Review and Recap by Holli
Story by Justin Hartley and Walter Wong. Teleplay by Bryan Q. Miller and directed by Kevin Fair.
Return of Pam Grier as Amanda Waller, Ryan McDonell as Stuart Campbell and Sharon Taylor as Faora. These three were a surprise to see and made this episode rich with drama and action. Fantastic performances.
This episode had a ton of characters in it, most prominently Clark Kent, the Kandorians and Checkmate. From the Official Description, the promotional trailer and the promotional stills, we were led to believe this Loisless episode was blondie centric about her and Tess stuck in the Watchtower. That was the weakest plot of the evening. But I digress. . .
RATING: Solid. Take out the lame Watchtower science and illogical security system and what you have is an epic episode. No humor tonight unless you enjoyed Tess’ jabbing insults to blondie . . . and we did. Lives in peril all around and some very emotional and horrific turn of events. Continuity has been stellar this year and this episode was no exception. Well acted by all. The special effects were amazing. Score superb as always.
Most importantly Clark Kent was well written. He was smart, decisive, in control and a leader. He is no longer the boy who enters a room threatening everyone while emotionally out of control. He’s matured. We see a Clark Kent who can separate his personal life from his professional life. Even though he had personal reasons to kick Zod’s ass, he subordinated those emotions for the greater good. He’s looking at the big picture. He’s trying not to choose a side as J’onn told him in CHECKMATE and he’s trying to do what’s best for everyone. We’ve seen this more subdued Clark previously when he was interviewing people as a reporter (ECHO). We saw shades of Superman then. But in this episode, he is in hero mode and his leadership qualities shine robustly. He’s Superman more than ever. Tom Welling is Superman. Love his work.
Oliver was the support hero. Justin did us proud in allowing his character to be who he’s supposed to be on this show about Clark Kent.
In KANDOR, we empathized with Zod over the death of his wife and son. For almost the exact same set of circumstances in this episode, he becomes a monster. His ego is out of control and he is the sociopathic maniac we’ve all come to know from the comics and movies. Callum Blue gave another magnificent performance. It was gutwrenchingly chilling.
“There are aliens among us. If you don’t stand with us, you stand against us. It’s time for you to pick a side.” Amanda Waller, CHECKMATE. “There’s only one way to leave Checkmate.” Tess Mercer, CHECKMATE. “The Rogue Blur. It was Zod.” Blondie, CHARADE. “You lied about having powers. How did you get them?” RedKClark, UPGRADE. “From your blood. Your father left the Book of Rao on this Earth. And with all of this there is no limit to what we can achieve.” Zod, UPGRADE. “Don’t act as though there isn’t some agenda you’re not telling me about.” The Blur, DISCIPLE. “If it wasn’t for Zod, I wouldn’t be alive today.” Faora, CONSPIRACY. “Let’s just say, I know him better than you think.” Clark Kent, CONSPIRACY. “A group of your people are looking to a new leader. Clark.” Tess, UPGRADE. “The time has come to share in your birthright.” Zod, UPGRADE. “I know what I have to do.” Clark Kent, CHARADE.
The blonde coffee addict works all night, every night to save those in need or so she tells the newsstand guy. She buys coffee off the street even though she has a cappuccino machine in the Watchtower. She enters the Watchtower elevator which gives her the once over after a thumbprint. It asks for a code. “05-14-09.” My admin, Kate, recognized this as the date of Jimmy’s death. So blondie has turned this wedding gift from her murdered husband and made it into her own emotionally cold fortress. She is greeted by her/Ollie’s computer. Her arrogance appears once again when she tells the voice of the machine, “Ready to save the world from itself?” blondie knows best in her world. The monitors indicate the Kandorian file has been accessed. So apparently the voice is like a greeter from Walmart and only that. She goes for her gun. It’s gone – because Crazypants has it trained on the annoying one. So blondie’s secret was she’s Watchtower? Tess knows Ollie intimately and figured it out. Blondie gets the best of her. Well, it is her show . .. oh sorry, it’s Clark’s show. Blondie activates her new security system which initiates lockdown. “Watchtower’s in control now.” Do you mean to tell me that we could have depended on the computer all this time and not watch endless hours of typing blonde fingers? Oy!
Luthorcorp at night. The helipad to the Executive office. Clark, wearing civilian clothes, is waiting for Oliver. “I let myself in.” Oliver quips, “You hop up to the helipad or just superspeed past security, Clark?” Helicopters on top of buildings have been established. Keep that in mind for later episodes. “I used the elevator.” Ollie grins, “How human of you. You’re obviously not on patrol tonight. What’s going on?” Clark must have stopped being the Blur since he found out Zod is impersonating him. Clark says he needs to find Zod. Oliver offers the Watchtower facilities since he’s paid a lot of money for them. Clark does not want a weapon like Watchtower to fall into the wrong hands. Smart guy. He figures Oliver would want blondie out of the line of fire. Ollie wants to know what’s going on. “Zod.” He pauses as if trying to rein in his temper. Clark confesses, “He went after Lois. He pretended to be The Blur and put her in danger.” Ollie is ready for a fight. “I think it’s time to take off the gloves.” Clark quickly tells him that he needs Ollie’s help on this, but he can’t have Oliver starting a fight with Zod if he’s trying to keep the peace. Oliver’s adrenaline is pumping. “Clark! I know that you like to see the goodness in everyone but you know what this guy’s capable of, right?” Clark is quick to remind him. “And I know what you’re capable of.” Oliver settles down looking guilty. “I understand how you feel. Don’t think that I’m not angry, too. But I can’t have you firing off the first shot and threatening everything I’ve worked for. These are my people that we’re talking about. My first chance to have a real Kryptonian family here on Earth. And we need to find Zod and confront him. My way.” God, I love Clark like this! Gimme gimme! Ollie has his back. “Then suit up,” grins Clark. “Check the mansion. Before Tess went off the grid, she got close to Zod. She may have left behind some intel. I have another lead I want to run down on my own.” Before he leaves, Ollie calls out to him. “Y’know those Kandorians, they’re not the only family that you have here.” Clark nods and leaves. The bromance continues.
Clark is trying to find his family. The one that he can depend on. The one he can trust thoroughly. To be who they are at face value. He’s definitely not going to find it in the Kandorians or Zod. That is the sacrifice he makes in this episode. He has to relinquish Jor-El’s directive to save Zod from himself. Only Zod is capable of that if he is so inclined. But as we learn later, Zod has succumbed to his true nature.
Kryptohags in the Watchtower. Tess is trying to shoot her way out. The quips begin. “You’re sloppy,” says Crazypants. “I’ve got thousands of samples of DNA for all the times you’ve spied on me.” See, I told ya blondie needed to wear gloves when tampering with evidence. “How the hell do we get out of here?” Good question. Blondie does not have a smart answer. Apparently after being kidnapped she decided the best security system that Oliver’s money could buy would be one that trapped intruders inside instead of keeping them out. No poison gas apparently, so death doesn’t seem eminent. There is a hacking transmitter breaking through the firewalls. Tess seems the likely culprit. She just wanted to erase the Kandorian files. Blondie calls Tess a bitch but she has to take it because the blonde goddess has spoken. So they figure out Checkmate might be involved.
Checkmate truck at night on a foggy road. Agent Campbell (Stuie) and his henchman. Stuart is in Checkmate??? Tres cool! He was keeping an eye on Tess and the Kandorians apparently. And blondie recruited him so he has the inside 411 on Watchtower. Bwahahahaha! Waller appears on screen. (YEA!!!) They are ciphering the data from WT before they got blocked. She wants to know his status. “We can’t afford to make a mistake with the Red Queen so close.” Stuart is disfigured from his gunshot wound by Tess. He has a ugly scar, an eye patch and glasses. He’s not the nerdy kid any longer. Looking very much the Man in Black. “Don’t make me regret putting my little White Knight back into play.” He reassures his boss that they will have Watchtower by dawn. “Godspeed, Agent Campbell. Waller, out.” Stuie turns to his minion. “You’ve heard the Wall, gentlemen. Let’s show Mercer what we feel about a little thing called ‘treason’.”
Back to we’re-with-the-aliens groupies. Tess gets a nice one in about blondie being a Plain Jane. Blondie begins scanning Tess’ body for the transmitter since she’s only endangering the JLA and the Kandorian . . . oh yea, and the world with her info getting hacked. Tess bravely trusts blondie with a convenient scalpel to cut the device out of her. But it moved. Tess tells Dr. Peroxide that it’s a Checkmate device. “A mechanical parasite powered by the host’s biorhythms.” Blondie gets cliché nostalgic as Tess warns her that when Checkmate finds them. They’re both dead.
Kandorians in the Warehouse. A cross, a circle of people and candles. Faora is in the center as Kryptonians pass a flower. Clark enters still in civvies. Vala places the flower in Faora’s hands. She places the reddish flower in light blue water. It blooms. All rise as the two sisters go off to the side to talk. They see Clark and Vala leaves her sister. “I’m glad you found a way to preserve our culture here.” Faora tells him that others have disappeared with Zod. Clark was under the impression that they had all found a new life on Earth. “We were wrong to follow you, Kal-El.” She tells him that when they tried to assimilate, they were left behind. They gathered for Zod’s return and to ask his forgiveness. “I’m sorry, Faora, I never meant to divide our people, but you cannot realign with Zod!” He is adamant. Faora comes back with how Clark never trusted Zod and that all their leader wanted was to give them powers so they could protect themselves from the humans. “Zod already has powers. He’s had them for weeks.” He tells her there is something she needs to see.
Luthor mansion. The Green Arrow is sloppy, too, apparently since this is one of the noisiest break-ins ever. Broken glass everywhere. He finds Tess’ laptop and hears glassbreaking and a thud. Dead, burnt body on the ground. Zod is there. He calls Ollie, “the Rebel with many causes.” Ollie volleys with ‘soldier with no army.’ Little does Greenie know. Zod counters with. “I find it disgusting how quickly you humans can betray your own.” Uh, yea, Zoddie, like you never. Zod found out about Checkmate and who they’re after. Tess is their target and Zod thinks they are using her to get to the Kandorians. He wants Ollie to join them in fight against their common enemy. Ollie knows if they destroy Checkmate they will start WW3. So it’s High Noon in the Not-So-OK Corral. Ollie aims his crossbow at Zod which the alien finds amusing. Ollie fires and Zod knocks him against the wall and on his ass. But, Oliver used a kryptonite arrow again – only this time he aimed for Zod’s thigh and not his back. Yea, he’s sloppy. He’ll backstab Clark and take him out but he won’t Zod?
Watchtower at night. So we’ve all seen the WT, right. It’s huge. Well the air supply has been terminated. (not pumped out apparently) Mess hands Tess a bottle of water as she saunters across the room without a care in the world. No brain fog or gasping or any of that stuff. Hand eye coordination is fine. Apparently no one has ever seen the Right Stuff or other sci fi shows where an area that large would hold enough oxygen for many hours if not days. (Thanks, Kate!) “We’ve got three minutes of air left.” Here’s where the science gets wonky and our illusion of belief begins to falter. “Just damned.” Crazypants has hit their situation on the head. Tess pulls out her trump card. She tells blondie that she doesn’t like people anymore then she does. “This entire building was programmed from letting anyone get close to you.” So blondie confesses what we’ve seen for several seasons. “Yea, I guess I lost my faith in people a long time ago, too.” So then they go into the bootlicking phase where the Smallville girl (blondie) gets praise. Ollie apparently has a purpose when he’s with blondie. Now I know this is supposed to parallel Lois with Clark/The Blur, but it didn’t exactly hit the mark. “And it kills me because you have everything right in front of you and you can’t even see it.” (words that Clark should hear in regards to Lois)
Crazypants mentions cold so blondie streaks through the oxygenless room. Apparently WT uses helium and liquid nitrogen to cool it’s brain cells. “Cold enough to shatter steel.” So when they do run the table through the brittle metal (uh, yea) why weren’t they talking like frozen munchkins? Blondie’s work is gone. Ahhh what a frickin shame. Now maybe Clark can think for himself and actually BUILD a computer of his own.
Watchtower growls as blondie leaves. Shades of her boney boyfriend, Batman!
So if the Watchtower set is gone, can Lois have her own Metropolis apartment now? Please?
Stuart and his minion have picked up the transmitter signal and Stuie is ready to shoot to kill for a thrill. (Somebody queue AC DC)
A shooting star in the night sky. Faora is reading Dr. Swann’s journal in the Kent loft. “Zod! He destroyed Krypton.” Clark tells her Jor-El sent the messages to Earth to stop history from repeating itself. “I trusted Zod, too. That’s why I didn’t tell you any of this sooner.” So does Clark realize that these people are replicants? “The circumstances may be different but Zod cannot be trusted.” Clark is very emotional pressing this point home. “On Krypton, he destroyed that planet to prove a point. We can’t let him do the same thing here.” Sharon did a fantastic job of showing us how torn Faora is. “I’d hoped what Zod had given me would re-unite our people.” Clark is puzzled and states that at the ceremony, Vala was protecting her. Faora touches her abdomen. Clark listens and hears a baby’s heartbeat. He knows she’s pregnant and asks if Zod is the father. Faora weeps. “This baby is proof that you can still have a life here, apart from Zod, without powers.” Clark is all about life. He is truly happy that a new life is on it’s way. “Faora, Krypton lives on through you.” Which we all know isn’t the truth, because it lives through Clark.
At this point in the story, comic book readers were thrilled that we may see Smallville’s version of Chris Kent. Zod’s son by Ursa (Donner’s version of Zod’s wife) in the Phantom Zone. So we received a double heartbreaking whammy with what transpires in Act Four.
Ollie in the mansion is taking off his leather to examine a wound. Zod is crumpled on the floor. “Why don’t you murder me now? Isn’t that what your race does?” Zod has a low opinions of humans. “I made a commitment to Clark to save the world peacefully.” Clarkie gots some leadership skills inspiring others to do the right thing. Good job! Love snarky Ollie.
Faora is drawing in the journal. She tells Clark that Zod has been looking for something ever since they arrived. “The Book of Rao!” Clark states that Zod told him it was some kind of Kryptonian bible. Faora shakes her head. “It’s so much more than that. It wields great power. And if Zod were to get his hands on it, then who knows what he would do.” Clark has no time to process that info when his cell rings. It’s Ollie being a little cocky that he’s captured Zod. When he’s about to tell Clark he has everything under control, he notices his quarry is gone. Blondes never have anything under control on this show – especially themselves. Clark hears Ollie’s screams as Zod fricassees him with a Z to his chest. Clark zips off to rescue.
Checkmate truck careening down the foggy road again. Waller informs Stuie there is a change of plans. He’s not happy about that since his target is nearly in sight. “We’ve decrypted the data. We’ve found the aliens. Checkmate is going to stop this war before it gets started. Waller out.” Petulant Stuie disobeys orders and goes after Tess. Personal revenge over professional strategy. He’s just spent the last five months in recovery for what Crazypants did to him in PANDORA. (nearly blasted his head clean off)
Met Gen Hospital. Two kryptohags are there to cut out Tess’ parasite.
The Warehouse. Faora is rounding her troops of non powered Kandorians supposedly. Her sister is there. Faora shows her leadership abilities as she talks to them about rebelling against Zod. “I will not let my child be raised under a tyrant’s rule. We cannot let our future be guided by a tyrant’s hand. Our past ended in war. Let our future begin with peace.” Checkmate tosses in smoke bombs. Fights ensue. Finally Faora yells, “Enough!” Waller walks in yelling commands. “Don’t you hurt her. Enough’s enough.” Waller wants to talk to their leader, Faora, as they take her away. She gives the order to dispose of the rest.
Met Gen. Ollie on a gurney with Clark right behind. The ER personnel say they will contact Dr. Hamilton. YEA! Emil mention! They’re taking Ollie into surgery. Ollie wants to talk to Clark. “Checkmate’s after the Kandorians. Only you can save your people.”
In the warehouse, the Kandorians are kneeling with headbags. Vala pleads that their people have done nothing. (Except cut up Dr. Chilsolm’s skull in checkerboard squares.) “Where are you taking us?” Black screen with zipping and agony sounds. The Blur has arrived to take Vala’s headbag off. He’s saved them. He wants to know where Faora is. He zips off to find Checkmate.
Dr. Peroxide breaks glass in the morgue. She has a plan that involves a cardiac needle. Apparently she’s watched Pulp Fiction too many times. Or someone has. She wants to stop Crazypants’ heart. Isn’t that special? Tess has seen her fate from Lois’ future where blondie shot her D-E-A-D. “I have to kill you, Tess.” Couldn’t it be the other way around this time??? She claims she’s going to bring Tess back with the atropine. So blondie wants to be trusted. All must obey. So Blondo Medico puts a monitor on Tess’ finger and paddle shocks her chest. Flatline. Major hesitation on blondie’s part. Stuie shows up and kicks down the Supply Room door. A minion looks through the morgue window. Y’know, because casual passers by like to see a good autopsy during their meal breaks.
Blondie takes her good ole time unzipping Tess from the black ziplock bag. Cassidy takes another one for her craft. You Go, Girl! So blondie starts to leave. (then why unzip her?) Curses as she decides to save Tess. Gee, what a hero. Vincent Vega did it better. The whole needle pounding in the chest thing. Vincent asked if he had to stab her three times. Best line ever. So Tess rises from the table like Mia Wallace and pulls out the needle herself. Of course. Like blondie was going to help her. They both didn’t think that blondie would bring her back. So then blondie goes medEVIL on Tess’ ass. “Just for the record, I just saved your ass. If you say anything about me or mine to anyone. Next time you won’t wake up. You understand?” Tess is unfettered. “Guess you’ll have to trust me.” Tess leaves blondie behind.
Tess has been through the ringer, but she keeps on trucking. I hope they make her mythos.
With the Pulp Fiction reference above, it reminded me of Ollie’s chest. A girl has to have a sideline. The British vernacular for the last letter of the alphabet is Zed. The Z on Ollie’s chest is Zod’s symbol and as Butch Coolidge said in the film, “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”
Waller outside the warehouse has just learned the field office has been leveled by Zod. Faora tells her that Zod is acting alone. “We stand apart. We only want peace.” Waller informs her with dozens dead they are way past peace. “Then we will help you stop him.” Waller warns her, “Defecting means betraying your own kind.” (something Clark may have to think about) Zod zips in and gives Waller the Lionel treatment into a nearby windshield. He moves in to finish the job when Clark zips in and stops him. He punches Zod into the side of the warehouse. But it wasn’t even a mere flesh wound. Zod levitates back into play. Faora is stunned by the display of his powers. “Checkmate’s actions demand justice.” Clark snarls back, “Murder isn’t justice.” He goes to check on Waller. As Zod zips off with Faora.
Faora standing at attention in a warehouse. Zod comes in adjusting his cuffs talking about the old days. How he saved her life. He didn’t suffer any loses that day because he found a beautiful young cadet that would become his right hand. They both have tears in their eyes. “You were so brave in the face of death. I knew then that you would be a true partner. I’ve trusted you. For so very long, I’ve depended on you across time and space.” (These are things Clark should say to Lois.) But then Zod goes all manipulative. He only sees contempt in her eyes – and who could blame her? “I see betrayal.” He turns his back on her. “Now why would you turn your back on me?” And then he goes for the tantrum. “I shared my bed with you.” Faora looks at him incredulous. “I didn’t turn my back on you. You turned your back on us. When our only crime was trying to forge a life for ourselves on this planet.” Zod moves in for the kill, literally. He speaks of insurrection or his men aligning against him. “I would raise this planet. I would burn it to the ground. . . . Now only I will lead us to the next age. All will follow Zod.” Faora is one strong woman. “You’ve already sacrificed one world for your ego.” That sets him aback. “You know nothing of sacrifice.” We can see by her face that she does as she touches her tummy again. “I know more than you ever will.” He orders her to kneel. “Never!” Her voice is filled with intimate emotion. They both know what’s about to happen. Zod chokes her neck and puts her into a kneeling position. She doesn’t fight him and then her body goes limp to the floor. She has sacrificed her child so it will not have a tyrant for a father.
Zod sees the crushed flower in her hand and her other hand protecting the significance of the blossom. He falls to his knees beside her. It’s almost as if he wants to call do-over. He places his ear over her abdomen and we can hear the baby’s strong heart beat and then it begins to fade. Zod weeps. He has killed his lover and his child. He touches Faora’s face and we can see the transformation from man to monster.
Horrifying scene. Bravely done.
The Castle. Checkmate headquarters. Stuie! He’s still going after Tess. Waller briefs him about Zod and the field office. “The Black King is missing. We’re at war. Contact the UN. We have to regroup before they strike again.” They turn a corner to go down a hallway and see dead men and blood. Zod appears in the doorway. They head back around the corner as he lets out a blast of heat vision. We see them in Zod’s eye. Great visual effect. We’re all pulling for them to make it . We love those two!
Metro Gen. blondie is holding Ollie’s hand. He’s unconscious so he doesn’t get to talk. Everytime she touches him, I think — Where’s Dinah? Clark is looking through the room window as he has many times in the past. He’s dismayed about Ollie’s condition. Blondie is in a snit, because she, of course, blames Clark. He offers her some coffee and she slams the door like he’s the last person she wants to see. Clark, talk to Lois, leave blondie to stew in her own hubris. She wants Zod dead. Clark informs her that Zod’s on the move and there’s no sign of Faora and the Kandorians. “Maybe if I can reach the others I can talk some sense into them.” They see on the television screen that Zod has attacked Checkmate. “Oliver was personal. With this, Zod just declared war.”
Blondie’s cell phone rings and informs her that there is movement at the Fortress. Remember she had those satellite spies installed. So Ollie spent a HUGE chunk of change on the Watchtower – not to mention all the funds that blondie siphoned from his accounts – and all they needed was a free cell phone from Sprint or T-Mobile or whomever is sponsoring the show these days. Duh!
Fortress of Solitude. Clark’s Grand Central Station for Kryptonians and nosy friends. Dude is gonna have to get the locks changed. Zod carries Faora’s body to the altar of Doom. Kandorians stand nearby. “What was to be the first son of Kandor is no more. Now, we, the last sons and daughters of Krypton have not choice but to preserve our birthright.” Zod with cherub face lies. “The humans killed the mother of my unborn child. The mother of your future.” A voice is heard. “That’s a lie!” It’s Clark, dressed in civvies. He’s a little distraught to see Faora’s body lifeless on the altar. “The last time I saw Faora, she was alive.” He looks up at Zod to see if he’ll dispute it. “And she was alone . . with Zod.” He’s face to face with the murderer. “Why should they believe you? This traitor saved the life of the woman who held you hostage. The woman who wanted to dissect you. Who wanted to torture you. Murder you.” Zod’s enjoying those words a little too much. Clark crosses to Vala. “If there’s anyone who really knows what your sister wanted, it’s you. It’s peace, Vala. She wanted peace.” Vala denies his claim. “Zod’s right. The humans will never allow Kandor peace.” She walks away from him and stands at attention. Basqat who we have not seen in like forever. “They will hunt us to the last man, but they will fail. For we shall never be defeated. We will follow General Zod until the ends of this Earth.” They are kneel before Zod. Clark stands alone. “Krypton will rise again and all human kind will kneel before Zod.” Clark with great heart says, “I’ll never let that happen.” Zod walks towards him. “You won’t be able to stop us.” With a nod to his men, they all zoom for the sky. Clark watches as Zod flies off too, ripping the roof off the clubhouse. He’s left with one hell of mess and another body to bury in the back forty.
Any arrogant Kryptonian can fly apparently. Kara had the arrogance of youth. Clark is not an arrogant bastard so he has to find the key to his flying. It will be love. The one true love that lifts his spirit and sends him to new heights. Lois is the key.
MARTHA KENT RETURNS!!! PERRY WHITE RETURNS!!!
Red Queen standing ontop of a building. Clark staring up. A sign falling down.
“I’m so proud of everything you’re doing. The world needs Clark Kent.
A MOTHER’S LOVE.
Clark and Martha hugging in the barn. Lois and Perry White in the night air looking up.
“The truth is your father and I never wanted you in the line of fire.”
Red cloaked arm stretches out green kryptonite. Clark with green glow looks ill.
KNOWS NO BOUNDS
“You can’t comprehend what it means to truly protect someone you love.”
Tess looks at a red queen chess piece. Martha as the Red Queen holds a gun on someone.
Can’t wait. We are all so excited for these last two episodes of this fabulous season.
Source : OSCK