Smallville: Traveler

Lionel: "I'm different now. I'm a different man."
Clark: "No, you're not."

They just took all the ambiguity and conflicting motivations that have always hovered around Lionel, ramped it up, and put an underlying structure at its core.

It sort of felt like a retrofit to me, not like it was the grand plan all along, but I have to give them points because it did make everything pretty much fall into place. It explained Lionel's often benevolent obsession with Clark while allowing him to remain evil at the core at the same time. If he is. Lionel's mind is so freaking twisted that it's difficult to be sure.

Has Lionel always planned to use Clark for world domination, or some other evil thing? Or was he really trying to protect Clark, possibly even from the other members of Veritas? Who did Lionel really build that K-cage for? I've always loved Lionel and it's been easy – at least since the prison episode where he and Clark exchanged bodies and Lionel's personality permanently changed – to assign fairly benign motivations to everything Lionel has done. But not this time.

The writers also managed to skilfully incorporate three other rich families that were already in the story. The Queens, Teagues, Swanns, and Luthors were all members of a secret society called Veritas, intended to protect the Traveler from another galaxy. When did the Queens die? Did Lionel really kill them, as well as Edward Teague? Did they ever say what killed Virgil Swann? Lex was the one who killed Patricia Swann, after all, and didn't Lex kill Swann's assistant Bridget, too? If I rewatched the entire series this summer, would it all make sense and fall into place, or would there be glaring discrepancies? I'm good at keeping track of the details, but this one is too much for me.

I've never been fond of Kara, but I liked seeing her dash to Clark's rescue. I also liked seeing Chloe and Lana band together, figure out the only solution, and succeed in getting Kara away from Lex. The K-taser and the K-cage were cool, too, in a freaky, scary sort of way. It got me wondering how much Clark can take, and still recover. Wouldn't exposure like that at least keep him in bed for a week? Maybe I was thinking in terms of Brandon Routh in the hospital in Superman Returns. On Smallville, K is more like an off-on switch; Clark is immediately himself again when it's gone. It's not really like radiation, which is supposedly what Kryptonite is. It's not even like pneumonia.

Anyway. The important thing is that Clark has now broken up with his second Luthor. Lionel can certainly never be forgiven for what he just did. Especially for putting a xenophobic sadist in charge of the operation. What was Lionel thinking?

Bits and pieces:

— If Lionel knew when and where the meteor shower would occur, it explains the Luthor connection to the town of Smallville. Would that explain why Lionel and Lex were there that day in 1989, back in the pilot episode?

— Was Virgil Swann in a wheelchair because of a murder attempt? Was his seclusion his way of protecting himself? That actually makes sense.

— It's a shame that Lex murdered Patricia Swann. I liked her. She would have been a good ally for Clark. Patricia said her lawyers would know that, if she died, it was caused by Lionel. Did Lex just unintentionally frame Lionel for murder?

— Lex's latest minion didn't seem all that happy about Lex's plans for Kara. What was Lex going to do? The same thing he did to Chloe?

— The sadistic Pierce was played by one of my Battlestar Galactica actors, Aaron Douglas. He was on Smallville once before, in season one's "Obscura," but not as the same character.

— Lionel: "The rich have secret societies. The others have poker night."

This episode didn't disappoint, despite the rampant confusion. Four 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:

Anonymous said...

If you go back to the pilot episode, you can see Lionel holding a newspaper with a headline that says something like "Queen Indstries CEO Missing, Presumed Dead", so that gives you an idea of how long ago it was meant to have happened. Also, I think Jason Tieg killed Bridget for one of the stones, but Lex was framed for it. I also remember in season 1 Lana mentioned seeing Lex and Patricia skinny dipping together, which I thought was a neat bit of continuity.

Darren said...

The kryptonite bars reminded me of Lois and Clark's first season finale when Lex Luthor imprisoned Superman in a similar cage.