Episode: Smallville 9.14 – “Persuasion”
Original Air Date: February 19, 2010
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty.
Remember how one of my complaints regarding Smallville is that it is hit or miss? Some installments are awesome, while others are quite bad. This time, the producers outdid themselves. They hit the highs and lows of Smallville in the same episode! Do I like this ep? Do I hate it? I don’t know. I’m so confused. It’s like falling in love, except without the nookie at the end.
So let me tell you what happened: Lois and Clark are trying to decide whether to go on a Valentine’s Day date or to investigate what’s going on at the new solar tower that Luthor Corp is building (that’s the Kandor back story. This review will remind you the threat it represents). While they debate, a random girl shows up selling Valentine’s Day chocolates. She also blows pixie dust sparkles all over Clark.
We will find out later that the dust was mined from a quarry in Smallville, which tells us Smallville insiders that the dust is made from kryptonite. This particular flavor makes me think of bejeweled kryptonite from the comics, which allows Kryptonians in the phantom zone to hypnotize people on Earth to do their bidding. But this particular kryptonite gives Clark the ability to make people do whatever he tells them to do. The problem is that he can’t control it. I would guess this version could be called purple kryptonite, since it makes people’s eyes flash purple when they feel its effects.
So back to the plot: Lois and Clark go to the Daily Planet, where Clark finds out that the tower will be functional in two days. Realizing this means he has to act fast, Clark tries to get an excuse to ditch Lois, and tells her he wishes they had a more traditional relationship. Lois’s eyes flash purple, and she’s been hypnotized.
Clark leaves Lois to go to Watchtower. Lois takes the alone time as a chance to quit her job at the Planet because, as she now sees it, traditional women stay at home and take care of the house and support their man and generally act like creepy Disney World animatrons.
Over at Watchtower, Chloe has been busy. She created fake passports for the Kandorians so they can have new lives. This despite the fact that, in the future Clark saw, the blue-eyed Kandorian will kill her. Chloe’s understandably bitter about Clark’s plan to talk sense into the Kandorians instead of just killing them in their sleep.
He responds, “I know you’re saying that because you want to protect people. But right now I want you to focus on watching my back.” Chloe’s eyes flash purple, and we know she’s gone nutzo just like Lois.
Clark gives the new identities to two of the Kandorians, including the one with the piercing blue eyes that not only came back from the future and tried to kill Clark, but also will kill Chloe in the future if Clark can’t change the course of events. They seem moved by his concern for their well being. Clark demands they tell him who killed his father, but the kryptonite doesn’t work on them (perhaps because they are Kryptonians).
Clark goes back to the farm, where a Stepford Wives version of Lois has been cooking and cleaning. She decided to move in with Clark while they are engaged. “Engaged?” Asks Clark, looking like a super powered deer caught in the headlights. Hilarity ensues as Lois acts totally out of character. You can tell it’s hilarious because of the quaint background music.
After Clark leaves, Chloe shows up at the farm because she wants to protect Clark, only to find Lois cooking and cleaning looking frumpy. Since she is so dedicated to watching Clark’s back, Chloe gets really mean and tries to convince Lois is that “if you really love him, the best thing you can do for Clark is leave him.”
If you are thinking this is the low part of the episode, then you read my mind. By now Clark has figured out the thing about the kryptonite, so he goes back to the farm. Lois has been crying and ruining her mascara and gotten herself into a rousing fit of self-pity.
I have to interrupt myself to give a compliment to the show. Even though I have serious issues with the Lois-as-homemaker subplot, I have to give props to Erica Durance, the actress that plays Lois. This is a tough scene that few could pull off, but she does it quite well. In this scene, Lois is crying because Chloe has basically convinced her that she has to leave Clark.
She has to cry, but her crying has to do two opposite things at the same time. The first thing it has to do is fulfill the comedy element: Lois overreacting and generally doing things out of character. The second thing, and the thing that is under the surface and therefore more difficult, is to show a vulnerability to Lois that she otherwise would not display. It is a window into the depth of Lois’s love for Clark, which her tough girl exterior would never allow us to see under normal circumstances.
For that reason, this particular scene is very bold on the part of the writers. They served up a dish for Durance that good actors dream of having, and mediocre actors dread. But she nailed it. Therefore, my compliments to the writers for having the guts to challenge the actors on occasion, and props to actors like Erica Durance (Lois), Justin Hartley (Oliver/Green Arrow), and Allison Mack (Chloe) for rising to the challenge.
Okay, enough of that “me being a nice reviewer” crap. Where was I? Oh, yes: Clark goes to the Watchtower where he finds Dr. Emil totally flipping out. Forgetting his kryptonite problem, Clark orders Emil to “relax for once,” resulting in a totally relaxed Emil who suddenly slips into surfer dude talk and decides to just chill. He does point out to Clark that the kryptonite will probably wear out on its own anyway. Meanwhile, why not use his new power for something good, like picking up chicks?
Clark has other ideas and tracks down General Zod. He tries to use the hypnosis on Zod to tell Clark who killed his father, but it backfires (I’m guessing since Zod is a Kryptonian). Zod tells Clark he should get justice (which is Kandorian code for revenge-motivated-murder) for his father’s murder, and that it must have been Tess who killed Clark’s father, so why not drop in on the Luthor Mansion and kill her? Because of the purple kryptonite reverse thingy, Clark now wants to kill Tess.
When Clark gets to Tess’s place, Chloe is already there. She’s been trying to hack into the Luthor computers (to protect Clark or something). Chloe and Tess get into a totally awesome catfight, but Clark super speeds Tess to the rooftop. He’s about to use his heat vision to kill Tess when Chloe shows up with some green kryptonite. The green kryptonite not only prevents Clark from killing Tess (which is good, because Superman doesn’t kill people) but also neutralizes the effects of the purple kryptonite.
Loose end tie-up time: Chloe explains that when she had Clark’s back, that also meant protecting him from himself, which is why she used the green kryptonite.
Lois is convinced she went Stepford on him because Clark was moving too fast, not the other way around, and Clark lets her think that.
It turns out that old blue eyes killed Clark’s father, not Tess or Zod. She admits this to Zod, and offers herself up for an execution because “justice must be served.” Zod executes her. Apparently Kandorians like to do it Old Testament style.
At her funeral, Zod is pissed at Clark because he had to kill old blue eyes because that is how Kryptonian justice works and he knew Clark wouldn’t have the kryptonian jewels to get the job done. Clark doesn’t buy it, and gives Zod a lecture on the true meaning of justice. The audience gets really excited because we can’t wait for the super powered smack down that this hopefully is foreshadowing (we also wish the rest of the episode would have been like this).
Clark realizes he has to take drastic measures, and destroys the solar tower that is almost complete. Zod is not pleased.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars