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I knew that this week’s episode of Smallville would be a very special one because it gave us a parental guidance warning at the beginning of the show. I know that I have mentioned how much I love the parental warnings on 24, but I don’t want people to think that I am a mindless advocate of any television that is violent. Sex and violence, yes, it’s all good. Just violence? A little bit harder to sell. Just sex? Well, there are plenty of boobs to see on The L Word, but if they were team of mercenaries, it would be better. Anyway, this week also let us return to a theme the writers often like to use, but not in the fashion we are accustomed to. Yes, one character’s body is possessed by a spirit of some kind, but in a departure from the norm, that body isn’t Lana’s.Now, I thought the parental warning had to do with violence, but within fifteen seconds, I wondered if it was going to involve nudity. We got to see Lana’s silhouette in the shower a couple of times, and we also got to see Lois’s shadow changing when she was playing a stripper, and now it is time for Chloe to join in. She happened to be visiting Lois for some reason, and decided she needed to take a shower, not that I am complaining. For all of the Chloe stalkers out there, we got quite a few shots that gave us a preview of everything Chloe had to offer with only a thin layer of semi-transparent plastic to get in the way of our imaginations.
Unfortunately, you knew something had to go wrong, and after some lightening knocked the electricity out of the building, the story began to look a lot like The Grudge. First, Chloe is putting her robe on in the shower, and we see a face peering at her through the shower curtain. Then while she is looking for a candle, we see a figure running in the background. Next, a great staple of horror movies. Chloe looks at herself in the mirror of the medicine cabinet, and then looks inside for something. When she closes the medicine cabinet, the spooky face is in the mirror. Chloe turns around and sees the image of a girl with bloody wrists pleading for her help.
By the time Lois hears Chloe and comes into the bathroom, Chloe is sitting on the floor and it looks like she is now the one who slit her wrists. Lois takes Chloe to the Smallville medical center where the doctors have sedated her. She asks the psychiatrist, Dr. Sidell, who already gives me a bad vibe, what could have caused all of this, like perhaps stress or a history of mental illness. I am not sure how long this Sidell has been in Smallville, but if he only looked around, he might notice that mental illness seems to not just run in families, but was somehow added to the tap water as well. And who would Lois be to answer? Remember when she was possessed by a horny witch? Crazy shit happens all the time in this town.
Clark finally makes it to the hospital, but when he visits Chloe she is actually really lucid. When he asks if there is anything she wants to tell him, she says that she was a writer and if she tried to kill herself, she would have left one hell of a suicide note. Chloe sounds like she is making sense, and then she sees the face of that creepy woman again and starts to freak out, and of course she can’t understand why Clark can’t see this strange woman asking Chloe to help her. At this point, Clark becomes worried and thinks that Chloe should tell the doctor about her mom. Lois doesn’t know it, but Chloe’s mom was sent away to a mental institution when she was very young, and one of her biggest fears is ending up crazy like her mom. She makes Clark promise not to tell anybody, and since she is hiding his secret identity, he can’t really argue, can he?
After Clark leaves, Chloe begins to hear the freaky ghost thing saying “Help me.” She gets up to investigate, and is startled when Lana comes in and asks her what is wrong. What’s wrong is that Chloe is seeing blood all over the place, but nobody else does. She starts yelling at her doctor, who has to put her in restraints. Lana becomes so worried about what she just saw that she decides to ask Lex for help. Things have been awkward since their sort-of kiss, but he was glad to help out, even if it was going to distract him from the most important thing on his mind right now, which is finding Milton Fine, who seems to have disappeared off the planet, although we know Clark killed him in the Fortress of Solitude many weeks ago.
Lex promises to take great care of Chloe, which means that she is going to go to Belle Reve. When Clark visits Chloe and sees that she is now in isolation and hears about Belle Reve, he is none too happy. First of all, Belle Reve might have people who are professionals, but their history of experimentation is pretty bad. If they are going to get inside Chloe’s head, she might tell them things she didn’t want to, like Clark’s secret. Therefore, Clark had to take her away, so busts Chloe out and takes her to Lois’ apartment. Lois isn’t particularly happy Clark took Chloe away from doctors. She doesn’t care how bad Belle Reve might be; her cousin tried to kill herself and she wants to give her the best care possible.
Chloe finally wakes up and says she would love a cappuccino to clear her head from all of the drugs they gave her. As Lois goes downstairs to make the drink, Chloe once again tells Clark that she is not like her mother. Once again, as soon as she mentions that she is not crazy, she starts seeing things again. It’s that same girl, and she still wants Chloe to help her. The girl melts into the wall, and although Clark is skeptical, he uses his x-ray vision to look inside the wall, where he sees the skeleton of the girl. OK now, that makes sense. She was just trying to lead people to her body so it could rest in peace. Why bother with all of the slit wrists and whatnot? And uh, why pick poor Chloe to possess? Lana lived there a long time, and she loves being possessed, she might have understood this crazy girl better and prevented all of the mess we had now.
Clark immediately broke through the wall, which was kind of unnecessary, don’t you think? Wouldn’t it have seemed strange that the wall was smashed and there was no sledgehammer around? Then again, you would have to explain to people why you were so sure there was a skeleton behind the wall. Eh, I guess it’s a push. When Clark gets through, it turns out the body has a kryptonite bracelet, so he has to back away, but Chloe is still drawn to the body. She touches the bracelet and she is possessed, for real this time. How do I know? Well, for starters, she looks in the mirror and she is looking at the reflection of the crazy girl that has been haunting her for so long.
Since they have to call in the dead body, Clark takes Chloe back to his house to hide her. I thought it would have been perfect for either Lana or his mom to walk in and make things awkward, but the writers decided to be more straightforward. Chloe mentions that they need to find whoever did that stuff to the poor girl, and make him suffer the way she did. Lois is downstairs, and we have some information on the girl. Her name was Gretchen Winters, and it turns out she wasn’t the only girl in Smallville that was found dead behind a wall like that. They go upstairs to tell Chloe, but she has left.
Gretchen-Chloe didn’t know who she was, but when she sees that she is a student at Metropolis University and works at the Daily Planet, she decides to do a little investigation. I wish they would stop pretending that Metropolis was so far from Smallville, because whenever they travel there, it makes 24 look realistic by comparison. Gretchen-Chloe makes it to Chloe’s room, and picks up a few things, including a stun gun. Lana is there, and she is wondering where the hell Chloe has been. Lana and Lex had been looking for her all afternoon. In fact, there was Lex to forcibly take Chloe to the doctors at Belle Reve, but Gretchen-Chloe had the stun gun, used it on Lex, and was able to get away.
So exactly where was Gretchen-Chloe heading off to? Remember that doctor I said I had a bad feeling about? Well it seems like I didn’t really have to worry about him. The orderly was another matter entirely. How do I know this? First, he just looked creepy, and second, he abducted Lois. Yes, he decided to visit the Talon to see if he could find any information on Chloe, but instead finds Lois reading some exorcism books and trying to cleanse the aura of the place. We learn that the orderly, Michael, is very familiar with the space above the Talon. As soon as he said that his dad used to manage the place, we knew that obviously he was the killer. He did like the way they had cleaned up the place, and it smelled a lot better as well. You know, the decomposing flesh of a dead body tends to foul things up. That didn’t stop him from abducting Lois and taking her back to his place.
Like I said, Gretchen-Chloe made it to Michael’s as well. Michael has no idea that she is possessed until Gretchen-Chloe starts talking about how Michael had seduced Gretchen. Personally, I don’t see what the fuss is. He bought gifts for Gretchen, he listened to her problems, but when it was time to share her problems, she wanted to leave. I know that sounds rough, but we can also call it “Dating in 21st century.” I mean, if somebody does that to you, it is instinct to perhaps want to shut them out of your life. That doesn’t mean that you need to shut them out by killing them and placing them behind the drywall.
As soon as Michael recognizes that Chloe is actually Gretchen-Chloe, he slams her against the wall, but Gretchen-Chloe was anticipating that and used the stun gun on him. She wasn’t finished however, and grabbed a candlestick and began to beat him unconscious with it. It looked like she was not going to stop until she went all Hartigan vs. the Yellow Bastard on his skull. A perverted orderly dies, a young girl lives. Seems like a fair trade, but before Gretchen-Chloe can finish the job, she hears Lois screaming, and goes downstairs to rescue her.
Anybody who has seen a good horror/suspense/thriller movie knows that as soon as you stop beating up the killer to rescue your family member/loved one, the killer will wake up and then you will both be in trouble. Lois had been screaming for a while, another ten minutes while Gretchen-Chloe put a divot in Michael’s skull wouldn’t have mattered. Or at least throw him down the stairs and break a few bones so it makes it harder for him to run after you. If you are ever caught by a serial killer, and get the upper hand, please take note.
Michael does recover just before Gretchen-Chloe is able to free Lois, and is therefore able to get both of them tied up. While the episode might have looked like The Grudge earlier, we now begin to see something a lot more like Hostel or Saw. Like any good villain, as soon as he gets his victims strapped up, he has to go into a monologue that will reveal why he was so messed up. Isn’t it supposed to be “killing me softly” and not “killing me with lots of boring dialogue”? Then again, since I am not exactly known for being concise, I’ll shut up now. So basically, Michael takes after his dad who taught him that many women couldn’t be trusted, starting with his own mother. His father showed him how he could find out others’ secrets and take away their pain, all by slitting the wrists of a woman while wearing a special bracelet. That’s the kryptonite bracelet if you haven’t been paying attention.
Quite obviously Michael is out to do some damage, but this time, he is a little more sadistic. He’s not going to just cut Chloe and Lois; he wants them to do it themselves. He starts by handing a knife to Lois, and telling her that he will shoot Chloe if she doesn’t start cutting. Poor guy, he doesn’t know Lois. Instead of cutting herself, Lois takes the knife and throws it at him. It’s so convenient that her father is a general, forcing her to live on a base and pick up things like hand-to-hand combat, defensive driving, and knife throwing. Michael is caught off-guard, and the knife hits him in the chest.
By this time, Clark had figured out that Michael was involved and where he lived. After he left the dorm, he went to the Daily Planet, checked the browser history from Gretchen-Chloe’s last visit, and sped off to help. Normally, things would be over, and Clark did help a little, but Chloe still had the kryptonite bracelet, and so he couldn’t do much besides buy a little more time. It was enough time, however, for Gretchen-Chloe to get Michael listening. Remember, he was upset that Gretchen had rejected him, and so she began to speak like she accepted him, calling him Mikey and telling him that she wants him to make her pain go away. Michael doesn’t understand, but as he gets closer to Gretchen-Chloe, she somehow manages to use the bracelet to transfer into his body. Now within Michael’s body, Gretchen gives herself a heart attack or something, and kills him. Her spirit is free, having avenged her own death, and everybody else is just happy they didn’t have to wait for the drill bit in the kneecap. Still, I am a little confused as to why he died.
With all of this behind them, Clark visits Chloe at the Daily Planet. Chloe is very happy that Clark didn’t leave her to be dissected at Belle Reve. She’s also a little concerned why Gretchen would have chosen her to help out. Personally, I would have wondered why she waited until Chloe was in the shower, but again, I’m not going to complain. Clark tells Chloe that she was chosen because she cares about other people more than any other person that he knows, but she still has it in the back of her mind that maybe it’s because she is like her mom. You know, crazy.
The sad thing about all of this is that she doesn’t even know what is wrong with her mother. Chloe’s mom left when she was twelve, but she doesn’t remember much more. In fact, she hasn’t seen her since that time. You know, between puberty and high school and faking her own death, it was hard to find time to visit. She has always been scared to face her mom, but she decides that there is no better time than the present. Thankfully, her mom wasn’t locked away in a place like Belle Reve, but one of those nice places like in 12 Monkeys where people are painting and playing board games, minus random time travelers eating spiders. Chloe sees her mom, and in a very touching scene, she walks up, and gives her hug. There are tears in her eyes, and although we never see her mom’s face (hopefully it’s not Lionel in drag) we are sure she is just as thankful to see her daughter after all these years.
So this episode was obviously just a filler, but it did take care of a few questions besides giving us a little more insight into Chloe. We hear that Lex is looking for Professor Fine, and although we know that Milton is dead, Brainiac takes many forms in the comics, so it wouldn’t be impossible to see him come back. We also learned that Martha is seriously thinking about taking her husband’s Senate seat. Lionel was actually very compassionate talking with her about the death of Jonathan, saying that he knows how it feels, and that it twill get better if she gives herself time. I think he is saying this just so it would be easier for him to manipulate her later, but still he scores a few points.
Next week, we get an introduction to Cyborg, and then we’ll start to get an idea of what they want to do to finish the season off. What did you think of this episode? Is Chloe crazy like the stone fox that she is?