The Smallville Project: Episode 1.11 – “Hug”
|September 6, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Metropolis. “Mr. Rickman” walks into the office of a long-haired, somewhat scraggly-looking dude in a suit, who apparently works for “the Center for Environmental Protection.”
Rebecca: This dude’s definitely emulating Lionel’s hair stylings on purpose, right?
Jess: I actually thought he was Lionel at first. Scraggle Suit – or, as his nameplate says, “Paul Hendrix” – wants to know why Rickman’s been doing surveying work in Smallville. Rickman says he wants to build a plant. Hendrix thumps a bottle of brown water on the desk in front of Rickman and says it’s groundwater from the last town where Rickman built a plant. Rickman tries to shmooze Hendrix, but Hendrix isn’t having it, and informs Rickman that he’s bringing a restraining order against Rickman to keep him out of Smallville.
Rickman waxes rhapsodic about Smallville’s special place in his heart, then gets comically intense: “People listen to me because they know I’m right, and when they do, they end up better for it.” Hendrix isn’t budging, so Rickman sighs in apparent defeat, stands up, and offers his hand to shake. Dubiously, Hendrix takes it – and Rickman clasps it in both hands. A glowing green light emanates from his hands. “Now listen, Paul,” he says, “you strike me as a man of passion, Paul. Passion hurts, doesn’t it? People don’t understand, they don’t see how you devote yourself to what’s right. I bet you’re afraid. You give up all that passion to a job no one even cares about.” Looking dazed and lost, Hendrix denies it, but then slowly nods.
Rickman leads him to the window, tells him that there’s only one way to make the pain stop, and looks significantly towards the ground. Then he leaves. As he exits the elevator, taking out his tiny, circa 2001 flip phone, Hendrix crashes onto the roof of a cab outside. “Tom, bring the car around,” Rickman says into the phone. “I’m going to Smallville.”
SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Okay, that was a really well paced ending to the cold open, but I feel like making people kill themselves is pointless when you can just make them do whatever you want. Like, yes, this guy’s evil, I get it, but once again, I feel like this show is giving us way too many unrepentant, insufficiently motivated sociopaths.
Rebecca: Yeah, it’s weird that Rickman is indignant about the idea of paying people off, but he doesn’t bat an eyelash about basically committing murder. Also, I really wish these writers would stop trying to write business intrigue. Scandal this ain’t. “SUITS! LAWYERS! PESTICIDE!” – teens, right?
Jess: Back in Smallville, Clark, Lana, and Chloe are riding horses through a heavily-wooded area that does not at all match my mental image of Kansasian scenery, though admittedly I’m basing that mainly on the Little House books. Clark looks reasonably comfortable on horseback, while Chloe is griping. They’re also heavily bundled up. This show’s weather chronology is all out of whack.
Rebecca: Vancouver, everybody!
Jess: Chloe’s horse weaves all over the road and Clark shouts encouragement back before ignoring her completely. He and Lana talk about how Flash has been working more in his family’s store since his dad’s been sick, and Clark says he doesn’t want to take over the Kent farm when he grows up. “What do you want to do?” Lana asks. “I’m not sure. As long as it doesn’t involve putting on a suit and doing a lot of flying,” he replies. I c whut etc.
Rebecca: THAT DOESN’T EVEN REALLY MAKE SENSE.
Jess: Chloe catches up and tells them she dropped her camera. Clark asks why she even brought it, and she calls the woods “the Bermuda Triangle of Smallville. No, I’m serious, you guys! People come in here and when they leave they can’t remember a thing. There have been dozens of instances in the past ten years.” Lana volunteers to get the camera and Chloe thanks her. Lana loves Chloe so much, you guys!
Clark points out as he and Chloe ride ahead that “stories in these woods go back to the Civil War.” But Chloe’s talking about last week: “Some surveyors from Rickman Industries came screaming out of the woods and they can’t even remember what happened.” Chloe’s theory is “Kyle Tippett,” “the guy who sells weird sculptures in town.” Right, I’d forgotten Chloe’s hatred and distrust of loners and nonconformists. Seriously, she basically assumes they’re all murderers. (She’s usually right.)
Rebecca: Considering the chip on Chloe’s shoulder about not being a cheerleader, you think she’d be on the side of the loners, nonconformists, and drug addicts.
Jess: Their banter is interrupted by Lana’s scream. Clark dismounts and tells Chloe to stay with the horses. She’s so distracted by trying to hold on to two sets of reins that she doesn’t see him superspeed away.
Back in the woods, Lana is lying unconscious on the ground. She comes to and finds a man leaning over her, shaking her awake – presumably Kyle Tippett. As she groggily tries to get away, Clark appears and shouts “Get away from her!” Kyle backs off. Clark crouches by Lana, and when they look up, Kyle is gone. They are very weirded out – but luckily Clark spots the dropped camera, which has filmed the whole thing. *checks* Yep, this was filmed two years after The Blair Witch Project. Seems about right.
Rebecca: Christ, this show is old. LOOK HOW OLD
AND HOT WELLING LOOKS NOW.
Jess: OH MAN. That does it for me so much more than his delicate early 20s features. He’s kind of got a Ruffalonian thing going on now. LIKE.
Back at the Kent homestead, Jonathan and Clark watch the tape. I kind of feel like either Chloe or Lana has dibs on that. Anyway, the footage clearly shows Lana was on the ground before Kyle approached and that he was trying to wake her up, and Clark doesn’t think he was trying to hurt her. They don’t bother to rewind past that to see why Lana was on the ground, which…uh, okay, guys. Good thinking!
Martha gets off the phone with Nell and tells them Lana has a mild concussion but is fine. “Mild concussion from thwarted abduction” is unfortunately just kind of Lana’s daily life by now. Nell is also apparently demanding that Clark “go to the police and say that he saw Kyle spook Lana’s horse and attack her.” Clark says he didn’t see anything of the kind, and Martha ruefully says she doesn’t think they’ve heard the end of this from Nell. Writers, you seeded this Martha/Jonathan/Nell triangle in the pilot, so let’s get into it already!
Jonathan asks if Kyle seemed dangerous, but Clark thinks he just seems scared, and mentions the surveyors. Clark is wearing a tremendous amount of pancake makeup in this scene, and also a very amusing turtleneck sweater. Martha tells Jonathan to go talk to Kyle, but Clark volunteers: “It’s not like he can hurt me…Dad, I understand what it’s like to be hidden from the world. Gimme a shot.” Jonathan and Martha have an adorable wordless conversation, and Jonathan caves. Clark heads out and the Kents smile at each other. AW YOU GUYS.
Rebecca: MARTHA’S SO PROUD OF HER STUPID BE-PANCAKED SON.
Jess: At a Rickman Industries party, Rickman shmoozes Victoria. Lex comes up from behind them: “It’s funny. I was just thinking what this town needed was more pesticides in the water supply.” He flings a few more sassy put-downs Rickman’s way and avoids a handshake by taking a glass of wine from a caterer. Oh, Lex, I love it when you’re cutting. Rickman claims to be just like Lex and Lex rather territorially tells him that Smallville is his home and he doesn’t want it polluted. “Yes, that’s right,” Rickman says, “Lionel mentioned that he’d exiled you here. Had dinner with him a couple weeks ago.” “Yeah? What happened? Somebody more important cancel on him?” Lex asks. LEX. <3 Rickman tells Lex he’s found the perfect site for the plant, but it’s...Kent Farm. “I know the Kents, and not even you can convince them to sell that farm,” Lex says. “You’d be surprised,” Rickman says as Lex walks away. “Trust me, Bob, you’re not that charming,” Lex replies. Rickman smirks. Rebecca: Lex is showing Rickman how “charming” is fucking done, and he knows it. LEEEEX.
Jess: Back in the woods, Clark drives up to Kyle’s home, which is surrounded by abstract metal sculptures. It’s pitch black, even though it was sunny in both previous scenes. Again, show, your passage of time leaves something to be desired.
Rebecca: Also, Clark is squinting through a windowshade, despite the fact that he HAS X-RAY VISION.
Jess: Well, forgetting that is actually right in keeping with Clark’s usual acumen, so good consistency there, writers!
Clark knocks on the door of Kyle’s trailer, but there’s no answer. He turns to go – and Kyle is right behind him. “You’re trespassing.”
“How’d you do that?” Clark asks. “Magic,” Kyle says. “Haven’t you heard of Crazy Kyle, who lives in the woods by himself? He’s somewhere between Bigfoot and the Blair Witch.” Show, I already made that joke. Clark holds out a hand and starts to introduce himself, but Kyle won’t shake (lot of handshaking and not-shaking going on in this episode) and already knows who he is. Clark asks how. “I live in a trailer, not a cave.” Hee! I like you, Kyle.
Clark asks about that afternoon. Kyle says the horse threw Lana and he was checking to make sure she was breathing. “So you don’t make a habit of scaring people out of the woods?” Clark asks, and picks up a hard hat with the Rickman Industries logo on it. Kyle tells him to scram, and Clark asks why he’s so unfriendly. “Everyone needs a friend,” Clark says. When did this turn into an episode of Hey Arnold? Quick, Pete, tell Clark he’s a bold kid! (Seriously, has anyone seen Pete? Ever?) “No they don’t,” Kyle replies. “Because they’ll always betray you in the end.” Clark looks troubled.
Rebecca: Kyle is not here to make friends. Also, this crack about betrayal is clearly supposed to be a Lex anvil, but I’m here from the future to tell you that it doesn’t really pan out like that (spoiler alert: Lex is driven slowly off the edge by Clark’s dickishness).
Jess: Cut to Clark meeting Lana at the Beanery. She’s feeling better, but still looks a bit shaken. “Nell said you were going to talk to the police.” “Actually, I went out and spoke to Kyle,” Clark admits. Flash appears with Lana’s coffee: “You talked to that psycho?” Clark says Kyle claims he was just making sure Lana was okay, and that Clark believes him. “If I were there, I woulda done something,” Flash says. Territorial glaring ensues.
Clark asks if Lana remembers anything, but she doesn’t. He tells her he’s glad she’s okay and Clarks off under the heat of Flash’s glare towards the counter, where Lex is ordering. “That looked uncomfortable,” Lex says, then tells Clark Rickman wants to buy the farm. Uh, not euphemistically. Clark actively laughs at that: “He hasn’t met my dad. Why are you even worrying?” Aw, Clark loves Jonathan so much. “I’ve seen Rickman talk people out of house and home,” Lex warns him. “He’s a locust, Clark. He tears through a community, betrays anyone who trusts him. Tell your dad to be careful.” Clark agrees.
Rickman Industries’ little room, post-party. Kyle storms in and Rickman says he was wondering when Kyle would show. “We had an agreement,” Kyle snaps. “You do whatever you want with the rest of the world, but when it comes to this town, you leave it alone!” Rickman says those rules were made long ago and things change, and Kyle threatens to expose him. Rickman’s not scared: “I spent the last nine years honing my skills, while you just hid in the woods, ‘cause you were afraid.” “Take my hand,” Kyle offers. “See how afraid I am.” Rickman doesn’t rise to the bait. “You’ve been warned,” Kyle says, and leaves.
Flash leaves the Beanery just in time to see Kyle leave Rickman HQ and run into a surprised Clark. As Clark and Kyle make small talk, Flash storms across the street and accosts Kyle: “Touch Lana Lang again and I’ll take care of you myself.” He swaggers off. This teenager threatening a really bored grown man with undisclosed superpowers is pretty funny.
Clark offers Kyle a ride home and Kyle asks why Clark’s being so nice to him. Because he’s Arnold in this episode,
Pigeon Man Kyle. Clark even offers to take Kyle to the grocery store.
Rebecca: I totally get thematically why Clark finds Kyle sympathetic, and I’m all for more “Clark desperately needs to not feel alone” stories, but I don’t think this episode earns Clark’s undying loyalty to Kyle. Maybe he should be, like, a little more cautious or inquisitive? Because he’s a future journalist? No? Okay.
Jess: Meanwhile, Rickman spots Flash watching them and calls him over. “Are you having a problem with Kyle Tippett?” “Yeah, he attacked my girlfriend,” Flash says. Rickman introduces himself and holds out a hand. Flash takes it, and his eyes glow green.
Clark pulls up to Kyle’s trailer and Kyle thanks him for the ride. “Hey, um…why were you at Rickman’s?” Clark asks. “Why were you at Rickman’s?” Kyle replies. “I heard a rumor he’s trying to buy our farm,” Clark says. Kyle warns him away from Rickman, and Clark asks if Kyle misses having a regular life. “Some people weren’t meant to have a regular life, Clark,” Kyle says, and gets out of the car.
Clark drives off. Kyle goes to unlock his trailer – and sees Flash in the rearview mirror with a baseball bat. He ducks out of the way just in time.
Clark drives past Flash’s truck, stops, and gets out of his own truck, looking worried. He speeds back up the road.
Flash takes a few more swings at Kyle and knocks him down. Kyle manages to get up and get his own bat, and is about to use it on Flash when Clark gets in between them. In a now-typical slo-mo shot, the bat shatters on him, which is at least more believable than shattering metal. He flings Kyle against the trailer and crouches to check on a winded Flash.
Rebecca: Poor Flash is having a really shitty couple of weeks.
Jess: Post-commercial, Kyle is bundled into a police car. Jonathan tells the boys Kyle’s being booked for assault and asks what happened. “I saw Kyle in town. He blew me off, so I came out here to talk,” Flash says. “So you drove all the way out here in the middle of the night?” Jonathan says, sounding skeptical. Flash claims he thought Kyle was going to attack Lana again, and Kyle attacked him unprovoked, and Jonathan asks Clark if that’s true. Clark says Kyle says Flash attacked him. Flash, who clearly has no memory of this, starts yelling that Kyle’s dangerous and needs to be locked up, and Jonathan firmly but kindly tells him that they’ve had a rough night and to calm down. Furious, Flash storms off. Clark frets.
Journalism room, day. Clark, Chloe, and Pete puzzle over the Kyle situation. Clark thinks Rickman led to Kyle snapping. Chloe calls Kyle a “rural Rodin” and wonders what his motive is. Clark asks Chloe to dig up a connection between Kyle and Rickman. While you do what, Clark? Lazy.
Rebecca: Did Google not exist yet? Surely, typing “‘bob rickman’ ‘kyle tippet’” into Ask Jeeves should only take a minute or two.
Jess: Lana stalks in and asks to talk to Clark alone. Chloe and Pete leave, and Lana glares at Clark with more anger than I’ve ever seen from her, which I like. She’s usually not allowed to feel feelings. “[Flash] said you accused him of attacking Kyle,” she seethes. Clark says he just has some questions about the whole situation. “He was just trying to talk to him! We both know [Flash] can be a little overzealous, but his heart’s in the right place,” Lana says. What 14-year-old would use the word “overzealous”? (Or “rural Rodin,” for that matter.) Clark says Kyle doesn’t seem like a violent person, and Lana points out that he barely knows Kyle: “He’s lived in the woods alone for 10 years.” “That makes him odd, not dangerous,” Clark protests.
“[Flash] wouldn’t attack anybody,” Lana says. “He strung me up in a field,” Clark points out, and wow, someone finally said it. Lana asks if that’s what this is about, like Clark would be unreasonable for harboring some resentment over something he could’ve died from. Then she accuses Clark of trying to take Flash down a peg while he’s going through a hard time with his dad: “If you don’t like him, just say it. Don’t pretend to be his friend.” I wasn’t aware that he was doing the latter? Lana storms off.
Rebecca: This is so weirdly out of character for Lana. Also, I do not blame a usually-invulnerable kid for having a chip on his shoulder about basically being lynched. Shit got real in that pilot.
Jess: Honestly, he’s been ridiculously chill about it. He usually interacts very politely with Flash, albeit awkwardly, and he basically patched up Flash and Lana’s relationship last episode.
Re: Lana’s anger: as far as she knows, she was attacked by a crazy hermit and now Clark is taking the hermit’s side. Being super angry is not usually how Lana rolls, but displacing anger over how someone is treating her onto how they’re treating someone else makes total sense to me. And she’s not wrong, because Clark’s failure to give or show her the video makes it pretty clear that he (and the writers) doesn’t see the incident in the woods as a thing that happened to Lana or something that she might feel a way about.
Kent Farm. Jonathan’s pitching hay (yay! a farm thing I know the name of!) when Rickman appears. He introduces himself and they shake hands – but Jonathan’s wearing work gloves. “I know who you are,” Jonathan says. “I hear that you’re interested in this farm and that you have a reputation for being a very persuasive fella. But I gotta tell ya, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I’d consider selling it, especially not to Rickman Industries.” Jonathan walks away, removing his gloves (no!) as he adds that if he was interested in money, he wouldn’t be a farmer. Jonathan’s pretty great in this episode, you guys.
Jonathan excuses himself and Rickman turns to go, then fakes twisting his ankle. He asks Jonathan for a hand up, and Jonathan reluctantly helps him. Rickman uses his power, and the “camera” zooms up Jonathan’s hand, where the veins are turning green, up to his face, into his eye, and follows the crackle of synapses to his 2001-era CGIed brain, which turns green.
Rebecca: FINALLY, A GLIMPSE INTO JONATHAN KENT’S COW-ADDLED MIND!
Jess: Oh man, if it was just cows romping through a field in there I’d be so happy.
We zoom back out to his eyes, which now have weird green static in them. “Now are you sure I can’t convince you to change your mind?” Rickman asks.
Cut to Jonathan’s signature on a contract and man, I’m legit upset looking at that. Martha is furious. Jonathan looks shellshocked. Clark walks in and asks what’s going on, and Martha tells him Jonathan sold the farm. “I don’t know, one minute I’m telling him he doesn’t stand a chance, next thing I know I’ve got a signed contract in my hand,” Jonathan says. Martha sasses that their lawyer says “the devil made me do it” argument doesn’t hold up in court. Jonathan can’t figure it out, and Clark takes the contract: “I think I know someone who can help.” “No, I will not owe Lex Luthor anything, thank you,” Jonathan says. “Right now you don’t have anything to owe,” Martha snaps.
Rebecca: LOL @ the Kents immediately knowing that Clark was going to ask his sugar daddy for help.
Jess: The Beanery. Clark walks awkwardly past Flash and Lana and sits down with Lex, who asks what’s going on. “I just won’t cave on my opinion of Kyle Tippett,” Clark explains. Lex compares him to Atticus Finch, which is actually pretty offensive, considering the way this show treats black men. (Seriously, has anyone seen Pete?)
They get down to the issue of the farm. “The good news is, the deal’s three times the market value,” Lex says. “The bad news is it’s ironclad, meaning it’ll take a dozen extra lawyers. Fortunately, I’ve got an army of them.” Clark smiles. They puzzle over how Rickman got Jonathan to sell. “Rickman’s known for getting past people’s defenses, but that’s just good business – unless you think there’s more to it than that,” Lex says. Clark frowns, then stands up. “Where you going?” Lex asks. “Jail,” Clark replies, sounding very young and very determined. Hee!
Rickman HQ. A cop walks in: “Got a call you had a problem, Mr. Rickman.” Rickman shakes his hand: “I need you to take care of an old friend.”
Jail. A cop tells Kyle he has a visitor and lets him out of his cell, but Kyle grabs his hands and uses his power – the same as Rickman’s. He leaves the jail dressed in the cop’s uniform – but Clark spots him immediately. As he’s staring quizzically at Kyle, the cop Rickman used his powers on appears and shoots at Kyle. Clark yells “No!” and races the bullet towards Kyle. He knocks him aside and we see the bullet tear through Kyle’s shoulder before Clark tackles him and rolls him behind a car. The cop keeps shooting as he approaches, but when he gets to the other side of the car, there’s nothing there but a little pool of blood.
Rebecca: This show generally doesn’t give a fuck about the hard sci-fi of Superman, but they are absolutely obsessed with telling us how exactly Clark compares to bullets.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Some aging hippie stitches up Kyle’s shoulder while Clark and Lex watch. Lex explains that “Toby” is a discreet ex-doctor to the stars and asks why Clark thought he’d be willing to harbor a fugitive. “You’re the only one I can trust,” Clark replies, which is basically candy to Lex.
Rebecca: Welling’s tone of voice on that line made me feel a lot of feelings about this doomed relationship.
Jess: Toby babbles something about Lex’s misadventures with Club Zero, tells them Kyle will sleep until morning, and asks about his “usual payment.” Lex glances at Clark: “Brown bag on my desk.”
Rebecca: God damn, it is tragic that Toby didn’t become a regular character. I don’t even think we see him in the Club Zero episode (though maybe we do, I don’t remember).
Jess: Toby leaves, and Clark’s about to follow suit when Lex reminds him to change his shirt before his parents see him. Because of Kyle’s blood, of course, but it still makes me laugh.
Rebecca: I would just like to note that they are both standing in Lex’s bedroom when Lex asks Clark to disrobe.
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Clark enters to find Lana waiting for him and registers his surprise. She says she heard Kyle escaped and got scared. He assures her that Kyle’s not coming after anybody, but won’t tell her how he knows. He’s clearly mad, which I like – I don’t blame her for her anger earlier, but I’m glad to see he has a range of emotions involving Lana besides “lovesick” and “pervy.” Put off by his hostility, she’s about to leave when he says “If you were worried, why’d you walk all the way over here instead of calling?” She says she thought he might have changed his mind and Clark tells her he’s not going to apologize. “Clark, he escaped from jail,” she snaps. “You have to admit it looks pretty bad.” “You don’t know the whole story,” he insists. “Then tell me!” Lana echoes the cry of every supporting character on this whole stupid show.
Rebecca: Clark’s basically a pathological liar at this point.
Jess: Clark’s all “Psh, whatever, you already made up your mind,” and Lana tells him she wanted to patch things up, “but now I don’t know why I even bothered.” She leaves, and Clark makes some frustrated faces.
The Beanery, day. Rickman walks up behind Lex, who is blowing on his cappuccino to cool it. He offers a hand and Lex spurns it. “Aw, come on, Lex, this Art of War stuff is for amateurs!” Rickman says, because he read Rebecca’s Sun Tzu joke in the last recap. “It’s not that. I just don’t like you,” Lex replies.
Rebecca: My kingdom for a gif of this line.
Jess: Rickman follows Lex to his table and asks why Lex’s lawyers are helping the Kents. The extras behind them are the most 2001 anyone has ever 2001ed.
Lex blandly says the Kents are his friends. Rickman smirks, “Well, with friends like you, Lex…” and leaves, clapping a hand on Lex’s shoulder as he goes. “Don’t touch me,” Lex says. “Speaking of old friends, I heard Kyle Tippett escaped from jail.” He promises to pass on Rickman’s regards if he sees Kyle. Rickman glowers and leaves, bumping into Chloe and Clark.
Clark stops him: “How’d you get my dad to sign that contract?” Rickman says “Oh, you must be the Kent boy. No hard feelings, huh?” and offers Clark a hand. Clark takes it…and nothing happens. Rickman squeezes harder. Clark squeezes back. Bones creak. Finally Rickman wrenches his hand away. Clark gives him a level stare and walks past him and Rickman leaves, looking puzzled.
Rebecca: Clark, you dork.
Jess: At the table, Chloe’s found an old newspaper clipping titled “Salesmen Trapped in car after Meteor Shower” [sic]. There’s a photo of Rickman and Kyle holding a plaque with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Apparently they were an incredibly successful sales team for three years – 1989-91 – until Rickman founded Rickman Industries and Kyle “went Walden.” Chloe, who looks crazy pretty in this scene, thinks whatever happened started with the meteor shower. Lex: “Let’s go ask him.” Chloe: “Wait, you know where he is?” Lex: *smirks* Yes, Lex, trust all the tweens with your felony-level secrets! (Is harboring a fugitive a felony? Eh.) Also, it’s pretty clear from this conversation (as if it wasn’t already) that Lex knows the meteors do funky things to people, so Clark’s secretiveness is even dumber than it already seemed.
Luthor Castle. Our heroes (well, one hero, one sidekick, and one tragic antihero) –
Rebecca: (Clark’s the antihero, right?)
Jess: – walk into Kyle’s room to find a nurse quietly reading – alone. “Where’s Kyle?” Lex asks. “Who?” the nurse replies. Lex makes a cranky face, but Clark has an idea where Kyle might be.
It’s…back at his trailer. Wow, Clark, master detective! Also, wow, Kyle, criminal mastermind. Good thing the cops in Smallville don’t attempt to stop crimes unless a bad guy frames a good guy for one and handholds them all the way to the arrest location. Clark and Chloe approach (Lex, presumably, has some very important brandy to swirl thoughtfully in a snifter) and Kyle, holding two bags, tells them he’s blowing this popsicle stand. Chloe asks what happened during the meteor shower: “Trust me, you’re not the only ones that were affected by it.” Clark asks how Rickman got Jonathan to sell.
Kyle gazes down memory lane: “You know, until that day we were the worst salesmen to ever carry a catalog. But all that changed after they pulled us out of that car. With a single handshake we could get people to do whatever we wanted them to do: buy a tractor, stand on one leg.” “You’re saying you have the power of persuasion?” Clark dorks. Seriously, who talks like that? Kyle tells them the compulsion lasts until his victim’s done whatever he tells them to, and leaves them with no memory of it. And if they can’t do whatever it is they’re told, “They keep trying. Unless they’re forcibly snapped out of it like your friend [Flash].”
Chloe is skeptical and asks him to prove it on her. “It’s dangerous,” Kyle says. “I’m used to living on the edge,” says a 14-year-old girl in a purple coat. Chloe, ILU.
Kyle holds out his hand. Chloe takes it. Their hands glow green. “You have feelings for Clark, don’t you, Chloe?” Kyle asks. KYLE YOU DICK WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. Clark boggles hilariously. “You see him, and you want him. All this time you’ve been hiding it. Now you can show it,” Kyle goes on. Chloe turns to Clark, runs her hands up all 14 feet of his torso, grabs his collar, and hauls him in for a kiss. Clark’s face is HI. LAR. I. OUS.
Rebecca: Yep, Clark’s toooootally into girls. Also! Why this kiss? Mind control. We’re doing great!
Jess: Finally Chloe releases a totally befuddled Clark and turns back to Kyle. “Okay, come on!” she says. “I’m ready!” Kyle looks at Clark, who squirms. “What?” Chloe asks. “Why are you looking at me like that? And why is my mouth minty?”
“Let’s just say he proved his point,” Clark says. Chloe blanches. “Don’t worry, it was…fine,” Clark assures her hastily. Chloe looks confused and mortified. Oh, honey.
Rebecca: Maybe my favorite part of this scene is the implication that Clark’s mouth is just always minty.
Jess: It’s a little-known superpower! IDK, maybe the bacteria that cause halitosis can’t survive on Kryptonian saliva?
“Well, now that the the party trick’s over, I gotta hit the road,” Kyle says, and after that I’m not sorry to see him go. (I mean, I wouldn’t have been regardless. He’s not that interesting.) “You have all these gifts but you hid in the woods. Why?” Clark asks. OKAY, SHOW, WE GET IT, CLARK IS PROJECTING. Kyle says he was scared that he’d end up like Rickman, and Clark asks why Rickman’s after him. Kyle says he threatened to expose Rickman if he tried to build a plant in Smallville and the kids point out that Rickman’s gotten away with a lot of bad shit that didn’t personally affect Kyle, all because Kyle couldn’t be bothered.
“Do you know what it’s like to have to hide because of who you are?” Kyle demands. “Yes, I do,” Clark says. “But when you have a gift you can’t just hide in a hole and hope it goes away.” Chloe, presumably, is realizing that this explains a lot.
Rebecca: Okay, FIRST OF ALL, Chloe never questions this announcement even though she’s standing RIGHT THERE?? Spoiler, she will not find out Clark’s secret officially for another 3 seasons. (She’ll find out once before that, but then forget it because of an alien parasite.) Secondly, did Kyle not see Clark get hit with the slo-mo bat before? Shouldn’t he straight up already know that Clark has superpowers?? JEEZ YOU GUYS.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Rickman lets himself into Lex’s office and tells him he’s “dropping the Kent farm as a proposed site.” Lex asks why and Rickman tells him Smallville isn’t worth the hassle. “Since you won, how ‘bout it?” Rickman asks, holding out a hand. “Truce?” Lex contemplates it as ominous music plays. This desperate need for handshakes is growing actively pathetic. Just grab him, Bob!
Cut to a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Clark calls Lex on a pay phone (remember those?) while Kyle paces behind him. Where’s Chloe? Clark tells Lex Kyle wants to go public about Rickman and Lex says he’ll come pick them up.
When he gets there, it’s night, and raining. “I called some friends at the Planet and the Inquisitor,” he says, and tells them to get in while he fills up the tank for the trip to Metropolis. They do – but Lex locks the doors and starts dousing the car with gasoline. (It hits the camera, which is laughably bad editing.) “Lex?” Clark asks with the most hilariously dubious tone of voice ever. “What’s going on?”
Lex tosses a lighter on the ground near the car and the car erupts into flames. “Rickman’s got to him!” Kyle says, momentarily forgetting how to act as he does so. Clark kicks his door out, rips Kyle’s off, and helps him out of the car just before it explodes. Well, we had a good three-episode streak without car-related peril. Do you think Lex will save this one too?
Clark picks Kyle up and zips away. “Clark,” Lex says, a bit robotically. “You have some explaining to do.” Now I just want an I Love Lucy parody episode.
Rickman pulls up and asks what happened. “I have my suspicions,” Lex says. Rickman hands him a gun (I know nothing about guns, but I’m gonna say…assault rifle? Definitely not a pistol.) and sends him off.
Rebecca: That line is pretty tragic. OH LEX, HE’S JUST LYING TO YOU FOR NO REASON.
Jess: Lex swaggers into the gas station, which is lit but quiet. “I always knew you were keeping secrets from me, Clark, but I never thought they were this good.” Kyle is slumped by a car near the entrance; Clark is hiding further away. Lex finds Kyle and hauls him to his feet. “Clark? You know that guy you’re trying to protect? I’m gonna shoot him now.”
Rebecca: Mind-Controlled Evil Lex is clearly just promo-bait (they would keep going back to this well later; Onyx comes to mind), but I really like the monotonous-yet-unhinged way Rosenbaum plays this scene.
Jess: At that, Clark stands up. God, I hope he has a plan and didn’t just leave Kyle as bait for no reason. “Lex!” “There you are,” Lex says, and lets Kyle go. So are we supposed to believe that his obsession with Clark supersedes even an irresistible magical meteor compulsion? Because, uh, I do.
“You don’t want to do this. I’m your friend,” Clark says. “Oh, please,” Lex scoffs. “You think I don’t see the way your parents look at me? The way half the town looks at me? You’re no different. Friendship’s a fairytale, Clark. Respect and fear are the best you can hope for.” Do you think he’s just quoting Lionel directly?
Clark reminds Lex that Rickman’s doing this and that Lex hates Rickman. “You can learn a lot from someone you hate,” Lex says, and starts shooting. Clark dodges the bullets in slo-mo, but he can’t escape them all. He spins and the bullets tear holes in the back of his jacket; then he falls to the ground.
Lex walks over to him, kicks him onto his back, and aims the gun a few inches from Clark’s heart. Clark snaps out of his (fake?) slump, knocks the gun aside, and kicks Lex into a rack of metal shelving. So that’s concussion number…three for Lex? Three for Lana too, I believe. The Concussion Wars are neck and neck!
Rebecca: Christ, this is only episode 11.
Jess: Outside in his car, Rickman presumably hears the commotion and gets out, holding a revolver. Kyle seizes him. “Hello, Bob,” he says, and grabs Rickman’s hand, using his power on him. Rickman’s eyes glow green. The gun turns.
Clark bends over Lex, trying to wake him. He hears a gunshot and runs outside. Rickman is dead. “I always was the better salesman,” Kyle says. “Are you okay?” Clark asks, and Kyle nods, smiling a little. That’s apparently enough for Clark. HE JUST MENTALLY COMPELLED A MAN TO KILL HIMSELF, CLARK. THAT’S NOT OKAY.
Rebecca: This episode is fucking DARK.
Jess: “I saw you get shot, Clark,” Kyle says. “Just don’t hide in the woods like I did. You got a gift. Use it to do great things. Think I’ll do the same with mine.” Like MURDER PEOPLE???
Kent Farm, day. Clark’s back and shoulders are covered with bruises, which Martha is…icing? I’m not sure what she’s doing. “I can’t believe each of these was a bullet,” she says. “Guess that answers that question,” Jonathan replies, putting down a paper with an article about the “Rickman Suicide,” unconcerned that his only child is in pain because of all the times he got shot. Does Clark ever get bulletproofier? Or is this the saddest of Supermen?
Rebecca: He gets fully “the bullets make a metallic clang when they hit him” bulletproof eventually; I think this is just supposed to denote that he’s still growing into his powers. Growing forever, until Kara basically kicks him into trying to fly in 10 years.
Jess: KARA > CLARK 4EVA.
“It’s weird,” Clark says. “I get shot at and the bullets were fired by my best friend.” Somewhere, Pete weeps.
There’s a knock on the door and Lana walks in. The Kents make themselves scarce. “I didn’t know if we were still talking,” Clark says. “I’m not sure of what happened with Kyle and it’s not important, because I think our friendship’s worth more than one argument,” Lana says. That’s very generous, Lana, but again, 1. there is video footage of what happened with Kyle that Clark has not bothered to show you, and 2. from your perspective, Clark is siding with the stranger who assaulted you for no reason. It’s really okay to be mad about that.
Clark smiles and they chatter inanely about their friendship for a bit. Then Lana pauses: “Did Chloe really kiss you?” You guys, this means that Chloe went to Lana to talk about this despite their weird Clark issues. That is how close Chloe and Lana are now! I am so pleased! GIRLS BEING FRIENDS (and maybe more) RULES, CAPTAIN CHEEKBONES DROOLS!
Rebecca: BUT his drool is minty.
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Lex enters to find Clark staring at nothing and informs him that the farm is safe. Clark thanks him. “Hey, what are friends for?” Lex asks. Clark asks if he’s okay and Lex says he has no memories of what happened: “Are you sure I didn’t hurt you?” Clark pats his chest as if to say “Hurt me? Look how big and plaid I am!”
“I wonder where Kyle is now,” Lex says, gazing out the window. Clark gazes likewise: “I dunno. It’s still strange to think he and Rickman were once best friends. Think we’ll ever end up like that?” Jesus, take the wheel. “Trust me, Clark,” Lex says, “our friendship is gonna be the stuff of legend.”
Rebecca: Just a totally normal thing to say to a 14 year old.
Jess: They smile at each other. This is THE DUMBEST but Rosey’s stupid smile makes me a little ferklempt. DAMN YOU, LUTHOR!
Rebecca: This episode is kinda classic B+ Smallville: dumb as shit, but still weirdly fun in spots. I’m always more likely to be interested in the Freak of the Week plot if said Freak is an adult rather than a teen, since the writers tend to put slightly more effort into those stories (and Lex’s inevitable involvement is slightly less weird and creepy). Thematically, Clark’s bond to Kyle would make this a good Teen Superman story, except that that part never really clicks for me. The ladies are also underserved in this one, but I like Jonathan and Evil Lex. The whole thing just kinda floats by. In conclusion: good enough for the most part!
Jess: Yeah, it’s mostly just serviceable. I’m still super bothered by everything involving the tape, though. The fact that Clark never rewinds all the way to see why Lana fell off her horse shows that he’s a goldfish brain and that the writers think we are, too, and the fact that he never gives Chloe her property back or so much as mentions the evidence to Lana shows the writers’ absolute disdain for those characters as anything but satellites revolving around Clark. Oh, and the fact that we’re supposed to like Kyle, a murderer who mentally compels a 14-year-old girl to sexually humiliate herself. In an otherwise-fine episode those two moments expose the show’s biggest weaknesses – plotholes, lack of concern for human life, and contempt for female characters – bright as day.
Rebecca: So glad we can describe one of the major weak spots of a Superman show as “lack of concern for human life!”
Jess: And a Superman movie. Sigh.
Rating: Working up to a jog.
Next week: Iceman cheats off Clark, and lightning strikes twice.