Smallville: Kent

Clark: "This place isn't your home. Martha is."

This final season of Smallville has reminded me why I got into the show in the first place. They are no longer artificially extending the story past its shelf life. We're finally getting the good stuff.

What is a home? Four walls and a roof with a barn where you can have constant romantic angst with Lana Lang, or is it the people who love you and are always there for you? The Kent farm is a special place, yes, but it really is just a place; Jonathan and Martha Kent were always Clark's real home.

Clark's most important relationship has always been with his foster father, even after Jonathan's death. Jonathan was the man Clark emulated, a near perfect father and the core of the strong, protective family home that allowed Clark to grow up to be the extraordinary man that he is becoming. Clark is now fully adult. He can sell the farm and move into a studio apartment with apple pie air freshener somewhere in Metropolis – with Lois, because she is his home now. That actually got to me.

Mirror universe Clark Luthor never had what Clark had, and then some. He had the worst possible version of Lionel as a father, and grew up tortured, twisted and evil; what happened to him was symbolized by the deserted, trashed out alternate Kent farm, the homeless and hopeless alternate Jonathan Kent. How lovely that our Clark may have just given his doppelganger a chance at a Jonathan and Martha Kent of his own, a way to become what he was supposed to be.

The B plot, evil Clark stalking his "sister" Tess, was actually icky. Can you imagine being stalked by an evil Superman who was sexually obsessed with you, especially if you were in love with the good version? I am still liking Tess this season, and I thought Cassidy Freeman did a good job with these scenes; she seemed tempted and terrified at the same time, while managing to retain a thin veneer of emotional control.

So, a terrific part two of "Luthor," which really needed a part two. I love that we're getting all this character closure.

Bits and pieces:

— Gold K can take Clark's powers away. Hence the brands.

— The idea of an entire city full of people carrying K to protect themselves from Clark is sort of fascinating.

— Another good acting job by Tom Welling, who always does well with evil, drugged, or otherwise weirded out Clark.

— That purple dress alt-Clark gave Tess was really something. I think it gave superpowers to her cleavage.

— Actually, couldn't Clark move to Metropolis but hang on to that farm somehow? It was in the Kent family for a long time. Ah, well.

— Many commercials for the two hour series finale, which will air May 13.

Four out of four broken mirror boxes,

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.

6 comments:

Paul Kelly said...

Yeah, I noticed Tess' magic cleavage too. In fact, this is one episode I might need to watch again... because.... err... I like alt-universe stories?

I can't believe it's almost over. I half suspect when the show's finished, judging by the poor crop of new shows we've had this year, we might miss Smallville more than we thought we would.

Nick said...

I never realised how good an actor Tom Welling was till I saw this one...while his previous acting under things like Red K was just OK for me, I thought he did Clark Luthor very, very well. Honestly it seemed like an entirely different person to me, I didn't think it was Tom Welling. Awesome job.

And the part with Jonathan? When I read the plot summary I thought it was just filler but they played it extremely well. John Schneider is a fantastic actor and he had me rooting for him at the end when he went to see Martha (demonstrating as usual Smallville's obsession with cliffhangers). The Darkseid story really seems to be off-stage right now but honestly given how little they've invested in it I don't really care. Clark's getting there. That's all that matters. Like you said, we're finally getting the good stuff.

(And icky is right. But she's great this season)

Dimitri A.C. Ly said...

This was fun. Now I'm kind of regretting only getting into the show this season. My favourite part is Clark's anguish when he gets pulled out just before feeling one more hug from his old man. So sad.

And, yeah, that dress was something else. I'm guessing a lot of tape was involved.

In an effort to start rumours of a Superboy spin-off, I'd like to point out they just relocated Connor to Washington through exposition. New hero, new setting... Just saying.

Nick said...

^A man can hope, right? Haha. With a good supporting cast, Connor really could carry a spin-off pretty well I think. And even more if it means he doesn't crash on Superman's designated territory.

Anyone noticed how the colour palette changed in the alt. universe when Clark Luthor was sent back and started talking to Jor-El? From the monochrome tone it lighted up to normal colours. Thought it was pretty symbolic and fitting.

ChrisB said...

Clark's most important relationship has always been with his foster father, even after Jonathan's death. Jonathan was the man Clark emulated, a near perfect father and the core of the strong, protective family home that allowed Clark to grow up to be the extraordinary man that he is becoming.

It doesn't happen often, Billie, but I disagree with you on this point. I think Jonathan was an all right father, but had so many serious flaws that it is a miracle that Clark has turned out as trusting and compassionate as he is. Even in this episode, Clark says that Jonathan has taught him to be "fair and honest." I don't see it.

Jonathan trusted no one, not even his father-in-law, in the process robbing Clark of a relationship with his grandfather. Jonathan was so obsessed with keeping the secret that every time Clark wanted to tell someone or, God forbid, did tell someone, Jonathan went berserk. So, in the process, Jonathan spent his life lying to everyone except Martha and Clark.

He also never completely trusted Clark. As Clark was growing up (at least the parts that we saw), it seemed that every decision he made was countermanded by his father -- from playing football to having sex. Jonathan rode him hard and, as a result, took away an important part of growing up -- learning that decisions have consequences and then dealing with them.

And fair? Really? From the first episode, Jonathan painted Lex with the sins of his father. Something, I must admit, that I have never completely understood. Yes, Lionel was a bastard at the beginning, but it was he who managed to it all so that the Kents could keep Clark. It would have been very, very easy for Lionel to take the baby away, but he didn't. For some reason, Jonathan was never able to see that.

I've wondered what would have happened if Jonathan had been more accepting of Clark's friendship with Lex. Of course, we would have had a very different story, but I am convinced that if Clark had been honest with his friend, Lex would have done absolutely everything in his power to protect him.

Jonathan does have his good points. He did teach Clark good basic morals and values, especially the joy of a lifelong relationship with a good woman. I don't think Clark's relationship with Lois would be as open or as honest without the example his parents set for him all those years.

But, when all is said and done, I would argue that Martha was the "core" of the family. Loving, trusting, willing to let Clark make his own decisions and mistakes and then helping him pick himself up. In my opinion, she was the much stronger parent.

Anonymous said...

I agree with yee, ChrisB!
Martha nurtured half of what Clark is today and Jonathan the other half, he can't take all the credit.
One thing I don't understand, if Martha and Jonathan are split up in the mirror world, and even if their are still married, why would Martha still have the Kent name?