Episode Review: Smallville : "Abandoned" (Season 10, Episode 8)
Tonight, the Smallville stunt casting tradition continues with Teri "Lois and Clark" Hatcher and Helen "Supergirl" Slater playing the parents of our generation's version of Lois and Clark.
Yeah, both our main characters have Mommy issues…. so naturally, we have to introduce a Granny… Granny Goodness, minion of Darkseid.
Tess has a creepy nightmare where she's dragged off down a long hall after trying to hide. A music box that plays "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" figures prominently. She wakes up, and hears the music box. It's sitting in the middle of the library floor, playing…..
Back at the Kent farm, Lois is going through a box that was left to her from her mother. It contains keepsakes from when she was ten and her mom had cancer. There are also videotapes…. She and Clark talk about this a bit, then Clark goes on patrol.
Clark visits Tess in the Watchtower. Tess tells Clark about the nightmare and the music box. They discover that it came from St. Louise's Orphanage, home of Granny Goodness. We cut to Granny, who is doing something sinister to a young girl's brain.
Lois finds a VCR to put her mom's tapes in, a big CRT TV and a remote… and starts up the ol' machinery. Up comes the image of Ella Lane, her mom. Ella starts to give Lois some advice and some remembrances.
Tess and Clark visit St. Louise's. Tess doesn't remember it, but Clark says that she was in an old photo of the place. Clark hears a girl crying in the basement and goes to hunt her down. The girl is terrified of Granny Goodness, claiming that she's taking away the memories of her parents. He encounters a training room where four women are training with various weapons, including a Freddie Kruegeresque glove. They discover Clark and start beating the crap out of him (I blame the green flamey things… looks like Kryptonite to me…)
Meanwhile, Granny is giving Tess a tour of the upper levels of the orphanage, where Granny reveals that Tess, indeed, was in the institution as a girl. She is the source of the mysterious music box.
Because of a flash of insight that Lois has while watching videos of Ella, she realizes that Clark needs to reconcile with Jor-El in order to move forward in their relationship.
Tess was brought to the orphanage very young by her birth parents, who were apparently very powerful. Tess was Granny's most promising student, but she was forced to send her away. Tess mouths off one too many time, and gets a psychokinetic beatdown by Granny. Granny tells Tess that she will be a soldier in the coming war, on her side and locks Tess in her old room.
Mad Harriet starts to torture Clark, but Granny stops her short.
Tess starts to escape the orphanage along the same lines as in her dream, when Harriet and Lashina ambush her.
Lois finds the key to the Fortress and transports there. She starts to try to reason with the Jor-El intelligence in the Fortress. Her world-famous impatience starts to
get the better of her, and she gets Jor-El's attention, but not in a positive way.
Granny tries to braintoast Clark, but compassionately. He zips upstairs and rescues Tess from Lashina. He zips to the farm, figures out what Lois is up to and zaps up to the Fortress. He rescues Lois and somehow triggers a recording of Jor-El and Lara, telling him that he is born of great love and amazing potential.
Granny is visited by DeSaad and Godfrey. They are his Three Minions, Godfrey ensnares the spirit; DeSaad, the body and Granny, the mind. The three are ready to bring Lord Darkseid's reign on Earth.
Lois and Clark discuss the recordings of their respective parents- how they didn't want to burden their children with their foibles. As they get ready to go out, Clark puts an engagement ring in his pocket.
Tess opens a box in the Luthor Library. She finds a birth certificate and a picture of St. Louise's Ophanage. Tess remembers the day she was dropped at the orphanage by her birth father- Lionel Luthor. Her real name is Lutessa Luthor…
And the lightning flashes…
Okay, this episode makes up for the misstep a couple of weeks ago. Although I orignally thought that Teri Hatcher's casting was a stunt (and make no mistake, it was…) but some great acting by Hatcher and Durance made their scene very special. I guess there's a bit of a natural resemblance between all women who've played Lois over the decades- that helped- but the acting made the scene pop.
And speaking of stunt casting (yes, we were…) Helen "Supergirl" Slater reprised her role as Lara, Kal-El's birth mom. Lara and Jor-El finally came off as parents- hopeful for Clark but facing their own fate with fear and a bit of guilt.
Tess, as the third of our trinity of parent issues, finds out who she really is- and is appropriately horrified by it.
Granny and the Female Furies seemed to be given a bit of a short shrift in this episode, but they are well portrayed and I'm sure we'll see them again.
A strong episode with a strong theme- making peace with the ghosts of your parents. All of our protagonists faced these ghosts at some point during the episode- and it didn't turn out well for Tess, did it?
Next week: Aquaman strides out of the surf to face Colonel Tigh!