Smallville 8.13 - "Power""There's never been anything normal about us." -- Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk)
I think the biggest shock from this episode, for me, was the title. Are you trying to tell me, in the eight seasons of this show doing one-word titles, that they never got around to using "Power"?? Going back as far as Season 1, we got everything from "Prodigal" and "Phoenix" to "Phantom" and "Persona," but despite the superheroic, metahuman nature of this program, Smallville's producers were creative enough to avoid "Power" until now, and there is something to be said for that.
Full disclosure: Local shenanigans regarding my state's governor cut into the introductory scene and credits of last night's Smallville, so I had to find out elsewhere how that played out and not through my own viewing. I was informed that the episode kicked off in a top secret laboratory with a procedure taking place and how it played out suggested that it was Lex Luthor. Turns out the subject was Lana Lang, and that would explain everything that followed that WGN-Chicago DID manage to make available to me. Folks, I welcome any additional feedback on the opening in the comments section if it helps everyone.
My DVR was able to get me to the beginning of things at the Kent farm. Chloe walks in to find Clark poring over the "Dear John" tape from Lana from months' past. Question to all: how exactly can Kal-El be snuck up on? Chloe ribs him for watching it, but he explains that the recording is a reminder to him of why she left in the first place. Clark is torn over his situation with Lana after they made out at the end of the last episode. Contrary to previous seasons where she typically played odd man out, Chloe is surprisingly cool with the news and ready to help Clark figure things out. Clearly Chloe's over Mr. Kent.
On his own, Clark goes to Lana's place at the Talon only to find it totally ransacked, and the only lady in the house is Tess Mercer. Naturally Clark thinks it's her doing, but she assures him it wasn't her but Lex in some way, and she shares a story regarding the fact that while Lana met her an episode ago, Tess met Lana on a prior occasion. Turns out when Lana snapped out of a coma induced by Brainiac last year, she was almost immediately snapped up by Lex's goons, Tess included, and forced to make the tape saying goodbye to Clark. Lana was knocked out right before Tess walked into the room, so they never exchanged glances. Presumably they were going to take Lana away to work on her within one of Lex's projects, but she managed to escape en route and set off on her own agenda.
Lana did a good job getting out of her predicament in a hurry, but it's funny that her first order of business was getting a damn sassy haircut! She did pretty good with a knife and a 7-11 bathroom mirror! Said plan also involved tapping the services of an old Luthor ally to toughen her up. For real, how awesome would some classic montage music have been for all this? Back to the present with Clark and Tess, he uncovers a pendant Lana had, and Tess immediately recognized it as being one owned by her old adviser, a gentleman by the name of Carter (Can anyone help with his last name? A dozen times rewinding came up empty for me.). Carter is employed by the Luthors, and at the mansion Clark confronts him only to find that he has his own pendant and Lana has one of her own. For a guy on LuthorCorp payroll, Carter is apparently a decent guy as he shares with Clark his story of training Lana months earlier and teaching her some hardcore resolve despite having no superpowers. It's real pre-Batman Bruce Wayne stuff, Lana pretty much begging Carter for "more power." He knows that it doesn't come easy and it does come at a price.
Carter, a former Green Beret, by the way, also lets it slip with Clark that when Lana wrapped up her "make me a bad-ass" regimen with him, she approached Chloe on an occasion, making it NOT the first time they'd seen each other at the time of Chloe's doomed wedding. They kept it a secret all this time, but Lana's thrilled with how well Chloe handled the responsibilities of the Isis Foundation, pretty much going above and beyond what she ever intended. This was a sore subect later for Clark and Chloe, but as many secrets as she's kept for him he had no convincing argument.
Elsewhere, Tess recruits one of Lex's more loyal stooges, Regan, to get their hands on the Prometheus technology Lex has been developing. Regan later tries to ambush Tess at her Daily Planet office with a threat of blackmail because he's seen footage that Lex had when he was literally using Tess' eyes as a tool for his malevolent schemes. Turns out Lana is not the only female cast member with serious ass-kicking skills as Tess handles Regan sufficiently enough that the boys in GoodFellas might have actually stepped in at one point to tell her that her now dead assailant had had enough. In a borderline gory sequence, at one point you actually see Tess develop a literal taste for blood.
Still looking for Lana, Clark and Chloe dig up clues at the Isis Foundation office and find video footage of Lana from earlier before chatting via webcam with a scientist years prior under the employment of Lex. In this discussion that also intertwined with another Luthor scheme, Project Ares (a way to heal soldiers with alien DNA), it becomes apparent that Lana hasn't been abducted, she's volunteered to be the subject for Lex's projects so that he doesn't get it! At least SHE would use these tools for good. We hope.
At the labs where Lana subjects herself to procedures that at one point make her look like she got the worst sunburn imaginable, Tess gets there first, trying to halt the procedings assuming that it's Lex being worked on. Tess finds that it's Lana getting worked on, and when she's told that firing a gun to blow up the works would mean Lana's death, she deems it an exceptable loss and opens fire. Clark shows up in time to do his patented superspeed rescue (grabbing the bullet, not getting seen), but Lana actually beats him to it as apparently the Prometheus work was a success and Lana has the ultimate power she'd been looking for. Lana's as fast as Clark right now, and she flashes him a look before making a break for it, leaving them all in the dust.
Later despite Tess' willingness to knock off Lana, they actually bond, oddly enough, over their mutual contempt for Lex and Lana does all she can to convice Tess that a life hating Lex is not a fulfilling one. At episode's conclusion, on the rooftop of the Daily Planet, it almost looks like Clark and Lana have their happy ending. Clark is naturally unsure of how good it is for Lana to now be infused with superhuman abilities. Lana's convinced that they can now be happy together as equals. Cue sunny, romantic kiss. Stands to reason it's really only the beginning with these two.
So how did "Power" work for you? Are you seeing Lana Lang in a whole new light? Does Clark appear light years away from being the Man of Steel? Is she now a welcome addition to Smallville after being maligned for years? Is Tess a friend or foe at this point? Am I the only one STILL waiting for Insect Queen??