Episode Title: "Kent"
Writers: Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Previously on "Smallville":
Months ago, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) was thrust into an alternate reality in which he was Clark Luthor, the evil adopted son of Lionel Luthor (John Glover). While his murderous double was loose in our world, Clark eventually won the aid of the alternate Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley) and he returned home. However, Lionel was able to follow him back to our world where he was free to reign again.
More recently, Lex Luthor's formerly evil clone, Alexander (Lucas Grabeel) was discovered to also be a clone of Clark, leading to a kinship between the two. As Lionel and Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) clashed over the future of the Luthor dynasty, Connor was briefly corrupted by red kryptonite and he fought Clark. After Lionel intervened and tried to kill Clark, Connor ultimately rejected his Luthor heritage and sided with Clark. Despondent over the loss of another son and his financial empire to Tess, Lionel visited Lex's grave when Darkseid suddenly appeared to him…
At the Daily Planet, Clark and Lois begin to realize that their lives in Metropolis and Smallville are making it harder to spend time together. They also get a wedding present from Clark's mother, Martha in the form of the deed to the Kent farm. And at that very farm, Clark Luthor crosses over to our world using the mirror box. The next morning, Clark Luthor (hereafter referred to as CL) catches the real Clark by surprise and banishes him to the alternate world. He then destroys it to strand him there forever.
Clark finds himself at the funeral for the alternate Oliver, who was killed by CL for exposing him as Ultraman and telling the world how to stop him with kryptonite. The alternate Lois tells Clark to leave even as he spots the alternate Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) being led away from the funeral. Back in our world, CL meets Lois and he seems taken by the affection that she shows towards him. However, his indifference towards innocents quickly leads Lois to realize that he's not her Clark. CL then confronts Tess at the ruined Luthor mansion and demands that she help him hunt down Lionel.
Back on Earth 2, Clark visits the old Kent farm, where he is ambushed by Jonathan with a piece of kryptonite. In our world, Lois gets Dr. Emil Hamilton (Alessandro Juliani) to reassemble the original mirror box and retrieve Clark. At the Daily Planet, Tess briefly confers with Lois before CL orders her to put on a sexy dress and join him for dinner. On Earth 2, Jonathan berates Clark for ruining his life, which led his wife Martha to leave him. But Clark explains that he isn't CL and he convinces Jonathan to let him prove that he was raised a Kent on another world.
At dinner, CL causally threatens to kill Tess if she doesn't help him find Lionel. On Earth 2, Clark shows Jonathan his father's shotgun and relates the story behind it, which finally convinces Jonathan that he's telling the truth. Clark also urges Jonathan to reconcile with Martha. Just when Jonathan accepts Clark as his son, Clark is drawn back into our world by Lois and Hamilton. At the LuthorCorp building, Tess gives CL the means to track Lionel. But as he leaves, she switches the signal. Moments later, CL returns and threatens to throw her out of the building for her betrayal.
The real Clark arrives moments later and saves Tess before confronting CL. He draws CL back to the Fortress of Solitude and gives him one last chance at redemption. CL seems to take it and he is transported to the Fortress on the alternate Earth. Later, Tess is shaken up when she realizes that she wanted to join CL but she couldn't kill her father. Meanwhile, Clark and Lois decide to sell the Kent farm and move to Metropolis for good. Finally, back on Earth 2, Jonathan works up the courage to see his former wife and he is heartened to see that she kept his last name.
I swear there are times I think that the writers behind "Smallville" are doing everything that they can to keep the series from becoming a true epic. Case in point, the last battle between Clark and CL lasts all of 30 to 40 seconds. Basically, Clark practically throws himself to the Fortress for his big speech. And amazingly, the episode actually tries to make us buy into CL's redemption!
It would be different if we didn't know more about CL. But we do know that he killed Oliver and Lex… among several others! This Clark is not a remotely good dude and his so called conversion was one of the more ludicrous that I've ever seen in fiction. Hey… why not make the mass murderer into the good guy? Coming up next on the CW, Captain Hitler!
There are only a handful of episodes left in this series. And rather than building towards an unforgettable finale, the story arcs are moving at a maddeningly slow pace. The Darkseid story has thus far been extremely disappointing with almost no movement here towards its resolution. The Doomsday and Zod stories weren't perfect, but at they had a presence in the series that actually went forward. This episode felt like it could have been in any season after Jonathan's demise.
In a way, this episode was saved by John Schneider. The scripting of the Clark and alternate Jonathan scenes wasn't that good, but the chemistry between Schneider and Tom Welling made all of the difference. It was a little cheap to have Clark swept back to his world just before he got the goodbye hug from his father that he wanted so desperately. But it worked. And it was the one really effective emotional beat of the episode that kept it from belonging to the doghouse reserved for the "Hangover" inspired episode earlier this year.
Erica Durance did well despite having a surprisingly low screentime in the episode. Lois actually came off well in both universes as the one person who could tell which Clark she was speaking to within just a few moments. But her best scene came when Lois recognized CL and kept the reaction in her eyes as a more subtle gesture. Seeing Tess with CL wasn't nearly as interesting as a potential Lois and CL coupling would have been if Lois had to keep on pretending that she didn't know he was a fake.
In fact, the entire Tess storyline seemed to take her character arc several steps backwards by implying that she really wanted to join CL. If she's just going to be a villain again at the end of the series than we just wasted three seasons of development on her.
Unfortunately, I'm really starting to sour on this season. "Smallville" has its moments, but it doesn't deliver them on a regular basis. And I'm losing faith in the writers' ability to bring this show to a satisfying conclusion.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.