After a solid three seasons worth of investigating the often strange inhabitants of Smallville, the producers have started to venture outside of the Sunflower State in order to find some of the wackos they need to help hone Clark Kent’s powers. Lana had been in Paris, and Lex has been in Egypt. Previously, we learned that Bart Allen has super speed, but was not from Smallville. Continuing with that theme,we get another foreign enemy to deal with this week. It turns out that Lionel Luthor was running a program for exchange students and one student, besides possessing the worst Eastern European accent I have heard in a long time, also has some mind control power that even Clark is not immune to.Although Clark was thinking of quitting football when his body was inhabitated by Lionel Luthor, cooler heads prevail, and Clark is just about to carry his team to the state championship. Fancying themselves some sort high school version o fthe Jacksonville Jaguars, using the last play of the game to propel them to victory. Oddly enough, with Clark Kent playing football, the team from Smallville had been able to play their way into the state semi-finals. This game comes down to a last minute play as well, with Clark executing an option pitch to his running back(no B-side, nobody on the team is named Randle-El), who seems to have a clear path to the end zone. Inexplicably, the running back fumbles the ball, but before Smallville’s dreams are completely shattered, Clark waltzes in, recovers the fumble, and takes the football the last few yards for the score. Just before reaching the end zone, something strange happens. Clark trips, loses control of himself for a minute, and slams the last remaining defender to the ground.
For those of you who don’t follow Superman or Smallville, Clark Kent doesn’t trip, or really have any misstep whatsoever. Every time he makes a motion, or touches another person or thing, he has to be aware of his strength and hold back. It turns out that the exchange student, Mikhail Mxyzptlk (pronounced mihks – il – PIHT -uhl – ik), is a bookie and uses his powers of persuasion to make sure that the house never loses. He caused the fumble, and then Clark’s near stumble. Clark didn’t completely fall, but it did break his concentration enough that when he hit the defender while going into the end zone, he broke the defender’s collarbone in two places. (A broken collarbone is a *very* painful injury, and takes months to heal.) Mikhail was surprised at what he saw, but thought it was just dumb luck. It looks like he’ll end up having to pay the bet of the person who bet on Smallville to win, one Chloe Sullivan.
As you might imagine, Chloe placed her bet as part of an exposé on gambling for the Torch, but she is not the only person that has taken an interest in Mikhail. Lex Luthor, while reviewing the details of his father’s exchange program, noticed that Mikhail was only an average student, and wondered if his dad saw something in Mikhail that others may have missed. When Lex confronts Mikhail, who dances around the question, and only says Lionel saw potential that others haven’t. For spite, he makes Lex cut his finger while Lex attempts to cut some food. He leaves the Luthor mansion to meet up with Chloe, and she confesses that she is writing an article. He asks her not to use his name, and in return will show her the seedy underbelly of Smallville. Um, yeah. Their first stop on this tour? Why a trip to Metropolis of course to watch the Sharks (who also don’t have Antoine Randle-El) and bet on the game, at 8 – 1 odds of course.
Things aren’t going so smoothly at the Kent farm. Clark’s parents knew right away what happened when the injured player on the other team was down, and Jonathan said that Clark had to stop playing football. While at the party to celebrate their place in the championship game, Clark tells Coach Teague they need to talk. Earlier Jason had mentioned to Clark that the head coach believes that Clark may be using steroids, there is just nothing else to explain how Clark does some of the things he does, including going from a farm boy to throwing sixty yard passes. Before Clark can say anything, a bunch of cheerleaders come in, they bring a big cake, and the head coach tells them that they have a great chance to win the state championship, and a lot of the reason for that is Clark Kent. Clark sees how much his teammates want the victory, how their performance in the championship might mean scholarships for some people, and decides that he can’t quit, but wonders if there is any way he could level the playing field. The next morning, he tries a little experiment, placing a small piece of Kryptonite in his hand to make his abilities more human. He can’t throw for shit of course, and Martha walks in and discovers the Kryptonite. Mrs. Kent tells him that it’s too dangerous to play with Kryptonite, but that he must find out what caused him to lose control in the game if he wants to play on Saturday.
To investigate, Clark spends some time in the Torch offices reviewing the play, when Chloe walks in. Surprisingly, Chloe doesn’t kill him for what he did last week, which comes as sort of surprise. Clark mentions that he felt strange on that play, like his mind was saying one thing, but his body was doing another. Chloe knows exactly what he means. After she returned from watching the Shark’s play the day before, she had bought herself some gifts (she is using the bulk of her savings for college tuition). Mikhail asked her if she enjoyed herself, and told her that if she held off on the article, he could show her more, and throws in some euro trash pickup lines just for good measure. When Chloe refuses to back down, he threatens her a little more strongly, and as a transparent display of his power, forces Chloe to kiss him. Chloe doesn’t stop the article, but she does let Clark know that Mikhail is one of the biggest bookies in the school. While researching his name, they find no matches, but the search engine suggests looking the name up in reverse order. Now looking up “KLTPZYMX” (I’m not even going to try and pronounce it), they find an old Balkan legend about race of people who would terrorize a town because they could manipulate chance. They were only stopped by a plague of locusts. So while they had their solution, it looked like it was going to be difficult to pull off, but at least they didn’t have to turn any rivers to blood or kill of all the first born.
Clark tries to take things into his own hands. He knows that Luthorcorp runs the foundation, and rats Mikhail out to Clark about Mikhail’s side activities. Lex is curious as to why Clark is so interested, but combined with his earlier reservations about Mikhail, decides to go ahead and deport him. When Lex informs Mikhail of the plan, Mikhail convinces Lex to place a wager on the game. If the Smallville wins, Lex can have Mikhail deported. If they lose, Lex must set Mikhail free, and give him a million dollars. Lex agrees, and Mikhail plays a visit to Clark to make sure his plan goes through. He is unaware of Clark’s powers, but knows that Clark is the only one who was able to recover from one of his mind control acts. Mikhail tells Clark he must throw the game, but can’t sit out. To show he means business, Mikhail uses his ability to choke Clark, who can’t do anything to stop it. He allows Clark to breathe, and leaves, thinking he can’t be stopped.
Just before the game, Clark meets with Chloe. She did a little investigating (surprise!) about the locusts, and says that in order for locusts to not run into each other, they emit a high frequency noise. She thinks that if they can reproduce that noise, they should be able to stop Mikhail for good. Chloe even knows a way to reproduce that sound, and tells Clark to go ahead and play the game. Now, I am sure the producers were very proud of their little montage of Clark getting ready for the game. It was full of the generic images of somebody getting ready for a big game, it is them against the world, blah, blah, blah. What I didn’t get was why they had all of a sudden turned the football game into a big commercial for Old Spice Red Zone deodorant. I mean, it was in Clark’s locker when he was getting ready, which is no big deal, but during the climactic part of the montage where they are running out of the tunnel and back on the field, there is this big Red Zone banner across the entrance. They try not to be too obvious about it, but it is plain as day that they are trying to work it in to every shot possible. The other problem I had with the montage is that we got this image of Clark getting ready in the locker room. He puts on his pads, uniform, and helmet, and he is alone in the locker room. But when they cut to the shot of the team heading to the field, his is suddenly back with all of his teammates. And speaking of things that don’t make sense, when he was talking with Lex about Mikhail the day before, Lex had no visible sign that he had been cut. I know Lex doesn’t get sick that often, but god wouldn’t he have a band-aid on it, if not some stitches?
Enough of my ranting, as Clark leaves the field, his dad stops him and asks him why he is continuing to play. Clark tells him that he and Chloe are confident that they can stop Mikhail, and that this is one decision that if he is the one to take responsibility of his actions, he must be responsible for his own decisions. Jonathan understands, and Clark goes on to play the game. You may be wondering just exactly what it is that Chloe can do to stop Mikhail and how she is going to reproduce the locust frequency. Ahh, you forget that Chloe has a three star general for an uncle, and he is more than willing to give her the tools necessary to recreate the frequency, in this case, it was a stealth airplane jammer. She connects it to the PA system, and blasts the frequency while the game is going on. Since the noise is beyond the level of human hearing, nobody in the crowd or on the field notice anything, but Mikhail is powerless to change any of the action going on before him. Smallville is in the middle of a hard fought game when Mikhail realizes that the sound is not natural and is coming from the field speakers. He rushes to the transmission room, finds Chloe, and pulls a knife on her.
Mikhail returns to the sideline just as Smallville is about to pull of yet another last second play to try and win the state championship. He tells Clark that he has Chloe, and that Clark is going to throw the game or she is dead. Clark thinks about his options, is giving his count at the line of scrimmage, but uses his x-ray vision to find exactly where Mikahil is holding Chloe. In the middle of the play, which is a long pass, Clark uses his speed to run off of the field, find Chloe and Mikhail, free her from handcuffs, knock his knife away and throw him across the room, then returns in plenty of time to get hit before anybody else knows what is going on. He did get his pass off, which of course is good, and wins the game. Clark is a hero, Smallville wins the championship, and Chloe is safe. Not too bad for one day of work. After a night of partying, he comes home. His parents fake being upset with him for breaking curfew, but are really just proud of him. Chloe walks in to thank Clark. She says he can never stay in her dog house for long, and it looks like they are back to being friends, which is good, because now that football is over, it would make for some awkward moments when Clark got back to the torch.
For Mikhail, it wasn’t a great day. He lost the bet and lost his power, but Lex Luthor still took a great interest in him. Lex didn’t put him in jail, and instead took him to a secret floor at Luthorcorp headquarters. Mikhail says that he is no longer with his gift, but Lex assures him that it is possible to regain what you have lost. We don’t see what Lex means, but I hypothesize that Lex has been rounding up a lot of the people who have been stopped by Clark in the past including some kids who were in the mental hospital when Clark was committed. Perhaps somebody who knows the comic more than I can help me elaborate, but I can’t be too sure as of now. I do know that Mxyzptlk is a real character from the comics, although I believe he was not human and he didn’t have any mind control powers. Anyway, it looks like Lex is back to his old tricks, or has learned some new ones. I’m guessing that we will have a real showdown between these two this year.
Back at school, Clark is looking for Coach Teague. It turns out a Metropolis University scout was at the game, and he offered Clark scholarship. Clark wanted to thank Jason for all of the help, but when he asks Lana where he is, she is visibly upset. A few days before, she had talked to Jason about Clark, and they talked about how Clark might be using drugs. Lana assured him that he was not, and Jason revealed the head coach asked him to take a blood test, but Jason was worried Clark would try to retaliate by making their relationship known, so he administered no test, but said it came back clean. Lana assured Jason that Clark wouldn’t do anything on a grudge, and not to be too worried, although he needed the job to stay in college (how that works is anybody’s guess). Anyway, Lana says that somebody made her relationship with Jason known, and he was fired. Since Clark is apparently the only person who knows, she blames him. Maybe it is his fault, but how much work is there in the off season for an assistant football coach who doesn’t appear to teach class? The team has already won the football championship, is he going on to coach basketball or something? What’s the deal? And secondly, somebody else might have found out. It is a small town, and you would think that somebody might discover that the coach is paying visits to a student at school, considering that student happens to live above the number one social hangout in the whole town.
It turns out Clark was responsible, but in an indirect way. He had told Lex about Lana’s relationship, but thought he could trust him. Lex was in fact the one that got Jason fired, but Clark realizes that it is not simply a matter of Lex showing loyalty for Clark’s interest. Earlier Lex had told Clark that he must be willing to do anything for the woman he loves, just like he is willing to do anything to win on the football field. It’s quite apparent that Lex has at least some interest in Lana. It confirms something we have wondered for quite awhile, and have been hinted to on and off for some time. Lex was the one to save the Talon by going into business with Lana, and was the one that helped get her to Paris, he has always been slightly creepy, but his affection for her could always be construed as he was looking out for Clark. It does add a nice little wrinkle to the whole thing, and I wonder how Clark is going to get himself out of Lana’s dog house. But don’t worry all of you Jason fans, he is on the main credits, so it’s not like they won’t have him back for future episodes.