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Smallville’s HOSTAGE: Held Captive by Secrets

May 14, 2010
tags:

Season 9, episode 21

Review by Holli

Written by Jordan Hawley (RABID) and Anne Cofell Saunders (IDOL), working as a team for the first time. Beautifully directed by Glen Winter.

The return of Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent and Michael McKean as Perry White. This real life couple showed us some of their chemistry, something we were denied in McKean’s season 3 episode, PERRY. There were references to that episode which were great to see. Continuity has been stellar this season.

Rating: MYTHIC. A lot of plot to carry us into the finale next episode. If they have deleted scenes, I definitely want to see them. Well written and well acted by the usual suspects. Wish there had been thirty minutes more of episode so we could see all the ins and outs. Little disappointed in the props department unless it was a deliberate act to change the wording on the Book of Rao. Justin Hartley’s performance as pseudo-Oliver was phenomenal. He was Ollie and yet he wasn’t. Glen Winter always gives us the best visuals and perspectives. Loved the Martha staring at the apron. Great storytelling from actor and director. The scenes inside Tess’ mind were compelling and shot from an odd aspect. Great work! Louis Febre’s score was just super! ;)

Clark’s first line after fisting a wall. “Chloe, the Book of Rao isn’t here. I know you just came across that footage but there’s got to be something more on it.”

blondie found the footage in KANDOR, episode 7. This is episode 21. Because she couldn’t be bothered, the world is now held HOSTAGE by the Kandorians. She just failed to mention that she saw some of the last moments his father, Jor-El, had on this Earth. Was it an act of vengeance because Clark wouldn’t bring back Jimmy for her? Surely she would have known, because she supposedly knows him so well, what it would mean to him to see his father at the Kent farm house. And she got it wrong. Jor-El took something out of the wall, not put something in it. The Book of Rao was green back then.

The Book of Rao that was presented to Clark by the Red Queen, his mother, was gold. Perry and Lois had sketches of the Book of Rao and they basically said the same thing. Kryptonian letters: SM on the top, HOPE symbol on the side, and BARCODE on the other side. The BoR that Clark received had a letter S at the top, WE on one side and POP on the other. Either someone in the prop department made a complete boo-boo or they don’t know how much fans scrutinize this show or it’s a clue. Guess we’ll find out during SALVATION.

So while the Kandorians are flying around with Zod, Clark is talking to blondie on the phone trying to get her butt in gear to find out more about the Book of Rao. He is so distracted by the situation that he doesn’t recognize his girlfriend’s backside in his own house. She knows something is up. He’s very blasé about their current employment situation. They’re unemployed, nearing financial ruin. She wants her life back and thinks she has just the story to do it. He thinks she’s over-reacting and that it’s not a matter of life and death.

The usual attentive, sensitive Clark Kent seems distant and preoccupied. Well, he is. The world is coming to an end, but he can’t tell her because then she would know he’s an alien, whose people are about to take over the world. He’s also riding the flight short bus. Lois wants to have a purpose in her life. She’s lost two venues in accomplishing that. Her job as an investigative reporter, which she can get back through her own effort and then there’s The Blur. He cut off communication with her and told her if anyone did contact her that she was not to believe it was him. Her days of saving the world by helping The Blur are over.

Since Clark can’t be bothered at the moment for some unknown reason, he is holding her life and her clothes at the dry cleaners HOSTAGE. So Lois decides that maybe they need to take a break. Clark definitely doesn’t want that but how can he explain the pressures he’s under. She probably thinks he’s going to sit on the farm like he did in Season 7 before she gave him the application to the Daily Planet.

With the opening of a door, the Kent farm has officially become Grand Central station. Clark’s mother arrives with Perry White in tow. He’s ready to get her naked, but Clark’s presence puts a stop to that. Clark also lies to his mother that he’s working at home. Apparently Mom wouldn’t find unemployment acceptable. Martha sees Lois is there and invites her to dinner. Clark with begging eyes underlines her request. Lois answers with a bright smile to Martha. Clark’s face of relief reflects his gratefulness to have more time with her. Lois is excited to meet Perry White.


Lois Lane and Perry White together made this fangirl squee with delight. Lois takes a picture of them together for her high school journalism teacher. “Who’s sorry now, beyotch!” Brian and Kelly have given us some additional information regarding Lois’ background. Thanks! Lois and Perry. It doesn’t get better than that. Except maybe Clark flying, loving Lois, wearing a cape, wearing glasses, etc etc etc

Perry has read some of Lois’ stuff. Cut from the same cloth, these two go at the truth like mad dogs. That’s probably why secrets don’t hold them HOSTAGE. Lois is investigating flying aliens, someone called the Red Queen and the Book of Rao. Perry scoffs at the alien angle. Considering his last episode on Smallville, that’s different. He’s investigating a covert government agency called Checkmate whose nemesis is the Red Queen and he’s got a pic of a mod of the Book of Rao. Her aliens and his Red Queen are looking for the elusive BoR.

Clark is a little perturbed that Perry White gets along famously with his mother and his girl. Considering their past situation (PERRY), you can see why Clark is having reservations. Because he is playing nice nice for Mommy, he’s being held HOSTAGE at the family dinner she has planned. He speaks with Perry and finds out that Martha and Perry talk about everything (but his secret, of course). Perry knows about his and Lois’ relationship as reporters and otherwise. He speaks of his past experience as a journalist. “I was saving the world.” Clark’s reply is insightful. “That’s a big job for a simple reporter.”

An Aside: This is what I would like to see be developed on Smallville. Clark Kent the journalist. Glasses and all. The man who loves journalism because it puts him on an even playing field with every one else. The same people who say ‘they’ will never allow Welling to wear the glasses because it would take away from the pretty, are the same people who say that glasses don’t fool anyone. Well, if they can take away from the actor’s looks (their perception), then the glasses can fool people in thinking he’s someone else.

Perry would like to marry Martha and asks Clark’s blessing. A very noble thing to do. Clark’s response is empathetic despite the fact that his life as Clark Kent just keeps getting more complicated as the minutes tick away. Being a superpowered hero gives him one set of problems, but he also has a very human existence with it’s share of foibles.

My favorite scene had to be the dinner. Martha and Perry seem to have a very communicative and early stage adoration going for them. Clark and Lois have moved on into the ‘working out the kinks’ stage. Perry is odd man out in that he’s trying to get some kind of conversation going. Lois’ chokes on mashed potatoes when hearing about the engagement announcement. (PERSUASTION) [Durance in a recent ‘interview’ said that she actually choked and Tom had to help her.) Again, Clark’s weird super life got Lois involved in things unexplained and yet he expects her to look the other way and act as if everything were normal. This secret keeping business has gotten out of hand.

This episode everyone falls into old habits. Clark is holding Lois at arm’s length for her own protection supposedly. Lois has decided that a break would do them good since he seems preoccupied with something else instead of their relationship and lack of employment. Martha’s mother radar goes off at the dinner table and she immediately begins to run interference for his secret with praises of him wanting to take things slow. (Seven years apparently is too fast for the secret keepers.) Clark and Martha’s shiny happy people routine seemed to cross a line at a certain point. Keeping a secret is one thing. Lying is another.

Lois and Perry, the non secret people and forward movers, can’t let go of their passion to seek the truth and track down a good story. They find out by revealing themselves that they are working on the same story.

Martha is the Queen of Secrets as she not only keeps Clark’s, but she is the Red Queen and she’s been dating Perry. It was good to hear some background in regards to her education and drives when she was a young woman. Her story of Jonathan and the rising river showed Lois and us, that once you find that special someone, you share in a purpose and can still be yourself. She tells Clark that she’s glad Lois is in his life. She sleeps better at night knowing that. She also understands what it’s like to find a purpose in life.

One character we did not see, but definitely felt his presence. Jonathan Kent. One very emotional scene was when Perry wearing Jonathan’s coat stands at the sunfilled doorway with an armload of logs. O’Toole showed us how that visual hit Mrs. K like a ton of bricks. Martha must have felt Clark was in extreme danger since she found it so hard to return to the life that she had moved on from. She really hadn’t faced her grief while she was away. Being in the house was painful for her. Memories crowded in. She allowed the past to hold her HOSTAGE from moving on. This is something we’ve seen Clark struggle with for the past 3 seasons.

I thought maybe this episode would show Clark that keeping secrets from those you care the most about is not the way to go. Perhaps if Martha had a revelation regarding her and Perry’s relationship and the secret between them, maybe her son would learn from that. We really didn’t get that in this episode. Martha encouraged Clark to be honest with Lois after he confessed he was sick of lying to her.

Lois tries to follow Clark’s lead with his mother, but lying is not her forte. Eventually she breaks down and lives the only way she can. She tells everyone at the dinner table that they’ve been fired and that she and Clark aren’t taking it slow. They’re breaking up. Clark follows her to the door and asks her not to do this. She tells him that it would be better to let her go. He does. And that’s probably the first time he has ever let anyone go. For 8 seasons we’ve watched him hold on to every twisted, horrible relationship he ever had. But with Lois Lane, he lets her walk away to give her some space.

Clark had to say the words, “It’s all my fault” since his mother was back. Oy! He apologizes for not being more honest with his mom. He just wanted things to be like they used to be. He confesses he just couldn’t stop lying to Lois. He’s not happy about that. He’s tried to be honest with Lois but she thought him keeping his identity was more important. Clark seems to be having an identity crisis in this conversation. Separating The Blur and Clark because Lois is supposed to perceive them as two different people – but he’s one person! “Talking to her as the Blur, I’ve seen a different side of her. It’s made me fall deeper in . . . And it’s just not a side she’s decided to share with Clark Kent.” Martha gives him her ‘shit or get off the pot’ advice. Clark is not willing to let Lois go. It’s what this entire season has been about. He knows how miserable he was after three weeks and knows how horrible his life would be after a year of no Lois Lane in his life.

Lois using her Checkmate phone after pulling it from her Amazon Warrior outfit and Perry giving her cues while she spoke to Taco Dan was sheer genius. Kent better get his act together or it will be Lane and White – and then Clark would be missing out on a huge part of his destiny.

Martha, as the Red Queen, has staged a meet with Perry and Lois while she takes care of Maxwell Lord’s failure to find the Book of Rao from Tess. Those red phones come in handy.

Side rant: Vala is the Kandorian blahna, isn’t she? She tells Clark that the Book of Rao will destroy their life on Earth. She thinks that Tess is the Red Queen. Never mind, it was a rhetorical question.

Teaming up, Lane and White climb a fire escape to get to their target. As Lois scurries up, Perry coughs and begs her to put his name first on the byline as his dying wish. That got him no where. “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” Squee! Of course, Perry’s ladder breaks away from the wall leaving him dangling. Shades of PERRY. “That’s what I tried last time. From the rooftop, Lois tosses him a cable. He hits the Atlas Global Emporium sign which topples to the ground and is caught by The Blur who holds it over his head . . . like Atlas. Perry and Lois are oblivious to the save. Lois continues to pull Perry towards the roof. She’s smiling. She’s found her strength within. Clark watches from a nearby alley and grins. ‘That’s my girl’ style. Lois pulls Perry to safety. “I’ve got you.” (same line as Superman said to Lois Lane during the helicopter save in the Superman movie)

Trivial note: Loved the way Welling’s hair was styled in that scene. It seems they be experimenting in order to add the spit curl. A girl can hope, right?

The Red Queen goes into her limo and is stopped by The Blur. He rips the door off thinking it’s Tess but is only confronted with a handful of green kryptonite. He falls to the ground and the limo takes off. Martha had all the Kandorians looking for her. It’s smart to have protection, even from your son. Gotta protect that identity, don’t cha know.

Blondie informs Clark that Tess is not the Red Queen and that she no longer wants to play Sista Eye. She confesses she found the footage of Jor-El months ago. “It’s easy thinking having all the information is like having all the answers.” Now that she has Ollie . . . whatever. She wants to plug into the real world. Nice timing, huh. Clark tells her Watchtower is bigger than both of them. Blondie finally realizes she’s not the hero. “We’re on the brink of war.” So Clark tells blondie he and the world needs her . . . never mind that it’s Lois he loves and needs. Oh no, that can’t be spoken about during a blondie scene. So then they sing ‘Let the Sun Shine In’ and fortunately blondie stays clothed. And apparently the antivirus for the Red Queen’s blocking is sunshine. Cringe! Oh and get this line. “Clark, I want you to know that even when I hurt you, I was trying to protect you.” Apparently she’s not swearing off the Twisted Sister complex.

Clark on his own figures out who the Red Queen is. THANK YOU! Hope that continues through season 10.

Got to love Crazypants and Cassidy. They have been put through the mill and it appears those days will continue into SALVATION. Held HOSTAGE in her own mind. Mercy is tortured by Maxwell Lord and someone who appears to be Oliver. Lord oversteps his facade when he has Ollie confess his love for Tess. Wrong move, bucko! Tess, the smart cookie, literally blows away the pretense. Apparently Lord is looking for the Book of Rao also.

Tess did have Jor-El’s Book of Rao even though it’s gold not green now. She kept in a lead bottle in the wine cellar where she had tortured Clark’s father. The Red Queen shows up to finish her mission. She’s always one step ahead of everyone. Smart Martha! “You can’t comprehend what it means to truly protect someone you love. And stay away from Clark Kent. If you’re not careful, you may end up on the wrong side of the coming apocalypse (or Apokolips).”

Perry has gotten Clark and Lois’ job back from his friend, Franklin Stern. “I will never forget this and neither will Clark.” He’s going to Nairobi to find the Red Queen, but he’s not giving up on Mrs. K either. “Martha’s one story I’m not sharing with anyone.” (see he knows how to keep a secret, too.) He asks Lois to come along. “Normally I would jump at the chance of running away from my problems. After one day in the trenches with Perry White, I realize I don’t have to go anywhere to find my higher calling. I just . . . I needed to find the hero inside myself.” “Goodbye, Lane, you’re the real deal.” And when Perry White tells you that you can believe it. “See ya, Chief.” Perry ascends the stairs. He turns and tells Lois to tell Clark that they are even. “I owed him one from a long time ago.” Lois returns to her desk and is happy. She feels a breeze and finds a note on her desk. “It’s time for us to finally meet – The Blur” She looks stunned. Is this the real Blur or the fake Blur?

Martha takes a pie out of the oven. She seems serene as if she’s found her true calling. Clark enters. “When it’s just the two of us here, I’m your Mom and nobody else.” He wishes she’d visit more often. She tells him she had to let go of ‘this place’ but she never let go of him. She’ll be back soon. “Maybe next time you could ease up on the kryptonite.” Bwahahaha I love when Clark makes a funny. She denies. He tells her exactly what she did. “You’re the Red Queen.” Love thinking Clark! Woohoo! “Why didn’t you come to me with this?” She tells him she didn’t want him in the line of fire. (In the promo trailer she said Your father and I . . . ) He asks about Perry’s involvement. She didn’t know he was on the trail, but he makes her laugh and think that everything is going to be okay. “But I can’t afford that luxury right now.” Looks as though Martha will find happiness afterall. Clark asks for the Book of Rao. “It was left here by Jor-El for me. To save this planet. It’s what you and Dad raised me for. It’s my destiny.” I remember a time when he said that last line to her and she pounded on his chest and screamed, “Give me my son back.” (CRUSADE) She’s had to let Clark go, too. She tells him of the forces working against him and how she became the Red Queen to protect him. She gives him the Book of Rao, now gold and with some strange symbols on it. She begins to cry. She’s so afraid of losing him. “You’ll never lose me. I’ll always be here for you.” She tells him the Book of Rao can be used to transport the Kandorians to another plane of existence. Ever hopeful Clark thinks that’s a solution they can use. “All Kryptonians will be exiled from Earth . . . including you.”

Sorry for the lateness of this review. My old computer went kaput.

MAY 14th! Smallville’s Season 9 Finale! SALVATION

Looks like the best episode yet, especially for a finale! WATCH IT!

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