"Hallmark didn't have any "Welcome Back to Earth" cards, so..." Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley). "Bloodline"In a historical week of change, Smallville done went and turned in one of its most compelling episodes, definitely of this young season, if not of the series' tenure. Not to say everything made complete sense by the end of the show, and I have questions that I'll address later, but "Bloodline" was a red hot episode in terms of "Man of Steel exposition," a surprisingly inspired performance in at least one instance, and a welcome, albeit brief return of Kara Zor-El, Clark's cousin and Supergirl to you and me. Things get going when Clark receives an unexpected visitor to his farm, Lois, deciding that she can't handle sharing space with Chloe and Jimmy as they are apparently doing plenty of consummating before their upcoming wedding. Again we get a cute reference to Lois' love of Eighties metal (and, if anyone was noticing, a Guitar Hero mention that led into a KFC commercial touting their new Guitar Hero box combo -- was I the only one who caught that?), and she brings a package to Clark that was delivered to their office. Said package contains the lost Kryptonian crystal that may very well restore the Fortress up north, but before Clark can even conceive that notion, the two are unwittingly whisked away to the Phantom Zone. In this desolate locale clearly not of Earth, Clark knows exactly where he is, but plays dumb to Lois who thinks her recent alien theories are on the money and that they have been abducted. Meanwhile, Chloe comes to the farm and quickly realizes that Lois ans Clark may not be in Kansas any longer, but complicating things is the surprise arrival of Tess Mercer who has been on the hunt for the crystal and got readings that it was right there in the Kent farm kitchen (it was, only Chloe got to it first and covered for the missing duo). Chloe gets Mercer off the trail while her BFF and cousin are still in exile with little idea how to get back home. They soon encounter Kara who initially mistakes -- and when I say "mistakes," I mean STUPIDLY CONFUSES -- them for the criminal wraiths who dominate the Zone. What is hard to reconcile is the fact that I guess she knows how to get out, only she's still there basically minding the store to avoid a mishap like the last time Clark was in the Zone: criminals running rampant on Earth when the got out with him. Kara's fate happens when you get phased out of a show after one and only one season and relegated to guest star status. Elsewhere, Chloe needs help getting the Kryptonian crystal to activate, and she taps Oliver Queen to snag the device that will fire up her find. He's at first tough to convince (not believing that Lois and Clark might be in another dimension), but he gleefully accepts the assignment when he learns that it would mean breaking into the Luthor mansion. Oh, how this would be so much more awesome if Lex or his father were still in the picture. Tess is too easy a mark, I must say. The Phantom Zone scenario, surprisingly, does not occupy the entire episode. Kara, when opening up a portal (which requires El family blood, helping to explain the show's title, among other things) gets Lois released first, but not before a wraith makes it out with her. Once on Earth, this wraith inhabits Lois' super-hot bod, and we come to find out that that there is A LOT to this Phantom Zone villain, more than we'd expect. She is Faora, the wife of none other than General Zod. As a Superman geek from way back, I was bummed that Ursa was not used, especially since she's been revived in the pages of Action Comics as Zod's wife and parent to a young boy. What makes up for this is the fact that she's on the lookout for her son, and you won't believe who it is. In a manner that makes this Doomsday unique to Smallville while invoking the nature of the beast created in DC Comics, Davis turns out to be the test tube baby of Faora and Zod when they were planning Krypton's domination and Earth's destruction. This information is presented by Lois as Faora, and she turns in one of her best performances ever. I genuinely felt like she fully inhabited another role as the Kryptonian she-devil who brutally displays the resilience of Davis. Fatally lancing Davis at a seemingly abandoned hospital (not literally, but he's left for dead in this one room for a crazy amount of time for a place that's dedicated to saving lives), he later finds himself back on his feet and impervious to conventional blades. Back to Kara and Clark, they manage to get out of the Zone successfully as well, and they don't break too much of a sweat corraling Faora and returning her to the Phantom Zone once back on Earth. As briskly paced as "Bloodline" was, I was impressed with how much material was covered for a lot of characters. Clark is later confronted by Oliver about the fact that Chloe is becoming increasingly consumed by Brainiac. She was the one who actually opened the Zone portal for Clark and Kara after Lois got out the first time with Faora, but she easily swatted Oliver into another room when she became one with the Kryptonian technology she activated. Most importantly we now know the true nature of Davis/Doomsday. When he found himself on Earth, despite the nature of his creation, he took on more noble human traits, much like Clark. Only problem is that he was specifically designed for destruction, and his baser instincts are impossible to control, as evidenced in prior Smallville episodes. So my questions, and help me out here, are as follows:
1. Who sent the crystal in the package to Clark?
2. How are things going to play out the next time Davis sees Lois, considering their "awkward moments" in "Bloodline"?
3. What in Tess' encounter with Faora/Lois at the Daily Planet (early in Faora's search for her son) prompted her to give Lois a raise??
4. Going off Kara's decision, once back on Earth, to search for the rumored existence of Kandor, is "New Krypton" (as seen currently in the Superman books) on the horizon?Despite my burning inquiries, this was as satisfying a Smallville episode as I've seen in a while. Clearly the show has not fallen off despite the major cast and crew upheavals in the off-season, and most every character on the show (save for Jimmy) got a good chance to shine. "Bloodline" showed that this particular family is a strong as ever.