By now, I have settled down about how upset I was about the 100th episode of Smallville. I guess I was just so bummed about the non-death of Lana that I didn’t really appreciate the pain and loss surrounding both Lana and Jonathan’s deaths. I still think it would have been great for the writers to have established their own take on the Superman universe, but I guess since the new Superman movie is coming out, they didn’t want to further confuse viewers about everything. This week we get to spend some time in Metropolis with a mild-mannered reporter at the Daily Planet that fights for the underdog at night. It sounds very familiar, but the person I’m talking about might not be the one that you’re expecting.If you didn’t get the story by now, Clark blames himself for his father’s death. Clark asked Jor-el to help him save Lana, but his father died instead. Again, there is no way to tell that Jonathan would have lived a long and prosperous life if Clark hadn’t chosen to save Lana, but he doesn’t think of it that way. He not only blames himself, but can barely even think about the whole situation without frustration. Clark has always had trouble finding people to confide in, and he therefore had a very strong bond with Jonathan and Martha, choosing to live as their son instead of choosing the destiny his Krypton father, Jor-el had chosen for him, and it wasn’t easy. I can’t say no to those free watered down Kamikaze shots the Saddle Ranch; there is no way I would have turned world domination if my disembodied alien father had been pitching it to me.
Martha has been trying to get past Jonathan’s loss. Clark decided to take the rest of the semester off which will mean she won’t have to worry about what’s going on around the farm, but there are a lot of things that sill remind her of her husband. There are so many memories that are hard to get rid of, and she decides that she will take his clothes to a homeless shelter in Metropolis. The governor’s office has contacted her about Jonathan’s Senate seat, so she is going to have to drive down there anyway.
Now I know that homeless shelters wouldn’t make sense in a nice part of town, but couldn’t this mission have found a slightly better neighborhood to help the homeless? I am not saying that it needs to be in a building with a doorman, but it would have been nice if they people trying to help the shelter didn’t leave in fear of getting mugged, which is exactly what happened to Martha as she was donating some clothes. This also brings up a question about the muggers. What kind of person who makes a living stealing items thinks that they are going to find lots of good stuff worth stealing around a homeless shelter? I guess there is some sort of booming industry for five year-old basketball camp t-shirts and muffin stumps in Metropolis that haven’t showed up anywhere else.
OK, so like I said, Martha was mugged, and these guys were particularly mean. The only thing she had on her was Jonathan’s old watch, one of the last material things he had that connected the two of them. After taking it from her and slapping her around until she was unconscious, they decided they didn’t want to leave a witness and were about to slit her throat until somebody came to save her. It’s not Clark, and it’s not even a man; it is some girl in what looks to be a modified Zorro costume, and she really hates these two guys. In fact, our hero recognizes one of them by a tattoo on his neck, but when his partner threatens to hurt Martha, the new girl rescues her and the guys escape. But hey, she’s new at this, so we’ll cut her some slack.
One of the reasons Martha had that valuable watch on was because Clark refused to take it. Yes, it had too much to do with the memory of his father. I’m not saying that Kent is being a little bit of a baby, but has he looked around some of his friends lately? Let’s see. Lana – both parents dead. Chloe – mother crazy. Lex – mother dead. Lois – mother dead. If anything, Clark is just joining the club of lost parents, and even for the less cynical among us, you would hope that he realizes that there are people around him who have been through the same thing, and their experiences may not make what he is feeling go away, but they might be able to help him through it. Lana tells him as much when she goes to visit him. She has given up on Clark opening up to her, but she still wants to help him get through this difficult time.
Before Lana has much time to convince Clark to let her stay and help, Martha comes back, and as soon as Clark sees what happened to her, he rushes off to Metropolis to find out what’s going on. As we all know, the police aren’t going to be of any help. Therefore, he goes to Chloe, the only person in Metropolis who seems to be any good at solving crimes. Chloe is actually sort of excited to hear that the vigilante rescued his mom. People have heard about her rescuing crime victims within the “Suicide Slums” district of Metropolis, but nobody has actually seen her face. Chloe can’t wait to put all of this on the front page, which bothers Clark because he wants answers, not a headline.
Just as Clark turns around, he bumps into another employee of the Daily Planet. She’s nerdy, goofy, sort of clumsy, and wears glasses. Oh, and underneath that power suit of hers lies a lot of hotness. How hot? Well, her name is Andrea, and the actress that plays her, Denise Quiñones, actually one the Miss Universe Pageant in 2001 representing Puerto Rico. Andrea, of course, is the mild mannered alter-ego of the superhero she plays at night, and when she sees that Chloe is doing a front page story on her including sketches, she isn’t too pleased. In her line of work, it helps that people don’t recognize you, and if people are looking around for her, it’s going to hamper her ability to actually do her job.
Chloe has just gotten around to naming the mystery woman the “Angel of Vengeance”, when the angel herself swoops in, grabs Chloe, and warns her not to run the story. Clark tries to stop her, and she hits him, sending him flying across the room. At this point, Clark could have cared less about Chloe and her story, but after the Police report comes in and shows no information on who attacked his mom, he decides he has to get in contact with the Vigilante because she is the only one who was a witness there. Clark isn’t even concerned about bringing those guys to justice as much as getting his father’s watch back, because losing that watch was really the only lingering pain that his mom had from the crime.
Clark and Chloe come up with a plan. The run around Metropolis, Chloe walks around by herself, Clark pretends to mug her, and Chloe screams at the top of her lungs. Unfortunately, it’s taking them a lot longer than expected, but by now Clark is determined. If there is anything that bothers him, it is people that save the world and aren’t humble about their appearance. Clark describes her outfit as “over the top” and we all get a laugh because we know that eventually Clark will wear blue tights and a red cape when he goes to fight crime, which isn’t exactly subtle.
After trying for a long time, the Vigilante finally comes to Chloe’s “rescue”. When she sees that it is a trap, she and Clark fight. As they go at it, Clark manages to pull her cowl off, and he and Chloe see that it is Andrea. Her cover blown, Andrea starts heading for the roof of a building. Although she is really only jumping from ledge to ledge, the cape makes her look like she is flying. She thinks that she has gotten away, but when she gets to the rooftop, there is Clark. Something inside of her clicks, and she decides to tell Clark the entire story.
Andrea had been a normal girl up until six months ago. She was driving home from a gymnastics meet with her mother when two people mugged them in her car. One of them was the guy who had the tattoo on his neck. He took all of their money, stabbed her mom to death, and stabbed Andrea in the heart, leaving her for dead. While in the hospital, she received the heart from a person who was killed in the meteor shower, and ever since she has super strength. With her mother dead, Andrea decided to take up her cause, which was working with the poor and underprivileged. Now that she knows that they are on the same side, she offers to help Clark find his watch, because he knows where the muggers’ gang hangs out.
While all of this was going on, things were happening elsewhere in Metropolis. It seemed only a short time ago that Lionel couldn’t piss his way out of a paper bag, but now he is poised to lead a hostile takeover of Luthorcorp as part of the very Apprentice-like, generically-named Apex Group. Lex had used too many company assets in his campaign for Senator. It left the company weak, and Lionel was storming the beach. For dramatic effect, he was even packing a pistol that General McArthur had when he returned to the Philippines. Lex promises not to give up. He may be down, but he still knows people, and can pull some strings.
During the time that Clark was learning all of Andrea’s backstory, Martha Kent had come to the Daily Planet looking for him. She knows how upset he was about his father’s watch, and is worried that he might do something. Chloe pretends that she doesn’t know what is going on, but Martha has been keeping secrets for so long that she isn’t fooled. She fears that Clark has kept the pain in so long, that he might actually let his emotions get the better of him. Chloe reassures Mrs. Kent that although she thinks it was Jonathan that his son always looked up to, Clark thinks a lot of Martha as well, and he knows the line and would never cross it. Those words help Martha feel better, but even more, it is her realization that she is not alone, at least when it comes to Clark’s secret. She had wondered how she could ever keep the secret by herself, and is happy to learn that she doesn’t have to.
Clark and Andrea decided that they were going to check out this 13th street gang, and although I love the way the writers do things, didn’t this gang seem a little bit old-fashioned? I mean, what kind of organization gets anything done when its employees are outside milling around garbage cans, lighting fires to keep warm? Isn’t there some sort of business that they can set up as a front? Doesn’t one of their mothers have a basement? Whatever the case, when they get to “headquarters” Clark and Andrea begin to question the man who was with the tattooed guy. They only say to let the guy know that they are looking for him, and as they are walking away, the guy immediately calls his friend, who had been laying low, and Clark rushes in and grabs the phone.
Now that he has something to go from, Clark starts investigation phone records back at the Daily Planet. The cell phone was stolen, which doesn’t help their case, but the guy did order pizza using the cell phone, and Clark is able to get an address from them. Andrea, who had just finished changing inside the phone booth (the janitors were in the bathroom) hears all of this, but Clark runs off before she can follow.
Andrea changes once again, and as Vigilante, she is not too far behind Clark, who made it to this mugger and is just about to choke him to death, when he realizes that he can’t do it. Andrea doesn’t have the same problem. Since she received the heart of a meteor shower victim, she always kept some kryptonite around her neck. She used it to knock out Clark and do a little investigation of her own. The thug recognizes her, and quickly starts talking. He said he was paid to kill her mother because she was opposed to a corporation that was about to tear down the slums. The corporation? Apex? The only name that he recognized? Lionel Luthor.
Although she got what she needs, Vigilante decides that the man who killed her mother can’t continue to live. She stabs the man in the heart just like he stabbed her, and with Clark lying on the ground paralyzed by kryptonite, he can’t do anything. There had been some joking about how she could have used a sidekick in fighting crime, and all of that stuff, but Andrea crossed a line that was very important to Clark’s nature, and while she may not be his enemy, he wouldn’t just be able to let the memory go from his mind. It was
Lionel continued wasting no time getting his things in order for his return to Luthorcorp. Lex thought he could pull some strings, but Lionel was able to cut all of them off before they would do Lex any good. Lex still has one ace up his sleeve, however, and he tells his father that he will make sure that Martha Kent knows about the secret meeting Lionel had with Jonathan just a little before he died. She might be the most levelheaded person in the state, but if there was anything that would send her over the edge, that would be it.
Lex leaves his father to think about that, but Lionel is not alone for long. The Vigilante comes crashing through his window. She killed the person who took her mother’s life, and now it was time to get rid of the person who ordered the kill. Andrea was just about to drop Lionel out of the window of his office, when Clark came in. Clark believes that there is still good in her, and tells her to think about her mom and what she would do. Andrea desperately wants revenge, but she is already troubled by the one life she took. At the same time, she knows that she’ll never be able to go back to her old life after what she has done. She jumps out of the window, leaving Lionel to fall to his death, but Clark makes it there in plenty of time. Saving Lionel was a testament to Clark’s character, but he didn’t know that Lionel had that fight with his father. If he had known, I wonder if Lionel would still be alive today.
And there ends the story of Vigilante. Of all of the “superheroes” that have passed through Smallville, she had the most edge to her. I give Denise credit for the role. She didn’t look nearly as wooden as the guy who played Aquaman, and they are thinking about giving him his own series. There is no word whether she’ll be back, however, as the next day, her desk at the Daily Planet was empty, and the whole experienced convince Clark that he hopes to find a way so he won’t have to hide who he really is.
Clark did get his father’s watch back. The crook said that he pawned it off, and Lana searched all around until she found it. It was a small step on his way to recovery, but it was an important step. He’s finally accepted that his father is not coming back, and although there are parts of him that knows he will have to go through this alone, he also knows that he has friends that are there for him when he needs it. More importantly, he knows that he has to be strong for his mother. In a very touching final scene, Martha is reviewing some old home videos she took of Clark and Jonathan. He was so proud of his son; said he would grow up to be a man of steel. Martha turns around to see Clark, sees that he has his father’s watch, and give each other an embrace, realizing that they do have each other.
So, this was an average episode. The whole Andrea/Vigilante thing was a sideshow, but we had been wondering why Clark had started a career in journalism, and we finally have an idea. When Clark was there with Chloe, he realized that while the police get a lot of information, there is no story big or small that doesn’t pass through the Daily Planet. Although Clark said he didn’t want to hide his identity, he saw the power of being able to live his life as one person, and assume a completely separate appearance when helping other people.
We also got the answer to what would happen to Jonathan’s open Senate seat. Martha was offered to server for Jonathan, and the first person to congratulate her was Lionel, even though she hadn’t told anybody. Lionel took the opportunity to tell Martha that he wasn’t going to allow money and politics to get in between them like it got in between Lionel and Jonathan. He told Martha he wasn’t going to take the land that had been in the Kent family for so many generations. Under the circumstances it was an offer Martha couldn’t refuse, and I think it will be very interesting how it plays out.
What did you think of this episode? Will Clark take a job at the Daily Planet now that he is out of school? Will Martha find out what happened between Lionel and Jonathan?