Smallville 8.8: "Bloodline"

The most surprising post-strike revival continues with this episode of "Smallville". Not even the reappearance of last season's mediocre Supergirl managed to slow the momentum of the season arc. This episode had it all: Kryptonian mythology, the evolution of Davis Bloome, Chloe's disturbing abilities, and Tess Mercer's post-Luthor machinations.

I'm not sure how this episode stacks up to the DC canon. I never read any of the DC books over the years, and I have only a passing knowledge of the highlights. So the idea that Doomsday is the son of General Zod may be a complete revision of the villain's origins. If so, hopefully the fans will be able to keep an open mind, because that little revelation works on many levels.

After all, most of the conflict in the series through the previous season was built around Clark and Lex, and how they were enemies that might have been brothers. Lex was also becoming obsessed with the need to protect the world from alien threats, regardless of whether or not the world acknowledged that need. With Lex gone, those two major functions must shift to someone else.

Tess Mercer does a capable job of taking care of the "alien threat" angle, as was as questioning Clark's role in just about everything. Her motives are still a work in progress, but her actions have been consistent. The writers have kept her on the hunt for Lex while adjusting the plot threads to her benefit, and so far, it's been handled very well.

But she's not a foil for Clark, and that's where Davis Bloome steps into the picture. Davis is really the son of Zod, nemesis to Jor-El and all-around bad guy. This concept makes the impending battle between Clark and Davis (whenever that should emerge) a matter of legacy. Just as Jonathan Kent and Lionel Luthor represented two fathers of opposing philosophy on Earth. Jor-El and Zod represent the same in terms of Krypton.

Doomsday's ability makes it very hard to end the threat he represents. If he is killed, he apparently comes back in a form invulnerable to the same cause of death. It's unclear at this point what it would take to prevent that process from taking its course (perhaps atomizing him would do the trick), but it does make him the most formidable opponent yet for Clark.

The episode was also important for Chloe, who is pushing herself to the breaking point and changing from the influence of her exposure to Brainiac. My suspicion is that Brainiac is in there, somewhere, and will eventually take control of Chloe at the least opportune time. On the other hand, if she were able to find a way to harness the ability without damaging side effects, it would make her an even more efficient "Watchtower". Only time will tell.

At the close, I must also give credit to Erica Durance for pulling off her role as Zod's wife. I've never been particularly sold on her talent, despite the fact that her version of Lois has grown on me over the years. I thought she managed to convey mature malevolence well enough to sell the idea that she had been possessed. It's just another element that is succeeding against expectation this season.


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