The good. One word, two syllables: Kon-El. Smallville writers couldn't have come up with a more creative way to mix in the current developments in the final season in order to introduce Kon-El (a.k.a. Superboy, Conner Kent). The acting of Lucas Grabeel as Alexander had been so stunning in "Beacon" (episode 13), I had little doubt he was to become the new Lex Luthor (in particular, see the scene between Oliver, Lionel and Alexander at the top of Luthorcorp - goosebumps!). Here, Grabeel (with different haircut and color) pulls off an excellent version of Superboy struggling to rein in his powers. This episode packed a lot into 42 minutes and credit needs to be given to Turi Meyer and Al Septien for not shying away from telling an awesome, complete story. There are so many aspects of the relationship between Clark and Conner that are explored in such a short episode, like the intricacies of what each of them get from their relationship as mentor and mentee at a broader scale. But most importantly, a lot of weight is given to Conner's duality as being part Superman, part Lex, and what he does with it, what kind of exploration about who he is it leads to and what kind of decisions he needs to make at critical moments. The end result: one of the best Smallville episodes in a while.
The bad. Not much to complain about. I do have a problem with the fixation with hooks, meat-packing plants and bondage in this season. I know we're trying to make a point about the Darkness and Darkseid's minions making their way into everything. But it has been feeling forced lately, and the scene with Lois and Lionel could have happened anywhere else while having the same effect.
- SPOILER WARNING: With Alexander out of the picture as the means for the eventual return of Lex, how does Lionel from parallel Earth get his son back? Darkseid in a bottle!
- Lucas Grabeel (Kon-El) and Cassidy Freeman (Tess) look so much alike you would think they're clones. Seriously, aside from their abilities to act, that's just brilliant casting.
- Lois Lane's perennial referencing of pop culture to get any simple sentence across is getting a little old. It worked for Sawyer in Lost, but then it was all about delivery and timing. Here (much like the meat hooks), it is just feeling a little forced.
- It will be a long break until the next Smallville episode and the beginning of the final 5! And there is a lot to look forward to in those last episodes.
Final grade: A