From start to finish, the season premiere of "Smallville" was incredible. Filled with emotion, action and talent, "Lazarus" doesn't disappoint. In fact, it gives weight to Smallville's already hefty status. The intro is chock-full of clips from last season that will not only welcome returning fans, but entice newcomers to this epic final season. Even if you haven't been a part of the event that is "Smallville" for the past nine seasons, you can certainly jump on board for this last chapter. I believe good fiction, both for television and books, is driven by the characters. This review focuses on the highly developed characters of "Smallville", where they were and where they will be when the curtain finally falls.
"and now for the final season of Smallville"
The amount of sentiment in the first scene alone could bring anyone to tears and the final music, special effects, etc. aren't even finished. Last we saw of Lois~Erica Durance and Clark~Tom Welling, Lois was enthralled in a farewell kiss with The Blur. Clark had sacrificed himself to save the world by plunging the kryptonite dagger into his chest and plunging to the street below. Lois is submerged in her emotions as she has just discovered her 'boyfriend' is not just Clark Kent; aka The Blur, but Metropolis's guardian and saviour. Clark and Lois only have one scripted scene together, but as "Lazarus" unfolds Lois deals with her new intelligence well. Though darkness looms throughout the entire episode, Lois is definitely the ray of sunshine that brings a light-heartedness and smile to Clark that is both charming and becoming. Tom and Erica have an amazing on screen chemistry that is magnified with accomplished writing. Their playful banter and connection is simply beautiful. In their scene Lois is beyond adorable, giving Clark ample opportunity to find what he had come for. Unfortunately, they were cut short due to Clark's urgent mission. I love, love, love this story line and they have executed the Lois and Clark love story perfectly.
"Sorry Clark, but I knew you'd only try and stop me"
One of the big cliffhangers in the season 9 finale was the undetermined fate of Oliver. Allison Mack is only slated for a handful of episodes in Season 10. Straight out of the gate, Chloe is determined and reckless, desperate to find Oliver. By means of Dr. Fate's helmet, she makes a sacrifice in hopes of bringing the Green Arrow back and in the process gives Clark some valuable information. In Chloe's final scene of the episode, her look into the camera leaves us with questions and speculation about the mysterious people responsible for Oliver's abduction and a fluid transition into what will prove to be an unforgettable journey for Ollie and Chloe.
"Let's ditch this blindfold and go full monty."
Oliver~Justin Hartley spends the majority of his screen time bound, bleeding and shirtless (which is nice ;) ). He, as well as everyone else, is left in the dark about who's holding him captive. Despite the ambivalence Oliver is faced with, his loyalty remains true to his friends and team. Hartley's character is defiant and stubborn, keeping any and all secrets. For Oliver this season will be about finding Chloe and recoupment. There are transgressions that need to be atoned for and that will drive Oliver's campaign forward.
"What is this place?"
Tess Mercer~Cassidy Freeman has been morally skewed at best. However, when she wakes up in a Luthorcorp Lab alive and confused, Freeman's character starts down a very different path than season's past. Tess' disarray quickly turns to shock, disbelief and fear when she's almost swallowed up by the unfathomable perversions and evil around her. Tess only interacts with one main character, Clark~Tom Welling, and when the two come face to face he is baffled and amazed by her survival. Season 10 is about evolution for Cassidy's character, even more so than in seasons 8 and 9. Tess is coping with her past and starts down a road that will inevitably end with her transformation into the woman she wants to be.
"I died to save the world."
Clark~Tom Welling has always been on a path of internal struggle, and that struggle has always been Clark's true nemesis. He died to save the world, but left it vulnerable in the process. When I saw Clark standing in the corn field with crows perched on the cross where he was once hung it all came full circle. It's where his journey began and now the end is beginning there as well. The crow is a symbol of transition, transformation and conflict. All those things are present in this premiere and will expand as season 10 opens to reveal itself fully. Reinforcing the already fierce symbolism, a reveal/tease of a former beloved villain only perpetuates this handsomely constructed theme. Tom Welling has a perfectly flawed character in Clark Kent. He's conflicted and frustrated about the line between right and wrong, but that conflict drives his readiness to be the hero and fight the greater evil. His performance in "Lazarus" is commanding and sure with stunning glimpses of weakness. This season Clark will go far beyond anywhere he's been so far. Darkness is just over the horizon for our team and he knows it, which gives him an urgency like none we've ever seen. All Clark's senses are ablaze with the reality of what lies ahead and now more than ever he has so much to fight for, so many people that depend on him. They waste no time putting Clark's new obstacles in place. Our new villian, the Darkseid, has already been revealed, but the 'greater evil' will be unveiled and broadened slowly over the season. However, there is a scene toward the end of the premiere that gave me chills and left a haunting image in its wake.
"Lazarus" has set an astonishing conclusion in motion and the momentum is something to be in awe over. The fourth act, which we cannot discuss, is the guts of the episode. Every scene leading up to it, all the way through to the end are seamlessly connected and the anticipation never stops building. The mythology of "Superman" has always played an important role in the series and ultimately we all know what the future holds for Clark Kent. He knows his destiny, but how he reaches that destiny will be his ultimate endeavor. Clark's choices - his free-will will define the man Clark Kent will become. After watching the premiere, several times ;), I'm feel certain it will be pure bliss to watch the fate of our players come to fruition.
I hope you enjoyed my review and many thanks for reading it.
"Smallville" premieres on the CW Friday at 8/7c.