'Smallville': The Secret Life of Lana Lang
After Lana returned a few episodes ago, many Smallville fans were wondering where she's been. If you're one of those people than this episode is for you. Maybe if I'd undergone some of her training I would've been able to power through my sickness last night.
We open up at a mysterious lab. A particularly skittish tech warns the guy in charge (let's call him Prof. Goggles) that they're not ready to move forward with such a risky procedure despite Mr. Luther's insistence. Whatever this dangerous thing is, it involves "molecular transfusion," "molecular absorption" and "transdermal evisceration." That last part sounds especially painful. Prof. Goggles orders the female tech to begin and a figure is lowered into a vat of liquid. As electricity is pumped through the tank, said liquid catches on fire and we learn that Lana is in the tank. Awake. She silently screams in the fluid and...Somebody saaaaaave meeeeeee...
Chloe arrives at the Kent Farm to find Clark re-watching Lana's goodbye DVD from last season. Inquiring why, he says he wanted to remind himself why Lana leaving was for the best and fesses up to smooching her the night before. Once she was gone he decided to put on his grown-up pants and get a job, use his abilities to help people. Chloe says that maybe she's not the liability he thinks she is. Feelings, feelings, feelings, blah blah blah. She urges Clark to talk to Lana who's mostly likely at Chloe's place.
Once Clark arrives there, he finds a ransacked apartment and Tess holding a gun. Tess puts the piece away and says the place was like that when she got there. She was intending to warn Lana since she's been poking around classified LutherCorp tech/files. When Clark points out that Tess is in charge, she clarifies that she runs everything but the nanotech that's keeping Lex alive. Tess is grateful for being shown how awful Lex is and feels like she owes Lana. She's sure he's behind whatever happened to Lana and she's very concerned.
Why? Well Because this isn't the first time Lex has kidnapped Lana from afar. I mean, how'd she get a camera after waking up from a coma last year? Duh. Clark isn't happy to find out that Tess was part of the kidnapping and the reason why Lana went into hiding, but she assures if she knew the truth about Lex, she'd never have gone through with it.
Cut to seven months ago. After being forced to make that "Dear Clark" video, chloroformed and thrown in the back of an unmarked van, Lana wakes up groggy. Henchman #1 tells her Lex just wants to keep her safe and hands her a water bottle while Henchman #2 drives. Faking like she's going to hurl, she kicks HM1 and grabs his gun, shooting him in the shoulder. When HM2 slams on the brakes, she turns the gun on him and forces them both out of the car. Driving to a sketchy looking restroom in the middle of nowhere, she takes a Sweeney Todd style razor and begins cutting her hair off in chunks. Where she got the razor I don't know but the haircut looks strangely faboo. Yet another secret Lana skill.
Back in the present, after finding out that none of the people who were working for Lex seven months ago are still around (the two henchmen are dead - worst company to work for ever), Clark spies a firebird-type pendent on a silver chain in a drawer with his x-ray vision. It's not Lana's taste and Tess says that it belongs her strategic adviser, Carter Beaufried. Clark superspeeds to the Mansion du Luther and confronts Carter. First he demands to know what he did with Lana, producing the phoenix medallion. Carter still has his. Clark then asks how he knows Lana and for any info that could be of help since she's been kidnapped, adding that he can be trusted. When Carter assumes he must be Clark, he's surprised Carter knows his name.
Turns out Carter has trained Green Berets and Navy Seals how to endure pain and torture. Lana tracked him down in Edge City and convinced him to train her too, promising that helping her will help the world. Scenes of the past show Lana holding her breath in a tub full of ice and purposely picking up hot things with her arms while Carter pushes her, Lana's determination clearly carrying her through. She wanted him to teach her to be "invincible" and, when she stalls on the "burn yourself on purpose" exercise, he figures out she's holding on to someone and wants to know their name. She says Clark and when she begins to pine for "an ounce of his strength," Carter cuts her off. This is not about other people. He's teaching her to be Lana Lang, to rise from the ashes, to not be mewly ever again.
After weeks, Lana tells Carter that she's learned what she can from him and now she needs power. She had amazing skills and abilities before but wasn't ready phsyically, emotionally, or mentally for them but now, thanks to him, she is. He tells her that he's seen quests for power before and they don't tend to end well. Before she leaves, he gives her the medallion to remember her training. It's probably best she stopped at this point because the next lesson involved tiny knives.
Carter tells Clark she went to Metropolis when she left. She was so full of hope, Carter saw helping her as a way to redeem himself for all his past misdeeds. When he tracked her down, he found out she was investigating LuthorCorp. Carter warned her that it was dangerous but, as she was determined, he decided to join the cause in order to watch out for her. He got the LuthorCorp job to be her inside man. When Clark asks if she contacted anyone else when she got into the city, he says a blond she went to high school with. Uh-oh. Chloe's in troooooublllllle.
Back at Mystery Lab X, the skittish tech - let's call him Chicken Little - looks at a 3D human outline similar to the one Lana was looking at last week and tells Prof. Goggles that she's is barely alive. But, Prof. says, it's the only way to apply the nanites. Liquid now drained from the vat, a discolored Lana lays unconscious and electricity seems to dance through her skin as they apply the "Prometheus Layer." I am the only one who thinks this isn't going to end well?
That night, Tess meets ex-LutherCorp dude Regan (the guy searching for Lex in Antarctica way back in the premiere). She asks if he'd found the Prometheus technology when he broke into Lana's place. He didn't find anything and rebukes the offer to work for her. But this isn't a choice. Tess says that he'll bring it to her or she'll take it by force. Meanwhile, Lana's procedure is done and Prof. Goggles wants her quarantined. Chicken Little goes to assist the haz-mat team as Lana is raised out of the now smokey vat looking as good as new.
Clark superspeeds to Metropolis and finds Chloe coming out of a coffee shop. Why didn't she tell him that Lana spoke with her? Because she had to keep her secret, like she keeps Clark's secrets. He urges Chloe to tell him what happened so they can rescue her from whatever trouble she may be in. Chloe says that Lana didn't come back to see her, she was on a mission. Walking into the Isis Foundation one day, Chloe found Lana kneeling in front of the radiator - this happened about a month before the Wedding of Doom. She'd come back to find out more about Project Ares, the Luthor alien-hybrid-super-soldier program. Chloe tries to tell Lana to let it go but Lana is determined. She also doesn't want Chloe telling Clark and makes her promise to keep the secret. In present time, Chloe says that Ares had been shut down a long time and they figure out that Lana needed to stay clear of them to plot her revenge on Lex. Which I don't think is actually what's going on.
Tess walks into her office and finds one of her underlings dead in her chair. The gunshot to the head came courtesy of Regan, still with pistol in hand, who found out the address of where Prometheus is from said underling. Since Tess has surveillance there, it recorded the conversation with and murder of the underling so she'll know what Regan knows. Regan decides it's a good idea to rub in the fact that Lex was using her as his own personal spy satellite, adding that he was able to see some of the highlights. Bad idea. When he tries to shoot her, she grabs the gun and headbutts him. A small skirmish ensues, ending when Tess knocks him out with a statuette. She then proceeds to kick him until blood flies about, tears running down her face. When she's done, there are no more tears and she wipes a bit of blood off her face unfazed.
At the Isis Foundation, Chloe tells Clark there's a project called Prometheus but she can't hack the security on it now that she's sans Braniac. Clark uses his x-ray vision on the radiator and finds a safe behind it. He opens the door and finds a harddrive in it, Chloe grabbing it and hooking it up to the computers. On it is a video chat between Lana and Prof. Goggles aka Edward Grohl, a scientist who'd been with Lex for years. Chloe says he'd have a PhD in All Things Alien if it existed.
We find out in the chat that Prometheus is a super-fancy skin graft designed to give Lex longevity and superhuman abilities. Goggles denies but Lana presses. If Lex ever put on the "super suit," he'd wreak havok on everything. But, she says, she could wear it and help humanity. She has a warehouse in Metropolis where he can set up the lab. Goggles says he's got a team of researchers that would need to come with him. Just tell them this was Lex's order to use her as a guinea pig, Lana suggests - a perfectly reasonable concept given the situation. It's now that Clark and Chloe finally realize what I've know for the last half-hour or so. Lana intends on using the technology on herself.
Meanwhile at the warehouse lab, Lana is now wearing a black one-piece jumper with doodads on it in a glass enclosure. Prof. Goggles monitors her vitals, which are improving. Chicken Little squawks that it's the machines keeping her alive but Goggles remains optimistic. Enter Tess who knocks out CT with the butt of her gun. How rude. She's come to destroy the suit but is quite surprised to find Lana there instead of Lex (she was hoping for a two birds/one stone situation). Goggles sticks to the story and says it was Lex's orders to use Lana and, now that she's bonded with it, they can't destroy the suit without killing her.
Too bad Tess doesn't care ("Lana Lang was born to be a martyr"). When she raises her gun to shoot the enclosed Lana, Goggles grabs it. As they struggle, Tess shoots the computer system which shorts and shuts down Lana's life support as Goggles falls to the ground. She says he'll never be able to help Lex Luthor again and fires.
Clark arrives in a blue blur and sees the bullet in slow motion. Before he can grab it, Lana crashes through the glass in a gold-hued blur and plucks the bullet from mid-air, also tapping Tess down. She smiles at Clark and he drops out of speed in shock as Lana dashes off, Tess and glass hitting the ground hard.
Tess stalks the halls of the Mansion du Luthor and tells someone on a cell phone to find Lana before she finds her, adding that she's lethal. Too late. Lana's already there burning files on Prometheus in the fireplace. Tess turns to leave but Lana cuts her off thanks to her newly acquired speed. Tess tells her she didn't know she was the one in the experimental chamber but Lana knows that's not true. Regardless, she's come as a friend. She knows how it feels to want revenge on Lex but advises Tess it's a long dark road she shouldn't travel. That's easy for Lana to say, Tess points out that she's got a nigh-invulnerable supersuit on. But Lana underwent the experiment to do good in the world, not get revenge. Lana tells Tess that she's an amazing woman but every second she's consumed by hate is another second Lex controls her. Lana tells Tess not to be a victim anymore before speeding away.
Clark is at the Daily Planet at the crack of dawn when he super-hears Lana telling him to meet her on the roof. Clark is concerned because the suit has never been tested, which is why Lana didn't tell him what she was doing. She didn't want Clark to worry. But he does. All the time. Lana tells him not to think about the past or the future, just live in the present. Now that she's got that super-suit, they're equals. He doesn't have to protect her and together they can make the world a better place, unless that's not what he wants. But he does want that, it's his dream but dreams normally don't come true. Lana asserts they've never been normal and kisses him. I guess all that "it's best we're not together" stuff from the beginning has gone out the window.
Assorted Bits & Pieces:
- I do like that Lana has become a stronger person. I just wish they'd done this with her character a few years ago. Her evolution over these seasons has been painfully slow.
- This whole suit business isn't going to end well is it? I have a feeling of impending doom about the whole situation. Why would you want nanotechnology infused with your body with Brainiac running around? At any rate, given the Superman Mythology, Lana eventually leaves/they break up for good. This must be a catalyst for all that. And before all you Clana fans get angry, I know that Smallville doesn't follow Superman Mythology exactly but there are certain tenants that must remain. He must fly, he must wear a cape, and he ends up with Lois. That's just the way things are. Accept it. Be at peace with it.
- In the "Legion" ep, Saturn Girl...er, Irma was saying how much historical impact Lana had on Clark. Maybe all the running around they do as a super-powered couple will teach him how to be more Superman-like. I hope. Can he just fly already?
- Was it just me or did Clark seem to be one or two steps behind the whole episode? Even when he was handed information (the video chat), he jumped to the wrong conclusion. I'm not impressed by his mental faculties these last two weeks and hope he gets back on the good judgment train immediately.
What did you think about tonight's fairly Clark-lite adventure? Do you like where they're going with Lana's character or are you over the whole situation? Any theories on who the suit will backfire, if it backfires at all?