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Friday, January 27, 2006
Thoughts on the 100th episode of Smallville
So, the 100th episode of Smallville aired last night and, as promised since the start of the season, someone close to Clark died. If you've not yet seen the episode and don't know who shuffled off this mortal coil on the show and prefer to watch the show unaware of the identity of the deceased, please turn back now.

OK, still with me?

So, as I'm watching "Reckoning" unfold, I'm loving the first 30 minutes. Clark reveals his secret to Lana, Jonathan wins the election, Lex goes over the edge and confronts Lana in a drunken stupor. In short: the first 30 minutes felt like we were actually pushing forward with plots, changing assumptions and putting new things into play at long last. Then, we get to the jaw-dropper that--holy cow, they really are going to kill off Lana! Lana perishes in a car wreck, after calling Clark because Lex has had his suspicions about Clark hiding something confirmed and seeing Clark come running up at super speed.

Yes, yes and yes, I'm screaming at the TV. Yes, please give us more. This is how you do a big, 100th episode of a show.

But then....

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo! We got to a commerical break and Clark is up in the Fortress and luckily Jor-El has a magic crystal that contains a reset button. Clark can go back and save Lana, but watch out Kal-El because tampering with destiny has unintended consequences. Yeah, I don't care says Clark, I just want me some Lana back. So, we go back in time, Clark is acting like a weenie (again), Lana dumps him, Jonathan wins the election, Lana still has a drunk confrontation with Lex and Jonathan dies of a heart attack after punching out Lionel, who is hiding some secret about the Kent family (does Lionel know for sure that Clark is an alien? Or is it just bringing up that Lionel pulled strings to help the Kents adopt Clark?) Jonathan dies and it appears there's no magic reset button this time. Instead, we have an interesting closing scene in which we see the various people in Clark's life all come into his orbit at different distances. Lex is far away, looking hurt and torn. Lana takes his hand for a moment and then drops it. Chloe and Lois look at Clark with sympathy. Mom is there with Lionel lurking over her shoulder. Is it foreshadowing of how all these relationships play out? Or am I giving Smallville too much credit?

The show has reached a crossroads. For one thing, Clark apparently has memories of the day that Lana died but he changed so he knows some things. I think the schism that could have resulted between the two because Lex's actions led to Lana's death could have made for some great television there. But then again, we'd have Clark pining for Lana for approximately 17 weeks, so maybe that'd be boring to watch. But I could see Clark being a bit bitter toward Lex since in his mind, he could see Lex's actions as forcing him to choose Lana to save over his dad. In reality, it could have been that Jonathan's heart condition would have killed him in the time line where Lana dies as well, so Clark could be saving himself a doubling of his grief. But we get the impression that exerting himself in beating the crap out of Lionel is one factor that led to Jonathan's death. Should Jonathan have been at the accident with Clark, that might not happen in the way it did. Also, Clark knows that Lex has designs on Lana and how will that play out. You know, I've said all along that I think the most fascinating part of this show is the dynamic of how did Clark and Lex go from friends to mortal enemies...but if it's all over Lana, I think I may have to riot in the streets. Give us something more than that, please.

So, half of this episode was brilliant and half of it was the same kind of ground we've covered before. I can only hope that conseuqences of this continue to spin in interesting directions. I do wonder if next week, Clark will conviently forget his expereince of having lived the same day twice and the expereinces and memories he gained from it. But I have a feeling these will not be addressed...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/27/2006 07:44:00 AM | |
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