Episode 10.04 (#200, bishes!) “Homecoming” Airdate 10.15.10
Number of Drinking Game rules: 45
Wow. This recap is going to be fairly hard to write, because I’m so moved by this episode, I’m finding it difficult to revert to my typical snarky self. Written by Smallville executive producers Souders and Peterson, who have been around since the first season of the show, “Homecoming” beautifully combines nostalgia for Smallville’s beginning and breathless anticipation for what is to come. The episode is clearly a love letter to the longtime fans of the show, rewarding us for staying with Smallville for ten years of varying quality, changing times and networks and a fluctuating cast. I have loved Smallville through high points and low, but I have never loved it as much, nor been as proud to be a fan, as I was when watching “Homecoming.”
Kent barn. Clark broods over various magazines addressing the superhero craze. He looks at the book that once held the key before Kara and Jor-El decided he doesn’t deserve to visit the Fortress of Solitude anymore. Lois arrives and glances at the magazines decrying The Blur. Lois says she will stand behind The Blur no matter what the media says, because she believes in him. She exposits that The Blur has taken a sabbatical from public presence after all the criticism, and suggests that Clark go with her to the Smallville High 5-year reunion for some levity. Clark’s surprised Lois wants to attend as she was only enrolled in SHS for 23 days and showed up for exactly five of those (that’s my girl!), but Lois says it was one of the few times she felt she fit in somewhere. She tells Clark that even though they’re not dating, they should go together. After all, she says, “You put the Smallville in Smallville, Smallville.” Cute!
Smallville High. This is the only misstep in an otherwise flawless episode, in my opinion. I understand what they were trying to do—set up the audience for a Freak of the Week (FOTW) episode like so many Smallville episodes of yore, only to surprise us by this nod to A Christmas Carol instead. But it’s so different in tone from the rest of the episode, I think they could have simply skipped it. At any rate, a guidance counselor grumbles over the records of many previous FOTWs (including a picture of Mr. Marla’s crush Alicia Baker, played by Sarah Carter!) blaming Clark Kent for all of the counseling she’s had to do over the years. Yeah, being a guidance counselor to a bunch of meteor freaks at Smallville High would be a thankless job, to be sure. She prepares to stick a pin into a little Clark Kent voodoo doll (complete with tiny little Member’s Only jacket and tiny little Timberlands!) when Brainiac 5 (James Marsters) arrives, brain-zaps her and tells her to leave Clark Kent to him. duh duh DUUUUUUUUH! Credits.
Smallville High. Clark and Lois arrive and she geekily points out former classmates who have no idea who she is. Clark bumps into the guidance counselor who drops her books, and as Clark reaches down to help her collect them, he flashes back to the pilot when he bumped into Lana and had a similar booktastrophe. In the flashback, Lana references Nietzsche’s Ubermensch theory that Carter Hall also referenced in “Shield” this season. Clark checks back into The Now just in time for Ms. Formerly Stabby Guidance Counselor to give him a huge, perky hug. Effective brain-zapping, Brainiac! Season One FOTW Greg Arkin/Bugboy (Chad Donella) pulls up in a car with the license plate “RAKNID” because some things never change. Lois and Clark enter the high school and a little hussy named Suzanne hard-core hits on Clark with Lois standing right there. Lois is affronted that no one remembers her, and then things get hella awkward when Lois picks up Lana’s nametag and says, “Wow. Old flames, huh?” Smooth, Lo. Lois remembers that she hasn’t seen Lana since Lana totally cock-blocked her in “Bride,” and Clark assures her that Lana won’t be attending the reunion. We’re all relieved to hear that, as Lana has this little tendency we like to call Making It All About Her. (drink!)
Clark sees Chloe’s badge (*sniff*) and smiles sweetly as he heads into the Torch offices where the Wall of Once Weird remains, sad and empty. Clark flashes back to the pilot once again as Chloe unveils the Wall of Weird to him, and OMG Season One Allison Mack is so precious and teeny-tiny, I can barely stand it! Lois enters and apologizes for taking Clark on this stroll down memory lane. Don’t apologize! Flashbacks are AWESOME! Two adorable little high-schoolers enter and geek out at seeing friends of the legendary Chloe. They’re the new heads of the Torch and they’ve taken viral the legacy of Chloe’s Wall of Weird. They suspect conspiracy as the reason she’s no longer a hotshot reporter at the Daily Planet (sigh) and that she’s disappeared. They recognize Lois as one of Oliver Queen’s ex-ladyfriends and ask her what it was like to date a superhero. Lois stammers, “It was really quick, just a flash.” She looks at Clark, “But I would date one again in a second!” Aww. The little Torchers pass on their theory that The Blur is from Smallville and that Chloe must have known him. These kids are good! Clark grumbles that The Blur is gone and not coming back, and Lois smooths things over to the crestfallen Torchers, telling them it’s wonderful that The Blur is inspiring a new generation. The Torchers tell Clark that they’re glad The Blur isn’t there to steal his thunder, and Clark is all: whaaa?
This leads to my favorite transition EVER as a crowned Clark slouches on a throne with a face that can only be described as grouchily bemused. Lois is beaming next to him, proud that her date was star quarterback his senior year. Clark’s eyes alight on Greg Arkin and he stares at him suspiciously as time suddenly freezes in a beautiful shot, with only the floating balloons in motion, and a rather dashing Brainiac enters the gym. Clark, again, is all: whaaaa? and Brainiac apologizes for interrupting the coronation. He tells Clark: “I wanted to slow things down. Make sure you can soak in this special moment.” Clark neglects the fact that he’s homecoming king and his gorgeous date is queen when he grumps: “And what’s so special about this moment?” Brainiac, dramatically: “This is the moment that your life changes forever.” Time resumes and Lois sees that the throne next to hers is empty. She sighs.
Random creepy woods. Brainiac has zapped them there using the Legion ring. Brainiac explains that he has been re-programmed as a member of The Legion and is no longer quite so villainous. Man, was he always this hot? Ah-hem. Focusing now! Brainiac tells Clark he’s here to prevent Clark from turning to the darkness that took root in him the day that his Earth father Jonathan Kent died. Brainiac uses a very cool visual transition to show Clark the day of Jonathan’s funeral, as Clark grieves in the snow looking very, very tall. Brainiac tells Clark that he allowed himself to become vulnerable to corruption when he blamed himself for Jonathan’s death. He shows Clark a scene that only the audience has witnessed before now: Jonathan’s wrath as he wails on Lionel in the barn the night of his election, bringing on Jonathan’s heart attack. Brainiac echoes one of Jonathan’s favorite platitudes: “We always have a choice, Kal-El,” and Jonathan’s choice brought on his own death.
Oliver’s office in Metropolis. Clark realizes that Brainiac has brought him to a scene in the present, and he must be the hottest incarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge yet. (Although not the funniest. That honor goes to one Mr. Bill Murray.) Oliver watches news programs reporting on his coming out as Green Arrow, dismayed that the news is all negative. He asks his assistant if he’s had any calls, and she tells him there’s still no word from Mr. Kent. God, Clark, you are THE WORST FRIEND EVER. Ollie hasn’t even HEARD from you since he announced himself as Green Arrow? I must say, if one of the side effects of this A Smallville Carol journey is that Clark becomes a better friend, the show will improve immensely. I’m tired of rooting for a superhero who’s kind of a butthead! Anyway! Clark is duly chagrined, and Brainiac reminds him that as long as Clark dwells in the darkness of his past, he punishes himself and all of the people he cares about and will never be able to embrace…THE FUTURE!
No wait, sorry, still the present. Clark and Brainiac witness a sad and awkward Lois, left by Clark at a dance in the Smallville High gym, just like her cousin not so long ago. Well, ten years ago. Oh and the Lifehouse song from S1 is playing! A super-nosy punchbowl lady is delighted that Lois is there with Clark Kent. (An aside: I am reminded of having attended my husband’s 10-year reunion, where someone from his high school asked me whose date I was. I told her, “[Mr. Marla],” and she replied in a highly impressed tone, “Well done!” It was awesome.) Punch Bowl Lady is far less supportive, and asks why Lois and Clark aren’t married or even technically dating, then shakes her head in disappointment. She questions whether Clark really loves Lois (wtf, Punch Bowl Lady, SHUT UP!) and then starts talking about how perfect Clark and Lana were together in high school. Although I do not concur for many, many reasons, they did make quite an attractive couple. You just KNOW everyone at that high school was totally obsessed with them.
But back to the far more significant and suitable woman in Clark’s life: Lois is crushed. Clark says he’s only ever tried to protect Lois after the whole Lana debacle, and Brainiac essentially tells him, “Yeah, bang up job of that, chump.” Greg Arkin approaches Lois and tells her he has a message for Clark Kent. Clark rushes to keep Bugboy from harming Lois, Brainiac goes to stop him, and Clark touches the Legion ring in the scuffle. AND THEN THINGS GET AMAZING.
WELCOME TO THE WOOOORLD OF TOMORROOOOW! Daily Planet. According to a newspaper with the headline “Superman Saves the Day,” it is October 15, 2017, seven years to the day after the premiere of “Homecoming.” And Jimmy Olsen has a photo credit! No, not that Jimmy Olsen, more’s the pity. Clark bumps into Future Lois, who thankfully looks a lot less like Sarah Palin than she did in the S9 finale’s version of the future. She talks a mile a minute, pushing Clark into the Planet phone booth (squee!) to put a spare pair of glasses on him so he won’t blow his cover. She reminds him that the glasses were his idea and he needs to stick with it because it’s working. She rushes off, arguing with Perry on the phone (yay!), and Clark exits the phone booth as one looky-loo says to another, “See, I told you it wasn’t him.” HIM!!!! Superman!!! Because Clark wasn’t wearing his glasses before he went into the phone booth, and he came out fully disguised by a simple pair of horn rim frames!!! I love it when Smallville embraces the Superman mythology, and there is no episode that does so as enthusiastically as “Homecoming.”
Clark heads to his basement desk only to be intercepted by Intern Jeff, who reminds Clark that he hasn’t worked in the basement for at least seven years. Lois takes Clark by the arm and directs him up to their seriously posh 8th floor office. Well played, kiddos! Lois peers into Clark’s eyes, trying to figure out why he’s acting so clueless, and he’s stunned as she says, “Oh no. Kryptonite again?” She peels back his eyelids and tries to determine, “Blue? Red? Not green. PLEASE tell me it’s not the black, because that was a disaster.” HAH! Clark can’t seem to believe that Lois knows such detail about his secret identity, and as he asks her about the Legion ring, she replies, “Is that a joke, Clark? Touch it once, shame on you. Touch it twice, shame on me.” Awesome! Lois has totally touched the Legion ring twice! She worries that she’s forgotten their anniversary, the day that Clark finally shared his secret with her. Awwww! “No, it’s not until…see?” and she shows him her planner. WHEN?! According to the scenes from “Isis,” it’s next week! We’ll see about that.
Lois ushers him down to the elevator, telling him they need to be on opposite sides of town in ten minutes. She tells him if he’s looking for the Legion ring, to check his “trunk of tchotchkes at the farm” and uses a hilarious and adorable gesture to remind him to put on his glasses. God, this is so cute, I CAN’T EVEN STAND IT! But I need to simmer down, because the best part is still to come! As the elevator door opens and Clark enters it, Lois swats his butt cutely. The door closes as a deep voice says, “She’s a handful, isn’t she? You’re right on time.” Clark looks over to see HIMSELF and…commercials!
HOLY. CRAP. Tom Welling IS Clark Kent in this elevator! I know, I know, he’s been playing Clark Kent since 2001, but I mean he is THE Clark Kent here. The glasses, the hair, the posture. It’s amazing what a difference some hair product makes in helping Tom Welling look like a grown up! Now Clark tells Future Clark, “You knew I’d be here?” Future Clark drily responds, “Time travel. Think it through.” Now Clark marvels, “Because you were me when I went through this, and I’m…” Future Clark: “Well done, my man.” His delivery is deliciously droll here! Now Clark wonders how he became so uptight and nerdy (I think you mean uptight and HOT, mister), and Future Clark tells him there’s no time for that. He needs Now Clark on the roof to save Lois while Future Clark deals with a dangerous nuclear reactor on the other side of town. Future Clark: “Roof. Now.” red and blue whoooooosh. I saw a cape!! Now Clark: “That’s what I become?”
Roof. Lois sends a distress signal as the Daily Planet helicopter swerves out of control. Clark grabs the helicopter and gently guides it back to the ground, and Lois peers out of the window, smiling at her hero. She makes the adorable “glasses, dude!” gesture as she mouths “What are you doing?” then elbows the pilot in the face, knocking him unconscious in order to protect Clark’s identity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that’s my girl! She and Clark share a passionate kiss as she tells him she’d do anything for him, and then she scurries off, reminding him about their dinner reservations that night. BEST COUPLE EVER. Brainiac arrives and tells Clark that now that he’s seen his future, he can embrace it instead of fearing it, because it’s utterly delightful! Clark tells him that this is all he’s ever wanted, and we see true hope light in his eyes for the first time in a very long while.
Reunion. Clark and Brainiac have returned in time for Greg Arkin’s message to Lois: that Clark Kent helped so many people at their high school, and Greg wants to thank him. Lois muses that that’s just the kind of guy he is, and Brainiac marvels at how special Lois is. Clark agrees, glad that Brainiac has shown him how truly fortunate he is to have Lois in his life. Brainiac goes to take his leave (no! don’t go, James Marsters!), but tells Clark first, “A hero is made in the moment, not from questioning the past or fearing what’s to come. Just remember that, Kal-El.” Clark walks forward and asks Lois to dance as the same Lifehouse song plays (which is eerie, because I always think of that as a Lana song. BECAUSE IT SUCKS. Just kidding. It does suck, though). Just as they begin to dance, the music stops and the reunion is over. Lois and Clark are both disappointed.
Smallville cemetery. Clark, clad in his sweet-ass new El-shield leather jacket with his sweet-ass new aerodynamic hair, says goodbye to Jonathan and to the pain and darkness he’s been holding onto for so long. He buries Jonathan’s watch, *sniff*, promising that he will become the man Jonathan always knew he could be. You guys! CLARK! Is moving on! FINALLY!
Queen office. Oliver is being grilled by a super bitchy reporter who thinks he’s an egomaniac for taking on the Green Arrow mantle. She taunts him as a bored billionaire with nothing better to do. Oliver looks distraught and lost, until he glances up and sees Clark standing tall in the doorway. Clark nods supportively at him, giving him a proud smile, and Oliver suddenly nuts up, looking the reporter in the eye and speaking strongly: “I’ve lost someone. She meant everything to me.” Bitchy reporter: “So for that you want, what? A merit badge and special rights?” Oliver: “No, you’re right. I’m not special. This isn’t about who I am. It’s about what I do. And I don’t think I am the first rich boy who felt that way. It was John F. Kennedy who once said ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Bitchy reporter can’t believe he’s comparing himself to a fallen hero of the nation, and Oliver LAYS THE SMACK DOWN: “Well, why not? He saw the hero in all of us. I’m not dwelling on revenge for past atrocities, or looking ahead to what I can personally gain from a few tax breaks, drilling oil wells in the ocean, putting up razor-wired fences to keep out immigrants who only want what our grandparents wanted. In this world of armchair bloggers who’ve created a generation of critics instead of leaders, I’m actually doing something. Right here, right now. For the city. For my country. And I’m not doing it alone. You’re damn right I’m a hero.” GOOSEBUMPS, PEOPLE! He and Clark look at each other and smile, and my heart soars. Super friends!
Aww! The little Chloe-obsessed Torchers sit awestruck in the Torch, reading a message on one of their phones: “Glad to see you’re carrying my Torch. -CS.” I LOVE that they managed to squeeze an important Chloe moment into this jam-packed episode, despite Allison Mack’s absence. The Torch was EVERYTHING to that girl for four years, and I absolutely believe that she’d follow up on its success.
And wow. I’m genuinely choking up just thinking about this scene, one of the most beautiful, moving and significant in Smallville history. Lois walks into the Kent barn, which Clark has embellished with a disco ball and music. He apologizes to Lois for abandoning her at the dance and tells her he wants to make it up to her. Lois says, “You don’t have to worry about me, Clark,” obviously thinking that his destiny is so great that her feelings shouldn’t factor into it. She begins her patented Lois Lane rambling until Clark says, “Lois?” and she says, cutely, “Be quiet?” He smiles at her, and they begin to dance. He steps on her feet, because we all know dancing isn’t one of Clark’s super powers, and Lois steps back awkwardly, almost giving up on the moment. Clark is so sweet in this scene despite Lois’s discomfort, and he tells her to step up onto his feet to dance. Lois knows this can’t hurt Clark, so she settles into the dance, resting her cheek on his broad shoulder. They sway for a few moments until Clark murmurs, “I love you.” Lois’s face lights up beautifully as she tells him she loves him, too. They close their eyes and continue to dance, and the camera pulls back slowly to reveal that Lois and Clark are floating three feet off the ground. Credits.
And that, my friends, is the best episode Smallville has ever aired. The scenes from the past and the future were a wonderfully fun gift to the fans, but the episode had so much more to offer than fun. After last week’s episode, I was convinced that we would spend another season watching a weak-spirited and conflicted Clark chase his demons and push away the people who mean the most to him. Brainiac 5 arrived just in time to show Clark that all he’s ever needed to do is make the decision to walk away from the darkness in his past in order to embrace the brightest future possible. And we were able to see that, as Carter Hall posited in “Shield,” Lois is precisely the person who can help him do it. After nine years of failed flying attempts, the love he and Lois share finally lifts those size 14 feet off the ground. That is HUGE! We also see that Clark will value his friendships with Chloe (whose presence they’ve managed to maintain on the show in a big way without Allison Mack’s appearance) and Oliver in the way that they deserve. With “Homecoming,” Smallville didn’t just show us what Clark can be when he is at his best. It showed us what Smallville can be when it’s at its best. And that is something marvelous.
Thanks to the Smallville Wiki and The CW for the links and pics! Don’t forget to read my recaps of the previous episodes this season, “Lazarus,” “Shield” and “Supergirl,” as well as my recap and episode guide for all of Season 9!
Next week: “Isis”! Clark decides to tell Lois his secret (uhm, she knows, dude.) but he’s distracted when she’s possessed by the DC superhero Isis! Sooooo much possession on this show. Also Tess’s little A(Lex)ander clone is growing up scary-fast. As the preview promises: “OBSESSION! POSSESSION!” Check it out here:
and a preview clip:
Stop by Watchtower on Friday for another scoopy preview post, and tune in here on Monday for my “Isis” recap!