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Smallville Season 9 Episode 3: Rabid

smallvilleloiszombieIn this episode, Smallville capitalizes on the current zombie trend with the good folk of Smallville and Metropolis infected with a blood-borne virus that transforms them into holdovers from Dawn of the Dead.

 Zombie-ism isn’t the only thing going around in this episode, however.  Premonitions and precognitive dreams are running rampant as Clark dreams of Lois standing at the Daily Planet copy machine with her back to him.  Before things veer towards Zach and Miri territory, Lois turns around sporting bloodshot eyes, black teeth, and a complexion so bad it makes Edward James Olmos look positively dewy. 

Clark wakes up from his nightmare to put out a fire (literally) as The Blur and arrive at the Daily Planet in time to engage Lois in some subtle, sexually frustrated banter. Before you can say “contrived plot,” the intrepid reporters are off and running in pursuit of the latest headline. Stately Luthor Manor has been broken into with Tess Mercer having been attacked by some seriously creepy dudes, landing her in the hospital.  Just goes to show you, it doesn’t matter if you’re Lex Luthor or his right-hand woman, it just wouldn’t be an episode of Smallville if someone didn’t compromise a million dollar mansion’s security system. Surveilance footage reveals a bunch of zombie-like dudes breaking in with Tess fending them off with her madd martial arts skills.

Nevertheless, Tess sustained some injuries and mild scratches.  Lois and Clark head to the hospital to attempt to get the story out of her.  Tess, in turn, attacks Lois and her doctor chalks it up to a case of mental illness.  Clark is suspicious as to the root of this malady and somehow manages to snap up a sample of Tess’s blood and haul it on over to Chloe and Emil for analysis. Chole, of course, is conveniently spending a lot of time with Emil and has taken her role with Watchtower very seriously, keeping tabs on the splintered Legion in an attempt to save them from themselves and their raging, overblown egos. Presented with Clark’s conundrum, the token smart people determine that the blood possesses similar properties to that of Davis Bloome (AKA – Doomsday). 

The array of zombies popping up all over Smallville and Metropolis is becoming an epidemic and Chloe and Emil discern that an antidote to the Kryptonian virus must be dumped into the city’s water supply to stop it.  Conveniently, all traces of zombie-ism can be reversed.  Considering this latest plague’s Kryptonian origins, the plan is to take a sample of Clark’s blood to achieve this. In order to pierce Clark’s tough, Kryptonian hide, they have to dip a syringe needle into liquid kryptonite and extract a sample of blood. 

As Clark reacts badly to the kryptonite injected into his bloodstream, Smallville‘s writers take particular glee in twisting the knife on poor Henry “Jimmy” Olson’s widow. (No, Smallville. I’m not letting that awful retcon go.) It’s bad enough that the two dudes who actually returned Chloe’s affections either got skewered (Henry/Jimmy) or met their demise in an anti-climactic showdown (Davis/Doomsday) at the hands of the man/alien she’s been pining after — the same man/alien who will hook up with any other chick in Smallville but her. 

Before he passes out from the kryptonite injection, Clark wants to make sure Lois is safe. Chloe reluctantly leaves Clark’s side to go with Emil to deliver the antidote, leaving the viewer with the distinct impression that the Friends Zone is much harder to escape from than the Phantom Zone.  Poor Chloe.

Ms. Sullivan isn’t the only one pining away this episode, though.  Oliver shows up, glugging hooch, popping pills, and getting all teary-eyed with himself over his failed romances with both Lois Lane and Tess Mercer.  In an act of now-familiar sadomasochism on the part of the writers, Ollie’s been entrusted to protect Lois who is hunkered down at the Daily Planet.  It still doesn’t stop the zombies from attacking, scratching Lois in the process and turning her to the creature Clark saw in his dream.

Things are resolved in the nick of time as Chloe and Emil make use of Ollie’s private jet and payroll perks to dump Clark’s blood into the Smallville/Metropolis water supply.  Oddly enough, the ounce or so of Clark’s blood has magically turned into a fire hydrant worthy sort of spray emitted from the back of the Queen Industries jet.  Cue the insta-cure.

With everything neatly wrapped up, Oliver takes an awoken Clark to task for his change in attitude and assuming the black mantle of The Blur, pointing out Clark’s messiah complex. Yeah, yeah, Ollie’s the Green Arrow, but is it just me, or are the writers trying to make him as Bruce Wayne-like as they possibly can without calling him “Batman” outright?  Surly orphaned millionaire shoulder who wants to stop crime and save the world?  That sounds familiar. The creators would have given their eye-teeth to be able to nab up the Batman name but were prohibited by Warner Bros. from mixing the franchises, particularly with the popularity of the theatrical Dark Knight releases.  This episode and Oliver’s appearance in it only underscores that little factoid. 

Oliver relinquishes (temporarily, at least) his superhero status by emptying flask onto his balled-up Green Arrow suit before dramatically lighting a match and torching it.

Meanwhile, back at the Kent farm, Clark totally ignores anything Ollie said to him and is equally blissfully ignorant of what was assumed were his strong, protective, and fond feelings for Lois.  Although the zombie threat has been stopped, the epidemic of pining for lost love is apparently still thriving in Smallville.  Clark is seen taking a picture of (the one…the only…the irritating) Lana Lang from his wallet and gently placing it back in his Scrapbook Shrine O’ Lana as the writers drop yet another anvil that Lois is merely a temporary panacea for Clark’s heart, and that Lana is his One True Love. 

Lois shows up for some ham-fisted reason and has a 30-second exchange with Clark before heading back from whence she came, stopped in her tracks at the front step by a premonition of Clark, Ollie, Chloe, and some serious grave-digging.    

Elsewhere across town, Zod praises one of his soldier minions for going rogue, leaving the Kryptons Gone Wild On Earth Bunker and unleashing the Kryptonian Zombie Plague on the population. Apparently, though, this latest stunt was just too ingenious and Zod can’t have that. In return, Zod goes all Highlander on his minion’s ass, somehow managing to hide a very large Kryptonian sword behind his back while said minion kneels prostrate in front of him. (Smallville‘s really taking this whole “Kneel before Zod” motif a tad too far.) The hapless Kryptonian soldier minion is swiftly decapitated by Zod before the credits roll.

For a novelty-themed episode, this week’s installment of Smallville was pretty good.  Despite a few minor quibbles over character destruction….er… “direction,” the standard Smallville M.O. of sneaking small, yet important plot developments into what might be construed as a “throwaway episode” prevails.

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