Smallville Season Premiere Review: "Lazarus"
The Smashing Pumpkins have a song titled "The Beginning is The End is The Beginning." To me, that sums up what I believe will be the most exciting season of Smallville yet, as the long-standing series draws to a close.
The premiere, "Lazarus," saw Clark standing on the precipice of his destiny, facing his innermost demons. Had he allowed pride and vanity over having become a "beacon of hope" for the people of Metropolis to darken his heart, as Jor-El claimed? Was Lex's clone (or Clex as I like to call him) spot on in his observation that the symbol Clark so proudly wears across his chest had become a badge of self-righteousness? Is Clark truly on the road to heroism or the path to darkness?
These are the questions that haunted Clark as he pondered his fate, and of course we know how the story ends, but that doesn't make the journey there any less exciting to watch.
At long last, the Super suit makes its full-fledged first appearance, and in Superman Returns form no less! I'm still not exactly certain how it is that Jor-El possesses so much power, given that he's, you know, dead and all, but to have him zap Clark and the Super suit out of the barn at the precise moment it appeared Clark was to don the famous getup is just the writers way of toying with our emotions.
What a tease.
In a nod to the pilot, it was an interesting twist to see Lois strapped to a stake with a red S plastered across her tank top. I particularly enjoyed this part of the story. Clex was not merely playing games with Clark's head. This was his attempt to force Clark to fully embrace the self-important spirit he had begun to adopt. Clark was already becoming intoxicated with his own greatness, as Clex indicated and then called Lois Clark's greatest weakness.
He knew there was no way Clark would resist saving her. If Clark could both save Lois and stop the bomb disaster at the Planet, it would deepen his downward spiral into the complete embodiment of vanity and pride. This brought to mind how The Joker similarly tried to push Batman to cross the boundaries of his character in The Dark Knight. And it almost worked, if it hadn't been for the farmfed wisdom of Clark's strongest ally: Jonathan Kent.
Having Jonathan Kent back, even for a few seconds of encouragement for Clark, was like getting a letter from an old friend. There was something so comforting to hear Jonathan express his faith in his son and rebuild the confidence Jor-El had torn down just before abandoning him. Whether or not it was Clark's imagination or some otherworldly phenomenon, it was a welcome reminder of who Clark's true father was and always will be.
How eerie was the room full of Clexs? I wondered how they would pull off bringing Lex back, without resorting to the umpteenth resurrection this series has performed, but I guess cloning was the lesser of the cliched evils.
Having the freshly-facelifted Tess, courtesy of Cadmus Labs, save the youngest of the clones and take him back home with her to presumably become the Lex that Clark eventually faces off with is somewhat fascinating, as I thought she knew that Lex was to be Clark's greatest foe. Is she one of those people who finds no peace in the absence of chaos? Nice allusion to young Alexander's future homicidal tendencies to see one of the military figures he was playing with burning in the fire.
I am assuming that the Suicide Squad is still chasing down our heroes and that's who captured Ollie, but what warrants an exchange of him for Chloe? Unless it has something to do with something she acquired from Dr. Fate's helmet?
I've been waiting for years for Darkseid to rear his literally ugly head in Metropolis, and I can think of no more fitting adversary to challenge Clark in this final season. Even though we had a mere glimpse of Apokolips' most powerful resident, I felt the goosebumps spread like a fire in a cornfield at the sound of his brief, guttural growl. Though is it too much to hope for Desaad to make an appearance at his side?
I am bittersweetly excited to see this final season progress, and believe there could have been no more perfect way to kick it off. Review a few Smallville quotes from the premiere and sound off: What did you think?
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.