With his wedding to Lois Lane looming, and with the end of Smallville just one week away, Clark Kent submitted to an ancient ritual that all grooms must undergo in advance of marriage: To formally make a break from his childhood home so he can make a new, adult one with his bride; to “leave” his parents and “cleave” to his wife, as Bible-believing folks like to say. A couple weeks ago, Clark gave up the farm. Last night, in “Prophecy,” the last son of Krypton brought his fiancé Lois Lane to his other abode, the Fortress of Solitude, so they could inform disembodied daddy Jor-El of their marital intentions. Kal-El wanted his father’s blessing. Instead, he gave them a test. Clark’s powers were stripped and transferred to Lois. For one day, the future Mrs. Clark Kent got to experience the power – and the responsibility – of being Superman, while the future Mr. Lois Lane got to experience the powerlessness – and the terror — of being Superman’s wife. This trial brought an array of complications and dangers, and by the end of the day, with his strength restored to him, Clark returned to his Kryptonian homestead and declared to Jor-El that his parenting was complete, that he would no longer submit to his father’s god-like guidance or play his destiny-shaping games – that he was leaving and cleaving to another. Clark seemed to think that the real lesson to be learned was that he needed to be his own man. And so, with a puffed up chest and a very full sense of himself, Clark silenced Jor-El’s voice by removing the crystal that imbued the Fortress with his father’s consciousness. Clark flew away, the bird leaving the nest, and the camera panned over to a dark form frozen in ice, and we saw the suit that awaits him next week. No, not his wedding tux – his Superman threads. Goosebumps. And it wasn’t from the Arctic cold.
And yet, if you watched “Prophecy,” you know the episode wasn’t so warm and fuzzy. In fact, I would argue that Clark and Lois drew the wrong conclusions from Jor-El’s experiential pre-marital counseling. Ladies first. Lois was initially super-jazzed by her super-powers. The quick-talking, fast-moving multi-tasker had all the time in the world to do everything she wanted to do and needed to do, because when you have super-speed, time is not even an issue. I loved the bit where she sped to Wisconsin to pick up some choice mozzarella cheese – and then stopped to bust up a bank robbery on the way back. In one of the episode’s best scenes, and maybe one of the best scenes Smallville has given us in quite awhile, Clark sat Lois down and taught her about super-hearing. She was supposed to eavesdrop on some suspected malfeasance across the street. Lois thought it would be a simple matter of doing the “squint/head-tilt” thing, but she realized that honing in on the conversation involved filtering out all the other sounds and voices in Metropolis – including everyone else crying out for help or crying out in pain. Lois was overwhelmed. She asked Clark: How could he possibly ignore all these people?
CLARK: I don’t ignore them, but I do have to prioritize who needs help and how soon.
LOIS: Like an E.R. doctor, right? I’m just not sure I can handle the emotional triage of it all.
CLARK: It’s a lot to take on.
NEXT: The Legion of Doom… and doomsday for the wedding?