While this week’s episode of Smallville, titled “Abandoned,” was promoted for the guest appearance by Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane’s mother, it was other actors who dominated the hour.

Hatcher, who of course played Lois in Lois & Clark, appeared in a brief scene at the start of the episode as Lois’ dead mother, Ella — Erica Durance’s Lois watched a videocassette of a message her mother left her, before dying of cancer. In the recording, Ella offered a comforting message to Lois from beyond the grave, but also warned her that losing a parent can leave “a hole in a person’s heart.” This set up the other themes of the evening.

The bigger story line of the night involved Tess, who encountered Granny Goodness (Christine Willes), an evil orphanage owner. (Smallville is doing a good job of utilizing the New Gods characters, such as Granny, created by Jack Kirby.) Granny reawakened lost memories in Tess, who was revealed to have been left by her parents in the care of the dictatorial, abusive Granny. Although Tess escaped her clutches until this evening, Granny had raised a batch of damaged, angry young women led by Harriet (Lindsay Hartley, wife of series regular Justin Hartley, in a leather outfit with Wolverine-y claws). Mad Harriet and her sisters-in-villainy briefly trapped Clark, rendering him helpless in the presence of their “green fire rocks” — i.e., Kryptonite.

Meanwhile, Lois decided that her mother’s words about lost parents applied as much to Clark as to her, so she journeyed to the Fortress to try and force a reconciliation between Clark and his Kryptonian dad, Jor-El. Julian Sands re-appeared in that role, as did Helen Slater as mom Lara. The pair delivered a message of love and compassion for Lois to convey to Clark.

In a scene that stood outside the rest of the episode, Granny met with Desaad and Glorious Godfrey, with Desaad proclaiming that they now formed an “unholy trinity” that would “prepare the way for Lord Darkseid.”

The hour was a hodgepodge of scenes without much flow, yet virtually every one of them was key to the Smallville mythos, including the hour’s two surprise endings.

First, Clark showed us an engagement ring he has for Lois — she doesn’t yet know what a lucky girl she is. And finally, Tess discovers her real identity: she’s Lutessa Luthor, the illigitimate child of Lionel Luthor and Pamela Jenkins.

Once again, the hour was held together chiefly by the fine performances of Tom Welling and Durance, and the promise of more revelations to come as Smallville hurtles ever-closer to its series conclusion.

What did you think of this week’s Smallville?

Twitter: @kentucker


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