Smallville Review: "Masquerade"
What at first seemed like some acid-flash hybrid of the movies "Date Night" and "Seven," in the end actually served up some interesting insights into our heroes as "Masquerade" brought them face to face with their long struggles with identity.
When Chloe admitted that she doesn't know who she is anymore, because she's always defined herself by whatever role she was playing or by the expectations of others, my heart broke for her. She's been through so much in the last ten years that it's not tough to imagine her living without a daily swirling of schizophrenia.
Seemingly a lost soul, it wouldn't have surprised me if she had given in to Desaad's attempts to plant the Omega symbol on her brain, but the bond she shares with Oliver gave her a tether, a connection that helps her keep in touch with the Chloe that had become some just a photo in an old yearbook - and that is what gave her the strength to resist Desaad's temptations to give in to the darkness.
Oliver, sadly, wasn't as fortunate. He, too, seemed well on his way to rediscovering himself and assuming his place in the grand scheme again, but he's always been a hothead with a twinge of thirst for vengeance. Clark was right that he was in no position to go after Chloe. Oliver was already raw with emotion when Desaad sent him over the edge by making him think he'd killed Chloe. Oliver let his guard down completely and opened the passage for the darkness to enter, as evidenced by the haunting final image of the Omega symbol on his brain.
It's the final season, so I am not even going to bother to nitpick the fact that it's a little backwards for Clark to assume his four-eyed persona so late in the game, after everyone at the Planet and elsewhere knows his face. That ship sailed a long time ago. I'm just going to relish the fact that he's finally taking the steps to recognize which identity is true.
Clark has always had a difficulty with his duality, and tonight it finally dawned on him why…he's been pulling in favor of the wrong side. He's tried for so long to hold on to Clark Kent that it has actually hampered his ability to be the hero the world needs him to be. His discussion with Lois at the end about being defined by who he is, not what he's called, actually put a bit of a lump in my throat. It was exhilarating to see him recognize that The Blur is his true self and Clark needs to be just his cover, and I think his gradual realization of this fact is all thanks to Lois.
Desaad recognized how much stronger and incorruptible Clark has been since he first encountered Godfrey, and that was early on in this season. Think of all that's happened since then, with his secret, the engagement, etc., and all evidence points to Lois as the catalyst of his change.
I have never been more in awe of her than I have been over these last few episodes. She is the one character who doesn't have a crisis of identity. She knows exactly who she is and wears that confidence like a brand on her chest. Clark may be the hero the world is waiting for, but it's Lois who is making him rise to the occasion, and possibly could have something to do with such a late-in-the-game discovery of a new non-flight ability: welcome to the party Microvision!
One of only a few eye-roller moments for me was when Clark raced from Britain back to Metropolis. Am I to assume he ran across the top of the entire Atlantic Ocean to get there? I mean, seriously, do the writers think it will somehow water down the impact of the finale to allow him the ability to fly now? Just do it already.
I also find it incredible that a hat and sunglasses would persuade anyone from recognizing Oliver's extremely notable chin dimple. It's a dead giveaway. He should have grown Oliver's classic goatee to cover that thing up by now.
And speaking of disguises, I also felt rather icky watching Chloe and Oliver role play. That doesn't really suit them as a couple, and I think they should just leave that sort of thing in much more palatable, if incapable, hands, such as Modern Family's Clive and Juliana.
Overall I found "Masquerade" to be a solid episode, playing well into the overall saga, especially in bringing the Darkseid arc back into focus. How do you think it measured up?
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.