• Fri, Nov 7 2008

Smallville 8.07 “Identity” – review

Smallville episode 8.07 “Identity
Airdate: October 30, 2008 (Last week)

(A week late, but I think this review is worth reading.)

Smallville-ep8.07-identity-01 Eventually, young Clark Kent has to come to terms with his secret identity, and this is the episode for reckoning.

Smallville episode 8.07 “Identity” puts the characters in situations that have us asking how far is someone willing to go to get the truth out, and at the end of the spectrum, how far are is someone willing to go to protect a secret.

The conflict in the episode begins with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen talking about the stealth crime fighter. All of a sudden, someone mugs Lois and as she fights her attacker, she is pushed towards rushing traffic. Faster than a speeding bullet, Clark saves Lois from being hit, just as Jimmy clicks his camera and captures a red-blue blur on film.

Smallville-ep8.07-identity-02With a nod from the Daily Planet Editor Tess Mercer, Jimmy pursues the story relentlessly and sees this as his path to fame. Even when, and especially when, the clues lead to the Kent boy, Jimmy tried to prove that exposing the secret will be for the good of all. Desperate to protect his secret, Clark demands from Chloe to delete Jimmy’s files. Instead, Chloe proposes that Jimmy has given him a alter-ego – an alias that the world can use right now, a hero. Unconvinced, Clark recruits Oliver to disguise as the red-and-blue crimefighter, and the ruse works. Jimmy is led to believe someone else other than Clark is the Metropolis hero. When people reacted to the idea of a hero, Clark realizes it may not be such a bad thing to have a double identity, that in Chloe’s own words, “the world desperately needs someone to believe in, a hero” and he might as well be it.  Eventually, Clark needs to come to terms with being Superman, maybe this is one of those moments when he does.

But the episode “Identity” has several layers to its theme.

Images: © 2008 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

When Oliver found out that his parents were murdered by Lionel, and Clark had known this all along, the Green Arrow shed his costume and went back to his philandering ways. Clark reasons that he was only protecting his friend from being hurt. But in a previous episode, Oliver countered that it’s not like he was going to kill Lionel if he knew. Now this is where it gets a little shallow, but only maybe because the writers didn’t spend time on it. Is Oliver devastated that Clark didn’t tell him the truth about his parent’s death? Or is he troubled that his parents were part of the cult to control the Traveler and he didn’t know about it?

However, the most shocking “layer” to this episode is not about Clark or Oliver.

Sebastian King, a Black Creek freak recruited by Tess Mercer, disguises as a Daily Planet reporter to get clues from Lois Lane about the missing blue crystal. King’s abilities is to steal people’s memories with the touch of a hand, and embed them into his mind. The predator realizes that Lois knows of his background and he tries to kill her. Just in time, Clark flies in to save Lois but not before King touches the Kryptonian. At the end of the episode, Chloe touches Sebastian, downloading her computer memories into his brain and frying it!

Now I didn’t see that coming! Did Chloe just kill someone to protect Clark’s secret?! There is no question about her loyalty, the extent she goes for her friend, but this was different. There was a hint of malice and evil in Chloe’s face at the end. Is this her, or the Brainiac who controls her? But if it were Brainiac, it doesn’t make sense to me what he would gain by hiding Clark’s identity.

Getting all of these layers into one hour was the strength of this episode. The weakness, as usual, is that one hour is not enough. A classic Smallville banter was Clark saying that he wasn’t going to be caught wearing a ridiculous red cape.

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