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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smallville 10x16 - "Scion"


SUPERMAN! LOIS LANE! TESS MERCER! THE GREEN ARROW! (Off living in Star City with his new wife Chloe Sullivan)
Special Guest Star:
Special DC Universe Guest Stars:

Yes, Superboy. "Scion", a detail-dense, exposition-heavy episode, completely re-jiggered Alexander, the rapidly-aging, S-shield-scribbling, psychotic clone of Lex Luthor, into Smallville's version of the Boy of Steel. Alexander is now the distinctly not-bald Conner (Kent by the end of the episode), revealed as a genetically engineered 50/50 "genetic love child" of Lex and Clark Kent. (Though Clark really wishes Lois wouldn't put it quite that way.) 

Turns out, Conner is a CNR, Cognitive Neuroplastic Replicant, and he has Clark's powers (how many and at what level was left ill-defined). We know Conner has Super-strength, Superspeed, Super Hearing, and Heat Vision; the latter he suddenly developed when he met the shapely womanliness of Lois Lane, in a neat homage to how Clark gained Heat Vision in season one when he got sexually excited by Lana. We learn when Lex was busy cloning himself, his trick to control his doppelgangers' rapid aging via cellular mitosis was to add a dollop of Clark's Kryptonian DNA.  If only Lex had lived to see Clark's DNA is also the cure for baldness.  

Unlike Superman and Superboy in Young Justice, Clark actually wants to spend time with Conner and be his mentor. I liked the scenes of Clark training Conner in the Kent Barn, as Conner tries and fails to get the hang of his Heat Vision. Clark is keenly aware of all the terrible ways he could have turned out if he didn't have Jonathan and Martha there to help him every step of the way.  Conner now conveniently doesn't remember anything of his time when he was crazy and bald, and he wants to do good in the world like his hero, The Blur.  Clark starts off not wanting to reveal anything about his own Superness or Conner's Luthor half, but all of those plans get blown Super fast.  In spite of being well aware Conner has Super Hearing, Clark and Tess have conversations about Conner anyway, and the Boy of Steel Superspeeds off in search of the answers to his heritage, right smack dab into the hands of his "father" (or is it "grandfather"?) from another Earth, Lionel Luthor-2.

Before Conner goes AWOL, Lois and Clark, who aren't even married yet, have conversations about raising Conner together. Then Lois and Tess have a tete-a-tete over how best to deal with Lionel-2 since Clark refuses to send Lionel-2 to the Phantom Zone.  This leads to Lois' fiendishly clever plan (inspired by how Al Capone was brought down for tax evasion in The Untouchables) to commit corporate espionage and reveal Lionel-2 as a fake.  This then leads to Lois deciding to commit said corporate espionage at Luthorcorp during the day. Lois dresses up in the black outfit Homer Simpson wears to "commit certain deeds" and breaks into Luthorcorp before the sun goes down!  Shockingly, she is caught red handed. It's a good thing Lois has looks.

Meanwhile, Conner meets Lionel-2 in the cinder ruins of what was once the Luthor Mansion set, and Lionel-2 makes the big play to turn Conner to his side by making Conner embrace his Luthor-ness.  When that doesn't work, he busts out a red Kryptonite ring.  But when Conner sees Lionel-2 also has Lois all tied up and is about to put a bullet in her brain, Conner zooms in to save Lois. Which would be great, except the red K brings out Conner's inner Chris Brown (with shades of the jealous and unbalanced Superboy Prime in the comics). Conner gets all romantic towards Lois, which involves him kidnapping her, stealing fur, cars and jewels for her, coming onto her awkwardly 'cause he's a bio-construct who don't know nuthin' 'bout pleasin' no ladies, and then smacking her around when she resists. This rapey side of Superboy is blamed squarely on the Lex-side of his DNA mix. (Oh sure, blame Lex for everything! I don't recall rape being in Lex's playbook.)

After confronting Lionel-2, Clark arrives to take down Conner and save Lois, and they have a one sided fight where Conner tosses Clark around, further demolishing the demolished Luthor Mansion yet.  Why Clark sold so much for Conner and didn't just Heat Vision the red ring on his finger, I'll never know, but instead Clark wrestled Conner for the ring and smashed it.  Lionel then appears with green Kryptonite and tries to abscond with Conner, but that was a tactical boner on Lionel's part as well, because without the red K, the Clark-side of Conner is dominant and Conner Heat Visions the Kryptonite, saving his genetic brother.

Our Smallville heroes and heroines are extremely forgiving when it comes to Kryptonians under the influence of red Kryptonite, because Lois was well within her rights to want Conner banished for his physical and sexual assaults on her.  But instead, she smiles and nods as Clark enrolls Conner in Smallville High as "Conner Kent".  Conner, for his part, went to the local comic store and bought a black S shirt, making him part of the Super Family. Hey, speaking of family, Clark never mentioned Kara, who's out there in the world as Supergirl. You'd think their having a girl cousin also with all their powers (plus she can fly) would have come up.

My favorite stuff in "Scion" actually revolved around Tess. Tess alternated from being smiley and giggly around Clark (is there time yet to fully explore the rampant sexual chemistry between Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman? And poor, forgotten Dr. Emil Hamilton...) to tough as nails whenever Lionel-2 entered her vicinity. She tried to con Lionel-2 into thinking a vial of goo was Conner, but that didn't last long.  Tess' greatest triumph was using Earth-1 Lionel's own paperwork when he checked Tess into Granny Goodness' orphanage as the proof she needed that Lionel-2 was a fake. By the end, Tess has regained control of Luthorcorp. I'd like to sit in on the meetings on how Tess plans to explain how the head of the company went from Oliver Queen to a lookalike of the late Lionel Luthor back to Tess Mercer.  But Smallville has never been interested in real world details and petty things like logic.

No, what Smallville is good at is cliffhangers and to send us into a six week hiatus, they delivered one of their best:  As a ruined, forlorn Lionel-2 grasps at Lex's grave marker and wishes he were here, a swirl of black smoke encompasses him and then forms the blazing-eyed image of DARKSEID.  Apokalips, wow.