Saturday, November 22, 2008
Smallville 8.10: "Bride"
By O.J. Flow and myself
"Chloe's glad you came. I could've used some warning." -- Clark Kent (Tom Welling), "Bride"
So there's Wedding Crashers, and then there are wedding crashers. In a season for the books so far, Smallville capped off the first half of their eighth season in epic fashion. That's what the feedback section is for, but I challenge anyone to offer a compelling argument that this series is lagging from the lack of their original showrunners, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Rarely have the Season 8 episodes lacked in action, they continue to effectively mine from the DC Comics universe (Plastique, Maxima, and even tonight we got a killer peek at the first live-action Legion of Super-Heroes), and the overall narrative has seen Clark Kent inch toward his steely manhood compellingly. Until last night, I wasn't aware that "Bride" was the last new Smallville episode of 2008, yet there's no question that fans have got to be begging for more with everything laid out here, plus we have plenty to chew on until January. With so much that was involved in "Bride," I brought my date to the wedding, Lan Pitts, for a little extra analysis.
The wedding we mention is the union of James Bartholomew Olsen, Jimmy to you and me, and Chloe Sullivan. Anyone who's ever read a Superman book can tell you that they've never known a married Jimmy Olsen, so anything this show covers is unfamiliar territory to all. And I haven't even seen the hit motion picture, but I knew enough to recognize what was being invoked in key moments of "Bride." I wasn't sold on the Cloverfield vibe, but I was impressed enough just as something different for the show on an aesthetic level, using camcorder footage to detail certain events on this special day for Chloe & Jimmy. Did we mention that the Kent family barn was the venue for their wedding? Me: "They got married in the barn? I don't remember it being that big. I mean, that cake looked pretty killer, though. It seemed very homey, though here's the deal with Smallville, you never see Chloe and them socialize with anybody else." At this wedding, that was one thing that struck me funny as well: in attendance were seemingly dozens of people that we've never seen before, nor will we again. I can easily envision a more intimate wedding between these two kids, especially when it was recently revealed that Jimmy comes from a somewhat broken home and likely filled out a short guest list for his side. I have to imagine that a well-attended ceremony was more for the benefit of creating tension for the unexpected guest who later arrives during the reception. In short, this wedding was lousy with props.
Though "Bride" kicks things off in full pandemonium mode with Chloe, Jimmy and the entire wedding party in deep distress, the better part of the episode is played out "Eight Hours Earlier" with Lois, Chloe's cousin, organizing the ceremony detail with military precision. Her attention is diverted at one point when Jimmy plays a junior high game and spills it that Clark's sweet on her. Lan: "I wonder if Lois and Clark will get together on the show, however I am against that idea. They keep poking and prodding at it, and this episode basically just served it to us." Later, Chloe's wedding day bliss is sidetracked when she gets a message on her voice mail from "the other guy," Davis Bloome. Sidetracked as well is Clark, the man giving the bride away and host to the big day, when Oliver Queen shows up with news that he's got a big lead on the missing Lex Luthor. Clark stands firm that he will not join in Oliver's search on the most important day in Chloe's life, and the two guilt each other pretty good on their agendas, but Oliver eventually gets data he needs from Clark by way of some stolen internet his assistant grabs.
Later, Oliver finds his target (Green Arrow, get it?) in Cuba, only it's nothing more than a decoy. What it does draw out is a female adversary who proves to be more than a match for GA. In her first appearance of the season, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) is back! Actually, she's not so much back to her hometown as she is drawn out by Queen here (Lan appreciated the Star City references, by the way). Not sure what her mannequin version of Lex was for, but it turns out that she's after Lex as well, more to protect Clark than anything. It's borderline convenient that no sooner does Clark orchestrate Chloe's amnesia regarding his super-talents (which explains why she at one point busts out Kryptonite in front of Clark unaware of the ramifications) do they bring back the other girl in Clark's life who has his backstory down pat. Not surprising that later she opts to attend the wedding, and in doing so interrupts what could've been Lois and Clark's first kiss during a slow dance at the reception. Even when she's not the girl in Clark's life, she does a good job keeping anyone else out of contention.
Keeping Jimmy out of contention for Chloe is Davis, increasingly unable to suppress the destroyer in him that we found out recently was by Kryptonian design. Lan: "Was this the bloodiest episode ever or WHAT? When Davis had the bags of God knows what... Jesus..." Indeed, Davis finally reaches boiling point in Metropolis when he attempts to dispose of the remains of his last couple of victims, and an attentive police officer quickly adds himself to the list. We get a glimpse of Davis's transformation from humanoid to bony behemoth, the likes of which we haven't seen since The Incredible Hulk decades ago. At risk of dating myself, the havoc that Davis, now Doomsday, wreaked reminded me of one of the more absurd season finales of Dynasty, when an entire wedding party was mowed over in a royal assassination attempt. Right as the wedding cake is getting cut, Doomsday steamrolls into the Kent barn and nothing between him and Chloe is able to stop them. Clark throws a punch that gets caught in midair, and he's flung to the other end of the barn and inconveniently subdued by a chunk of green K floating around. Seeing how Clark fares against Doomie, it's no surprise that Jimmy's attempt to protect his new bride has catastrophic results. A major gash across the chest puts him in the local ICU along with a lot of other guests. Doomsday makes off with Chloe and takes her back to the Fortress of Solitude that now appears to be darkened under the control of Brainiac.
At the conclusion of "Bride," an unconscious Chloe awakens to the visage of Doomsday, and she's disturbingly comfortable with what she sees looking at her. The fact that her eyes are glazed over black suggests that she's fully overcome by Brainiac. In the even more surprising scene as credits roll, a figure bound to machines is subjected to the recorded footage of the aborted wedding in a solitary room, and the back view of the person without even seeing a face makes it obvious that it's none other than Lex Luthor!
So how is Clark going to find Chloe now that the Fortress is clearly under new ownership? Does the future of Lois and Clark stand a chance? Has Davis fully given into Doomsday, never to return? Have we seen the last of Lana, not to mention Jimmy? And who could possibly be responsible for Lex right now? Did anyone see Tess Mercer? I'll let Lan here have the last word on the show's returning cast member: "I perhaps took Kreuk for granted, because I have missed her presence on the show, and she was looking gorgeous as ever."