha asks if they’re early, since they’re the only ones there. Lex gets hilariously shifty at this, and Jonathan is like “Yeah, we out.” Martha tries to stop him: “Just because no one else came…” “If they were even invited,” Jonathan replies. Martha scoffs: “Oh, I don’t think Lex would – ”
“Actually, I would,” Lex interrupts. Turns out he knew specifically that the Kents’ farm was in trouble and wanted to help. Jonathan crankily agrees to listen, and Lex smiles as he takes a sip of what is presumably brandy. I really want the Kents to be like “Excuse you, you are underage.”
Cut to Clark and Lana marveling at Lex’s limo as it takes them to the concert. “Beats defensive reading,” Clark says cagily, and Lana gives him a sharp look. “You’ve done it since we were kids,” he clarifies. “Whenever the world gets disappointing, you retreat into a book.” That is a creepily specific thing to know about someone you only really became friends with a few months ago, Clark. (Assuming we’re far enough into the school year for lakes to freeze over.)
Rebecca: Also, what a shitty thing to say to someone you allegedly like.
Jess: Lana cops to it, and Clark tells her he does the same thing with astronomy: “I look at different worlds and wonder if my life would be better there.” By “different worlds,” do you mean “Lana’s bed?” Because that’s the only thing we’ve seen you look at.
There’s some dopey banter, and you guys, I just don’t have the patience to recap how boring these two are together. It culminates in Clark doing a “magic trick” where he has Lana pick a card from a deck Lex has lying around the limo for no reason, then uses X-ray vision to read it.
Rebecca: “I know what I’ll use my superpowers for: boring card tricks!”
Jess: She is dutifully impressed, but grows uncomfortable when their hands touch. He’s like “Oh yeah, I told everyone this wasn’t a date SUPER HARD,” which, uh, dial down the unconvincing emphaticness a bit there, Kent. He then asks if she told Flash, which she hasn’t: “He’s hanging out with his friends tonight, and I’m hanging out with mine.”
Satisfied with her excuse, she grabs the remote and gleefully turns on the TV – to a story about how Jenna is totally dead and the police are looking for Sean. “Stop the car!” Clark shouts at the driver. Aw, he loves his friend.
Journalism room. Chloe is clearly irritated that Sean hasn’t shown up when she hears a thump. She follows the sound, calling his name, and sees an arrow pinned up on the wall pointing to a trail of flower petals on the ground. Delighted, she follows them. How did he touch them without freezing them?
Downtown Smallville. Clark drops Lana off at the coffee shop, where she’ll be safe (Lana: “Safe from what?” Clark: “Uh…”), and promises to explain everything when he gets back. She agrees to wait, and he tells her that this is the best non-date he’s ever had. She’s baffled. He’s gonna be so sad when he gets back and Flash is already there.
Rebecca: Just let her go to the concert without you, asshole.
Jess: Back at school, Chloe follows the petals to a door with an official sign reading “Pool” and a handwritten one reading “Come in please.” Even if he wasn’t a frozen murderous mutant, this would be incredibly presumptuous. Chloe walks in, calling Sean’s name: “What’s going on? I agreed to a cappuccino.” There’s mist rising off the pool, because Smallville is freaking lousy with mist.
She tells him she’s not skinny dipping, and he closes and locks the door behind him. He’s blue and frosty again. “I’m sorry, Chloe. I don’t have a choice.” She backs away as he explains that he can’t get warm. “Why don’t you just sit by a fire?” she asks. He smirks: “Body heat lasts longer.”
She falls into the pool and starts to swim for the other side. He crouches down and starts sucking the warmth out of the water. She reaches the other side and climbs out, but the pool freezes over with one leg still trapped. He starts to walk across the ice towards her.
But Clark’s here! He breaks the lock and punches through the ice to free Chloe’s foot. Sean grabs him and Clark throws him off, sending him sliding across the frozen pool. Clark helps Chloe out of the room and tells her to run, but when he turns, Sean is gone.
Later, Clark gives Chloe a cup of coffee as she sits wrapped in a coat (his?). She thanks him for saving her and snarks bitterly about her love life. “You deserved a lot better than Sean even before he tried to kill you,” he says. “That’s sweet…I think,” she replies. They puzzle over what happened to Sean and thankfully are left fairly baffled. As they leave, Chloe very seriously assures Clark that this was not a passive-aggressive attempt to ruin his date. Clark’s like “Oh yeah, her.” Heh.
Rebecca: This episode is super boring on the Clana front, but this moment really proves that Clark’s crush is all momentum. That holds out for 8 years. Anyway CHLOE/CLARK FOR LIFE. …Ahem. Or maybe Clark just can’t think of more than one thing at a time.
Jess: The Beanery. Pete escorts a date (go Pete!) into the cafe. Is he following the Wallace Fennel rule of only being allowed to date black girls? Catching sight of Lana, he’s like “Wait, what?” Lana says Clark saw the news report and ran off. Pete is bummed that Sean’s not actually a cool dude. Except literally! HEYYO! Lana asks if Clark’s always a little mysterious, and Pete’s like “Oh my God it is the WORST.” Lana figures whatever Clark ran off to do seemed important, and Pete says “I can’t think there’s anything more important to him than you.” Lana’s eyes widen like Rachel being told about the crystal duck Ross bought for Carol. /Friends
You know, I get that 95% of Clark Kent romantic drama in all mediums is based on contrivance, but this whole thing depends pretty heavily on Clark never, in all the time it took for them to get to the Beanery, saying “Chloe’s got a date with a murder suspect, I want to make sure she’s okay.” Ugh.
Rebecca: As the resident Smallville scholar, I can conclude that Clark thinks that in order to protect his secret, he can’t even let people know that he’s involved in dangerous situations. But just to the extent that it’s inconvenient for him; everyone he saves knows it was him.
Jess: In a shocking! unpredictable! turn of events, Flash arrives. Lana offers Pete the limo for his date, and he’s all “She’s not a date, she’s just my friend,” while literally standing over her, but takes it anyway. Flash is like “Limo?” and Lana’s like “Forget it” and asks him to take her home. Yeah, saw that coming. Still, it irks.
Shivery Sean breaks into somewhere with a “High Voltage” sign. Clark arrives at the Beanery to find Lana gone, but doesn’t have time to be too upset over it because the power starts cutting out. Displaying way more intelligence than I give him credit for, he mutters “Sean” and runs off.
Sure enough, Sean is sucking up electricity like nobody’s business. The lights go off at Luthor Castle, then back on. “Guess the generator works,” Lex says. Jonathan sasses about Lex’s plan to save the farm and that his daddy told him not to take handouts. Lex replies that government subsidies helped Grandpa Kent keep the ship afloat. They’re a bit alarmed at his in-depth knowledge of their finances, even when he says it’s a matter of public record and he’s only practicing due diligence, and Jonathan flat-out asks why he’s so interested in their farm.
“Your son brought me back from the dead, Mr. Kent,” he says, walking off to stare dramatically into the middle distance.
Rebecca: Get used to that move, by the way. This show taught me what bad blocking is.
Jess: “When he reached in and pulled me out, he gave me a new life. Your father put his family’s future over his own pride. Are you willing to do that?” Did he just ask for Clark’s hand in marriage?
Flash’s truck. He and Lana are visibly cranky, and finally he asks what’s up. She tells him she went out with Clark, and he asks why she didn’t tell him. They bicker and OH GOD SEAN’S IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FLASH LOOK OUT – !
They veer off the road and into a ditch. Shivery Sean goes after them.
Lana has somehow twisted her ankle in the crash, in the most transparent effort to make her helpless I’ve seen yet. Flash frantically tells her he has to get her somewhere safe, which is a little weird – the truck’s not gonna get any more crashed. Although I guess the last time it crashed it blew up. Speaking of which, when’d he get the new truck? He helps Lana out and they head down the road.
Luthor Castle. Jonathan is still resistant and wants to know what Lex gets out of helping them. I mean, he’s forgoing a dowry and everything. He tells them he’s sure it’ll be profitable, and they’re about to toast when Flash and Lana stagger in. “Where’s Clark?” Martha asks.
Oh, you know, just superspeeding aimlessly around. He finds the truck and is examining it when Sean grabs him. Golden light flares out where they touch. Lex is so jealous.
Clark groans and collapses. Sean smirks, thanks him for the warm-up, and heads off towards Luthor Castle. Pan down to Clark, blue and frozen on the ground.
Rebecca: Why would your act out on this show ever be Clark in physical peril? Of all the characters on this show, he’s the MOST fine.
Jess: Lex certainly thinks so. HEYYO!
Lex gives Lana and Flash cocoa while he tells them he’s cranked up the security until they find Sean. This is kind of adorable. “Sorry about your date,” he adds, and Lana squirms. Dick move, Lex. That won’t help Clark.
Jonathan tries calling the house, but no one answers. “Remind me I don’t have to worry?” Martha murmurs. “He’s Clark, Martha,” Jonathan whispers reassuringly. D’aw.
Rebecca: Jonathan and I are on the same page here. (Yikes.)
Jess: The lights flicker as Sean sucks power from the generator. Clark makes some truly hilarious faces as he comes to.
Lex hands out flashlights and Jonathan and Martha head off to check the front door and generator, respectively. Lex looks completely exasperated by their independence, which is also adorable. Outside, Martha bangs on the frozen generator with her flashlight, and Sean approaches. HURRY UP, CLARK. “Are you Sean?” she asks. “What do you want?” “Who, me? I just want to get warm.”
CLARK IS HERE PHEW. I get much more worried about Martha than any of his other loved ones, for some reason.
Rebecca: The reason is that Martha is the best.
Jess: He tells Martha to go inside. “That’s your mom?” Sean asks. “She’s hot!” They didn’t really continue the blue makeup down inside his collar, which ruins the effect a little.
Rebecca: Also, Clark’s super-warmth only lasted him like five minutes?
Jess: Well, he only touched him briefly. Maybe he needs to make out with his victims to make it last. (That’s what she said!)
Clark tells him he needs a hospital, and Sean scoffs. “You’re not getting into that house,” Clark says. His “none shall pass” is kind of giving me feelings, guys. SUPERMAN IS DEFENDING (MOST OF) HIS LOVED ONES (AND FLASH) FROM EVIL!
Rebecca: <3 <3 Jess: Sean lunges at Clark, and Clark snags a pipe from the generator and whacks him with it, sending him flying. He follows, stupidly without the pipe, and Sean grabs him and starts sucking the heat out of him. How is Sean strong enough to hold him?
Clark falls and Sean straddles him. “I don’t know what it is about you, Clark, but I haven’t felt this good in two days.” Okay, some of this had to be deliberate, right? He gloats about how he’s going to go after the Kents and Lana next, and Clark musters up his strength and throws Sean into the nearby lake. It freezes instantly, trapping Sean beneath the ice. So…Clark just killed someone, right? He doesn’t look too cut up about it.
Rebecca: Baby’s first murder, I guess.
Jess: Kent Farm, the next day. Jonathan is working on his bike in the barn when Lex lets himself in: “I heard you took out a bank loan today…You despise me that much?” “Believe it or not, Lex, some things have nothing to do with you,” Jonathan says. “I decided to bet on my family.” “You’re betting with Clark’s future. I’m just trying to ensure it,” Lex says. He indignantly insists he’s here to help, and stalks out.
Rebecca: It’s hilarious to me that in 2001 you could think that anything was more evil than a bank. Were we ever so young?
Jess: At school, Chloe sadly lights a candle at Jenna’s memorial. Clark asks if she’s okay. “Just thinking that could’ve been me, all because some guy expressed some modicum of interest in me. I thought I was stronger than that.” Oh, fuck you, show. It was not Jenna’s fault that Sean killed her, and it would not have been Chloe’s either. “Everybody’s searching for their soulmate, Chloe, it’s not a sign of weakness,” Clark assures her. Pete gloats about having gotten the limo, but he’s got a reassuring arm around Chloe, so I’ll let the slight dickishness slide.
They approach Lana’s locker and Chloe and Pete make themselves scarce. Clark asks after Lana’s ankle and she tells him it’s better, then says he never came back “the other night.” Okay, so, wait. Did Martha just come in and tell everyone that the generator was frozen but it was NBD? How did she and Jonathan know that Clark was okay? What did Lex think of his frozen generator with a missing pipe? Did anyone else ever find out what happened to Sean (after Clark killed him)? How did they know it was safe to leave the house? Did Clark not bother to call Lana and explain his behavior for over 24 hours? Did no one explain Clark’s disappearance to Lex? It’s really not that long or complicated an explanation.
Rebecca: If Clark ever explained any of his behavior to Lex and Lana at any time, this would be a very different show. But this is Smallville, where Superman ruins all his relationships and creates at least one supervillain by lying by omission, repeatedly, inexplicably, forever.
Real talk, I don’t know why acknowledging the existence of krypto-mutants would blow Clark’s secret in any way. Chloe is already publicizing the effects of the meteors. Clark is just a self-sabotaging asshole.
Jess: Plus, it would give Clark a handy excuse – he could just claim he’s a krypto-mutant too, and those ain’t no thang in Smallville.
Rebecca: At least one character jumps to that conclusion when they find out about his powers, which makes Clark’s caginess seem that much dumber.
Jess: Clark says he did come back but Lana was gone. She doesn’t apologize, which I like. He apologizes and asks her to get together that weekend, but she’s got plans with Flash: “I think our non-date freaked him out.” The bell rings and she starts to leave, but Clark stops her and asks why she’s with Flash. “Because whenever I need him he’s there. Guess he makes me feel safe.” Haha, burn, Clark! As Lana turns to leave, though, we see that she’s actually totes sad. Clark stands alone under a banner with the word ACHIEVEMENT in huge letters, which is probably a coincidence but still very funny.
Rebecca: And the shitty WB music swells. Play us out, Jewel!
Jess: Hey, whatever happened to the 30 artichokes Lex bought? (That’s as many as three tens!) I wish the ACHIEVEMENT shot was paired with Lex, alone in his study, sadly scraping artichoke leaves with his teeth. (Also, Lex bought 30 artichokes as part of an elaborate scheme to make Jonathan like him. LEX.)
Rebecca: And that’s terrible.
Rebecca: This episode starts out pretty great and then really loses steam when it shifts focus from Chloe and Martha to Lana and Sean. Overall, though, there are some really fun lines of dialogue, and I’m impressed with the speed that the show is trying out different character configurations and seeing what works. They’re collecting important data here – particularly what Mack and O’Toole can do with substantial material, and how well they work opposite Welling – that they’ll put to use over the course of the series.
Anyway, enough TV development nerdery. The A-plot here is as phoned in as the B- and C-plots are finessed. Sean is just barely avoids being a retread of Fire Coach, Jenna’s slut-shaming death is a real bummer, and the climactic boss fight is basically just one punch (one punch!). This episode mostly just made me excited for next week and our first slight variation on the formula.
Jess: Yeah, there are some great character moments in here but they’re overshadowed by the show’s really, really screwed up attitude towards sex. IT’S OKAY TO HAVE SEX IF YOU WANT TO, TEENS. YOU WON’T DIE. (Although you should use protection.) Between that, the bad science, and the contrivance of the Clark/Lana plot, I could definitely do without this episode.
Also, is there any conceivable way Lana doesn’t know Clark likes her by this point?
Rating: A cool-down walk. (Get it???)
Next week: Clark makes a new friend, Lana loses one, and Lex wears a single glove.