Episode Review: Smallville:"Hostage" (Season 9, Episode 20)

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Tonight, the return of Martha Kent! and Perry White! and they're…. together???
Also, the identity of the Red Queen, Maxwell Lord gets to play with Tess's mind and Chloe contemplates her future as Watchtower.

Wow. No need for special effects in this one….

Recap

Clark is searching the Kent farmhouse for the Book of Rao and trying to hold his relationship with Lois together when Martha Kent comes through the door with her new boyfriend, Perry White.

Oh REALLY? We're not in Kansas … oh wait. We are. Nevermind.

Lois has been trying to land a story that'll get their jobs back at the Planet. She pitches her story to Perry, who's been following another aspect of it… the Red Queen is somehow linked to the Book of Rao.

Martha has been serving Jonathan's term in the senate, and she's been avoiding the Kent farm because of the memories it brings back. She's happy to see Clark with Lois… even as touchy as that is right now.

Meanwhile, Tess is attacked by Maxwell Lord, who is looking for the Book of Rao. Ollie is dragged in, bleeding from his Zod induced scars. He jumps to the conclusion that she's the Red Queen.

Lois and Martha do some bonding, talking about purpose and life and purpose in life. Clark and Perry do something a bit similar. Perry wants to ask Martha to marry him, but he makes the mistake of wearing one of Jonathan's coats.

After an awkward dinner where Lois breaks up with Clark, Perry accidently drops his notes on the Book of Rao where Martha can see them. She immediately recognizes the Kryptonian aspects of it, but doesn't let on. She and Clark talk about Lois and his dual identity. He will have to take the next step with Lois or lose it.

Lois and Perry head back to town to try to flush out (heh, see what I did there?) the Red Queen. They apparently succeed in setting up a meet and greet.

Clark tracks down Vala, the one Kandorian who is still talking to him and asks her for some light exposition. The Book of Rao is the Kryptonian Bible (after a fashion), Zod is still looking for it and Tess Mercer is the Red Queen. Riiiiigggght

Meanwhile, back at Rancho Tess, we find that all's not as it seems. Max has been playing head games with her, and she breaks free.

Perry and Lois are hot on the trail of the Red Queen. After a dodgy climb and some small intervention from the Blur, they loose the Queen. Clark chases after the Queen and gets a facefull of Green K for the trouble.

Chloe disabuses Clark of the notion that Tess is the Red Queen, and confesses that she held back the footage of Jor-El hiding the book of Rao. She now wants to have a real life, and not be hooked into Watchtower anymore. Clark says that the world needs her as Watchtower for the coming war. Clark gets an inkling of what is going on.

Meanwhile, Tess finds a Kryptonian artifact in Ollie's winecellar. She's ambushed by the Red Queen… Martha Kent. She warns Tess to keep out of the fight, and stay away from Clark.

A few words from Perry, and Lois and Clark have their jobs back. Lois realizes that she has a purpose here in Metropolis. As she walks to her desk, she hears a whooshing sound and a note is left on her desk…. 'It's time for us to meet-- The Blur'.

Clark confronts Martha with the fact that she's the Red Queen. When she was in Washington, she found out about Checkmate moving against Clark. She assumed the guise of the Red Queen to run interference and protect Clark. She gives him the Book of Rao, but warns him. He can use it to get rid of the Kandorians, but it will banish ALL Kryptonians from the Earth, including Clark.

Analysis

I saw Martha as the Red Queen a mile off. Honestly, if you're going to do a mystery character reveal, the most prominent guest star is invariably the Mysterious Person in the Trenchcoat.

Cliche's aside, this episode did a nice job of developing the Clark-Lois relationship. The Perry-Martha relationship oddly didn't resonate too much, ironically. Since Annette O'Toole and Micheal McKeon are married to each other…. that said, the moment that Perry wore Jonathan's coat was nicely photographed and played.

There's an interesting bit of parallelism; Perry is pursuing Martha's alter ego while Lois pursues Clarks. And both Kents have monochromatic fashion sense in their alternate personas.

We learn tonight what the Book of Rao actually does- it's a nifty deus ex machina, and Clark and company will find a way around the 'all Kryptonians' clause.

Not a lot of action in this episode, but hopefully they channeled a chunk of FX budget into next week's finale….

Next week, Season Finale, guest starring the Justice League and the Justice Society!

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