"Chloe, I've seen what happens when I treat Zod like the enemy. This time I'm gonna do things the right way." -- Clark Kent (Tom Welling)
"Pandora" kicks off very shortly after events from last episode ("Idol") when Lois went into convulsions and passed out in Clark's arms, more intense visions coming to her as has been the case all season. Oliver Queen is at his office on the phone, using his expansive resources to get Lois the medical attention she needs. Clark bursts in to tell him that the neurological experts on their way are going to be too late because Lois is already missing. Clark was with her in the local hospital all night, but the one time he stepped away to see if Oliver called she disappeared with nothing showing on the doctors' reports as to what could've happened. Oliver has found one thing, though, and that Dr. Emil Hamilton apparently requested a look at Lois' test results. While Hamilton may have not had an immediate interest in Lois, he may have been doing it for someone who does: Chloe. However, in a lab elsewhere, Lois is getting dragged, unconscious, into a room where Tess and her assistant Stuart are working. No, Chloe had nothing to do with this. Strapping Lois to a device that can project imagery from one's thoughts, they get a glimpse into what's going on inside Lois' head. What catches Tess and Stuart's attention right away is a view of the tower, fully built, that Tess recently announced plans to build in Metropolis. At this point, the tower has not gone public, especially with Lois, so how this is possible is a big mystery. The only possibility is that Lois DID go to the future. Which is where we're taken...
finale when Lois accidentally came into contact with the Legion flight ring that teleported her into the future). She realizes, though, that the Planet is empty and appearing to be in that state for a while. She heads out onto the main street and finds that she can't find anyone around. AT ALL. Outside it is way more sunny out, and not in a pleasant way. The sky's burning red, as evidenced by the otherworldly glow it's currently taking on. Just then a Kandorian soldier swoops down from the sky in superhuman flight. Sizing her up, and finding a cut on her forehead, the soldier determines that she's "nothing but a filthy human." Telling her that human aren't allowed in this neighborhood, she tries to make a break for it after he threatens her, stopped short of her favorite phone booth to call the Red-Blue Blue. Lois tells him the the Blur will stop him, he shrugs her off, declaring that the Blur is powerless under the red sun and pointing her to Clark's black El family t-shirt tattered and hanging on a nearby flagpole.
Back at Belle Reve Sanitarium, where Tess is keeping Lois, Stuart straps in Tess to the same device to sync up to Lois's memories. Stuart thinks it's a bad idea, not exactly knowing how everything works, but Tess wants more immediate answers on what Zod did with her tower design and how. So at this point Tess is privy to the memories that Lois had from a year in the future. In the future, Lois in in an internment camp, where other humans are being held. If it looks familiar, it's because it's the Kent farm, no longer as welcoming as it was in seasons past. Lois watches a familiar Kandorian soldier, Alia, make an example of a prisoner accused of stealing food, a Zod emblem seared into his back with her heat vision. Alia then takes notice of Lois and gets in her face when she says she just needs about 30 maple donuts to alleviate her extreme hunger. Alia demands something to bargain with, and just then Clark steps in with his only available possession, his late father Jonathan's watch. Satisfied, Alia leaves the two of them, and they share a longing embrace. Thinking she has to be in some kind of nightmare, Clark assures her that this is all too real. He gets her up to speed on the alien invasion and the fact that she's been gone a whole year. She explains what she was last doing hours earlier and touching the Legion ring, and it's vital news for Clark. No sooner does she share this information then the soldier from earlier, Basquat, interrupts, demanding that she come with him to see Zod. Clark tells her to protect the ring right before standing up to Basquat with unfortunate results. As Lois is whisked away, Tess starts to come out of her machine-induced trance.
In the present day, Clark blows into Chloe's Watchtower demanding to know where Lois is. Because Hamilton worked close with Chloe, the assumption was that it had to be her who swiped her cousin from the hospital. Feigning innocence, Chloe makes Clark realize who DID have a more aggressive interest in Lois, particularly after a certain 3-week absence: Tess Mercer. According to Dr. Hamilton, Lois was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her ordeal, and being put up to relive that over and over again could do permanent mental and physical damage to her. Knowing that Tess will tell them nothing, Chloe makes a call to her new insider, Stuart. Only problem is that Stuart's in over his head at that moment at the lab with two damsels in mental distress, the memories increasing in their intensity. Returning to the action in the future, Lois is taken to the Luthor mansion, where Zod -- sorry, GENERAL Zod -- introduces himself. Demanding to know how she ended up in the restricted zone, it takes more than a badge of stars and the highest military ranking to impress upon Lois Lane. He relieves her of the Legion ring stashed in her pocket. Before Zod can get an answer as to what the deal is with the ring, they're interrupted by Zod's No. 2 officer, Tess. It would appear that she's helping Zod in his global takeover. After some back and forth, Zod says that they've tried to get Clark on their side, but Lois doesn't understand the connection. Zod and Tess determine that Clark and Lois are useless to them alive, so they opt to send a loud message to the human dissidents with a double execution.
In an impromptu ceremony shortly thereafter, Tess is made an official Kandorian soldier complete with a new set of dog tags. Clark's brought in and forced to kneel before the general and Zod raises his sword to execute him. Before he can strike down the son of Jor-El, a team of rebels crashes in with crossbows and daggers loaded with kryptonite. Among the Kandorian soldiers taken down is Basquat. Zod manages to escape before his troops start going down, and we find out that it's Oliver and Chloe leading the rebel team. As they reunite, Oliver notices one person down who he was not prepared to take down fatally, Tess. Seeing as they shared a lot of history, he comforts her and insists that he didn't take the shot. Crying as she dies in his arms, Chloe declares that she had the shot and took it. He doesn't exactly disagree, and shortly after that, Oliver buries Tess. The dirt that hits her face snaps Tess out of her state in the present day, and she orders Stuart to delete all the future memories they've accessed. Stuart says that it could leave Lois catatonic but Tess orders him to continue. Stuart refuses and Tess shoots him from behind. Just then Clark arrives to stop them, and Tess claims that Stuart went rogue, but the kryptonite charging all the equipment renders him weak. Clark swats Tess away, but stumbles into the devices and becomes the next person to piggyback on Lois' visions of the future.
Clark and the others convene at the rebel hideout, and there it is explained that Chloe and Oliver don't exactly see eye to eye with their old friend anymore. The two explain to Lois that Clark abandoned them to unsuccessfully take on the Kandorians on his own. But they make a reluctant truce (Chloe being especially malevolent about having to make any sort of peace with Clark despite them clearly being on the same side -- it seemed like she had an easier time shutting off Clark than the other way around). They determine the means to disable the tower that's created the red sun environment that empowered the Kandorians and de-powered Clark. For the last few months Chloe's disabled to Watchtower to keep it out of Zod's notice, yet now she can get it back up to fulfill their plan to get Clark's abilities back to get the Legion ring so Lois can return to the past to make sure Zod and Co. never get the tower up and running in the first place. Lois still doesn't realize just how special Clark is and why getting him under a yellow sun is such a big deal in their plan, and Clark simply replies that he "has a history" with Zod. That night Clark and Lois share some alone time, one of the instances where we saw a hint of things in previous episodes and now were seeing the real story behind it (like Oliver digging a grave, along with a couple other scenes coming up). Lois can't believe that Chloe's no longer friends with Clark, and he explains that he shunned Chloe and Oliver after Lois disappeared because it invoked painful memories. He went to train on his own, and now here were are. Now back together again, they share some super romantic time.
After a commercial break, we're back at Belle Reve and Chloe and Hamilton find everyone out of commission in one way or another. With an ambulance on the way, we find that Stuart is alive but barely, Tess unconscious (but who cares?), and Clark still taking on visions of the future. Hamilton wants to revive Lois and Clark, but Chloe wants to hang on longer for more information because the fate of the world hangs in the balance. They continue and the rebel team engages their plan. Oliver, Chloe and Lois get to the Watchtower, and Green Arrow is suited up and back in business, and Lois is amazed at how far Chloe has come since they played in a treehouse as little cousins. Chloe fires up all the computers and sends a virus to the tower operations that will shut down its ability to change the yellow sun to red. When they make a break for it back on the city streets, Green Arrow leads the charge with Lois close behind. Taking up the rear is Chloe, and before she can get to safety she is quickly confronted by Alia who fatally impales her with a sword (somehow they still need those even with superpowers?). Alia retreats before Oliver can get her with a green-K arrow, and Chloe dies in Lois' arms. Lois is understandably distraught, but Oliver assures her that if they continue with the plan and her cousin will survive this. Sending her off with a kryptonite dagger to protect her, he stays behind armed only with his bow and arrow and a literal swarm of flying Kandorians approaching.
Nearby, Zod is walking down a street dragging a helpless Clark by his ankle and telling him how this all would've been easier if the world had willingly bowed under his rule. Clark is more inclined to praise humanity's refusal to yield. Lois tries to sneak Clark the dagger but Zod is too quick. Zod punts Clark a good block away and turns his attention to Lois. Before he can do anything to her, it's apparent to them in the skies that the tower becomes disabled and that the yellow sun's returned to normal. In that instance, a recharged Clark confronts Zod again. Clark relieves him of the Legion ring, not realizing that Zod's grabbed the dagger to use it on him! Stabbed, Clark uses one last bit of effort to swat Zod into the side of a truck yards away. He pulls the dagger out and Lois rushes to his aid. He insists that she takes the ring so she can go back a year to fix everything. Kissing him goodbye, she does, but not before Alia appears one last time and reaches in as the ring's time-traveling energy transports Lois back to the recent present where they both end up on the Metropolis commuter train seen in the Season 9 premiere. In the current present, Clark is revived by Chloe who tells him that Lois will be okay, minus the memories, thanks to Dr. Hamilton's treatment.
Later at the Daily Planet, Clark is there with Lois and she dismisses whatever it was that was ailing her as hypoglycemia. Doctor says so long as she keeps food in her system every three hours (like maple donuts) she should be fine. Clark takes the initiative and asks Lois what is the deal with the two of them. She puts her guard up, not exactly having an exemplary record in relationships, but he assures her that they can take things slow. She accepts this and they go out for a real cup of coffee with the promise of other romantic liaisons to come... even monster truck rallies! The deal is sealed between them with one last adorable shot of them holding hands as they get in an elevator. Clark later joins Oliver and Chloe at the Watchtower, basking in the glow of new romance. They turn the discussion to strategy on how to stop Zod, and Clark insists on making an attempt to make an ally in Zod because the Kandorians rule over Earth on year in the future was a result of making Zod an enemy. It's what he believes his father, Jor-El, wanted when he asked his son to "save Zod."
Elsewhere, Zod is with his troops devising their own strategy on how to expedite the assembly of the solar tower. They are all surprised when they are paid a visit by none other than the son of Jor-El himself. This is definitely a change in stance for Clark after he buried his own father (a clone, to be exact). But the surprise is on Clark as he approaches his fellow people and Zod orders them all to bow before Kal-El and they do.
And so concludes "Pandora" and Smallville for 2009. Did this episode bring things together like you expected? Were all of the questions of Lois' visions of the future answered? Do you like Lois and Clark's future as the series' premiere power couple? Can you wait TWO MONTHS for the next new episodes? And is there anything new to look forward to?