Episode: Smallville 9.19 – “Charade”
Original Air Date: April 23, 2010
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty.
This week’s installment starts with Lois, dressed in a sexy bunny outfit (of course) popping out of a giant cake. Obviously, she’s undercover. When she emerges from the cake, we realize that the crooked DA Ray Sacks, who we first met in that early season episode starring the Wonder Twins (“Idol”), has been released from prison. Apparently, he’s throwing a fundraiser for a re-election bid or something. But the point is that Clark spots Lois and blows her cover. So, she stomps across the room and punches him in the face.
Ahhh… true love.
This is going to be one of those episodes where we see the last scene first. Therefore, when we return from the commercial break, we get to start from early that morning, and try to piece together why Lois would end up punching the guy she supposedly loves. We start with Chloe and Lois talking about their respective love lives. Lois is planning on a rooftop date with Clark, and the plan is to end their agreement to keep secrets from each other. This “no more secrets” thing refers to (1) Lois secretly working with the Blur (who unbeknownst to her is actually Zod pretending to be the Blur) and (2) Clark keeping his secret identity as the Blur a… um… a secret.
Chloe doesn’t like this idea, so when Clark visits her at the Watchtower, she tries to convince him not to reveal his secret to Lois. Clark reveals his plan to convince Lois to reveal her secret without revealing his secret, but then decides he can reveal his secret as long as she reveals her secret because he can trust her with his secret as long as she stops keeping secrets from him, even though he already knows what her secret is (which actually is another secret). But if not, he’ll keep his secret but still get her to reveal her secret.
If you just got motion sickness, you’re not alone. There are actually quite a few valid Superman storylines (primarily the comic book, which is about as valid as you can get, since it’s the source material) in which Lois knows Superman’s secret. I’ve always thought the whole idea that Lois is Clark/Superman’s love interest — but doesn’t know his true identity — is completely ridiculous. It’s especially ridiculous on Smallville, since every recurring character on the show EXCEPT Lois knows his secret. If the producers were to ask me, I’d tell them to drop the Lois and Clark having trouble because they are keeping secrets thing. It’s forced and, worse, nonsensical.
But they aren’t asking me. The venting made me feel better, though, so I’ll move on.
At the Daily Planet, Lois and Clark find out that they have a new editor. He’s decided to downsize, so at the end of the day whomever’s got the best story can keep his or her job, while the other will be laid off (Wow! What a great way to create tension! — That was sarcasm.). They agree to split the work, but assure each other that they “can’t wait for tonight.” Lois calls the Blur, not realizing it’s actually Zod pretending to be the Blur. She explains to the fake Blur’s voicemail that she wants to keep Clark away from the story because she wants to protect him (?).
Clark asks Chloe to help him protect Lois, but Chloe is busy repairing all the damage Clark caused to her systems in the previous episode while he was under the influence of the red kryptonite. Plus, the writers haven’t figured out a new plot device to replace the “Lois getting kidnapped” one (which is still so fresh and exciting anyway), so Chloe isn’t going to be any help in regards to keeping Lois out of trouble.
But Chloe does track down a VIP party that DA Sacks is throwing later in the evening. And it’s a good thing, too, because Lois hasn’t walked into a kidnapping lately. So in the next scene Lois confronts the DA, who promptly kidnaps her so he can kill her and hide the body for unspecified purposes.
Clark intervenes as the Blur. While he’s hidden in the shadows, Lois talks about how happy she is that he got her message, which clues Clark into the fact that someone is masquerading as the Blur and using Lois. While Clark processes this information, a random bystander snaps a picture of Clark. Clark doesn’t notice (apparently he doesn’t feel like using his super hearing or super vision or be super in any way), and speeds away so he can transform back into Clark. “I got a picture of the Blur,” declares the kid who took his picture. Lois tries to stop him, but he gets away. Clark returns to the scene as Clark, and proceeds to alienate Lois by telling her how bad it is to keep secrets, especially about the Blur, even though he’s the one who encouraged the keeping of the secrets thing to begin with. When Clark leaves, Lois (being Lois Lane) sneaks back into the DA’s party, this time disguised as the stripper jumping out of the cake.
Clark has one of those brain farts he has every now and then in order to advance the plot, and doesn’t realize that Zod is the fake Blur. Fortunately, Chloe is designated as the non-idiot for this episode, so Clark swipes Lois’s cell phone and goes to Watchtower. Chloe helps him hack into Lois’s messages, revealing where our formerly-convicted DA is having his comeback party. Clark shows up in his tuxedo just as Lois pops out of the cake. The guy who snapped a picture of the Blur is also there, getting ready to sell his secret. Lois jumps out of the cake and punches Clark (as we saw in the opening scene) but this time we realize the punch is actually a clever ruse, so that Lois can jump the guy with the picture of the Blur. She slams his camera to the ground, and stomps it to death.
“That’s okay, kid, we just need you,” declares the DA, as his goons grab the kid. Lois also gets captured (again). The next scene shows the kid with the photo and Lois hooked up to a strange brain reading device. They’re both unconscious. It turns out Checkmate is involved, and it’s the Black King Maxwell Lord who is pulling the strings for this episode. Maxwell Lord has some history in the DC comics universe, but the main thing for Smallville purposes is that he has mind control powers. With the aid of the machine he created, Lord is trying to extract information about the Blur’s true identity. He also indulges in a good old-fashioned super villain monologue, explaining to DA Sacks that he distrusts all metahumans. He believes they are dangerous and must be destroyed. He’s also like “never mind about the hypocrisy of me hating metahumans while being a metahuman myself who has mind control powers. That’s part of my character arc.”
Sacks leaves, impressed by how hardcore his new Checkmate companions are. Clark shows up while Maxwell Lord is using his magic mind control powers on Lois. Clark hangs out in the shadows, not wanting to reveal his identity, but it’s only a matter of time before he can force Clark’s identity from Lois based on half memories and shadowy recollections. As an added bonus, the process will liquefy her brain because she’s resisting. Unfortunately for Lord, Clark remembers that he has super powers, and smashes the machine and saves the day before Maxwell can even blink.
Lois awakens with Clark standing behind her. She sees his Superman shield reflected in a darkened piece of glass. She knows the Blur rescued her, but explains that he can’t reveal himself to her. Apparently there’s too much at stake (or something), and the whole premise of Smallville will fall apart if Clark to reveals his true identity. Of course, we’ll have to wait for a future episode to learn why Lois has to be the only one on the show that doesn’t know his secret. Or perhaps the producers will read up on the new Superman comic book continuity and realize they don’t have to continue this ridiculous charade. Either way, it seems to make sense to Clark, so he leaves without revealing himself.
In the meantime, Maxwell Lord makes his escape, but gets hustled into a dimly lit limo. The lighting is quite amazing, actually, because it totally lights up Maxwell Lord with no trouble, while only lighting the beautiful legs and red shoes of his fellow passenger.
“So it’s true,” declares Maxwell Lord, trying not to look creepy as he gazes upon his new companion’s lower limbs (she’s both hot and mysterious), “there is a Red Queen.” This brings the total leadership of Checkmate to one white Queen, one black King, and a Red Queen. So, we now know that Checkmate is expanding its ranks from just chess pieces to also include a deck of cards. We also know that Checkmate needs to hire a management consultant to explain the expression “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
Back at the Kent farm, Chloe listens to Clark brood about the love triangle he has created between him, Lois, and… himself. But Chloe isn’t there to talk him out of his depression. She’s there to reveal that Zod was the person pretending to be the Blur. This means Clark (as the Blur) has to tell Lois to stop contacting the Blur and that if anyone calls her pretending to be the Blur, don’t trust him.
That’s what he does in the next scene. It’s supposed to be sad, and Erica Durance and Tom Welling do a good job trying to carry the script, but the underlying premise is so ridiculous that we just want it to end.
The last scene is a little better. It’s the rooftop date where Lois and Clark decide to leave the love triangle subplot hanging in mid air until the producers can decide what to do with it.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars