LUTHOR: Before Otisburg

Season 10 Episode 10
Freelance Review and Recap
by Holl
i

Directed by Executive Producer Kelly Souders, a first. This controversial episode was written by Batgirl author and former Smallville intern, Bryan Q. Miller. He is currently Executive Story Editor on the show. He wrote last season’s WARRIOR where he turned Zatanna into a sexual predator determined to give Clark a magic lap dance. This episode had a similar plotline but only in two universes.

Some Smallville history: When Tess Mercer was first introduced in Season 8, then Executive Producer Darren Swimmer revealed that Tess would develop a romantic interest in Clark. This was scrapped after a scene shown at Comic Con that summer indicating Tess’ intentions towards Clark. The deleted scene is on the Season 8 DVD. That same season Kelly Souders also confessed that Clark Kent was a bit of a man whore. (Clark never was in the comics but this is the CW and Smallville) This season (10) Kelly stated that they wanted to give the fans all that they’ve been waiting for and also some of the things the Powers That Be wanted as well since they were also fans. So off the season 8 shelf and into the bucket went romantic Tess and Clark and Clark the man whore which brings us to this episode. Since their wish would greatly interfere with the solidifying of the Clark and Lois relationship which fans have been waiting for since season 4, they decided to do an alternate universe story before a major moment in Superman/Lois Lane/Clark Kent television history. Apparently they are not the least bit concerned with ramping up the Clark and Lois relationship for more impact, they decided to side track their audience with rehashing of old lessons. In the final season, no less.

Some comics history: Any one who has read Superman comics knows that Clark and Lois have an initial spark that draws them to each other. This is true whether in continuity, reboots, retcons, alternate universes or elseworlds. If there is a Clark and a Lois anywhere, anytime, anyplace – they are sure to be involved usually romantically with each other. Also the Baby Kal-El was sent to Earth in hope that he would have a full life. Clark is the personification of hope. Many fans believe there will always be a seed of hope within him. Apparently BQM forgot these classic story elements when he wrote LUTHOR.

Some words about the rating: This was a difficult episode to watch and to review. If I were using numbers (which I do when it doesn’t deserve a superword), I would have to give it a 5. There are many reasons for it and they all relate to the story. I didn’t love it and I didn’t completely dislike it – Out of ten there were five things I liked and five things I didn’t like. Even. Could go either way. Since this tenth and final season I have used superwords which relate to the Fourth World for exemplary episodes, I thought why not a Fourth World name for a less than stellar episode.

RATING: SLEEZ. Believe me it is appropriate. Sleez was a character created by John Byrne, Post Crisis. He was a companion of a young Darkseid who grew tired of Sleez’s depravities. Yea, really. Darkseid banished Sleez to Earth where the creature took up a living in the sewers of Metropolis’ Suicide Slum. (not plural) In Action Comics 592 and 593, he attempts to produce a pornographic film starring a psionically dominated Superman and Big Barda, leader of the Furies, who is married to Mister Miracle, Scott Free, son of High Father but raised by Darkseid via a peace negotiation. I’m not making this stuff up. Mister Miracle has to go rescue his wife. This story has the dubious distinction of being one of the ten worst moments in Superman History.

Which brings us to LUTHOR. Let me just say that Tom Welling is a great actor. He has grown so much over the years. He conveys so much with his face. He really brought all his bag of tricks to the role of UltraClark Luthor. He was delicious to watch especially if you like sexy, psychotic, sociopathic, manipulative murderers. Very different from Clark Kent who Superman fans adore. He is the Boy Scout and that’s why we love him so. Cassidy Freeman and Erica Durance were also superb. These women are a credit to their craft. Justin Hartley did not have much to work with since his plotline was choppy at best, but I always enjoy him and he delivers. John Glover returned as UberLionel and he was a bit over the top which seemed somewhat appropriate for the role since this character is flat out megaEvil. Kelly Souders did an incredible job with delineating between the two worlds and between the two sets of Clarks, Tessi, and Lois’. Her use of lighting was outstanding. Glad they only did the world flip thing once. I love roller coasters and IMAX but that thing affected my stomach. Wardrobe and hair and makeup also came into play here. Great job by crew and Louis knows when to hold the score and when to let it rip. Febre confirmed he used the heartbeat in the AU scene with AULois and RWClark. (RW=RealWorld)

The story did not advance Clark’s trials with the VRA, Darkseid’s minions, Suicide Squad or Deathstroke. Lil Lex was touched upon. Nor did it advance his relationship with Lois. In fact he allowed the AUClark’s actions to come between them at least in his own mind. The only real reason for this episode was to give the actors a chance to stretch their muscles (and they did beautifully) within an alternate universe Clark-Tess fantasy context and to re-introduce yet another villain, Lionel Luthor of Luthorville. This is disturbing as I said before because Clark and Lois really shouldn’t have this speed bump on the road to their engagement. It was unnecessary, but TPTB can do what they please.

Clark Luthor was referred to as Ultraman but he and his world had little resemblance to that comic universe. Also, his world was referred to as Earth-2, but Ultraman was created in Earth-3. Earth-2 as comic readers know (and newbies may want to learn) was when Golden Age Clark and Lois were married and appeared in the Superman Family comics during the Silver Age.

TEASER:
Ain’t no sunshine on the Luthor mansion. Tess is having insomnia. She’s carrying on a dual life – Watchtower and Lex Luthor nurturer. Apparently Lionel left his heir a Kryptonian relic. And Tess is not getting any slack from Lionel’s lawyer who looks down her nose at her. Lex seems to be his father’s golden boy in their eyes. Even though Cassidy’s head hides it, the Veritas window is back. So under a purple cloth, she grows bugged eye even though we can’t see the object or any glyphs. Clark calls her. “Clark! Calling another woman at this hour. What would the industrious Lois Lane think?” She toddles her head in mockery as she says Lois’ name. Strange, she seemed perfectly cool with Lois being in all aspects of his life in PATRIOT. We only hear Clark’s voice. “We have a leak.” His first words of the episode. (Baby, you’ve got a deluge of crap coming) “Meet me at Cadmus labs.” No chit chat from Clarkie. All business. And don’t be talkin about his woman like that! At the mention of the nefarious Lex labs, Tess gets paranoid. Her two lives are colliding. She emotionlessly tells him she’ll be right there and quickly hangs up the phone. She takes some breaths but before going for her purse, she looks at the relic box, takes it out and puts the device in her purse. Really? Yea, like I’d just want to be walking down Main Street with that thing, not to mention letting the TSA feel me up for it. Contrived!

Walking down the hall of the still wrecked lab, she says Clark’s name rather breathlessly, then straightens to ask what he’s found. He’s got his casual clothes on and is holding a file in his hand. “Emil finally finished working through the files we found after the fire. There’s one body still unaccounted for, LX15. There’s another Lex on the loose.” Looking shifty eyed, she wonders why he’s looking there (DUH) because she closed the books on the lab months ago. Trust issues? Clarkie has some intel. Is he waiting for Tess to come clean? “Supplies are still being sent here.” She walks out of his gaze and he looks troubled by her move. “Someone’s been helping him survive.” She goes on the defensive. “But you’re assuming he’s a threat because he’s a Luthor.” Well, yea. She turns to face him with accusation. “Whatever happened to giving everyone a second chance.” Really? After LAZARUS with Lois & the DP in danger? This is so three seasons ago. “Luthor blood is Luthor blood. It’s poison.” Whoa! This isn’t even the alternate Clark yet and he’s waaaaay out of character. Really? This opener felt so weird. Basically it was a setup for the final Clark and Tess scene. Where Clarkie admits he’s wrong – which he ain’t. “IT’s here.” Yep, he just called a Lex clone an it. So not Clark. Life is life to him. It’s why he doesn’t kill Lex II in the comics and probably on this show too eventually. “It’s the only room in the building that’s lead lined.” A Lex thing to protect him from Superman. And since we know Granny has been to Cadmus there may be a Darkseid element to Lex’s captivity.

Tess moved Alexander from the luxury of the mansion to a storage room at the now defunct Cadmus. Really? Wouldn’t one of those Luthor designed oil rigs have been better? At least more secure.

Clark takes a step forward but Tess warns him off and turns for the door. He stops her. “No, Tess. They’re dangerous, Tess. They’re born that way.” Honestly? This is coming out of Clark Kent’s mouth. WTF? He breaks down the doors to the room and it’s unoccupied. Tess is confused because Alexander was in there. She offers to go to Watchtower to use Oliver’s satellite but Clark picks up an open book of Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie. You know Peter Pan, the story of a mischievous boy who could fly and visits Neverland. Before she goes, Clark reads the inscription. “Dearest Tess. Thanks for the read but I’m all grown up now. Alexander. You knew about all this.” He confronts her. He is not happy. “After all of what Oliver and I did to trust you. This is how you repay us?” Tess shakes her head in denial saying she was only trying to protect him. Standard line of BS. Check. “You were only trying to protect yourself.” Thank you, Clarkie! He sees the S symbol scribblings on the wall. Tess turns and does her breathless Clark again. She drops her open purse to the floor when she sees what he’s looking at. “You’re no better than he is.”

He sees the Kryptonian symboled object and picks it up. “What else are you hiding, Tess?” She pleads that she just received it and she was going to tell him. “Why do you have it?” The symbols are LL on the relic. Lionel’s initials?? As she tells him she has something to tell him – he twists the object like a party favor. Why? It’s not like he hasn’t dealt with this stuff before. Shouldn’t he be consulting Jor-El? We see bits of Clark in the prism. “Clark!” He is transported somewhere.

He’s in bed. He ‘awakens.’ He’s naked in bed with two women. No OMG face. Not the usual reaction we get from Clark. Where’s the object? Did he leave it or bring it with him? Cut to him picking up a t-shirt. He has his pants on now. He’s in a bedroom. Filmed mostly in black and grey overtones. He slides on the t-shirt. He looks in a mirror and we see the Ultraman symbol with upside down shield. Clark is confused. Lionel enters quoting Marcus Aurelius. “When you arise in the morning, think of what a [precious] privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Clark squints at him. “Lionel?” Lionel tosses him some clothes. “Dress yourself. Luthor men must seize our day. You only live once, Son.” Clark’s eyebrows crinkle. Credits.

So AUClark lives with Daddy, sleeps with the boom boom twins, and Daddy gives him theatrical speeches while telling him how to live life and how to dress. Really?

ACT ONE:
Clark following Lionel. This can’t be good. He’s buttoning a dress shirt. “What are you doing here?” Don’t you have that the wrong way round, Clarkie? You’re the one who twisted the box. Lionel isn’t bothered by Mandy and Bambi being in his son’s bed, but he is worried about how Clark allocates their expense. He doesn’t want another audit. Uhh, I thought he owned everything in this world. And AUClark has to pay for it? Really? He looks like that – and he has to pay for it? This is an imaginary world. Clark rightly states. “This is impossible.”

Wouldn’t evil Luthors have a couple of whore houses where he would get his nookie free without declaring it on his expense account? Who’s auditing them anyway? Surely, they pay those people off.

Lionel gives us the exposition on the Ultraman persona. Apparently it is used to strong arm any Luthor opponents. “But your display of ego is attracting too much attention. You’re getting reckless.” He says closing Clark’s open collar. “Button up!” Wow! Talk about micromanaging!

They walk through the infamous office doors as Lionel takes off his suit jacket. “Is this a dream?” Clark, should you really be asking this guy anything? Apparently there is a Luthor dream and they have an empire. Lionel is constantly telling Clark to think. “Hard work, dedication to family.” Clark is tossed a blue kryptonite radiated sword. It cuts his hand. Guess Daddy Dearest likes to completely tip the playing field to his advantage. “And more than a little spilt blood.” Where’s the love?

Note: AUClark must have stolen the Mona Lisa for Daddy. Whatever.

So Clark is thinking. “This is one of my trials.” Lionel tells him no, he just needs practice and mentions ‘burning the candle at both ends.’ Since we know AUClark is probably superpowered, it’s not like he’s going to lose energy or stamina. Lionel comes at our sword fighting novice with a vengeance while he spouts criticism that Clark is not living up to his potential. “I know you can make a father proud!” Farm boy does manage to hold his own. Crossed swords. “I’m not your son!” Lionel doesn’t take kindly to that. “Watch out for those emotional reactions.” Lionel throws him off. Clarkie comes back at him like Ollie Reed as Athos in the Three Musketeers. Brawler-style. Lionel disarms him and takes a swipe at his head and then places the point of his sword under Clark’s chin. “The heart! It will blind you, Son.” So as Clark rises from the floor we found out AUClark is not allowed to be his own man. “But remember Clark, I am your father and I alone raised you in my image to become the man that you are today.” Our Clark finally realizes he has to play the part in order to stay alive. “I must have lost perspective.” Lionel chuckles as he removes the sword from Clark’s neck. “But that’s why I’m here to set you back on the right path.” He tosses down the sword and grabs Clark’s face. “You could conquer the universe. The Man of Tomorrow! Clark Luthor!” I think UberLionel was a dramatics major. Question: How is AUClark going to conquer the universe if he’s under Daddy’s thumb?

So while Lionel gets the usual drink of booze. Clark is quiet and walks slowly towards him. Lionel refers to him as “My Little Traveler.” Yep, we’re back in Season 7 territory. Oh joy [sarcasm] Lionel berates the ignorant farmer that would have found Clark in the cornfield. “Where on Earth would you be now?” He gives Clark’s cheek a cuddle and walks away. Clark checks his hand to see if it’s healed. It must be. “The farm.” He superspeeds off.

The Kent barn. Auction sign hanging dated July 28th. It looks deserted. Clark yells “Mom!” while opening the doors. He walks in; there are no signs of life or occupation. “Dad?” We hear Tess’ voice from the loft. “He isn’t here.” Uh yea, he knows that. She appears looking unTesslike smiling at him. He superspeeds up the stairs. “How long have you been here?”

Okay, he ‘woke’ up with two prostitutes in his bed at the Luthor mansion, Lionel is alive and telling him how to dress and then they sword fight with blue k. He finds out it is Lionel who discovered him in the cornfield. The Kent farm is abandoned and he wonders how long Tess has been there? Really? This isn’t Peter Pan. This is Alice in Wonderland! Mirror box, get it? (I know they used Peter and Wendy because it refers to Clark and Tess – which is so wrong.)

“Long enough to go for a ride.” Oh, shades of blahna. “You love to make me wait, don’t you?” She’s on him like white on rice. (We’re all so sick of this shit – isn’t he about to be engaged to Lois – why do TPTB feel the need to do this crap?) He pushes her away. “What are you doing?” She’s grinning at him. “Stop worrying. Father will never find us here.” She says as she starts dragging him up to the next level. He’s confused even after Lionel called him son how many times? Clark, you’re not THAT dense. Why do they write you that way? “Our father?” (you better start praying, Clarkie) AUTess strips off her jacket and explains that he’s adopted and she is the red headed bastard. She goes for his lips again. “You’re a . . .Luthor,” says Clark. Now he’s catching on. He tries to set her aside. She’s not catching on. “God, you love to rile me up, don’t you.” (this is riling?) She goes for his belt buckle. He grabs her hands and looks pained. “Tess, I can’t do this.” Yay, Clark! But of course the writer wouldn’t allow him to mention Lois, this is a Cless episode. Tess looks confused. “Why not?” He looks her straight in the eye. “I’m not who you think I am.” She stares at his arm. “Your scar. Where’s your scar?” She grabs his arm and then backs away from him to stomp to the other side of the loft. “The bastard. He used the mirror box.” She’s grabbing up her bag which she brought for their rendezvous. Yea in a barn and the Luthors own everything in Luthorville AKA Metropolis. “He tells me all about it and then says he can’t find it. I can’t believe I ever thought it would work with us. I can’t believe I ever trusted him.” She’s tossing stuff in the bag. “Tess! I found it.” That stops her. “I used it. But who are you talking about?” REALLY? Hello! She just told you earlier. I guess the brother sister thing threw him. Maybe he didn’t want to go there. To bad we had to. “You. Or the more fun version of you anyway.”

Okay, what is up with him asking Luthors (he knows she is one now) questions? “Is this time travel? Something went wrong in my past? If I fix it I get to go back.” Complete with riding crop, Tess answers him. “Are you really this naive in your world?” Uh, yea he is and we love him for it. Twisted darkness and evil he doesn’t get. Tess descends. “My world,” says Clark. He begs Tess to tell him what she knows. “According to my Clark, it’s like a parallel reality. It’s still the same history. It’s just rewritten with a sort of darker edge.” So AUClark is fully aware of this other reality and how the mirror box works so he’s desperate to get it to get out from under Daddy’s thumb. So while our Clark is stranded there, AUClark is stuck in our world. “And your kinder, gentler world is about the get an explosive awakening.” Not like waking up in bed with two prostitutes.

Questions: Why do AUClark and AUTess meet at the old Kent barn for sibling hanky panky? And do they use the riding crop? Could he fly them somewhere more palatable? Like France? I know Daddy probably has eyes and ears everywhere in Luthorville, but really? Or are they just into the whole nasty sordidness of it all? Yea, Sleez.

Scene switch. Luthorcorp owns every building in Luthorville. Then what competition do they have? Bet Ultraman is bored with no one to strong arm. Clark is wearing a black leather jacket as a red mustang drives down the street and runs into him. BQM used this gag in ECHO since Durance once almost hit Welling backing out of a parking space. She missed him in ECHO, but for this episode we have to dumb down Lois to make Tess look good so she hits him. I guess this is a strange meet cute – but wouldn’t they have already met? That’s the burning question for fans of the Superman story – how did AUClark and AULois meet and was there a spark?

Clark bends down and straightens the bumper as he looks into the windshield. It’s AULois with Teri Hatcher Lois hair. “Lois?” She gets out of the car and looks pissed. She’s wearing a red top and a dark pencil skirt. She is the most colorful thing in this world. How could AUClark not notice her? “Of all the people in all the streets in the whole world, you’re the person I have to hit?” Kind of a Casablanca mention. She looks at the bumper and it’s fixed. She looks puzzled. So apparently this Lois does not know the secret. “Lois, I’m so happy to see you.” Clark stretches out his arms to her looking relieved. AULois holds up her hands to signal ‘back off.’ “Hey! Don’t think for a moment that you’re going to use this non-fender bender as another excuse to try and get me fired.” We learn later that AUClark runs the Luthorcorp Media (DP) so he would be Lois’ boss. If so, why can he only try . . . couldn’t he just fire her? “Lois, why would I want to fire you?” Great question. Goes unanswered. AUOllie enters the scene. “Because you’re a masochist.” He heads towards AULois who gives him a grin. “Now I know why you’re late. Are you okay?” She nods. Clark looks at her left hand on Ollie’s shoulder. There’s an engagement ring. While he stares at it some news person pops in asking Ollie about land grabs in Smallville. “Don’t worry, Ollie, I can handle this,” says Lois as she gives Clark a look of disgust. Clark gulps as Lois and the woman go off to the side.

Ollie moves to confront Clark but he turns to watch Lois. He turns back with a look of horror on his face. “You’re engaged?” Ollie gets snippy telling him what his employees do with their personal lives is none of his concern. Clark turns back to look at Lois again. The newswoman is nearly screaming that the people want to know what’s going on as Lois turn to look at Clark like she can’t stand him. While still looking at her, Clark tells Ollie, “You’re lucky to have her.” Ollie starts his diatribe. They’ve known each other since boarding school. Does that mean that AUOllie, AULex and AUClark went to the same boarding school? Lex and Ollie were in the same class. Clark would be younger. “I’ve had to stand here and watch you piss away every single opportunity to make this world a better place.” So did we in season 7, but Ollie wasn’t in season 7. Lois returns to Ollie’s side. He thanks her for her efforts. This is where the heartbeat begins. Lois gives Clark dagger looks. He opens his mouth as if to say something. She gets into the passenger side of the car. They’re still staring at one another. Ollie drives her away as Clark watches.

An alarm sounds. A robber is trying to make a get away. Clark on top of a building. You can almost see the Ultraman t-shirt underneath his open jacket. “Those don’t belong to you.” The robber makes a run for it. Clark zips into the alley way that the robber is trapped in. The guy refuses to face him. Clark says hey. “You stay away from me.” Clark wants to know why he’s so afraid. “Cause no one sees Ultraman and lives to tell about it.” Well, that’s one way to keeping your identity secret. Kill them all! While the robber is pissing himself, Clark turns away from him. “Lionel turned me into a murderer.” He sees the Ultraman symbol burned into the wall of a building. Ultraman was a way for AUClark to have something of his own.

We go topsy turvy from Luthorville to the bright colors of Metropolis with the S symbol in red paint on the side of a building. Nice effect. There is a Luthor crest scar on a right forearm. It’s AUClark in the real world. Dressed in purple and black, dress shirt, vest and slacks. The music is ominous.

Question: So our Clark who was fully dressed finds himself naked in AU world, but AUClark who would have been naked finds himself fully dressed in our world with different clothes of course. How does that work?

ACT TWO:
Daily Planet. Our World. Tess with her hair in a bun is using the cities cameras to find Clark. She’s wearing a black blouse and black pants. “Where are you, Clark?” We hear her door open and she snips at whoever is there. “It’s adorable seeing you at my desk like you own the place.” It’s AUClark leaning in the doorway. He’s carrying a suit jacket and wearing a pinky ring. Tess goes to him. “How can you be so flip when I’ve been looking for you all night long.” Clue #1. When is Clark ever flip? He tosses his jacket aside much as our Clark does in the final scene with Tess. He’s crowding her. “I like making you wait.” He kisses her up against the desk. She puts her hands up. He cradles her head. Then she gets into it. It’s Cless time remember? Lois who? Her hand goes to his forearm and feels the scar. He snarls at her. “It still bothers you. There’s not take backs when it comes to gold K. Lex sure knew how to leave an impression, didn’t he?”

STOP! Gold K? The kryptonite in the comics that can permanently take away his powers? It didn’t appear to be the case in this episode. And they use blue K to temporarily take away his powers on the show when in the comics it’s Bizarro’s ‘green K’ not Clark’s. What’s the deal? And what kind of sadomasochistic sibling thing did they have going on? Were there Lione kiddie three ways? Lex obviously is the one who marked him. Sleez.

Tess, the alpha female of the episode, quickly realizes it is not the Clark Kent she knows. “His ego certainly left something to be desired.” AUClark gives her a smirk. “I am shocked.” But he doesn’t act like it. He walks away from her to look out the window. “As disinterested as you were in finding the mirror box that YOU would bring us here.” Apparently AUClark is slightly dense also. Tess wobbles towards the whiskey decanter and pours a drink. Typical Luthor. “Hardly any trace of Lionel at all. It’s refreshing actually. Being out from under our father’s shadow.” Tess takes a sip and then goes wide eyed at the mention of ‘father.’ “Lionel Luthor has been dead for years. Lex killed him.” That cracks AUClark up. “I guess Lex did something right in this place.” He lounges on the couch like a panther. She pours him a drink. “I gotta tell you, Sis, this alternate Earth. It’s a blast. Doesn’t feel right though. Not having blood on my hands before lunch.” Shock on Tess’ face. She plays him like she played Zod. “That’s the great thing about us being on our own now.” She gives him a smile and hands him the drink. “So you can have lunch whenever you want.” Double entendre there. Bad RWTess. He goes for it. Takes the drink and fingers her arm. “And what if I was hungry now?” She gives a little chuckle and cuddles up next to him. “I’m watched constantly here.” AUClark is smooth. He really isn’t interested. “Where’s the box, Tess?” Guess he’s all business, too. “Why?” He gives her the once over. “We destroy the box, we destroy any chance of being sent back there. And nothing can stop us.” She starts to rise from her perch. “Well, why don’t you wait at the mansion . . .” He grabs her arm and pulls her back down. Putting on her mask again, she reassures him. “And I’ll grab the box and we can celebrate.” He gives her an evil grin. “This world won’t know what hit it.” He gets up takes his jacket and drink and closes the door. Tess reveals her horror.

Metro Cafe. Where nothing ever goes right for Lois. That’s certainly not going to change in this episode. She has an incoming call from Tess. “Oh no, you are not going to ruin this gal’s afternoon off.” She plucks her phone back into her purse. She orders a regular black coffee and the guy gives her a smirk. Apparently ordering the cheapest coffee is infuriating to him. She said please! She digs for her wallet. “Don’t quit your day job.” He sets down the coffee and sighs heavily. “And leave all this?” Lois places some bills in his tip jar hoping to make amends. She then hands him her credit card to pay for the coffee. “Insufficient funds.” He takes back the coffee. “Like hell! I just got paid!” She grabs back the card. The guy behind her’s phone rings. She hands the vender back the card encouraging him to try again. He refuses. “Fine! Then I will just . . .” She reaches into the tip jar to retrieve her bills and he stops her. Seriously’s are exchanged. The guy behind her has answered his phone and is totally confused. “Are you Lois Lane?” She turns on him like she’s going to take his head off but then relaxes. “Uh, who wants to know?” He hands her his phone. “Whoever’s on the other side of my cell.” She takes it looking confused. “Hello?” Tess is screaming at her. “If I’m calling you, Lane, it’s for a reason.” So apparently there was no bonding in PATRIOT. Tess is back to being top bitch. “Tess?” Lois looks around while the guy behind her buys her a coffee. “How are you doing this?” The voice says, “Look to your left.” Tess closes her eyes. “Your other left.” Lois sees the street camera. “Watchtower’s everywhere. Now get up here. We have a problem. So Lois doesn’t know here left from her right in this episode even though this Lois Lane is left handed. Do some writers just not like the Lois character?

The guy stares up at the camera. Lois hands him his phone as he tries to give her the coffee. What a sweet guy. Lois runs off. “Nice to meet you, Lois.”

Enter pissed off Lois into Watchtower. “Tess Mercer, if your little stunt ruins my credit. . .” She stops dead and is looking up. “Wow!” We see the globe and colored dots representing JLA/JSA members. Tess is frantically trying to contact someone. Guess they’re ignoring her, too. “All this for a primitive busy signal.” Lois offers to help. “Okay, I’m not really sure what you’re doing, but I’m perfectly willing to run around and frown at technology if it will lend a hand.” So since she can’t round up the troops, Tess has calculated that Watchtower is the safest place in the city. Why? “For who?” asks Lois. “For you.” “From who?” “From Clark.” “Wait. My Clark?” Tess gulps air. “Not exactly. And it’s only a matter of time before he realizes I’m not his Tess.” His Tess? Really? I think I’m going to be ill. We hear flying rumblings. Was there any doubt that this one could fly? I mean really. Everyone does except our Clark. ARGH!

And then there is a thud on the roof. AUClark breaks through the skylight and crashes down to pound his fist on the floor. The shock waves send Tess and Lois flying in opposite directions. His suit jacket collar is up (kind of like the black Blur thing). Tess is moaning with pain. “Get up, Tess.” She looks at him. He rages at her. “GET UP!” We hear Lois. He turns his head in her direction. “Clark.” She’s shuffling to get to him. “If this is some kind of red K episode, we can work this out.” He grabs her by the chest and flings her across the room.

STOP! Rocking and muttering. No. No. No. NO. NO. NO! Not season 7 again. WRATH. Don’t make me remember! Oh the pain! **clears throat** So any fan who thought of seeing even ten seconds of AUClark meeting RWLois – your hopes have been dashed. A Lois is flung across the room like a piece of trash by a Clark. LOIS IS NOT DISPOSABLE! And it is truly lazy writing and plotting to not have AUClark deal with our Lois.

TPTB lost me here. I was having Post Traumatic Season 7 Syndrome at this point.

Tess pleads for him to leave Lois alone. But of course. “I wouldn’t worry about Lane, Sis. It’s remarkable what you hear when you stop to listen.” So did he hear that Lois Lane and his doppelganger were together as a couple? That Tess was trying to protect her from him? Doesn’t make sense since Lois was abandoned in his world and apparently he thought no more of her than a gnat. Truly sad and tragic. No hope. Tess tells him he can’t stay there. He walks towards her. “I can do anything I want.” He twists his pinky ring. “I’m not going back to Lionel’s world. Cuz that’s exactly what it is. Lionel’s.” Tess is holding her left arm in pain and she didn’t even get chucked across the room. “This world will be mine.” Welling does this great impatient clapping of hands before he puts a hand out. “Gimme the box.” There is some eye sparring. “And if I don’t?” He gives her an evil smile. “I’ll kill you.” Yea, do it! Save us the penultimate scene. No love lost here.

ACT THREE
Back to Luthorville. AUTess is raiding Daddy’s office bookshelf. The props department placed a page of the mirror box between the pages Lois looked at in ABANDONED. AUTess rips it away. Lionel walks in. “My prodigal daughter. You’ve returned.” So apparently AUTess has turned her back on her father and her fortune. I guess the brother nookie wasn’t enough to make her stay. She charges that he kicked her out the door. Always alert. He notices the book has been removed and takes it off the shelf. “Does this has anything to do with that ill conceived coup that you’ve been planning.” She goes to deny it but he stops her. “Don’t lie. You’re no good at it. You never were.” Girlfriend is not so nimble it the hide it in the pants trick. Daddy gets the page. “Little Greek tragedy you’ve been trying to drag your brother into. Oh yes, I know all about that.” She tells Lionel she loves AUClark. Brian Peterson has said in the past that Tess loves Clark. “Like you never will.” Well let’s hope so. They could carry that incest thing a little too far. “Of course you love him, it’s no mystery. Clark is a god among men though how he could love you, a consummate disappointment, is beyond me. You’re nothing but trouble, Tess. You’re corrupting him.” She’s doing that in our world,too. She chuckles She tells her Daddy to look in the mirror. “I have worked too long and too hard to let you a little half bred tramp with a Magdalene complex ruin everything.” She smacks Daddy. He wipes it away. “You just made this a lot easier.” He hits the goon squad button on his desk. She picks up a picture of Lionel and a very young Clark. “Why couldn’t you ever love me the way you love Clark?” Daddy gives it to her. “Simply put, Sweetheart, you’re just not special enough.” She smashes the picture and glass flies. It’s a Luthor tradition. Glass has to break. The goons grab her. “I hope that your love is enough to save you when he stabs you in the back! You son of a bitch!” So she rats out her brother lover, AUClark, to Daddy Dearest. Hope she doesn’t do that in our world. That gets Daddy thinking.

Fortress of Solitude in the dark. Our Clark comes in yelling for Jor-El. He’s visiting everywhere and everyone who had ever given him hope and love in his past. “I know that you and I aren’t on the best of terms right now, but . . .” Really, I thought ABANDONED might have cleared some things up for Clark and BDJ. Oh well. I guess this episode could be plucked out and inserted anywhere after Lois knew the secret. But it is so season 7. Lionel has infiltrated the FOS. So no hope for AUClark since every option he ever had for love or hope were snuffed out by Lionel. (This is why we wanted to know about him and his Lois – what happened there?) There is mega equipment surrounding the crystal console. Lionel has computers in the ice palace and no sign of heat. Really? Clark wants to know what he’s doing there. “Surveying our progress.” Of what, we’re never privy to because Lionel conjures up King Lear. I love Shakespeare but this was getting to be a bit much. He treats Clark like a dolt. “Lear had three children.” Yea, daughters. So Lear divides his kingdom and the largest portion goes to whomever loves him most. Two of the children swear devotion. The youngest, his favorite, is blunt and plain spoken. Except Clark is the youngest amongst Lex and Tess. So that’s strange. Clark surmises. “You disowned the child who loved him all along.” Apparently Lionel’s Cordelia was Lex. Really? Or is he just whack-a-doodle. Probably. “There’s certainly no getting Lex back . . . you saw to that.” He drops that bomb and walks away. “I killed Lex.” Uh, no, AUClark killed Lex. Big difference. “I’m sure you didn’t come all the way up here to talk Shakespeare.” Wow, Clarkie is learning a few tricks. Lionel thinks fast. He says he bumped into his sister and was looking for the mirror box page. Clark takes it from him. Apparently Luthorcorp did a worldwise search to destroy anything from Krypton. AUClark’s fate was sealed – but what about his Lois? Could she have saved him? Could she still? “I asked her to help me find it so I could destroy it.” Clarkie’s getting better at lying, even though it’s futile with Lionel. “Just want to make you proud, Dad.” I bet AUClark said those empty words a million times. “Thank you, Son.” He tells Clark that Oliver has the box. Veritas mention. Lionel reminds him Queen is no fool. “Then I’ll take it back.” The father thinks that’s a good idea. He puts his hand on Clark’s shoulder. “My Son.” Clark backs away and superspeeds out. “My son,” says Lionel as if he knows it isn’t his son. Would AUClark have flown away?

AULois and AUOllie’s Engagement party at the Ace of Clubs. Apparently time is different in the AU world. Friday, December 12th, 2010. The twelfth is on Sunday in our world. So it’s 7 pm. Lois opens the door to the balcony where AUOllie is having a drink. He does that a lot. For an engaged guy he is really pensive. She gently reminds him, “They’re waiting for us.” He says, “They’re waiting for you.” He turns to look at her in the classic Lois Lane red dress. “You look, uh. You look beautiful.” She gives him a grin as she walks towards him. “It’s not like the whole world hates you, Oliver.” She takes one of his hands trying to comfort him. “No. No. Just the wider metropolitan area. It’d be nice to have a couple of people backing me up.” He turns to look at the city. Ever supportive Lois. “I’d like to think I’m all the calvary you’ll ever need.” She caresses the back of his neck and kisses his cheek. “C’mon,” she says nodding with a grin at the party. He lets her take a few steps. “Why me, Lois? Why me?” She stops looking stunned and thoughtful. She turns to him and walks over taking his arm. “Because you are a very . . .” She cups his jaw. “Very good man.” He kind of shirks that off mentally and physically. “There’s got to be somebody out there better than me.” She shakes her head no. “If he is, I’ve never found him.” He looks at her. “I really love you.” He goes to kiss her and Clark comes in and zips her away before they meet lips. Ollie gets a call on his cell. “Lois? Lois, are you safe?” It’s Clark. “She will be on one condition. There’s an antique mirror box in your possession. Your family stole it from the Luthors and I want it back.” Ollie is incensed. “I swear to God if you so much as touch . . .” Clark is dead serious. “Exchange. Ten minutes. Text the location.”

Best scene of the episode! Clark hangs up Lois’ cell as she goes for the DP roof door. He touches her shoulder and she whips around in terror. “I’m sorry. It’s something I had to do.” She gets around him. “Stay away from me, Clark. Or Ultraman or whoever you are. I know what happens when someone sees your face.” Then how is she still living – did she already know or did she just now surmise? She picks up a convenient pipe and breaks a window. “Help!” Clark goes to her. “Lois. Lois. Hey!” She’s backing up stairs to the ledge with the pipe in her hands. He’s got his hands out to show her he’s not armed or will cause her harm. “Where I’m from, Lois Lane, you and I, we’re allies.” Really, allies. “You always have my back . . .How else would I know that you’re brave and loyal and a force of nature.” She is wide eyed and got the pipe raised between them. “Anybody could have told you that about me.” All the fans do. [smile] He tries again. He has his hand out to her. “Look, you misspell words. Simple words at an alarmingly frequent basis.” Still laugh at the line and Tom’s delivery. Thank you for that in this very bleak episode. She does a little head shake as he climbs the stairs to be with her. “And you never admit when I’m right even when I call you on it.” She lets out one of those guh sounds like Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility, only she’s still holding onto the pipe. “Why would I?” YAY! Typical Lois. Don’t cut him no slack, Sugar. Clark is really opening up to her. “You can always tell when I’m lying. You can see right through me straight into my soul, to my heart. Lois, there’s got to be apart of you that knows that I’m telling the truth.” She gazes at him spellbound. The guy has taken her breath away. “Who are you?” she says in wonder. “My name is Clark Kent and I promise, Lois, that I will never let this happen to us. I can’t live in a world where you don’t love me.” GUH! Best line ever. But unfortunately not said to his Lois. She is awestruck as he zips away. She drops the pipe looking shell shocked. We heard no text message signal.

Our Clark gave AULois hope in a world where there is none for her. Not as long as there is no hope, heart or soul in her Clark. Tragic. Sad. Beautiful scene, but the implications are horrifying for this Lois with no Clark. We had to endure that through season 4 through 8.

ACT FOUR
Our Clark enters the abandoned Watchtower. “Oliver?” Now Oliver knows Clark Luthor is Ultraman of Metropolis. (first time they recalled the name of the city) Ollie snarks about his name choice. “Please just give me the mirror box. I’ll bring Lois back. I’ll be out of your way.” Ollie has eyes in the sky and he knows Lois is safe. He doesn’t know anything about the box. “Then why bring me here?” Ollie looks down at him. “Because I have been waiting years to get Ultraman face to face like this. And now I get to kill two birds with one stone.” He hits a remote button and the window of the WT closes and then there’s green K light. Clark gets a tummy ache. He falls to the floor. Ollie walks down to taunt him. “I’ve been hunting Ultraman since he murdered the Swanns that’s how I found out what hurts you.” Clark struggles on the floor. “I need to get back to my Earth.” Ollie doesn’t have arrows. He’s got bullets and a gun. So no Green Arrow. “Everyone’s in danger. Lionel’s son, your enemy. He’s there. And Lois isn’t safe. None of you are.” Ollie’s not believing his gasping tale. “Well that makes me feel better about being the enemy of Smallville. Just your typical multiprong social kamikaze. I evict farmers from their land and I mine that land for meteor rock. This. This right here is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve got a mousetrap set up for your rat ass in every major city.” Clark is finding it hard to breath. “I’m no threat to you.” Ollie leans down to him. “Really? Why Lois? She’s the only one who knows my secret but she believes in me. And you took her away from me.” Clark says, “You have to believe me.” Ollie isn’t listening. “Let me tell you what I believe in. I believe. I believe in justice. This whole thing is a shame really. Everything you can do. And your powers. We could have made one hell of a team.” Ollie cocks the gun. “You’re not a murderer.” Ollie shakes his head. “No. But you are.” He raises the gun. Lionel whacks him with a steel stick. Really? Ollie falls to the floor. Clark looks up, “You didn’t have to hurt him to save me.” Lionel chuckes and tosses the stick as the green K keeps on working. “Save you? So what was the plan, Clark. Murder your father then with your whore sister escape to another world.” Why would he have to do that? Once they got rid of Daddy, they’d have the empire to themselves. Maybe AUClark could find out about himself at the Fortress. Villains are such egotists. “I knew I was walking into a trap.”

Lionel begins to lord it over him. “I’ve kept constant on Oliver Queen’s activities. You should have known I’d do that.” Remembe that in case Clark doesn’t. Clark realizes Oliver never had the mirror box. Lionel whips out the device in question. So cheesy. Clark shifts his body towards it. Lionel has been stripping to dole out punishment. “Your betrayal has been staring me in the face.” Actually AUTess told him. He didn’t want to admit he was wrong about Clark. Sometimes what’s under your thumb fights back, Daddy. Abused Child 101. “We’re long, long overdue for a father son talk.” Defiant Clark. “I’m not your son.” He has told Lionel that before. “Well you never were, were you. I made your destiny, your future, our future, my whole preoccupation. For God’s sake, Clark. I let you kill Lex. Your own brother. My son!” Clark tells him it wasn’t him. Lionel starts with the kicking a man when he’s down. Always in the face. Now it just gets . . .weird and sick. Lionel has been afraid of Clark and his power. “You may want to use that box and escape from here but the truth is that I’ve been the one to be a prisoner all this time.” Clark says, “Let me use the mirror box. I’ll go away. You’ll never have to worry about me again.” This is going to be a long drawn out affair. Lionel kicks him and they must have used a rig cause Tom slides across the floor. Not possible if Lionel isn’t super. Welling is immense. “Not worry about you? That’s all I’ve ever done! Worry about you.” So Lionel takes off his belt to beat him. Talks about sacrifice and failure. This scene lasts waaaay too long. They could have used the time for filling in some of the holes in the other plots. Apparently Lionel is under the impression that a true Luthor would have killed him by now. It’s just nuts. So Lex was a golden boy to his Daddy because he killed him in our world? Whatever. “Not my choice,” says Clark. Lionel tells him he’s right because Daddy has made him this way. So he keeps beating him. “It has to be the survival of the fittest whether you are on this Earth or any other. I am the most fit. I will be the survivor.” So Lionel would kill his adopted son because . . . . He’s crazypants.

The window shield opens to let in the sun. What there is of it. Ollie has revived and hit the remote. Green K ray is gone. Lionel takes steps towards Ollie. Clark zips in front of him. He holds up the mirror box. “Thanks for the advice, Dad.” He slugs him across the room. Clark then grabs Ollie. “Yea, I know you’re the good one just go the hell home already, will ya?” Clark conveys info. “Lionel’s son will appear in my place. You need to activate the meteor rock as soon as I leave.” Ollie wants to know why he’s telling him all this. “You said you wished we could save the world together. We do.” Clark walks away as Ollie watches the window for the right moment. Clark twists the mirror box. Bright light as Lionel runs towards him.

We hear voices. AUClark saying no several times. Tess screaming, “Oliver, do it! Now! Use it!” Clark is back in his world kneeling on the floor of the Watchtower. He has the same clothes on he had in the other world. Strange. He looks up to see a destroyed Watchtower. “Nighty Night,” says Ollie with green kryptonite arrow raised. Tess’s hair is dishelved and he’s holding a gun on him. Lois is in the background with her right arm braced against her body. She has a crossbow. “I’m me,” he says to Ollie who is the closest. Tess and Ollie appear to want to shoot him anyway. “Lois? Please.” Lois is shuffling closer with crossbow raised. “Tell them. I’m me,” he appeals to her. She stares at him. Her crossbow lowers. Her mouth goes agape. “Stop!” She tosses down the weapon. “Stop. Stop!” She shoves Ollie aside as she goes to Clark. She kneels in front of him with her hand on his face. Looking into his eyes, she declares, “It’s him!” She smiles at Clark, as he looks lovingly into her eyes. She grabs him into a hug even with her bad arm. “It’s you.” He hold her tightly despite her injury. Everyone is breathless. Ollie watches as Clark looks up at Tess with an accusatory stare. Her eyes go shifty as if she knows he knows she’s a Luthor.

Lois has saved her Clark.

ACT FIVE
The Emergency Room. Lois is signing her papers with her left hand. She’s got a huge sling strapped across the upper half of her body. How many times has Lois Lane been chucked across the room or knocked out? In WRATH, she was chucked and barely had a scratch even though she went through glass and got transported to Smallville Medical Center from Metropolis before treatment. In METALLO, she was thrown but recovered fully to hug her returning Clark at the end of the episode. So why the sling now?

Clark arrives looking harried. He’s changed clothes. He’s wearing his black jacket and gray shirt. She smiles at him commenting on how many times she’s signed release forms. He gulps. She’s chipper. You just can’t keep Lois Lane down. She has a pure soul remember? She remarks about the great medical coverage at the DP. She picks up her jacket with her free hand. This on a show with disappearing jackets. “I bet your deductible is through the roof.” He gives her the Kent smile as he hands her the bouquet of wild flowers he got her. “Something like that.” She takes them from him and looks into his eyes. You can see laughter in her eyes. “What are these for?” She starts to walk. He walks behind with his hands behind his back. No, really. “Nothing says sorry my doppelganger from a parallel Earth tried to kill you like flowers.” She chuckles. “I think there’s a card for that now.” She looks at him. He doesn’t return the favor. “The store was out.” Now he looks at her. Trading jabs with his Lois. She nearly giggles. She likes his sense of humor. “I destroyed the mirror box.” You can tell it has been on his mind. “You won’t ever have to worry about seeing him again.” He looks around. “He wasn’t you, Clark. I mean, not you you.” She presses the button for the elevator with her good hand. Where are your manners, Clark? Why aren’t you looking out for your girl? Why are your hands still behind your back? “I know the circumstances were different on that side but it was still me in that mirror. And the way you looked at me, Lois, with so much hate. It was like you already formed your opinion about Clark Luthor with good reason. He was a monster. I was a monster.” No you weren’t! “It kind of makes you wonder how Earth 2 Lois Lane managed to put up with such a colossal tool.” Still don’t know what happened between these two in the other universe. “Consider yourself universally consistent. You didn’t cut him any slack.” He then thinks for a moment. “But I do think she was about to give him another chance.” Really? When did that happen? “You don’t have to worry about second chances with me. You’re doing really well with the first one?” She smiles at him and gives him a peck on the lips. She walks into the elevator and he just stands there ten feet away. Lois tips the flowers to indicate he needs to get in there with her. She’s grinning at him. She looks up at him from the flowers. He looks down at her, not facing her, never touches her and grins. Doors closed. These two are getting engaged? Really? They’ve had sex. Clark has fought his way to get back to her and doesn’t give her a kiss on the cheek, or a hand on her back as they walk down the hall or a caress? How long is this going to go on?

The other worrisome thing about this scene. Clark is allowed the darkness of AUClark to come between he and Lois even though she has moved on. I don’t think that was the intention of the scene. Clark had to learn something from his encounter, right?

The intention of the strange blocking is in the next scene. Clark goes to visit Tess in the middle of the night. He’s left Lois’ bedside apparently. Hopefully Lois is probably doped up on pain meds so she won’t know he’s gone. Tess is in her robe sitting on pillows in her loft and looking at Luthor pictures. “Luthor blood is poison. The heir that Lionel left that box to, it’s you.” While he climbs the stairs. “Given what all the Luthors have done is it any surprise I didn’t want to share with the rest of the class?” Clark surmises that she didn’t tell him everything because of the way he reacted at Cadmus. “Clark, do you want to know the truly perverse part?” Uh, I think we’ve seen that, right? “I’m upset he threw me away.” Uh oh, remember that. Will Tess chose blood over everything else? “As grotesque and sorted a family tree I’ve just inherited. I wasn’t good enough.” Clark stands in the entryway listening. “You’re lucky. The Kents found you.” Okay, isn’t that what Lois is supposed to be reminding him according to HOMECOMING and now Tess is doing it in this episode. Oops, sorry. It’s about her not Lois. Clark squats nearby. “You weren’t so unlucky. As screwed up as you think your life has been, Lionel didn’t raise you on this side.” No just Granny Goodness and an abusive drunk in Louisiana. Clark tosses his jacket. I guess that’s universal too. He sits with her on the floor. “What happened with the other Clark, it’s just proof that Lionel’s blood doesn’t corrupt. It’s the man himself.” Clark admits he was wrong to that out of character stuff in the opener. With tears in her eyes, Tess tells him the reason she hid Alexander. She didn’t want anyone to take him away from her. “I was afraid that he would be closest thing to family that I would ever know.” Clark listens. “But he fooled me. He’s just as smart as Lex if not smarter. When and if he’s found, it will be because he wants to be.” Ominous music plays as Clark takes her hand and she puts hers over his. Close up of hands. How many times have we asked for that between him and Lois? Really? “When Lex does show up, we’ll face him together. You’re not alone anymore.” Two shot of them holding hands on the floor. Really? Okay, he’s being Superman, but they blocked this so Cless would have their moment to the bitter end. Just before the scene switch, Clark gives her a grin.

Where was our two shot in PATRIOT? Does Lois have cooties?

Rainy Metropolis. Yes, folks it’s another villain reveal as the final scene. Guess who! Headline: The Blur Under Scrutiny. Article tells about how the Blur is saving people despite the VRA. Lionel is reading the paper. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” says the news guy. Lionel says he’s from out of town and it’s an unexpected visit. “But I guess I’m back in the knick of time.” He looks around. Then Glover breaks the fourth wall. “Wouldn’t want to miss how it all turns out.” He opens his umbrella and walks into a sea of umbrellas.

We were told by Kelly Souders not to miss the last three minutes of this episode. That did not include the Clark and Lois scene.

Thoughts:
So that was LUTHOR. More about Tess and Lionel than Clark. Lois got tossed. Subcharacters cannot carry an episode. I thought they learned that lesson before, apparently not. Lionel is just one of a cavalcade of villains this season. We have almost a dozen to deal with. Short version: Lionel will find Lex, his golden son and bring him up a Luthor. Lex will kill him. Voila! Bye Bye Lionel again. Tess will have conflict between her feelings of abandonment and her loyalty and love for Clark.

Who cares! Where’s Clark and Lois and their great love story? Yea, I said it. Clark learned in this episode that darkness bounces off Lois. She will be his hope as he is the hope of the world. Together they will defeat Darkseid.

Having Clark learn from an out of character premise does not help further his storyline. Everything came to a grinding halt in this episode. LUTHOR did not respect the Superman legend or give us hope – and for Superman fans that is devastating.

The one clinker note in this fantastic final season symphony.

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December 7, 2010. Tags: . Baudy's Reviews. 13 comments.