Smallville has been picking up some speed over the past couple of weeks, letting some of its sci-fi tropes drop by the wayside in favor of character building and plot development – which has been for the better. This week was no different. While not as spot-on as last week’s episode, Abandoned still did a good job at digging into the paternal pasts of Clark, Lois, and Tess, which made for much more engaging television than some of the season’s earlier episodes have been able to pull off. We’ll discuss spoilers, as usual, so if that kind of thing bothers you…go watch the episode yourself!
It seems the theme of parents and children has been big with the Smallville writers for this point in the season – last episode, Lois had to deal with some daddy issues, and this time she seems intent on helping Clark with his own, spurred by the discovery of tapes her mother left her before she died. Teri Hatcher, who once played Lois Lane back in the day, serves this brief but heartfelt role nicely in video diary form. It was nice to see more of Lois’ family past, especially tackling the issue of death square in the face – specifically, the kind of death you see coming via illness. Lois manages to worm her way to the fortress in an attempt to speak to Jor-El, which was kind of amusing. Now that Lois is aware of Clark’s true identity, he’s going to have to put up with her butting into House of El business.
Toward the end of the episode, the fortress activates a recording of Clark’s parents as they sent him away. It was a nice way of a computerized being expressing the love its original identity had toward his son, and also explains why the ominous voice of the fortress is so cold (figuratively speaking, that is) – because Jor-El didn’t want the guidance he left for Clark to be tainted by his own emotions. It helps give a bit of closure for Clark and bring Lois’ faith in the would-be icon to a personal level as she shouts to Jor-El about what an amazing man his son has become and will be.
Aside from this familial resolution, Tess ends up stumbling into a similar situation with quite the opposite result. As it turns out, Tess was abandoned by her father and left at a creepy as all get-out orphanage to be brainwashed by Granny Goodness – a woman who is clearly not what she advertises. The common “oh no kryptonite egads” plot device wormed its way in, along with a somewhat illogical escape where Clark uses his ice breath in order to break a chain despite being in proximity to the glowing green stuff – seeing as he was apparently weakened enough to be restrained, it does beg the question, “How did he have enough power to blow ice breath?”
Granny Goodness reveals to Tess that she was raised with the intent of joining the not-so-good Grandma’s operation of raising girls to take over the world, or some such. At least it gives us a look into Tess’s past and frames her into the grand scheme of things. Granny’s plans to pull Tess back into her web are foiled, but she is invited to join her place alongside the other recurring baddies – Godfrey and Desaad – to help form that Darkseid organization everyone’s been talking about.
Let’s not forget that the episode basically reveals that Tess’ father was Lyonel Luthor. Kind of a big deal. This would make sense of why she was the one who ended up in charge of Luthor Corp after both previous Luthors kicked the bucket. In a way, it’s not all that unexpected – honestly, I assumed she was some family relation from the get-go, and have wondered ever since why she of all people took the mantle. Now we know. Tess’ ultimate role still remains unpredictable given her actions over the past few episodes, but she is serving as a welcome wild card in Chloe’s absence now that she’s trying to play the good guy.
An engaging episode all around, Abandoned divulged some details about the characters’ pasts while further setting things up in the plot that is yet to come. Definitely one of the season’s better entries so far.
(My apologies for a lack of review last week – personal matters. But if you want a quick and dirty review: I loved it. It was possibly my favorite episode this season so far.)