Episode 10.02 “Shield” Airdate 10.1.10
Number of Drinking Game rules: 33
Fun ep–although there wasn’t much in the way of plot development, loads of stuff was set up for later in the season, and we received plenty of character development for Clark, Oliver, Tess and Lois. And man oh MAN Tom Welling is still acting his ass off! He WANTS IT this season. Get it!
Cold open: Africa. Lois bitches on the phone to Perry White about the lack of cushiness in her current assignment, because she is super profesh. She strolls into an archaelogical tent, nosing around, when Carter Hall/Hawkman enters, looking hella hot in typical desert wear. He tells her, “You never know what fate has in store for you.”
Daily Planet. Clark urgently tries to reach Chloe on the phone, wigging about the “dark force” Jor-El warned him about last week. Yeah, good luck with that, buddy. Both with Darkseid AND with trying to find Chloe. A random passes Clark a newspaper with an article about Lois’s transfer to the foreign desk in Kenya, and Clark moons about, finally deciding to print a ticket to Africa. He walks up to Lois’s desk and is taken aback to meet her perky, cookie-baking new replacement, Cat Grant. Cat tells him, “No relation to that woman on TV, although I get that a lot.” (That’s actually a rather clever reference to explain away last season’s Catherine Grant to observant nitpicky viewers like yours truly.) Cat manages to instantly piss off Clark by simultaneously insulting all masked heroes, parroting the views of her favorite DJ “Godfrey,” and talking all kinds of shit about Lois’s wack reporting techniques, which: word. But Clark very sweetly defends Lois, telling Cat firmly, “Lois Lane is the best crime reporter this paper ever had.” Cat’s not tryin’ to hear that. Among other awesomely irritating lines, she calls Clark “Mr. Busy Boots” (hah!) and tells him that she’s his new partner. The camera zooms in on Clark’s hilariously intense face of dismay.
CREDITS! I still love love love these new (and final! *sniff*) credits. They’re just perfect. Well, almost perfect–this week’s version is sans Chloe; I assume they’ll use the Chloe credits of last week during her other 4 episodes this season. Anyhoo, dig it:
Watchtower (holla!). Oliver’s urgently searching online for any trace of Chloe and being given the ominous message “No Records Found” repeatedly on every monitor. Tess shows up and remarks that she was surprised to receive Oliver’s call. Oliver tells her Chloe’s gone, and Tess plays ignorant. Oliver tells Tess that he’s not going to sit around, waiting to hear from his girlfriend like Clark’s doing. Tess: “Low blow. I’d say Clark’s using every ounce of strength he has not to skip over the Azores to bring Lois home.” hah! I love Tess. She tells Oliver he needs to trust Chloe, as Clark is trusting Lois. Oliver retorts that the difference is that Chloe has utterly disappeared; there is no trace, electronic or otherwise, left of her. Tess sagely notes that “The only one who could erase Chloe is Chloe.” Oliver maintains that Tess must have had something to do with Chloe’s disappearance, and hands her an e-mail (from the Digital Wave!) that he believes Tess wrote in Chloe’s name. Tess tears up as she reads the e-mail aloud, and Oliver tears up as well, listening to it. The acting from Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in this scene is truly great.
Chloe’s e-mail (SOB!): “Oliver, I never thought I’d have to tell you how I feel about us, because the smile on my lips when I looked at you pretty much said it all. But now that you won’t be seeing it anymore, I’ll have to use words to tell you. I’ve never loved anyone the way I’ve loved you, and I never will again. You will always be my brightest star, my knight in shining leather, my hero.” Holy crap, that girl can write. It killed me to hear that she truly loves Oliver more than Clark or Jimmy, because I’ve always believed, since we first met Oliver in S6, that they should be together. HAPPY ENDING FOR CHLOE, DAMMIT!
Tess gently tells Oliver that they both know Chloe wrote that e-mail, but she admits that she helped Chloe erase all electronic records of herself. She tells Oliver that Chloe knew that Tess would understand her need to disappear to save Ollie, as they both love him. (Okay, she left that last part implied.) She reminds Oliver that he needs to trust Chloe, because she obviously has a plan. (An aside: the fact that Chloe’s erased all record of herself explains how the Legion has never heard of her when they study Clark’s past in S8! HAH, I knew it wasn’t because Chloe doesn’t matter! Take THAT, haters!)
Africa. Michael Shanks’ acting is far subtler and less harshly over-the-top here than it was in “Absolute Justice“—I dig it. I’m liking him much better now. Anyway, I love Lois but she talks A LOT, ya heard? She manhandles all of Carter’s irreplaceable artifacts, including the medallion of Isis as foreshadowing for the fifth episode this season, aptly titled, “Isis.” After learning that a statue she holds is the icon of sun god Ra, Lois starts babbling some more about how crazy it is that she can sit across from someone for years and never discover that he’s Ra. Carter surreptitiously texts Clark: “Lois Lane is safe. You owe me big time,” presumably because he’s being forced to listen to Lois’s incessant babbling at Clark’s instruction. A beautiful-eyed woman in a burka brings in some tea and the camera makes sure to linger on her for some time so we know she’s important. I called out “HAWKGIRL!” but–spoiler alert!–I was wrong. Lois continues to ramble, asking all sorts of questions about this vague “Ra”: does he need sleep? Does he age? What does the world look like to him? “How can he stand riding in a car when it moves so much slower than he does? That would drive me CRAZY.” Carter, fed up, mutters, “This is going to require something stronger than tea,” grabs a bottle of whiskey and answers Lois’s last question with: “Why don’t you just ask Clark?” Lois is startled that this random Indiana Jones dude knows who she’s talking about; Carter is already pouring shots to numb the pain of Lois’s super pretty stupidity.
Clark is getting into Cat Grant’s crazy pinked-out car as they head on assignment. Several blocks away, a tall drink of water is decked out like the Man With No Name, except that due to the red scope lens he wears on one eye, we know he totally does have a name: it’s Deadshot! All the scenes with Deadshot look quite surreal and comic booky, very cool. Deadshot, played here by the highly handsome Bradley Stryker, loads some ammo into a very large gun. Cat continues to prattle on like Lois on a sugar high, as Deadshot’s bullet travels through 5 blocks of obstacles, homing straight into Cat’s gas tank. They don’t call him Deadshot for nothin’! As Cat chirps at Clark, “My granddaddy always told me, seatbelts save lives!”: CAR ‘SPLODED! A fully rad slow-mo CGI (drink) scene entails as Clark whooshes Cat out of her car right as it blows up. She’s just dumb enough not to realize that he’s one of those superheroes she’s been railing against. Also, thank god those hideous seat covers have been destroyed.
Daily Planet. Cat ends a suspicious-sounding phone call as Clark holds the bullet with the letters “ARNT” engraved on it. Clark tells Cat to ‘fess up: she’s mixed up in something yucky and someone’s trying to kill her. Cat maintains that she was valedictorian and thereby unsuitable for assassination attempts. She tells him he sounds like Lois, what with the conspiracy theories, then begins complaining some more about masked vigilantes and their creepy alternative lifestyles and agendas, as Smallville makes an eerily timely commentary about conservative homophobia. Or maybe I read too much into that. She asks “Who would want to kill me?” and Clark nobly lets that one slide as he tells her he’ll take her somewhere safe in Smallville until they figure everything out.
Talon apartment! I’ve missed you! Oliver searches through Chloe’s things, hoping for a clue, and he finds one! He first gazes at a breathtaking photo of Chloe in bed, under which he finds a small brown vial that Chloe obviously left for Oliver’s discovery. A key jiggles in the lock and Oliver suits up as Green Arrow just in time for Cat’s appearance. Cat brings out a can of mace, a taser, and an airhorn and Oliver calmly dispatches of all defenses while she shrilly accuses him of general villainy due to his Green Arrow costume. Cat tells Oliver that she has proof on her phone of masked nefarious doings at an old brewery, and Oliver snatches it away and bolts.
Daily Planet. Clark rifles through personnel files in Tess’s office, intrigued to discover that Cat Grant is a fake name. Tess enters and Clark is unsurprisingly not chagrined to be caught sneaking through her stuff, which is why he and Lois are perfect for each other. He describes the bullet to Tess and she murmurs, “Cat Grant,” meaning that, like Clark, she does not realize that you don’t spell “Grant” ARNT. Gah! Tess recognizes the handiwork and digs up old Checkmate files on the deadliest shot to ever shoot stuff dead, Deadshot.
Deadshot lair of villainy. He talks on the phone to a superior, incensed that he was assigned to kill someone who is clearly unkillable. The superior is unrattled. Deadshot finishes his hand-engraving of a bullet as he wheezes, “Somewhere out there, we all have a bullet with our name on it.” This particular bullet reads “Clark Kent,” which, smooshed together after impact, could read ARNT. Not GRANT. Ah-hem.
Talon apartment. Clark confronts a bulletproof vest-wearing Cat, who explains that she changed her name to escape an abusive boyfriend, the father of her son Adam. (Cat’s protection of Adam is a story lifted from the comics, btw.) They bond over failed relationships when Clark receives a text from Tess, asking him to meet her at the Planet: “URGENT.” He instructs Cat to stay at the apartment, but after he leaves, she eyes a black wig and prepares to bolt. Because no one EVER listens to Clark.
Africa. Lois has continued drinking, because girlfriend likes her whiskey, okay? Don’t judge! She tells Carter: “It feels like somehow I was destined to be with Clark, but his destiny is so much bigger.” THAT’S the paradox, Lois! You guys ARE destined to be together, even though his destiny is also to save the universe! It makes for very compelling fiction! However, Lois hasn’t read the comic books, so she’s unconvinced. She worries that she’ll hold Clark back. But Carter’s been around the comic book block a few times: “What if you’re exactly the thing that helps him be the person you know he can be? What if you’re the only one who can make his burden easier to bear?” He admits that Clark asked him to watch out for her in Africa, because he’s worried about her. Lois is more worried that she’ll spill his secret, which is part of the reason she split. Carter tells Lois the story of himself and his wife, Shayera, although he tells it as a fictional legend. He gets wrapped up in his story and his vision of Shayera, who is played by the EXQUISITE Sahar Biniaz in this flashback, and he tries to kiss Lois as he thinks of his wife. She slaps him good, threatens to punch him in the mouth next time, and saunters out. That’s my girl.
Planet. Tess’s techies at Luthorcorp have discovered that the bullet originally said “Clark Kent” on it. Clark thanks Tess for working with him, and she tells him she doesn’t want his thanks, she wants his trust, because he needs her. Clark ignores this and thinks the assassin must not know he’s invincible. They deduce that he’ll go after Cat while trying to get to Clark, and Tess apparently lojacks all her employees because her computer informs her that Cat is at the bus station.
Bus station. Deadshot sneaks up on Cat and mocks her for the ridiculous black wig. She makes an equally ridiculous escape attempt involving some luggage-throwing, and Deadshot allows her to think she’s getting away as he sets up a remote-shooting device. Cat inadvertently moves directly into Deadshot’s target, and Clark whooshes up just as the bullet flies. The bullet hits him in the shoulder and bounces off, he catches it, whooshes up to Cat, knocks her down and catches her, sticking the bullet on her vest so she’ll believe the Kevlar saved her instead of the Kent. Ingenious! He really is getting smarter. She’s all sassy and smug for escaping death, and she makes with the eyes at Clark a bit for jumping in front of the bullet. Cat tells Clark that he’s better than any masked hero because “We need to be inspired by people who step into the light, not shrink into the shadows. We need a good old American hero in red, white and blue.” Clark ponders the wisdom of her words as the camera zooms in on the hole in his shirt where the bullet hit.
Underneath Clark’s skin, Deadshot’s logo lights up, an invisible target.
Africa. The burka’d lady hands Carter Hall a bowl of water with which to wash his face; the same target lights up briefly under his skin, as the woman’s eyes glow with Deadshot’s symbol.
Old brewery. Oliver’s used Cat’s phone evidence to track down Rick Flag, who tries to recruit Oliver to his cause. Oliver reaches for his arrow as he muses, “You raise a good point,” and Rick shoots him in the shoulder. “On the other hand, you did just shoot me.” Oliver is now marked with Deadshot’s target, as well, although like Carter and Clark, he does not know it. Oliver gets the best of the situation and starts kicking the shit out of Flag, demanding to know Chloe’s whereabouts. Flag finally tells Oliver that Chloe wasn’t kidnapped; she traded her own safety for Oliver’s, was tortured for information and then took a cyanide pill to elude betraying her team. SOB!
Watchtower (holla!). Oliver broods on the stairs as Clark enters. Ollie tells Clark what Rick told him, but before Clark has time to react, Oliver says his lab analyzed the vial he found in the Talon apartment, and they detected traces of a cyanide antidote. Chloe faked her own death to beat Rick Flag, and then she vanished, after letting Oliver know that she survived. Clark remembers that Chloe must have seen all of this while wearing Dr. Fate’s helmet, and Oliver’s pissed that Clark didn’t stop her. Clark reminds Oliver, “For years she’s been asking us to treat her as one of us. She begged me to trust her and the decisions she’s made.” Ollie’s torturing himself because he protects strangers on the street and didn’t protect the woman he loves, and says that Clark lost Lois the same way. Clark: “They left US, Oliver. And with our lives, who can blame them?” Echoing Cat’s sentiments from earlier, Oliver believes that if they didn’t hide their identities in shadows, things could be different. Oliver thinks they’ve lost too much and it’s time for them to make their own fate. He’s not giving up on Chloe, and neither should we!
Jail cell. Deadshot is approached by Rick Flag and…Plastique (Bette Sans Souci)! Plastique was the burka’d lady! Turns out they’re the much-anticipated Suicide Squad, and they’ve got their marks on Green Arrow, The Blur and Hawkman. DANG YO!
Africa. Carter is embarrassed about trying to kiss Lois the night before; Lois has realized in the meantime that the story he told of star-crossed lovers was actually about him. She realizes that many of Clark’s friends must be superheroes because they have very mysterious pasts. Carter tells Lois that he is being called to his destiny, to die once more to be reborn with Shayera. He tells Lois that she must embrace her own destiny as well: “He can’t do it without you. You’re his Shayera.” Instead of being moved to tears like Marla, Lois maintains that she belongs in Africa. Carter echoes the pilot in quoting Nietzsche’s Übermensch theory. Lois breathes, “Superman,” which is pretty thrilling, frankly.
Planet rooftop. Clark drops his plane ticket to Africa and stands majestically in a new SUPER BAD-ASS red leather jacket with the El shield on the front. He stares off into the distance as the American flag billows behind him like a cape. CREDITS DUH DUH DUUUUUUUH!
Next week! “Supergirl”: Kara Kent returns! She warns Clark of Darkseid and we get to meet superhero-bashing radio shock jock Godfrey, plus Lois is back in Metropolis! Check out the preview here.
Thanks to the Smallville Wiki and KryptonSite for the images and links. I’ll do another preview/link drop post on Thursday this week, and check back next TUESDAY (I’m on vacation on Monday!) for my recap of episode 10.03 “Supergirl”!