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Smallville: Transference

Lionel: "With my mind and your body, the sky's the limit, Clark."

What a wonderful episode. This is one of my very favorites.

Lionel was completely and utterly despicable. He was going to steal Lex's body and leave his own son to die in prison of liver failure. But Lionel in Clark's body was just one fun scene after another. Lifting the tractor over his head. Checking out Clark Junior. Drinking scotch. The cruel, cruel thing he did to Chloe, even though he clearly digs her. (Well, she did put him in jail, after all.) I think my favorite was the delightfully incestuous scene where he hugged Martha and his heat vision went off.

I often don't give Tom Welling enough credit, but he was certainly up to the difficult challenge of playing suave Lionel Luthor in an exciting young body. He was even able to convincingly deliver a ridiculous line to the confused Lana, like, "I'm not surprised a man would travel around the world to... pluck your succulent fruit." He was much sexier than Clark. Of course, John Glover is sexy.

John Glover, in turn, did just fine as forthright, upright Clark Kent. Lionel's black eye healed at the moment of transference, as did his liver. If he was sincere with the doctor, he's changed emotionally, too. Lionel a changed man? Well, he couldn't get more evil. Did "touching" Clark's essence have an unexpected side effect of making Lionel a better person?

I don't usually mention stuff outside the episode itself, but this was so interesting: in the DVD commentary, they mentioned that John Glover was on set through most of this episode, and did Tom Welling's scenes before Tom did. That actually made a lot of sense, and partially explained why Tom was so spot on as Lionel. They also mentioned (a bit off topic, but fun) that Jensen Ackles was runner up to play Clark when they were casting Smallville. And that it was John Glover's suggestion to shave his own head at the end of season three because he was sick of dealing with all that hair.

Bits and pieces:

— Bridgette Crosby was back. And Edgar was working for her. Now Dr. Swann and Bridgette Crosby have one of the three artifacts as well as the octagonal key.

— Lionel may not remember what happened during the transference, but he saw Clark run away very, very fast.

— Lionel's mother's maiden name was Meehan. I would have expected a name beginning with the letter L.

— Clark found out about Jason and Lana.

— Lionel burned up a truckful of hay bales with his heat vision. One point. He threw Jonathan across the kitchen, with much broken glass. Two more.


Lex: "Clark, since when did you become president of my father's fan club?"

Lionel (in Clark's body): "If Lionel Luthor managed somehow to get out of prison, what do you suppose he'd do? About you, I mean."
Chloe: "Why? Has the Lionel Luthor alert suddenly been elevated to orange?"

Four big stars,

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


  1. This is one of the best in the entire run of the series. Such a simple idea, yet it could have gone horribly wrong. Instead, Glover and Wellling nailed it, truly raising the bar.

    I'm a bit skeptical about Lionel's "rebirth," but we shall see.

    That is an interesting tidbit about Jensen Ackles being the runner up for the Clark role. Just goes to show you that everything works out the way it is meant to. If he had landed that role, he would not have been able to audition for Dean -- and I can't imagine anyone else in that role.

  2. Chris B. This post is obviously many years after your original post. On Michael Rosenbaum's podcast Inside of he talked with Jensen. Jensen basically said he didn't have to audition for the role, they wanted it for him even though he was on Smallville. When they come to him to play the role they said they were releasing him from his Smallville contract early because they wanted him on Supernatural.

  3. Thank you, ABorth. That explanation actually makes a lot of sense.

  4. Although, to add more trivia, Jensen Ackles did audition for Sam on Supernatural, but the CW people thought he would make a better Dean, and as they say, the rest is history.

  5. Oh boy, this and the previous episode might be the best double feature of the season! But we're only about a fourth of the way through.
    My favourite little Clark-Lionelism is Jonathan patting him on the shoulder and Lionel interpreting it like some power move and patting him back with an attitude lol. And the sequence with the switch-back in the prison... so f*in badass. Jimmy Eat World... never mind, these are horrid times. Oh, oh, oh. Clark disappearing into the gas/mist was almost heart-breaking too even though Lionel's a bastard, I love that shot.


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