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Smallville Season 9 Episode 7: Kandor

SMALLVILLEIn a Lois-free, soap opera drama-free, Smallville finally makes some decent headway on the Kandorian/Kryptonian storyline, revealing the source of Zod and Jor-El’s rivalry.  (Julian Sands guest stars as Clark’s Kryptonian pappy, a more than acceptable substitute for Terence Stamp.)  Several other major reveals are dropped, including Tess’s knowledge of Clark/Kal-El’s true identity and origins. All in all, this was a refreshing change of pace from the love story-centric episodes of the past few weeks.  

Things kick off with a flashback of Major Zod (and the rest of the Kandorian soldiers) in the middle of a war 20 years before the destruction of Krypton. Jor-El requests the blood of Zod and several other Kandorians for a project he terms as his life work.  He congratulates Zod on his inspiring speech to rally the troops for what we can only assume is a Kryptonian civil war.  Just then, a big, mushroom cloud erupts on the spot where Kandor once stood.  An astonished and emotionally overwhelmed Major Zod is pulled to safety by Jor-El as Kandor – and Zod’s family —  is blown to itty-bitty pieces.

Flash forward to present day Earth and Major Zod is giving yet another speech to the last remaining sons and daughters of Krypton.  This one pertains to the son of Jor-El flaunting his fabulous powers amongst the Earthlings.  In Jor-El’s last, marvelous cloning experiment which resurrected them, he neglected to gift them with the same abilities they would have under the Yellow Sun as The Blur now has on Earth.  He believes if they find The Blur, they will find their powers.

Meanwhile, Chloe is wrapped up in Kandorian research at the Watchtower and gives Clark the rundown.  She tells him that Tess knows all about the Kandorians, but not before snarking out loud that “The ‘I Love Lois’ show is pre-empted” for Clark to take on his superhero duties. Other than the snide remark, Chloe seems to be over Clark.  Equally understanding, Ollie shows up bearing no semblance of awkwardness (in spite of the fact that Lois chose Clark over him last week) and offers to accompany Clark on a mission to find a Kandorian Klue.

Clark and Ollie are wandering in the desert like Moses squared, following the coordinates that Chloe gave them to search for yet another crazy Kryptonian artifact.  Clark uses his superpowers to melt sand into glass, which makes a neat-o Super Shield in the middle of the desert… And unearths Jor-El’s dog tags, which means Big Daddy is on Earth. 

Not only is Jor-El on Earth, he’s also driving Pa Kent’s truck and shows up at the Kent Family Farm.  Chloe visits the Kent farm and encounters Jor-El, who is totally unaware that Krypton has been destroyed and that he has a son named Kal-El.  Smile! You’re on Kandor Kamera!

Jor-El rambles about an experiment and we’re treated to a flashback in which Jor-El stands before an androgynous Kryptonian council who charges him with treason.  His best friend, decorated war hero Major Zod, intercedes on his behalf and touts Jor-El’s accomplishments of creation and cloning DNA.  The council allows Jor-El to live, on the condition that he includes both his and Zod’s DNA in his experiment, ensuring that two of Krypton’s greatest heroes will live on to propagate the species should Krypton fall in the same way Kandor did.

Back at the farm, Jor-El remembers Hiram Kent, Clark’s adoptive grandfather and how loving a home the Kent farm was when he had visited it on his rite of passage eons ago.  He was pleased to know that this was where Clark had ended up and that the Kents became his family. 

Just as Jor-El and Chloe are getting acquainted, Papa El finds himself tazed by Tess’s minions and hauled back to stately Luthor Manor. She was the one who released Jor-El from his bubble and tells him that she wants to protect Kal-El. She lets him in on the plan that she’s allowed Zod to think that she’s in cahoots with him.  Her plan is to have Jor-El to convince the Kandorians that he is The Blur.  She plops it in Jor-El’s lap that he’s the one with all the juice to protect Clark/Kal-El and keep his existence from Zod.

Zod manages to brush past Luthor “security” for a nightcap and a progress report on tracking Jor-El.  He waxes poetic on wine, mixing business with pleasure, and Shakespeare as Tess turns him down cold. As it turns out, this was just a ruse and Zod had his people snap up Jor-El from the Luthor cellar.  Tess just smiles.

Back at the Watchtower, Chloe reviews the farm surveillance tape and sees Jor-El jacked by Tess’s minions.  Ollie tries to talk Clark out of stepping to Ms. Mercer, offering to speak to his (yet another) ex.  Clark zooms past them, eager to find Pa El himself. 

Zod, believing Jor-El is The Blur, wants him to pay it forward to his own people instead of the people of Metropolis.  Another flashback reveals the source of the rift between Zod and Jor-El.  Zod lost his wife and children in the Kandorian holocaust and asks Jor-El to bring his son back, using a lock of the boy’s hair he kept with him. Jor-El refuses on moral grounds and Zod declares their friendship dead.  Although this is understandable, Zod should have been more cheesed that Jor-El let him go around dressed like Grand Moff Tarkin.  Friends don’t let friends dress like C-list Star Wars characters. 

Back in the present, Jor-El points the finger at Zod for staging a military coup which ultimately destroyed Krypton. He tells him the DNA of the Kandorians/Kryptonians here on Earth has been neutralized with Blue Kryptonite and questions his motives, citing selfish morality or the greater good.  He also mentions that the DNA replicants are different people from who they were on Krypton, having families and children of their own there that they do not know ever existed.

Zod dissects Jor-El’s speech and realizes that he’s been protecting someone, namely a son.  He releases Jor-El and tells his minions that Jor-El will lead him to Clark/Kal-El and they can retrieve their powers.

Clark busts in on Tess at the oh-so-secure Luthor Manor.  After showing Tess that his choke game is pro, Tess acknowledges that she knows exactly who Clark/Kal-El is and his Kryptonian origins. Clark could care less since he realizes Tess used Jor-El as bait to find the other Kandorians.  Clark races back to the farm and finds a dying Jor-El with multiple stab wounds.  After asking him to save Zod, Jor-El dies in Clark’s arms.  (Clark’s fathers seem to have a shorter shelf life than goldfish on Smallville.) 

Holding Jor-El’s dog tags, Clark reminisces with Ollie about losing both Pa Kent and Jor-El.  As a fellow fatherless child, Ollie tells Clark that regardless of their differences, he has his back. 

In the Watchtower, Chloe goes over the footage of Jor-El on the farm and sees he had another reason for visiting Smallville, holding another Kryptonian key.  As Clark gives Pa El a proper burial, Zod watches.  Clark vows there is no way he can or will save Zod, despite his father’s wishes since he knows what Zod becomes.  Ouch.

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