Welcome to Smallville. I am doing an episode-by-episode watch, recap, and reaction and blogging about it here. There will be no spoilers for the series beyond the current episode. You can find my prior recaps HERE.
For those of you that don’t want to read the long plot recap, I provide a quick episode summary here at the top. You can read that and just scroll down to the “REACTION” heading below.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
Clark volunteers for required community service at an assisted living center because Lana is also there. Clark is assigned to read for a woman named Cassandra. She is blind but she can see the future of the people she touches. She developed this ability during the meteor shower. Lana meanwhile is assigned to a former serial killer who is living incognito in the center after having served time for his crimes. Cassandra shows Clark a vision of his future causing Clark to learn that he will outlive everyone he knows and loves – everyone on earth seemingly. Meanwhile, Lana takes Harry for a walk in his wheelchair. He sends her back inside under a pretext of getting him a jacket. he really just wants to smoke. While she is gone, he falls into a koi pond infested with meteor rocks and becomes young again. He disappears and Lana blames herself for losing an entire old person. Harry immediately takes up revenge murder.
Lana learns that her old person was a serial killer. She tells Clark, Chloe, and Pete. They begin looking into Harry and figure out that he is killing the descendants of the jurors who convicted him. One of those jurors was Hiram Kent – Clark’s grandfather. Clark runs into Cassandra again in the assisted living facility and she shows him more about himself. She explains that she saw Clark in the visions of others before she met him. She tells him that she believes his destiny is to help people. Clark returns to the Kent farm and saves his mother from Harry just in the nick of time.
Later Lex goes to visit Cassandra on the recommendation of Clark. She sees an apocalyptic vision of death and blood in Lex’s future. She dies before she can tell him what she saw.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Pete and Clark are volunteering at an assisted living center. Pete is complaining to Clark that they could have completed their High School’s community service requirements as lifeguards. When he asks Clark why they chose “the denture crowd” they turn a corner and see Lana.
Clark: Lana, I didn’t know you were volunteering here.
Pete: Yah, right.
Lana: For a couple of weeks now. Are you part of the companion program?
Clark says yes and that he is reading with Cassandra. Lana tells Clark that she is an interesting woman and she adds that some of the nurses claim that she can see the future. Pete looks annoyed with Clark as Lana walks away.
The two boys get to Cassandra’s door. She appears to be blind but she looks up.
Cassandra: It takes two of you to read to me now, does it?
Cassandra then bids both of them to come inside. When Clark asks how she knew there were two of them, she says that she is blind not deaf. Cassandra tells them that she could hear their little friend’s shoes squeaking all the way down the hall.
Pete: Can you really tell the future?
Clark: Way to go Pete, real subtle.
Cassandra tells Pete that if he wants his fortune told, he should go to the circus. She then knocks a notebook from the small table by her bed. Pete bends down to pick it up. When he does, she grabs him by the hand as he hands it to her. Suddenly she tells him that it is a long walk home and to check his pockets. Pete does and realizes suddenly that he locked his keys inside the car. She smiles. Pete tells Clark that he is on his own and leaves. After he goes, Cassandra stands up, walks over to Clark and asks his name.
Lana is in Mr. Bollston’s room. She announces herself over the loud sound of music. He lifts a hand, as if telling her to be quiet a moment, as a piece on the piano finishes playing. When the music finishes, the man, in a wheelchair, spins around repeating “Lang” and tells her that the Langs moved to Smallville in 1938. He tells her that they took over a couple of dust bowl farms and knew a good deal when they saw one. Lana smiles and exclaims that he is a local history buff. He tells her that it is kind of his obsession.
Mr. Bollston: So… are you my next victim?
Lana: You don’t look that scary to me.
Mr. Bollston: You should have known me in my younger days.
He asks Lana if she can take him on a spin around the grounds so that she can update him on what the Langs have been doing since 1938. Lana pushes him around the grounds until they stop on a scenic bridge over a pond, surrounded by hills and trees. He suddenly asks Lana if she minds going back to his room to get him a scarf. She agrees and he calls her a doll. The minute she gets out of sigh, he pulls a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He pulls a lighter from another pocket but accidently drops it onto the wooden planked bridge upon which he is parked. He leans down to get it and begins to cough.
In Cassandra’s room, she begins to cough and asks Clark for some water. They drop the glass of water in the handoff. As it falls to the ground, we see Mr. Bollston fall off of his wheelchair and into the water. Once he lands in the water, he de-ages and begins laughing almost manically. The camera pans away and we see that the pond he landed in contains green meteor rocks. In Cassandra’s room, her eyes glaze over. Clark asks what is wrong and she tells him that someone close to him is going to die. She tells him that it will happen very soon.
♫Somebody saaaaaaavvee meeeee♫
Clark speeds home later to his family’s barn where he sees his parents using the circular saw. He chides both of them for not putting safety first and he tells them that they should be letting him do these chores. Martha asks him if something is bothering him. Jonathan tells Clark that they live on a farm and some danger goes with the territory. Jonathan insists that Clark tell them what is going on so Clark explains about the events from the nursing home. Martha tells Clark that no one can tell the future.
Clark asks what if she can so Martha replies that she should have given Clark a little bit more information such as name, time, and place. Jonathan tells Clark that even if she can predict the future, there is nothing she or anyone can do to control it.
Back at the nursing home, Mr. Bollston is in nursing scrubs. He goes to his own room and pulls some newspaper clippings from long ago related to a strangulation. He sees himself in the mirror.
Mr. Bollston: Fate has given you a second chance, Harry boy. And this time they’re gonna pay.
Later, Harry Bollston, newly young, is at a Smallville restaurant ordering a cheeseburger. He says he has not been able to eat one of them since his bypass. He sees a sign with high priced coffee options and asks the waitress if they carry the beans from South America by foot. She tells him that he sounds like her grandpa.
Chloe, Clark, and Lana enter the restaurant. Lana asks Clark if he knows anyone else who has lost an entire old person in a wheelchair. They sit at a booth next to Harry and continue discussing him. Clark suggests that maybe he was kidnapped. Lana asks Clark why anyone would want to kidnap Harry and she says that he is just a harmless old man. Chloe suggests that the koi turned into piranha and ate him. Harry chimes in from the other table that he likes that theory. Chloe tells him that he needs to work on his eavesdropping skills. Harry then says that he is new in town and that he heard this place is where young people congregate. Clark introduces himself and tells Harry that the rude one is Chloe. As he is about to introduce Lana, Harry says her name. As they all look surprised, he points out that she is wearing a name tag. Harry then wishes them good luck in finding their missing old person. Just then Harry’s waitress returns and tells him that it was brought in by burro this morning. Harry thanks her and calls her a doll. Lana stares at him after hearing him say that.
Harry is apparently now working at the assisted living center. He is there in scrubs and playing the piano in front of Cassandra. She tells him that he plays wonderfully. When he tells her that he was supposed to attend the Metropolis Conservatory, she tells him that his voice sounds young and that the Conservatory closed in the 1970s. Harry tries to cover by saying that he always dreamed of playing there. Cassandra holds out her hand and asks if there is any chance that he will give an old lady a hand back to her room. Harry stares at her hand and tells her that he already knows his future. He does not touch her.
Sometime later, Lex speeds his car around a curve, parks, and then gets out to greet Clark. He is promptly chided by Clark for driving dangerously. Clark tells him that he could get hurt. Lex asks Clark about his sudden interest in his health and Clark shares with him about meeting Cassandra. Lex is very skeptical and tells Clark that she sounds like she knows when she has a good audience
Clark: You sound like my parents.
Lex: That’s gotta be a first.
Clark insists that he thinks the woman is the real deal and Lex asks him if he wants to know the future. When Clark asks Lex if he wants to know how it will all turn out, Lex tells him that life is a journey and that he does not want to follow it using a road map. Clark tells Lex that it still would not kill him to drive more slowly.
Lex: Why? I have you as a friend. You changed my future once, right?
Clark tells LEx that he has some more deliveries to make. As he is leaving, Lex tells him that he never shared the woman’s name. Clark replies that he thought Lex was not interested. Lex pops back that maybe he will see if she has some stock tips. Clark tells him that her name is Cassandra Carver.
At the assisted living center, Clark finds Lana standing in front of a wall containing pictures of Harry. He asks where the pictur eof harry, when he was younger, went. She replies that she does not know. She tells Clark that she went to meet with the administrator of the home earlier and found that the police were there. Harry Bollston’s real name is not Harry Bollston – it was Harry Volk. The police were there because Harry murdered someone when he was 17. Clark asks Lana why they would let someone like that stay here and she replies that he served sixty years and that she gueses they thought he was no longer dangerous.
She tells Clark that in the 1940s, Harry was studying to be a concert pianist and that he was up for a full scholarship to the Metropolis Conservatory. She tells Clark that his teacher recommended somebody else. Clark asks if Harry killed the teacher. She says no. Harry said that because the teacher killed his dream, he would kill the teacher’s dream. He killed his teacher’s son.
A man we have not met is watching a football game when the power cuts out. Just then, Harry knocks on his door. He tells the man that there was a faulty line down the road and that he wants to make certain his circuit breaker was not fried The man lets him inside. As they look at the circuit breaker, Harry confirms his name as Jim Gage. He asks Jim if he is related to Randolph Gage. Jim tells him Randolph was his father. Harry says that he remembers reading the obituary and recites that Randolph opened the first car dealership in Smallville. Jim beams and tells harry that he has a great memory. He adds that they have three dealerships in three counties now. As they are talking, Harry pulls a thin piece of wire from his toolbox and then pulls the wire taut. He tells Jim that it sounds like his father left him a bright future.
Clark is standing at Cassandra’s door. She asks if he is going to come in or not. He asks how she does that and she replies that when one sense goes, the others become heightened. She adds that after yesterday she never thought that she would see Clark again. He comes into the room and tells her that he cannot get what she said out of his head. She asks him to imagine how she feels. She says that when it first started happening, she thought it was a curse. Clark asks when the visions started and she tells him that they started on the day of the meteor shower. She says a meteor landed in a field behind her house and that the flash from it burned her optic nerves. Clark apologizes and she tells him that it is not his fault.
He tells her that his friends and family think she is a fraud. She replies that people are afraid of the unknown and that they only want to hear that things will be alright. Cassandra tells Clark that she cannot guarantee that but she can tell him about sign posts on his journey. Clark says that he has so many questions in his life for which he wants answers and she ids him to come closer. She tells him to take her hand and he does.
We see a vision of Clark standing in the rain surrounded by tombstones. They have the names of everyone he knows on them. The camera pans away as Clark shouts no, and we see more and more tombstones, an almost endless number.
In reality again, Clark stands up and backs away from Cassandra. He is frightened and tells her no. She seems almost as alarmed as Clark and asks if he saw that, too. She calls out to Clark and he speeds away.
Back at home, Clark is talking to his parents. Martha suggests that maybe he had a hallucination. Clark tells her it was a glimpse of the future – his own future.
Jonathan: And you saw an endless graveyard.
Clark: Like I was the last person on earth.
Jonathan tells Clark to consider the source and he reminds Clark that he knows nothing about this woman. Clark says he knows that she lost her vision in the meteor shower and Jonathan sarcastically replies that this somehow makes it so that she can predict the future. Clark asks his dad if being the last person on earth is so crazy. Martha tells him that he cannot let this one image consume his entire life.
Clark: What if it is my destiny to outlive everyone I love? I don’t’ want to be alone.
♫Who wants… to live… forever…oooOOOooh… when love must die♫
[oops, sorry, wrong show]
Jonathan tells Clark that the only person who controls his destiny is him. Clark replies thft right now he does not feel like he has control over anything.
Cassandra is reading The Daily Planet’s weekly Braille Edition. She is dining at an outdoor table. Lex walks up to her. She asks if the expensive shoes have a name and he introduces himself. She obviously knows who the Luthors are and asks why he wants to meet an old blind woman. Lex tells her that she has made quite an impression on his friend Clark – who he knows to be bright. Cassandra says that she doubts Lex has come to see her for stock tips.
Lex: I was hoping you could give me some insight into Clark.
Cassandra: And you call him a friend, do you?
Lex: He saved my life but he’s also a mystery.
Cassandra: Most people are.
Lex offers her money but she turns him down. She tells him she cannot tell him about Clark, even if she wants to, because she can only tell the future of the person she touches. She then offers Lex her hand. He does not take it and says that he believes people make their own destiny. She asks him if he wants a glimpse of what it is that he’ll make. She offers him her hand again. Lex is angry and tells her goodbye. He says it has been enlightening. She seems confused but as he is going she tells him to come back when he is ready.
Later, Clark goes into Chloe’s office and finds Lana inside staring at the Wall of Weird. She tells Clark that Chloe called her because she has new information about Harry. She says while waiting she found this. Clark tells her that Chloe thinks all of the strange things that happen in their town started on the day of the meteor shower. Lana asks Clark if he thinks that’s true and he says that he does. She asks if that includes her and then she points out that her picture is on the wall too. She says she is up there with a three-headed calf and the monster from Crater Lake. Clark tells Lana that the stuff on the wall has nothing to do with her but Lana points out that while most people keep their darkest secrets hidden, hers – the horrible death of her parents – is up there for all the world to see thanks to the Time Magazine cover.
Lana tells Clark that when everyone knows your tragedy they treat you differently – as if you are going to break. Clark tells her that he is sure they just feel bad and want to help. Lana says she knows but they are also always reminding her of the most painful moment of her life. She asks Clark how that would make him feel and he tells her that he would wish he could go back in time and erase that moment forever. She tells him that she thought High School would be different and that she could put it behind her. She says that everywhere she goes, there it is. She suggests that maybe she should just accept her destiny.
Lana: All I’m ever gonna be is a little girl in a fairy princess costume who just lost her parents.
Clark: I don’t see you that way.
Lana: I know you don’t, Clark. You’re the only one who doesn’t.
That night, Chloe and Pete ask Clark, in his barn loft, why he blew them off at The Torch. Clark apologizes. Chloe asks if Lana will be joining them and Clark tells her that she has had enough weirdness for one day. Pete and Chloe tell Clark what they have learned. A guy was found dead in his house, blindfolded, and strangled to death with a piano wire. Chloe says that this is the same signature Harry Volk used in 1945. Clark says that it sounds like a copycat.
Chloe: A copycat of a murder that happened 60 years ago two days after the original killer happened to disappear?
Clark points out that Harry could not have overpowered anyone from his wheelchair. Chloe then shows Clark a picture of Harry from the 1940s. Clark says that it looks just like the guy they saw the other day. Pete says that maybe the guy they met is Harr’s grandson. Chloe suggests that the young guy they met is Harry. Clark says that they should not start their search looking for time machines. He says that if someone is following in Harry’s footsteps, maybe they should look to see if he was getting fan mail.
We see Harry playing Chopin on the piano at the restaurant where we saw him drinking coffee earlier. The same waitress is with him and tells him that they closed at 9:00. He smiles at her and asks for one more coffee. She smiles back and says that she guesses. He tells her she can clean up to the sounds of Chopin.
Clark, Pete, and Chloe are in the assisted living center plotting how to sneak into Harry’s room. IN the hallway, Cassandra hears Clark and calls out to him. Clark tells the other two he will meet them in Harry’s room in a few minutes. He walks over to see Cassandra. She points out that he left in a hurry the other night. She says she had hoped he would come back. Clark apologizes and tells her she saw “whatever that thing was” the other night. She replies that she always sees them and she adds that the quetion is how did Clark see this one, too.
Clark: I don’t know. Wasn’t I supposed to?
Cassandra: Nobody ever has.
Clark: Why me?
Cassandra: Because we both know you’re not like other people.
Clark tells her that he is and she says no. She tells him that she has seen him before they ever even met.
Cassandra: More than once I’ve touched people and I’ve seen such pain and despair and… But then you were there and the pain was gone.
She tells Clark that she thinks this is his destiny – to help people and to save them from fear and from darkness. When he asks how she tells him that is for him to figure out. She tells him that he can fear the future or he can embrace it. She offers him her hand and tells him that the choice is his. He takes her hand and sees a vision of a multitude of people in trouble. He pulls away and asks who they are. She tells him those are people who need his help. He asks how he can help him if he doesn’t even know who they are and she tells him that she is not a radio and she does not pick up continuous transmissions. Clark stands up and tells her that he will figure it out. Cassandra tells Clark that his secret is safe with her.
Clark joins Chloe and Pete in Harry’s room. Chloe shows Clark a pile of newspaper clippings an obituaries that Harry has been collecting. When going through the pile, Clark sees a picture of the waitress from the restaurant. He abruptly tells Chloe and Pete that he has to go. Then he speeds away.
Back at the restaurant, we see that Harry is finishing up a note. The waitress tells him thank you for the serenade but unless he is sleeping here – which he is not – she says she is leaving and he must do the same. He hands her the note. She asks what it is and he mocks that they do not teach Greek here. He then tells tells her that it is Euripides and that it says “the sins of the father are visited upon the children.” She asks what it has to do with her.
Harry: Actually Zoe Garfield, quite a bit.
She is very alarmed that he knows her full name. Harry tells Zoe that her grandmother, Eve, died last year. He tells Zoe that he was meant for big concert halls and that her grandmother helped to kill that future. He wraps piano wire around his hands and pulls it taut before telling her that now he is going to kill her future. Harry steps forward and wraps the wire around her neck. Just then, Clark destroys the window to the building, comes inside and tells Harry to let her go. Harry warns Clark to stand back and walks with her, past Clark, and out to the sidewalk outside. Harry is dumbfounded to find Clark outside waiting on him. He then throws Zoe in front of an oncoming truck. Clark dives on top of her and protects her from injuries that might have been caused by the undercarriage of the truck. After Zoe is safe, Clark speeds away to look for Harry.
Clark creeps quietly into an alley. Harry surprises him and jumps out with a knife aimed right at Clark’s heart. When the knife hits Clark, it shatters. Clark then throws him several yards distance into a dumpster.
That night, at the kitchen table, Martha tells Clark that Zoe is going to be okay. She adds that the truck driver could have sworn he hit Clark. She says that he is not asking any questions, though. Martha tells Clark that Harry is at the hospital overnight for observation. Clark asks if she knows why Harry wanted to kill her. Martha says no and that she is just thankful Clark came along. Jonathan asks Clark if he told the police he just happened to be nearby and Clark replies that telling them that was probably better than telling them that he got a vision from an old blind lady. Jonathan says that he is not sure that he wants Clark to se Cassandra anymore. Clark tells him that she is his friend and that Zoe would be dead if he had not seen her. He tells his parents that Cassandra told him that his destiny is to help people. They ask if Cassandra knows his secret. Clark’s silence provides an answer. Jonathan tells Clark that his destiny might be to help people, but their destiny as his parents is to protect him.
Later at Lex’s mansion, he is showing Clark the wrecked Porsche in the secret room in the mansion. Clark asks why he still has it.
Lex: I once read about a rich man who survived a hotel fire. He hung onto the ledge for an hour before the fire department rescued him. Afterwards, he bought the hotel. Always stayed in that room. When I asked him why, he said he figured fate couldn’t find him twice.
Clark tells Lex that he thought he didn’t believe in fate. Lex says he does not. He says though that when he looks at this car, he wonders. He tells Clark that he had a team go over the car inch by inch and they told him that there was no way the impact could have ripped open the rof like this. Clark smiles and says that they must have made a mistake. Lex asks if he remembers anything about the accident. Clark says he just remembers that he pulled him out and that’s it. Lex looks at him and says that he thought Clark might be able to tell him more. Clark suggests that maybe fate has something else in mind for him and Lex tells Clark that he has been spending too much time with Cassandra.
Clark: Well, at least she doesn’t dwell on the past. Lex, you’re alive, the question you need to ask yourself is where do you go from here.
At the hospital, a police officer arrives to take the John Doe from the restaurant assault into custody. When they go into the room to get him, Harry has returned to his natural age and he is cuffed to the bed. He asks them to help him.
At the nursing home facility, Lana and Clark are walking and talking. We learn that the official story is that Harry was kidnapped by a young kid obsessed with his case. Harry told the police that after he was captured, the young kid broke out, smuggled Harry ito the hospital, and left him there in cuffs. Clark points out that the story makes no sense. Just then, their walk take them over the koi pond where Harry’s initial transformation took place. Clark seems suddenly ill. He tells Lana that he needs to go inside so that he can talk to Harry.
Inside, Clark tells Harry that they have met before. He also asks why Harry had a picture of Zoe Garfield under his bed. Harry feigns indignation about Clark going through his things. Clark then tells Harry that he thinks he and the kid are the same person. Harry tells Clark that he has a very active imagination. Clark promises to watch him going forward. Harry pushes a button and calls for the nurse. Harry laughs as he begins pretending to claim that Clark is harassing him. The nurse comes in and tells Clark that she thinks that he should leave.
Sometime later, Harry wheels himself over to the koi pond and dives in.
Clark, Pete, and Chloe are at The Torch researching Harry. Lana suddenly enters and tells them that Harry is gone. Clark tells the group that he found meteor rocks in that pond earlier. Chloe says that at least now they know how he is doing the time warp. Lana is confused and Clark promises to explain to her late. Just then, they find an old newspaper article which lists the names of the jurors in Harry’s trial. They realize that Harry is targeting the descendants of the jurors who convicted him. Juror number eleven was Hiram Kent – Clark’s late grandfather. Clark announces that Harry is going to try to kill his father.
Harry arrives at the Kent home and knocks on the door. He tells Martha that he is here to check on a gas leak. Martha tells him that she does not smell gas. Harry tells her that her husband called about it earlier and asks if he is around. Martha asks where their regular gas man, Kurt, is and he tells her that he is on vacation. Martha asks if he will excuse her for a minute. She closes the door and goes back into the house. She picks up the phone to make a phone call and hears static on the line. Harry opens the door holding a piano wire.
Harry: Kurt isn’t your regular gas man, is he Mrs. Kent?
Martha: What do you want?
Harry: To kill your husband.
She asks what Jonathan ever did to him. Harry says nothing but his father did. She then smashes Harry in the head with a bottle, grabs her keys, and runs out of the front door. When she gets to her car, she sees that her tire is flat. As Harry gets up and leaves the Kent house, she runs into the Barn. Harry follows her into the barn. He picks up a machete lying on a table and shouts to Martha that he is too old for hide and seek. Finally Harry finds Martha hiding in an empty grain silo. He enters and tells her that she cannot save Jonathan. She eyes a chain in the silo. When Harry gets close enough, she pulls on it and the silo begins filling with grain from above – landing directly on Harry’s head. He and Martha grapple on the floor of the silo as it fills up.
Outside, Jonathan pulls up. Clark appears in front of his truck. Clark asks if he is okay and tells his dad that someone is trying to kill him. He sees his mom’s car has flat tires and tells Jonathan that he is already here. Clark looks around. We see Martha and Harry inside the silo as it fills up and they lose the ability to breath. The both stop moving and are soon buried by falling grain. Clark sees Martha in the silo with his X-ray vision and pulls open a side door. He and Jonathan dig and find her. She is no longer breathing. Jonathan gives her CPR and she coughs and gasps for air. After a moment Clark asks if she is okay.
Martha: Do you think I’d ever leave you two alone? Cassandra is wrong, Clark. Nobody is going to die.
Clark looks over and sees Harry’s hand sticking out of the grain. It changes from young to old in an instant and then it stops moving.
Lex arrives at Cassandra’s room. She tells him that he is the last person she expected to waltz into her room. He tells her that he comes bearing gifts and lifts up a bouqet of flowers. She tells him “so did the Greeks.” Lex smiles at that. She tells him that she thought he controlled his destiny. Lex replies that he does – but he acknowledges that certain things have happened in his life that he cannot ignore. She asks him what and he replies that he lived when he should have died. He says that he does not want to do good things – he wants to do great things. Cassandra tells him that he does not need her for that. He asks if she is afraid of what she’ll see so she tells him to sit. She tells him that he has been warned. He takes her hand.
She sees a vision of Lex in the White House wearing a white suit. She sees him standing in a field of sunflowers. He leans down to sniff one of the flowers, then lays a gloved hand over the top of that flower. He wilts, turns black, and dies. All of the other flowers in the field do the same until Lex is standing in blackness. The blackness morphs into an endless number of human skeletons. Lex looks around at everything and seems pleased. Above him, black storm clouds thunder and then turn red. Droplets of blood begin to cover his white suit.
The vision ends and Lex asks her what she saw. She has died. Lex stares at her for a moment, then drops her hand and steps backward, alarmed. He drops the bouquet of white roses he had been holding onto the floor and calls for help. The nurse goes inside as Lex recovers to a hallway window. Clark arrives at that moment. The nurse apologizes to Clark and tells him that she is gone.
Clark: She saw it.
Nurse: Saw what?
Clark: Her future.
This is a great episode of superhero television. I could probably write an entire review of just Lex’s vision at the end of the episode. That scene was just visually… perfect. At least time period and budget constraints perfect. Jackie Burroughs as Cassandra makes this whole story work and she is phenomenal. She is charismatic, warm, tough, and vulnerable all at the same time. I almost cannot believe Smallville was able to land someone of her caliber. That said, this show is not short on great acting.
The episode makes a couple of overt mentions of the Greeks (“Euripides” and Casandra’s comment about Lex’s gift – which was a reference to the Trojan Horse.) In case you do not know, Cassandra herself is also a reference to Greek mythology. From Wiki:
Cassandra or Kassandra (Ancient Greek: Κασσάνδρα, pronounced [kas:ándra], also Κασάνδρα), (sometimes referred to as Alexandra), was a Trojan priestess of Apollo in Greek mythology cursed to utter true prophecies, but never to be believed. In modern usage her name is employed as a rhetorical device to indicate someone whose accurate prophecies are not believed.
Cassandra was said to be a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her older brother was Hector, hero of the Greek-Trojan war. The older and most common versions state that she was admired by the god Apollo, who sought to win her with the gift to see the future. According to Aeschylus, she promised him her favors, but after receiving the gift, she went back on her word and refused the god. The enraged Apollo could not revoke a divine power, so he added to it the curse that though she would see the future, nobody would believe her prophecies. In other sources, such as Hyginus and Pseudo-Apollodorus, Cassandra broke no promise; the powers were given to her as an enticement. When these failed to make her love him, Apollo cursed Cassandra to always be disbelieved, in spite of the truth of her words.
Some later versions have her falling asleep in a temple, where the snakes licked (or whispered in) her ears so that she could hear the future.[a]
Blind prophet who nobody believes? Check. I think epic tragedy might apply to her here, too. Imagine that vision of the future being the last thing you see while alive. Yikes.
The episode’s themes lean heavily on notions of fate and destiny – pretty fitting for a show about the last son of Krypton. Clark obviously has a well known fate, as does Lex. But we also see Lana discuss her own fate and we meet a villain who believes he also has a dark destiny. The entire episode starts with something destined – that someone close to Clark is about to die. We did not know until the episode ended that Cassandra was referring to herself. Perhaps she did not yet know it was herself she referred to.
It’s interesting to consider Clark’s fate. The meteor rocks kill – or turn into monsters – a lot of people. Clark also is the reason that Lex lives to kill innumerable people. His life has to eventually outweigh all of that and then some.
I thought Michael Rosenbaum delivered an angrier than usual Lex this week. Given the final sequence, he probably needed a more intense Lex to avoid that whole field of human bones thing being too jarring. It was interesting that he decided to show Clark the Porsche. He all but tells Clark “I don’t believe you” (at least that’s the look on his face) while also demonstrating warmth for Clark when it is clear Clark will say no more about the accident. The silent internal conflict is exceptionally well done.
Tom Welling is also really outstanding as Clark in this episode. Part of being Superman is just exuding warmth for people. Tom Welling pulls that off in spades. Clark’s chemistry with Cassandra was exactly what you’d expect it to be. I think we’re supposed to believe that Clark volunteered for this form of community service because Lana was going to be there. But it is perfectly on brand for Clark Kent to enjoy his time with someone like Cassandra. He even continues to be believably warm to Lex when it’s pretty obvious that Lex is prying – without hiding his intensity – into the car wreck. Tom Welling was just remarkably well cast for this show.
Harry Volk – the young version – is played by Eric Christian Olsen. You might know him from NCIS: Los Angeles where he has played Marty Deeks for more than a decade. He had a tall job in this episode of playing someone who is old but looks young. I thought he did a solid job.
This is a gritty and visceral bad guy episode. The gang is dealing with a serial killer. The fight between Martha and Harry was almost hard to watch. I’m not sure my first thought – if I were Martha – is “I told you so” re: Cassandra but maybe that is the sort of thing that goes through your mind when you think you’re about to die.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite episodes in the entire run of the show. It’s probably the episode that really hooked me for the series early on. It lives up to my memory of watching it twenty years ago, too.