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Smallville: Vengeance

Andrea: "You have no idea what it's like to know that someone's life has been traded for yours."

The first thing Clark said was, "This engine won't start. I don't know how to fix it." And that statement handily illustrated our theme. Clark was bottling up his grief and guilt – not a surprise, since Jonathan's death was actually Clark's fault. I was certain this episode would end with Clark crying for Jonathan, and of course, it did. Even though I saw it coming a mile away, it was still effective. I definitely got misty.

This episode was also about Clark moving on and growing up, starting to become the man he was destined to be. Clark acted much more adult here than I've ever seen him; he felt like Superman to me. And he had a very Batman-like female vigilante to give him superhero lessons.

There were so many Superman references that they deserve a paragraph of their own. Clark said that Andrea's plain black costume was "over the top." He said, "Do you always change in a phone booth?" and "I'm not a sidekick" and "If I don't use my abilities to stop lowlifes like this, what's the point in having them?" In the video clip, Jonathan said, "This young man's a man of steel." And Chloe topped it all with, "I think Metropolis could really use someone like her right now. Do you think you could ever do what she did? Play the mild-mannered reporter by day and crime fighter by night?"

This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was Jonathan's watch; Clark's father will always be with him now, in one way or another. But that certainly wasn't all. There was the broken tractor. The skies over the farm, which were literally cloudy. Andrea's grief for her mother was a knife in her heart, and we're talking about an actual knife. Andrea, the recipient of a heart transplant, rescued Martha at the Sacred Heart Mission.

And there was Lex and Lionel with the dueling pistol. The Lex/Lionel duel was back in a big way, with the two of them struggling for control of the company, and Lex blackmailing Lionel over that final visit to Jonathan. The Lionel/Martha scene in the barn actually gave me shudders; I thought Lionel was going to make a pass at her. If he had, that would have been it, though; she never would have spoken to him again. He's much too smart for that.

Lex made a valiant attempt to mend his fences with Lana. He really thinks he has a chance with her, now that Clark is out of the picture. I wonder. I mean, if I were Lana, Lex would definitely have a chance with me. At this point, he is redeemable (if you completely disregard the Superman mythology). Deep down, Lex wants to be good. And let's face it – he's extremely rich as well as very cute. I'm really into this Lex/Lana thing, even though I know it's never going to work out. That's one of the problems with any show about Superman; you're locked into certain things that cannot change. That's okay, though. I can take Smallville for what it is.

Bits and pieces:

— John Schneider was still in the credits, probably because of that video of him with little Clark on the tractor.

— I really liked Andrea. She may be the best guest superhero they've had so far.

— We're back to alternating female leads. This was Lana's week, so no Lois.

— Martha has indeed been offered Jonathan's senate seat. She hasn't made a decision yet.

— Andrea's resemblance to Batman was extreme. She even said at one point that she was "blind as a bat." And wasn't there Batman music in the score?

— What the hell was Martha doing in "Suicide Slums" so late at night? Okay, she was prostrate with grief and not thinking clearly, but still.

— In the end, when Clark saved Lionel from Andrea, Lionel said, "Thank you, son." And I got that Jor-El vibe again.

— Dan thinks the Lex/Lionel relationship may end with Lex killing Lionel. Appropriate, considering what Lionel did to his own parents.

— Andrea called Chloe "Brenda Starr," another cartoon reporter.

— There was a massive Acuvue product placement. And may I say, boooooo. We get way too many commercials as it is.


Andrea: "It's time for you to be the real hero."

Lana: "Lex, it's okay. You already said I'm sorry."
Lex: "Yeah, well, it means more when it's coming from someone who's not drunk."

Lex: "If I'd known you wanted to duel, I would have brought my own pistol."

Lionel, on Andrea: "Exceptional woman. Grossly misguided."
Clark: "She's been through a lot."

Very good. Three out of four stars,

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

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