So, a funny thing happened this week while I was watching Smallville. Lois and Clark are setting up their new place, Tess breaks the news that Wilson Slade has returned from the Phantom Zone and next thing I know I’m suddenly watching Spartacus … minus the nudity.
I’m still not sure if I liked this episode or not. It was good to see Oliver back and I even enjoyed seeing Zod again. But where on earth … or where in the Phantom Zone, I should say … did Zod get all of that gladiatorial equipment? And have there always been that many people in the Phantom Zone? What we did learn from the story was that Darkseid had come to the Phantom Zone in search of Zod — never bothering to explain how Darkseid got in and out, mind you (am I being way too nitpicky?) — to basically put him in charge of the place. Maybe he brought the Roman décor with him as well.
Zod was able to use the crystal to send Slade back to earth because Clark used his own blood to save Zod’s life and that gave Zod the ability to do something only the El family can do — open the gate. But Zod also knew Clark, rather Kal-El, would come to the Phantom Zone to see how Slade got out because he’s just that predictable. What Clark didn’t count on was Oliver hitching a ride, putting both lives in danger. Up to this point, Oliver hasn’t known that he’s been marked by Darkseid but Zod knows, or at least is pretty sure, and he manipulates Oliver into doing battle with Kal-El, a battle to the death.
The fight between Clark and Oliver was filmed well but it was just a little too similar in style to the Spartacus series and the movie 300 with all of the slo-mo in the middle of the action and blood flying around. It should be noted that Justin Hartley directed the episode and I did like the desaturated look that he gave to the Phantom Zone. Meanwhile, back at home Lois discovers that Clark and Tess had set a self-destruct on the gate so that no one or thing could ever escape the Phantom Zone, but when they lost contact with Clark and Oliver, Lois pulled a a gun on Tess and convinced her to deactivate the self-destruct.
There certainly was a shocking moment when Oliver impaled Clark with his sword but Zod stopped the fight because he wanted the kill for himself. Turns out that Zod was playing on Oliver’s fear of being marked by Darkseid, while Clark and Oliver were playing Zod so that at the right moment Clark could grab the crystal and destroy it as he and Oliver returned to earth … three weeks later (which only seemed like hours to Clark). There was a very nice scene between Lois and Clark full of emotion and, I know I sound like a broken record, but I thought Erica Durance did a really great job of showing how committed she is to Clark. We also learned that Oliver is pretty sure that he has been marked, so he’s taking it upon himself to go after some weapon that Hawkman had been looking for but was missing a crucial part of the puzzle — the Queen family’s Veritas journals. But will he be able to defeat Darkseid before the darkness overtakes him completely?
“Don’t worry, my for better or worse will include your love of hair metal.” — Clark to Lois after seeing her homemade concert T-shirt pillow
Well this episode maybe set us up for what a Zack Snyder Superman movie will look like when he incorporates his trademark shit ton of slo-mo overuse and massive blood splatters into The Man of Steel.
Also it was nice for them to finally have an episode that is about what is supposed to be the season long plot arc. So i was willing to forgive them raiding the storage shed full of the props from 300 and using them to decorate the Fortress of Solitude set.