Oh, Smallville. Remember how you teased us with Darkseid and Lex Luthor's machinations from beyond the grave earlier this season? Well, that's all been swept under the rug. Friday's so-so episode, "Ambush," gave us a clichéd holiday from hell.
To be fair to "Ambush," it did start with perhaps the most pornoriffic Smallville opening in recent memory. It was an excellent counterpart to last week's Red Shoe Diaries-style hijinks. Sex on the swing! In front of all the hens and sorghum!
Sadly, Lois and Clark never get to christen the Kent household's porch swing, as General Sam and Lucy Lane swing by for Thanksgiving. Lois and Clark are "ambushed," get it? Anyway, Sam's here to size up Lois' new beau and yell a lot about Congress passing the Vigilante Registration Act (yup), which he supports. Seeing Lois' extended family is definitely a sop to longtime viewers, but their appearance here is as surprising for the audience as it is for Lois and Clark.
Smallville's herky-jerky pace and willingness to table plots are to be expected, but we've had two semi-disposable episodes punctuated by moments of intense cuteness. Sure, this episode brought back Deadshot's handler Rick Flagg — who is portrayed as a pro-vigilante extremist hellbent on eliminating Sam Lane — but it mainly gave us the Lane clan acting totally irrationally and Clark pouting by chopping firewood with karate. I mean, the Smallville devoted will know that Lucy Lane is a schemer who's got the hots for Clark, but in the context of everything that's been going on in the show, her wackadoo seduction just comes across as sideshow melodrama.
Other stray observations:
1.) Clark finally wears his pleather Superman jacket.
2.) Ollie is still using the voice changer even though he's out of the superhero closet. Huh?
3.) In an attempt to assassinate Sam Lane, Rick Flagg sends a homing missile to the Talon apartments in Smallville. Given that Clark lost his virginity to Lana in the Talon apartments way back when and this episode was about Lois and Clark's sexual awakening, that's the most hilariously heavy-handed metaphor for transition this show has ever served up.
4.) Sam Lane notes that Clark tagging his insignia on disaster scenes is in really poor taste. I kind of concur. Batman just leaves Post-It notes.
5.) After the Blur saves Sam Lane's life, it looks like Clark is gearing up to propose to Lois. Also, it seems that Sam is aware that Clark is the Blur, but he's playing it cool.
6.) Rick Flagg sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" as he plots to blow up Sam Lane with a rocket. You cad!
7.) In a fit of rage, Lois tells Clark he doesn't have a father. That's screwed up on a zillion levels.
8.) The Vigilante Registration Act passes. Not that there was any build-up to this momentous piece of legislation or anything.
That's been the show's biggest problem this season. The show works best when they toss enough crazy events at viewers to mitigate the weepy character revelations, but there has to be something at stake. Obviously the Vigilante Registration Act is a big deal, but we spent most of the episode watching the Lane family act like the Bundys or the Lockhorns or something. Ugh.