SMALLVILLE Recap: 10.20: “Prophecy”: The newly promoted Lois Lane is multi-tasking, planning her wedding to Clark Kent and digging into a mysterious series of business closings in Metropolis. Seems that every time “Marionette Ventures” buys a company, its recent owner goes missing.
But Clark has another priority. There’s one last family member who hasn’t been told about the wedding. Clark whooshes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude, where he declares his intention to the artificial intelligence created by his Kryptonian father. Jor-El declares, “If your lives are to be joined, you must both understand.” And, in a twist on the events of “Superman II,” a flash of light transfers all of Clark’s powers to his bride-to-be for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Ireland, Oliver Queen drops into a cave to continue his quest for the bow of Orion. But he’s surprised to find someone beat him to it: Clark’s cousin Kara (Laura Vandervoot) is there, trapped inside an energy barrier. She says that the etchings in the cave prophesize the return of Darkseid and the end of the world unless a balance of light and dark can be achieved.
Oliver and Kara jump through some Indiana Jones-style hoops to gain access to Orion’s bow, but when they finally achieve their goal, Jor-El calls Kara away. Before she leaves, she tells Oliver it’s his mission to get the bow to Clark. Kara heads to the Fortress, where Jor-El tells her that the battle against Darkseid is to be Kal-El’s alone, suggesting that Kara’s destiny lies elsewhere, in another place and time (like in the 30th century with the Legion, perhaps?).
Back in Metropolis, Super-Lois is reveling in her newfound abilities, but Clark—naturally—is suspicious of Jor-El’s motives. They deduce that Marionette is buying up the businesses that run along the underground reservoir that provides the city with its water, thus building a monopoly on the water rights. And there’s only one business left to purchase: a clothing boutique called Theron Layne. Lois and Clark head there to stake it out, superpower-style (because a simple investigative visit from two reporters wouldn’t work?).
Clark gives Lois a crash course on how to handle her abilities (something that took him many years, but okay), and she’s able to focus her super-hearing to pick up the owner of Theron Layne being attacked inside the store. Lois crashes in and knocks out the assailant, who turns out to be Courtney (aka the Justice League’s Stargirl), seemingly being mind-controlled by a star-shaped device attached to her neck.
At Watchtower, Tess examines the Starro (look it up) diode, discovering its creator is Winslow Schott aka the Toyman. A recovered Courtney says she and J’onn have already discovered that Marionette Ventures’ shareholders include some major supervillains (Metallo, Black Manta, Roulette and Dark Archer to name a few). Perhaps that could’ve been a clue that the organization was up to no good, hm?
Lois visits Toyman in his Hannibal Lecter cage at the Stryker’s Island maximum-security prison and uses super-speed to grab his cell phone (the guards have graciously allowed him keep a cell phone). Deducing that Lois is now engaged to the Blur, Toyman warns that his band of villains is closing in on her fiancé and the only way to save him is if she gives him back his phone (seriously… a smart phone… in a maximum security prison) and puts on one of the Starro devices (AND THEY LET HIM KEEP HIS EVIL DEVICES TOO?). Despite knowing full well that it gives Schott control of her mind, Lois, to save her sweetie, agrees to the deal. Toyman calls off his minions, but decides to send Lois to kill the Blur instead.
Back in the cave, Oliver reaches for the Bow (emblazoned with the slogan, “The only true power comes from within”) when it suddenly flies through the air and into the hands of Granny Goodness (one of Darkseid’s emissaries, last seen in Episode 10.8). Granny relishes that Oliver selfishly wants to use the Bow just to remove his own Omega mark of darkness, but destroys the weapon, telling Oliver that they have plans for the Green Arrow…
Toyman uses his phone (AAAAGHH!!!!) to video-conference with his Legion of Doom (ooh, Captain Cold and Solomon Grundy are there, too) and gleefully gloat over their imminent takeover… of the Metropolis water supply. I guess Toyman is a big fan of “Quantum of Solace,” as the water-monopoly plot is straight out of that last James Bond flick.
Evil-Super-Lois returns to Watchtower and attacks Clark, who really can’t wait for sundown so his powers can return. So he uses the power of LOVE to defeat the Starro diode just in time. Yeeesh. The Blur then heads to Blackgate, where he confronts Toyman and destroys his cell phone. You know, the phone that the prison let him keep so he could continue plotting his evil deeds with his secret society of supervillains.
Toyman threatens to reveal that Clark is the Blur to the world, but Clark says he doesn’t think so; if that happened, then Toyman couldn’t play with him anymore. Okay, sure.
Clark returns to the Fortress to tell Jor-El that he knows the power-swap was just the latest in a long line of trials for the last son of Krypton. Jor-El says that Clark still has much to learn, but Clark’s done going to school. He says it’s time for him to take control of his own destiny, and deactivates the Jor-El intelligence. Clark whooshes away from the darkened Fortress, which still holds a certain red, blue and yellow costume.
And then a possessed Oliver digs up a chunk of Gold Kryptonite, the kind that permanently erases super powers. And then Supergirl puts on a Legion flight ring and leaves the 21st Century behind. And then Lois and Clark have what we can only hope is their second to last heart to heart about their relationship. Lois says that she’s learned that she is Clark’s vulnerability and breaks the engagement. Finale conflict: Established!
There’s way too much going on in this episode, and the entire Toyman plot is completely forced and, even in context, utterly unbelievable (dunno if I pointed this out or not, but the prison let Toyman keep a cell phone). Lois breaking the engagement is a tired cliché as well. There’s so much more they could’ve done with the “Super Lois” concept (something that’s been mined in the comics many times to much better effect).
One of Smallville’s weakest links has always been the mutable presence of Jor-El. If he’s nothing more than an artificial intelligence, then why does Clark get so emotional as if it’s his real birth father? Jor-El is often treated more like the ghost of the long-dead Kryptonian scientist than a construct designed to instruct and guide the last son of Krypton. And I still think that casting Terence Stamp as the voice of Jor-El was a bad idea; that voice is just too ingrained in Supergeeks’ minds as that of General Zod from the Reeve films. Ah, well. It’s a moot point now.
On a positive note, this episode features another pile of nods to the nerds. When Lois tosses Courtney through a wall, she explains, “I work out,” paraphrasing Christopher Reeve at the end of “Superman II” after he gets revenge on the diner bully. Kara’s description of Orion’s origin is straight out of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” saga of the early 1970s that introduced Darkseid to the DC Comics Universe. And while their usage was beyond silly, it was nice to see the Legion of Doom sitting around their evil console! Mwoo-hahahaha!!!
Next: Like I have to tell you. After ten years, Clark Kent reaches his destiny in the two-hour “Finale!”