SMALLVILLE 9.8: "Idol"
-- Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack)
"Idol" begins with cold open to a bedroom in a run down home. It's Lois and Clark, appearing post-coital, and she gets off a mattress wrapped in a sheet (I swear, one of the textbook film scenes of all time for a woman after lovemaking), walks to an open window, "open" in that there's no glass or anything, and she's staring off at the beaming sun. Clark gets up right after, shirtless and buff as he should be, and wants to continue what they were doing. Passionately embracing her, "I wish we had more time" is the only thing said, by Clark, in this whole scene. As they kiss, the sun behind them is especially illuminated, to the point that it looks like it's signaling the end of the world. Cut to Lois again, only now she's dressed and fully put together at the Daily Planet and clearly daydreaming the whole thing with Clark across from her at their desks. Not even Clark spilling coffee can snap her out of it, and he finally speaks up. Judging her as out of it and scatterbrained, Clark suggests that she may still be thinking about their kiss from two episodes ago (not addressed between the two last week in "<a href="http://www.newsarama.com/tv/091111-Smallville-Post-Game-Recap.html"target="_blank">Kandor</a>," but first occurring at the conclusion of "<a href="http://www.newsarama.com/tv/091105-Smallville-Post-Game.html"target="_blank">Crossfire</a>"). The awkward conversation is interrupted before it even begins when a deliveryman has a package that needs signing. The oversized delivery is out back at the Planet, and Lois and Clark go to see what arrived. As Lois eagerly opens it (with a little super-help from Clark, unknown to her), she confesses to always sneaking peeks at her Christmas presents when she was a kid, surprising Clark none whatsoever. What IS a surprise are the contents of the large crate: several bound and gagged men covered in sealed bags of contraband. Thinking they got a scoop in the form of a drug bust, the one man they un-gag to comment declares that they're cops and their undercover operation was completely derailed. Maybe someone screwed up and thought they were really the bad guys? Just then activity outside gets their attention. Across the street is a building lit up with the Blur's trademark logo.
Back at the Planet, the two are dissecting how the Blur could make such a brash crimefighting statement, and a badly botched one at that seeing as a major drug operation was dismantled. The Planet editor wants a story out of Lois on this because a local crime boss was able to remain on the streets thanks to this and the district attorney's none too happy. Of course Clark knows it's not the Blur, but Lois thinks it is and in desperate need of her guidance after being out of touch for weeks. She leaves Clark there claiming that she's got a secret interview to attend to under a veil of secrecy and we find out she's seeing...
...a therapist. Nervous and vulnerable as all get-up, Lois is in an analyst's office, breaking down her recent dreams of shirtless supermen. Confiding in this female therapist that they're sexual dreams involving Clark, Dr. Evans suggests to Lois that the lack of clothes may represent deeper desires of trying to uncover secrets. Lois admits that she's felt that Clark's maybe been keeping something from her (odd seeing as he was more than willing to sit down an discuss their recent encounter that she rebuffed), but also that they've been drifting apart, feelings perhaps stemming from the 3-week blank she still has in her memory since the premiere of this ninth season. Just as they start getting somewhere, Lois' phone rings, hilariously playing "Holding Out for a Hero" to indicate that it's an long overdue call from the Blur. She actually puts it into voice mail, trying to make the point that she's no longer at her former hero's beck and call. At the other end is Clark, at the Watchtower with Chloe, virtually stunned that Lois won't answer his call in hopes of setting the record straight on this Blur impostor. Chloe shares what she's found so far, that this person is ambitious in creating an online identity on Clark's behalf with a huge fanbase (a Facebook page with 10,000 members!), but it's not to discredit him as evidenced by the five crimes successfully foiled in his name. Despite that, Clark knows that whoever this is needs to be stopped before someone gets hurt.
Wonder Twins Powers- ACTIVATE!
Elsewhere in Metropolis that evening, a limousine is taking a man with a stash of diamonds to a clandestine spot with plans to take a meeting. The limo is abruptly attacked by a puma who pounces on the hood of the moving car. Just as the car guns it, an expanding sheet of ice forms underneath, covering the pavement and forcing the car to hydroplane into a power transformer. When the dust settles, the puma (a mountain lion, cougar?) transforms into a young lady and the ice morphs into a young man who addresses her as Jayna as she does him as Zan. Congratulating themselves on a foiled smuggled jewel deal, she busts out a camera phone that has a most familiar design on the back. Wanting to take pictures to post online of their latest triumph, Zan hops on the roof of the car to spray-paint the 'S' logo. Just as he finishes his handiwork the transformer blows, killing power over several grids of Metropolis. Whoa.
The next morning, the postmortem is being covered at the wreck, and Lois is keeping an eye on District Attorney Sachs whom she's been investigating for alleged shady backroom deals. Clark makes another attempt at defending the Blur to Lois, but feeling scorned, she's convinced that the Blur's slumping in his heroics and looking bad in the process. When Lois goes in one direction, Clark hears an odd sound from under a piece of wreckage and finds a phone there. It's Jayna's phone, left behind from the chaos of the night before. Around the same time, Zan and Jayna are at their apartment, figuring out how to fix the big mess they created. They know in the confusion of the power outage that Jayna misplaced her phone. When Zan's phone on him rings the same way, they make a move to fist-bump and "activate" their powers, and Clark in full uniform speeds between them before they can make a connection, causing a backlash that knocks them out. Clark obviously placed a call on the phone to track the signal to their place. They wake up later at the Watchtower and Chloe confronts them about what they've done. While their intentions are for the best in helping the Blur they admire, Chloe lets them know that they're in over their heads and threatens to hack their operation if they don't take several steps back. They feel bad and want to know how to fix things, and Chloe suggests that as heroes they'll know when the right moment comes.
Returning to action at the Daily Planet, Lois is working away and a manual typewriter when the power's restored. She gets another call from the Blur and reluctantly takes it this time. Clark on the other line explains himself and she unloads on him for his recent lack of confidence in her. Wanting to make things right, he tells her that he's considering the D.A.'s earlier challenge to reveal his identity to the public. Boy, if this scenario wasn't reminiscent of one seen in "The Dark Knight." What's complicates things is that while this is going on, Zan and Jayna are still at Chloe's and they accidentally disrupt the voice-masking device Chloe operates there when Clark speaks on the phone as the Blur. As Clark wraps up his call with Lois, the last couple words come out as his real voice to her before he hangs up, and she immediately determines that the Blur is really Clark!
Lois turns up at Clark's farm at Smallville the next morning when he's getting ready for work. She shows him the article she's just done that makes the front page showing her renewed support for the Blur, and she suggests that they start carpooling to work. Sensing that she's up to something, Clark asks Lois what's going on and she says that she's seeing him in an all new light. The conversation is interrupted by news on TV, the Metropolis D.A. following up on his challenge to the Blur, now demanding that he show himself in a press conference that afternoon. As the two have stories to chase, carpooling will wait.
Lois actually goes to see her therapist in an unplanned visit, and she tell the doctor that she thinks Clark and the Blur are one and the same. Dr. Evans cites this as projection, Lois willing the two men in her life to be one. Thinking this all through, she gets an idea how to help Clark in his current predicament. Meeting Clark downtown, Chloe updates him on Zan and Jayna and he tells her that he will go public with his secret identity. Rationalizing that it's to preserve the symbol and his good father's name, sacrifice and work, Chloe tells Clark that he should let the D.A. Sachs carry out his plan because it won't undo what he's done in honor of his father. During this conversation, a ladybug is paying attention nearby, clearly Jayna who can take the form of any wildlife. Later at the press conference, Clark is poised to go forward but Lois takes the podium and tells everyone that while she knows who he is, he can only serve as an effective city protector if he removes himself from the spotlight of publicity and politics. The crowd sees her point and cheers in agreement.
After that all goes down, Lois returns to the Planet to find a rose and thank you note on her desk inviting her to go to the roof. Her excitement is quickly snuffed out when it turns out to be Sachs waiting there, now demanding that she cough up the name of the Blur. Not having it and indicating that she's got a revealing expose all lined up in his name, he shows her that he's got a plan to discredit the Blur once and for all. Having painted an 'S' on the roof, he plans to frame the Blur for Lois's murder since her public revelation of knowing the Blur's identity gave him the motive he needed. Some backup muscle rushes her before she can make a break for it and they throw her off the roof. Though they should've checked on their handiwork since Lois managed to hang on to a flagpole just off the ledge. From street level, Clark sees that Lois needs helps and rushes to the roof to help her in civilian form without using his powers. Still in her insect guise, Jayna see all of this and flies back to the Watchtower to get Zan's help. Realizing that this is their chance to do right, they activate their powers to get to work.
Up on the roof, Clark tries to take Lois' hand but can't reach, and she says she'll protect his secret for the good of the city. Thinking it's crazy talk, Clark thinks he's going to lose her and a thick vapor rises from below up to the top of the building. Lois loses her grip and he loses her in the mist. He speeds down to the street to grab her under the cover of the fog (Zan). While setting her on the ground, we see Sacks making a getaway in his limo. Just when he gets settled in the car, he sees that he's cornered in the backseat by a vicious dog (Jayna). The D.A. is busted. When Lois comes to, she thanks Clark for the save, but he insists that he took the elevator down. Taken back by his unwillingness to come clean, a phone in a booth rings by them, and Lois answers it certain that it can't be the Blur this time since Clark's in front of him. It is, though, telling her to watch herself! Now confused, she tells Clark who she just spoke with when she ends the call.
Zan and Jayna return to the tower, ecstatic that they pulled off their heroics successfully this time. Clark shows up in the shadows in his Blur uniform and commends them on their efforts. Stepping out of the shadows, he gives them a pep talk on what his symbol means, what they need to do as heroes when the entire world is watching, and how there's no second chances in their chosen line of work. Elsewhere, Lois returns to her shrink and confides in how everything happened. Dr. Evans assures her that projecting certain feeling on a close co-worker is a natural response. Lois confides that despite her infatuation with the Blur, her real feeling are for Clark.
Back at the Watchtower, Clark pops in and Chloe toasts him with what would easily be a Superman mug to you and me, his family symbol now popular with street vendors all over the city. She tells him that the "wonder twins" have lots of potential under the right guidance. When he questions how the earlier call to Lois from the Blur was done, Chloe shows Clark the voice program she has in place so someone else could call and use the voice if needed. This reveals the fact that in order for her to have pulled it off in that instance that she had surveillance on the Daily Planet roof and elsewhere along with monitors tracking calls all over the city. Clark calls her out on this and she dismisses it a necessary to their work protecting the city and each other. Reluctantly accepting this, Clark comes up with something he should tell Lois to throw her off his trail.
He goes to the Planet to see Lois privately and comes up with the ruse that he's nearsighted and has been hiding a need to wear contacts. Of course all viewers had to have a special appreciation for when Clark puts on a pair of glasses to display his vision difficulty. She's fine with it, though suggesting that they make contact lenses now. To show she's okay with this, she pulls up a stack of papers to get up close and plant a huge kiss on him that he gladly respond to. Unfortunately "Idol" comes to an abrupt and not so happy ending when right there on the spot Lois has more visions of the Earth and her loved ones in crisis in a nightmarish future, and it causes her to convulse and pass out right there in Clark's arms.
So what was your vote, viewers, on this particular "Idol"? Was seeing the Wonder Twins in live-action form a welcome sight? Did you like how they factored in Gleek into the story? Does Dr. Evans have the potential to violate doctor/patient confidentialty? Are you ready for an extended break after the next episode, "Pandora," airs that brings 2009 to a close? And to paraphrase an oft-used question by comic pundit Stephen Colbert: Season 9 -- great season, or season?