Smallville: Descent

CW, Thursday at 8:00PM

Genre: Sci-FDrama

Conceit: Superboy Meets World

Y’know, even though the show “Smallville” exists outside of DC comic continuity, and so the producers can pretty much do what they want (except, apparently, put Lois and Clark together), there are certain things that the show gets right.  Chloe, though she isn’t an actual character from the comics, is one example.  But a more pertinent example of the show getting something right is Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor.  Even when the show has taken the bizarre liberty of making Clark and Lex friends for years, it still gets the character right.  Lex is a villain, for sure.  But he’s not a villain in the classic sense.  Lex suffers from thinking he knows best, and so he will force his “best” on the world for its own sake.  In the last couple of seasons, Lex has gradually taken steps from well intentioned young man to the megalomaniac he is destined to become.  In this episode, when he pushed his father to his death, Lex may have sealed the deal.  In classic Lex form, the decision “to do what it takes” haunts him.  And in classic Lex form, he brushes past it to accomplish what he needs to.

Meanwhile, in a nod to things to come, Lois and Jimmy engaged in some Daily Planet quality investigative journalism when Jimmy finds out that he has a picture which may show that Lionel’s suicide was in fact a murder.  And Lois got shot.  In pretty comic fashion.  The one downside of this episode was that yet another person discovered Clark’s secret.  Which surely means that person is going to die in an episode or two.  Oh wait.  Nope, in this episode itself.  This device is getting kind of old.

Clark and Lionel have had a truly odd relationship.  For the last three seasons, Lionel has wavered between full-on protector, to slight of hand enemy.  In his death, he showed that he trying to keep two keys which, when combined, would allow the possessor control Clark from falling into the wrong hands.  He was caring for Clark as if he were his own son.  This show has always been about fathers and sons.

This revelation lead to a face off with Lex which could be considered one of the finer moments in the season.  Both Lex and Clark uttered words which embody who both characters are meant to be and why both characters were destined to be at odds with each other.

Before this episode, I really believed that this show was at least a half season past its prime.  With key actors departing at the end of the season, I figured this was as good a time as any to take a bow.  However, this episode really opened up brand new possibilities.  This episode alone may have justified a new season of “Smallville”.

Final Grade: B+


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