I’ll start this off by admitting that I am a big fan of flashbacks and flashforwards, when they’re done correctly. That said, “Supergirl,” the third episode of Smallville‘s final season, begins with a fantastic reintroduction to Darkseid, the one we first see at the end of the tenth season premier. It’s a very simple “three weeks earlier” kind of flashback, and what really makes it simple is that it is so quick. All we see is Darkseid’s essence revealing itself, just like in the premier, and then its takeover of the radio D.J. Gordon Godfrey. At this point, I start to wonder if Godrey had been anti-hero before now or if it is only since Darkseid came to Earth. If that’s the case, he sure wrote that book fast, didn’t he? I guess you can get away with that when you’re an alien, bodiless menace.
In this episode, Godfrey/Darkseid is holding a rally against the heroes, at which he unveils a billboard designed for his cause. And of course, the billboard breaks and threatens to tumble down into the shocked and, frankly, deserving crowd of haters (okay, kidding), but at the last second, when Clark is trying to figure out how to save everyone, Kara makes her triumphant return. Actually, let’s make that Supergirl, because she’s fully dressed in her own iconic red, yellow, and blue. :-) What really makes this moment for me is that Lois immediately recognizes Kara and says, “Isn’t that your cousin, Clark?” More on Lois later.
While the Supergirl photoshoot is amusing and yields such lines as “you’re the woman of tomorrow today” (photographer) and “you didn’t come to Earth to be the first super-powered pinup girl” (Clark), I’m not really sure why it’s here. I know Kara is trying to get her image and status as a superhero out there, but would this really happen? In any case, Kara tells Clark that his father has let him go and Clark is “no longer his son,” and this conversation is probably what Clark needs to jumpstart his superhero…ness. That should be a word. Anyway, Kara reveals that she has a mission to protect Earth and Clark is no longer involved. Clearly, this hurts Clark and, of course, makes him want to be a hero all the more. So he convinces Kara to teach him how to fly, which actually works for a few seconds. There are some beautiful closeups of a butterfly, and then Clark. But then Clark loses it and falls back to Earth. Maybe I was too optimistic to think that Clark would actually learn to fly, for real, in this episode, but at least he’s on his way. This episode is kind of huge, in that regard. Clark actually flies on purpose in this episode, and not as “evil” Kal-El, even if it’s only for a few seconds. Later, though, the awesomeness momentum is dropped a little when we get another one of those ridiculous computer scenes where something impossible happens to serve a plot point: Kara (who is suddenly a computer guru, it seems) sharpens a picture in about half a second and sees that the car driver is Lois. This is never going to happen, with today’s technology, not like that anyway. But that’s okay; Smallville isn’t exactly a show focused on computers, so I’ll allow a little misstep if it makes the episode work. Besides, they make up for it by having Clark realize, just by hearing the phrase “three weeks ago,” how Darkseid got to Earth and, later, who it most likely inhabited. This is the kind of logical thinking that will make Clark a great Superman.
Back to Lois, isn’t her return adorable and sweet? Clark’s smile as he turns around to hug her at the rally, and her smile for him, makes my heart melt. Erica Durance and Tom Welling sure do have chemistry (and I think we’ll really see that next week, but more on that at the end of this blog entry). When danger rears its ugly head, though, the tone changes, and we are launched into the meat of the episode, which has Lois pretending to be Godfrey’s/Darkseid’s driver, as well as a bondage-clad stripper/prostitute (?), in order to help take him down. When Darkseid realizes that it’s Lois, who has taken pictures in order to discredit Godrey/Darkseid and end his crusade against heroes, he tries to inhabit her but figures out that she is pure of heart, so he can’t. And of course she is pure of heart! She’s Lois! The reason she is here now, in fact, is that she believes the heroes are a force of intrinsic good that will keep the world safe, and what’s so wrong with that? But now she knows Clark’s secret, so she is also doing this to help the man she loves keep his cover and stay safe while also saving the world. While she’s doing it for herself, on some level, to keep her boyfriend safe, she is also doing it for the world because she believes in the heroes. In this sense, maybe Lois herself is a kind of hero, a non-caped crusader for justice and peace.
When Clark and Kara realize what’s going on, they come to save Lois and take out Darkseid. This will go down as one of the most important moments for Clark’s journey to becoming Superman, as his face-off with an empathic villain is particularly enlightening. The fears and hopes Clark has come bubbling to the surface, and perhaps now he understands Jor-El’s reasoning for sending Kara to Earth. Clark is not yet ready to be the world’s protector because he has some growing up to do, quickly. For him to be who his father wants him to be, he has to stop this cycle of trying and yet failing to live up to expectations. He has to stop complaining that he doesn’t know how to be a hero and just figure out a way to be a hero on his own terms. As Yoda would say, “there is no try.” Clark must do.
The final few moments of the episode revolve around Clark, Kara, Lois, and Oliver, and I for one am riveted at this point. Lois’ trying to figure out a name for Kara (“…Ubergirl. Powergirl? Megagirl!”) is hilarious, and then we shift gears a little when she tells Clark, “The Blur is different. He’s my hero.” Before this season, this would have seemed cheesy and trite because Lois would have been blissfully unaware of Clark’s status. Now, it is still cheesy and trite, but because Lois knows the truth and is obviously having a bit of fun with Clark, it is sweet. We know they are in love, but what we’ve seen since Lois figured out the truth has been something deeper. Lois not only loves Clark but also admires him, fully adores him with every fiber of her being, because of who he is as a person and who he will be to the world when he is ready. She loves him as Clark and The Blur/Superman – together now, not separately.
This scene comes just after Kara has a heart-to-heart with Lois, in which Kara admits that “even heroes need someone to come home to.” While Kara is too distant from real life (with no real friends to call her own, no lover, etc.), Clark is too attached to it. It is obvious that, somewhere between these two extremes, there is a happy medium for both Clark and Kara to find. I think this is when Lois realizes that it is okay for her to be with Clark because, even though he is a hero to the world, he is also the love of her life, and why shouldn’t they both get to be happy? A power couple.
The next time we see Kara, she is running into Clark on the Metropolis streets, in disguise (yes!), explaining that she still has work to do on Earth. The Darkness (a.k.a. Darkseid) is still lingering, and it is her job to catch it. Does this mean that Kara will be back before the show is over? Personally, I hope so, because I’ve always loved the character, and I like what Laura Vandervoort does with her on Smallville.
Finally, we end the episode on an exciting note, as Oliver comes out of the hero closet, a group of reporters surrounding him in his office: “There’s only one way for me to set the record straight. I am Green Arrow.” What does this mean for the future of heroes on Smallville? Will Supergirl eventually be able to discard the dark wig and glasses she now wears as “Linda” (or the Smallville equivalent name)? What will it mean for Clark? Will the age-old question of why hasn’t Clark been wearing glasses finally be answered? Will Smallville‘s version of Clark/Superman be unique in that Clark will be fully out to the public as Superman by the series’ end? Only time will tell. While that seems like a preposterous notion, I wouldn’t put it past the show’s crew to figure out some way to make it work.
Now for next week, it’s the momentous two hundredth episode on October 15th! Lois convinces Clark to go to back to Smallville High for homecoming and his five-year reunion, at which he meets up with Braniac 5 (that’s right: James Marsters returns to Smallville again) and begins a journey through time. We’ll see flashbacks to Lana and Chloe, to high school, but we’ll also see hints at the future. This may very well be the most important episode of the series, beyond the series premier and finale, so don’t miss it! As you’ll see in the TV Guide exclusive trailer below, the episode looks amazing, and Lois and Clark fans will be happy to see the chemistry explode when the couple finally says the three/four little words we’ve been waiting for (at least I don’t think they’ve said it yet).
You can find a list of the other TwitTV Smallville reviews here: www.rogermarket.com/twittv-smallville-10×01-lazarus-10thfinal-season-premier.