Smallville 9.3: "Rabid"

I’ve never been the greatest fan of zombie stories. There are only so many variations on that theme, and they all pretty much progress in the same way once the action begins. These aren’t “zombies” in the traditional sense, of course, but the net effect is the same. People are infected, people go crazy and try to eat/kill people, it spreads, people fight to survive and resolve said issue. Not much to it.

Not that I blame the writing staff for taking their own stab at it. Zombies are very much the rage in recent years, so why not join in the over-saturation? I could think of a number of reasons, but when the popular culture is into something, genre shows tend to jump on the bandwagon. “Smallville” has been particularly willing to jump into such waters over the years, and this is no exception.

As usual, the interesting element is the origin of the contagion. In this case, it was developed from the blood of Davis Bloome, presumably by Zod, which is a nice bit of circular storytelling. After all, Doomsday was the genetically-altered “son” of Zod according to the eighth season, so this is a nice touch. This would especially be true if Major Zod was not simply a clone, but rather displaced in time.

This is a big episode for the Clark/Lois relationship, right down to the moment where Clark seems to set aside his yearning for Lana and dedicate himself to moving on with his life. That would have felt a lot more organic and believable had last season’s Lana Arc not taken place. Having Clark stare wistfully at Lana’s picture doesn’t bring closure; it just reminds the audience that Clark isn’t with Lana because Lex made it impossible for them to be together. Clark might be moving on pragmatically, but emotionally, it will never be resolved.

Even so, it was good to see Lois shift from her simpering obsession with the Blur to a more normal relationship, and Clark feels like the right move. A lot of the foundation of that relationship was covered in the previous season, but the writers have actually allowed this relationship to evolve more naturally than, say, the Lana/Lex relationship. There’s no doubt that Lois and Clark have plenty of chemistry.

Speaking of chemistry, while I would never consider linking them together romantically, Chloe and Emil work together very well. I don’t remember where Emil comes from in particular, but I hope he doesn’t turn out to be evil. Chloe needs an ally to help her find direction in her role as Watchtower, especially now that the core of the “league” has completely fallen off the wagon.

I consider Oliver Queen to be one of the best additions to the “Smallville” cast. Without knowing anything about the Green Arrow, I feel as though the character has been fully rendered over the past few seasons. His current character arc seems a bit disconnected from the rest of the plot, but his inclusion in Lois’ visions would seem to suggest that his character arc has a long way to go.

I still worry that the writers are moving a bit too quickly for their own good, but the season is picking up much-needed steam. Now that Zod knows that there is a Kryptonian with powers, there is a good pretext for putting him on an immediate collision course with Clark. With the sweeps period coming in just a few weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an appearance by Jor-El in the wings as well.


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