At the half way point of it's final season Smallville's mounding story-lines start to bring Clark to his knees. Well one knee to be exact. In this week's episode, "Icarus", Clark finally does what everyone could see coming from a mile away and gets down one knee to pop the big question to Lois. That's right fanboys, now both Erica Durance and her character Lois Lane are officially off the market.
This week's episode doesn't follow the typical Smallville episodic conventions and gets straight to the point. "Icarus" does have Clark ask Lois to marry him (she says yes BTW), but oddly enough the show doesn't build up to that point as that's how they start the episode off. After the romantic moments and the small celebration between friends happens are over its back to dealing with the VRA and the return of General Slade (now also known as Deathstroke).
No it wasn't surprising that Clark popped the big question, as its been hinted at for a couple of episodes now, but the timing within the episode was a bit of a surprise. Smallville typically likes to end their episodes on the heart warming, and sometimes sappy, style of finishes. With only a limited number of episodes left Smallville, again, combines two episodes worth of stories into one show. Although the big moment happens before the opening title sequence it's not rushed as the show lets Clark really take his time to make the moment as romantic as it should be, without being too over the top. The opening's proposal actually turns out to be a good segue into the rest of the action since it gets most of the team together before Slade and the VRA arrive and start to pick a fight.
As for the VRA's aggressive invasion into the major cities I wasn't all that impressed. After last week's episode "Luthor", put a hold on this VRA story-line, coming right back to it didn't seem as threatening as I think the show wanted them to be perceived to be. VRA having increased their power by upgrading the vigilante's status to being considered terrorists was good stuff, but implementing a city wide curfew between midnight and 7am was too much of a stretch for me. Also the VRA's individual interrogations of Emil, Lois, and Tess toke up a little too much time for the episode; that time could have been spent on Slade's return.
Other than Michael Hogan returning as General Slade this episode does treat audiences to some more recurring guest stars. Hawkman and Stargirl come back to Smallville to join in on Lois & Clark's engagement celebration. Stargirl only plays a minor role in the episode but its Hawkman (aka Carter Hall) that gets most of the focus, as the episode's title already insinuated. Unfortunately like Icarus, Hawkman ends up sharing a similar fate, but not before Carter informs Clark about his history with the 'darkness'. The 'darkness' (aka Darkseid if some of you forgot) is the story-line, that was introduced very early into this season, of a dark force that consumes and controls the mind's of weaker individuals for the sole purpose of destroying all the good and hope in the world. Carter tells Clark that the 'darkness' has been to Earth before, making references to the Spanish Inquisition and the Nazi's Third Reich, both where Darkseid has been involved. He also claimed that every time humanity went through those dark hours another force rose up to send the 'darkness' away, insinuating that he was part of each generation/era of the team of heroes to do so.
Again, since this was the mid-point in the season, Smallville leaves for its Christmas break with a bit of cliff hanger ending, ties up a couple of loose ends, and teases at some more returning characters. Allison Mack's Chloe has a small scene in this episode in a quick flashback cameo; as well as Alaina Huffman's Black Canary having her own brief cameo at the end. Both Mack and Huffman look to have bigger roles once Smallville returns in January, so that's something to look forward to. Not to mention John Glover still has to make an appearance again since the alternate Lionel snuck his way into the Clark Kent reality.
Smallville's episodes have started to become more consistent as of late. My theory is the show's producers and writers know the way they want to end the series, and instead of mapping out episodes to lead up to that point they have done so by planning in reverse. That's why episodes seem to have had more story-lines packed into them at this point of the season. And also why earlier episodes struggled to because due to their lack of stories as the writers may have been holding out till later. Whatever the case, if Smallville continues to properly pace themselves, I'll try to forget episodes like "Supergirl" and "Ambushed" ever happened and this last season will have its fitting end.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.