Smallville: Memoria

Lionel: "If I'd known... if I'd seen... things would have been so different between us."
Lex: "Yes, Dad. You might have actually loved me."

It's no secret that the Luthors are my favorite characters. So you can imagine how I felt about this one.

A lot of this series is focused on the friendship and contrast between our future superhero and supervillain, and it was never demonstrated better than it was here. Clark and Lex each regained an important memory of their mothers. Clark's memory of Lara was of all-encompassing love, while Lex's was of the murder of his baby brother. (I can also compare Lex standing on the ledge screaming "Julian!" with Clark screaming "Lara!")

The flashbacks were really exceptional. Seeing Lionel as a caring parent was a whole new look for him. And the fact that Lex was covering all those years for his mother, taking the blame for Julian's murder on himself, yanked the tears right out of me. I love Lex with a passion, and it is really starting to bother me that he is destined to become evil.

Even though the focus was on the Luthors, there was a strong subplot for Clark. I thought Clark going to Lionel in order to stop Lex from regaining his memory was very interesting, with Clark so intensely and understandably hostile toward Lionel, and Lionel so obviously fascinated by Clark. And I wasn't even surprised when Lionel turned on Clark.

Big gold acting stars for John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum, who did outstanding work here. The actress who played Lillian was also terrific, and the boy who played Lex as a child deserves a specific mention, because he was totally believable in a very difficult role. Tom Welling also did well, although the writhing in the K-bath was a bit over, or possibly under, done.

Bits and pieces:

— I'm tempted to make a lascivious comment on Dr. Garner stripping Clark down to his big red undies and putting him in a big green bath. But I won't. Except I guess I just did.

— Lionel got a phone call while he was standing under the whole Summerholt mad scientist apparatus, and snapped, "I'm in a meeting." I don't know why that struck me funny, but it did.

— Clark's first word was "Lara."

— Jor-El and Lara were in red and blue, with baby Kal-El in yellow. We didn't see Jor-El's or Lara's faces, leaving casting possibilities for the future open.

— Lionel still has a Jonathan-created ding on his cheek.

— Lionel clearly still has a thing for Martha Kent.

— Lex saved Clark's life by breaking the K-bath glass. One point.

Quotes:

Lionel: "I will not let you inflict psychological scars on my children."
Lillian: "That's why they have you, Lionel."
Poor Lillian. Yeah, murdered her baby, but imagine what it would be like to be Lionel's wife.

Martha: "A mother's love never dies." This just struck me as kind of eerie, considering the circumstances with both Clark's mother and Lex's.

Clark: "Lex, you were on a ledge yelling Julian's name. You could have killed yourself."
Lex: "You know, when I found you asleep in the middle of route eight last year, I don't remember questioning your mental health."

Lex: "I will never become my father. I would never sacrifice you or anyone I cared about to bring him down."

I may have just run out of superlatives. Five out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux had a love-hate relationship with Smallville, which is why some of her reviews are briefer than they should be.

2 comments:

Greg Quinnell said...

I HAVE RETURNED!!!! FInished all three seasons of Arrested Development, and S1 and 2 of The League, and am now back to continue my journey through Smallville. And all I have to say to Clark aboot Lana is, "Her?"

Also.... didja miss me? :D

Hell of an awesome episode to return to!!

ChrisB said...

This is one of the best of the entire run. So much revelation, and so moving at the same time.

So much is done with the father/son theme on this show, that it was nice to see the mothers for a change. And, we got three.

It's incredible to me how much Lionel damages everyone he comes into contact with. Imagine thinking that your baby is better off dead than with Lionel as a father. And, even worse, imagine allowing your other son to shoulder that burden. What a troubled soul Lillian must have been. And, sadly, Lex had no one to pick up the pieces.

Clark, on the other hand, has a warm and loving memory of his birth mother. (Did you notice how the scenes in the Luthor story were dark and cold, while the Kent story were warm and bright?) Yes, Clark loses his mother, but he gets Martha -- arguably the world's great mom.

Yet another clue why our two boys end up taking such different paths.