Smallville 9.3 - "Rabid"
-- Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley)
I have to tell ya, the introductory scene of "Rabid" struck me as funny, for no other reason than the fact that I just saw last week. Zombies, you could say, are fresh on the brain. Without really knowing what's transpired, because we're brought into things deep into the story, it's obvious that zombies are flavoring this episode, and the timing is UNCANNY. We begin this episode of with Clark waking up on a gurney in a lab, groggy as hell, and an injection needle oozing liquid kryptonite off to the side. A text message from Oliver Queen prompts Clark to make a quick dash to the Daily Planet in search of Lois Lane. Blowing through a near-vacant Metropolis on the way, the ramshackle Planet is pretty much empty save for a drooling, ravenous Lois standing at a copy machine about ready to pounce. Cue the show's opening credits.
We come back to the Daily Planet and it's obviously several hours earlier. Clark is working at his desk and Lois shows up. An all-nighter is on tap at the Planet and you can tell that things are back on track for this pair, judging by their casual banter. Clark gets Lois a coffee at superspeed, but he actually put out a building fire in the coffee run that took roughly 3 seconds. Later that night, elsewhere in the city, Clark takes the opportunity to confront Oliver Queen about his downward spiral since events from last season's finale. Clark apologizes for how he handled the Davis Bloome situation, opting to "save" Davis when he was beyond redemption. In rebuffing Clark's mea culpa, Ollie accuses him of having a God complex, questioning the "S" on his chest and what it stands for. Ollie bolts on his motorcycle, attracting the attention of the police in the process and Clark looks on, disappointed in the sad direction his old ally has taken. Back at the Luthor mansion, Tess Mercer gets a report that a team she sent to find Major Zod and the Kryptonian refugees likely failed. Just then the mansion is invaded. A guard is killed, throat ripped out. Her head of security is taken out by a vicious zombie, and when confronted by several more she channels her inner Uma Thurman and goes all on her assailants. Before going into commercial, the last zombie standing bites her before she impales him.
At the local hospital, Clark and Lois practically walk in greeted like Norm Peterson at Cheers, it's that standard of a location in any given episode of . They visit the incapacitated Tess and she is in full-on zombie mode. Tess swats Lois across the room, and Clark subdues her enough to allow a doctor to sedate her. Elsewhere, Chloe (a welcome presence elsewhere as Power Girl in the DVD, by the way) is working away at her Watchtower when Dr. Emil Hamilton pops in. Clark shows up right after with a sample of Tess' blood for them to look at. He ends up whisking Hamilton back to the hospital to investigate this "viral rage." Hamilton meets a disease specialist handling Tess' case. This Dr. Coats says that it's likely an airborne virus and they're in the process of quarantining the hospital AND the Daily Planet. According to Dr. Coats it was the Planet where Tess was picked up, not the mansion. Clark overhears this and knows that it puts Lois in danger. Cut to Lois, back at the Planet, and she is soon attacked by a zombie editor. Clark arrives to save her and takes out a staff all overrun by the virus, but Lois does get bitten herself as they go to commercial.
We return to Oliver back at his office. He's hooked up with the lady cop who pursued him earlier for speeding. She gives him back his wallet and finds that a picture of Lois precedes his platinum cards. Someone he used to know, he replies when she asks who it is. When they get back to their messing around, she works his belt buckle, and it comes undone, dislodging a spyware camera. She accuses him of trying to film their play time and leaves in a huff. Ollie seriously doesn't know where the belt camera came from, but he thinks he knows who might be responsible: "Mercy." At the Watchtower, Hamilton and Chloe examine the virus and he concludes that the closest DNA match was Davis Bloome. In other words, KRYPTONIAN. Cut to Clark and Lois back at the Planet, and having a chance to lay low and Clark tending to her, she laments over her "relationship" with the Red-Blue Blur" and how she doesn't want to be alone, what with the finality of their situation. Ollie shows up playing the Woody Harrelson role of shotgun-toting badass. He stays to protect Lois and keep her awake. Putting their heads together, they figure that apparently going to sleep will allow the virus to work its magic on her. Clark goes back to Chloe's just in time to provide a necessary blood sample for the antidote. The kryptonite exposure required to use a hypodermic needle on him knocks him out and it's how he ended up in his situation at the beginning of the episode, so now we're caught up.
At the Planet, Ollie and Lois get caught up after having been out of touch for a while ("God, Ollie. You're a mess.") But when he gets distracted feeling sorry for himself, he misses that she has fallen asleep, and that's what sparks the virus in her. She smacks him across the elevator car they're holed up in and then escapes out the roof and up the shaft. This explains his text to Clark: "I LOST HER." Clark comes to at the Watchtower, on his own since Chloe and Hamilton had to leave to disperse the antidote, when he gets Ollie's text. They cut to the private jet with Chloe and Hamilton, preparing to release the antidote over the city. It's put into the water supply, and some fortuitous rain will help spread the cure as well. Hamilton takes the opportunity to call her out for spying on Oliver and the League. She defends her actions saying that she's been doing it to protect them and hopes the doctor can keep the secret. I do have to say that as much as he's been on the show so far, Alessandro Juliani should get a show credit. I keep waiting for him to turn on Chloe and Clark too. I'm not sure that we've gotten the whole story on him yet. Back at the Planet, Clark confronts "zombie Lois" who wastes no time attacking him. Their fight spills outside and it starts to rain, wiping her of the virus. They almost kiss but keep it to a hug and people start to snap out of their zombie funk in the rainy city streets around them.
After the carnage has subsided, Clark confronts the downward-spiraling Oliver. Clark calls him out failing to handle the one and only task of protecting Lois. He thanks Clark for his input and takes what looks like his last swig of booze before discarding it. In actuality he pulls out his Green Arrow costume and burns that as soon as Clark leaves him. And here it was always his protege Roy "Speedy" Harper with the addiction issues. The next day Clark is at the Kent farm. Clark is looking at a picture of Lana (are we REALLY going to go back to that??) before putting it in a scrapbook. Lois pops in to thanks him for his help. She remembers nothing in terms of his actions except for being "heroic." She reminds him about a supposed secret he was going to let her in on, but she lets him off the hook saying it's something he can keep to himself. But as she leaves the farm she has the same dream flashes she had a couple episodes ago with dire visions of the future for Chloe, Clark and Oliver, among others. Clark notices from inside the house and feigns concern.
"Rabid" wraps with a scene at some remote bunker. It turns out that Dr. Coats (a nod to a certain <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Coates#Lois_Lane">Phyllis Coates</a>??), the disease specialist who Hamilton approached earlier in the episode, is a Kryptonian underling of Major Zod. It was not a Zod plan, in fact his own way to see how they could recoup the yellow sun powers they are still lacking and distinguishing them from the Earthlings. In the process, Zod finds that their opposition was in the El family. This is HUGE to the major. From their findings, there is a perception that Jor-El is hoarding the power of the yellow sun for himself only. Just as he appears ready to give Dr. Coats some praise, he slices him up with a sword. This show is SO 19th-century Japanese! Or like !
I have to say this episode proved strong in a solid, watchable season so far. Respectable advancement with certain characters. Clark's stock seemed to rise, while Oliver's plunged. Plus it nailed what I thought has been great about Season 9 so far: a clearly different, darker tone to most of the storytelling. Readers, were you properly satiated by "Rabid"?