Another part of the Superman mythology super-speeds off the comic book shelves this week on Smallville with what I like to call a 'bookend' type of an episode. The kind of episode with a good opening and ending that are really the only two parts keeping everything in the middle from collapsing. "Scion" is saves itself by rein acting some fan favourite moments from Smallville's early days.
"Scion" returns to the Lex clone/Alexander story-line and puts a twist to it. Tess informs Clark that Alexander's recent metamorphosis reveals he shares both Lex's and Clark's DNA. It now falls to Clark to act as a mentor for this new super powered and Lex memory free Alexander – or now named Conner – before the alternate Lionel can get his hands on him. Unfortunately Lionel acts quickly and Conner is soon under the influence of a rather familiar ruby coloured ring. Now it's up to Clark help Conner come down from his red kryptonite high before its too late.
Like I said earlier, "Scion" opens well and ends strong, but the middle ground could have used some work. For starters the meeting between Tess and Lionel at the beginning of the episode was too coincidental for me to stomach. Tess' attempt to trick Lionel Alexander was dead didn't work either considering she changed between talking in the present tense to the past tense before even implying Alexander was deceased. Also all the stuff at the meat packing plant, Lois getting kidnapped, and then Conner's red kryptonite fuelled five finger discount splurge missed the mark for me. Showing a little bit of a lead in for a scene can go a long way.
Though the middle was riddled with coincidence after coincidence the concept of Conner and putting him on red K was an interesting idea. Even though Kal-El was supposed to be the last son of Krypton in the comics, Superman always managed to bump into a relative from time to time. Previously Smallville has tried to stay as true as possible to the comics when introducing characters like Supergirl/Kara into the show but this time they take a different approach when Superboy comes to town. Lucas Grabeel does a good job again by altering his past character of the Alexander clone into this new Conner Kent version. This sudden character switch wasn't what I was expecting but I think it works great for the show. That being said Conner's first time on red K doesn't even compare to Clark's first time having the ruby mood ring, back in season 2.
Something interesting to point out during all of Lionel's mischief is the phone call he makes in his office just before Clark shows up. Lionel is spilling a lot of information about Conner to an known caller. This raises some questions to who exactly he could be on the other end of that phone, and if that person is the real Lex or some other villain from Clark's past. Or the simplest explanation just could be a way for Lionel to quickly connect the dots for the audience without having a soap opera moment by talking to himself. I'm hoping for the first option.
Near the end of the episode Smallville did have some goof ups in their effects and continuity. It starts with the first stunt in Conner and Clark's fight sequence was pretty poorly executed, but the rest was fairly entertaining. When all the dust settled the show forgot two key details for the series' continuity. One was a minor issue with a cut on Clark's face not healing after the kryptonite was no longer around; not that big of a deal. But next screw up was a little upsetting for a long time fan like me. The problem being when Conner used his heat vision on the regular (green) kryptonite he was able to destroy it, when in previous seasons using heat vision on kryptonite would transform it into black kryptonite. The scene still worked in the end, but I just wished the writers would have done their homework a little better.
"Scion" ending shows promise as Smallville looks to combine the alternate Lionel story-line with the Darkseid one. Maybe they will do this literally and have Darkseid use Lionel as a vessel so the show can stop using the out dated smoke-monster effect for Darkseid. Then when it comes to Conner the only question is what are they going to do with him now? Does stay a good guy, go to Smallville High and fade out of the show like the other past characters from the Superman universe? Or does Conner embrace the Lex side of him and become another villain? Whatever the case I hope this Lex/Clark hybrid clone isn't how Smallville plans to reintroduce Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor for the series finale.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.