I harp on about Tess Mercer quite a bit. I realize this. Even during episodes where she barely features, I tend to find the time to dedicate a paragraph or two to the fiery vixen. It's just... she's my new Chloe. My new obsession. My new favorite thing (from Smallville, anyway). I sort of love to rant about how badly written a character she is, but I do love her. Cassidy Freeman tackles whatever silly plot is thrown at her; she admirably keeps her game face on, even when she's bogged down with such ludicrous dialogue only the Smallville writing staff can churn out. Oh, and she's incredibly hot, I've mentioned that, right?
This episode is extremely Tess-centric, and, I'll admit, actually rather good in parts. However, the crack writing staff have effectively ruined the character for me. I'll never look at her the same again. She can no longer be my substitute Chloe. Even when she dipped her toe in every pond this side of pondsville over the course of the last few years, it has been Freeman's consistently strong performance that has kept me interested in the character.
But this new development takes the f**king biscuit. Tess Mercer is a Luthor! She's Lex's half-sister! Her real name is -- wait for it, it's classic -- Lutessa. Lutessa f**king Luthor.
No doubt come season's end we'll find out she's Lois' cousin (twice removed) and that she had a fling with Lana, went to college with Pete, slept with... wait a minute! Wait a minute! She's Lex's half-sister because, obviously, Lionel Luthor (John Glover is due to reprise his role in a future episode) also had a penchant for, ahem, dipping his... toe... in someone else's pond, if ya catch my drift. Lutessa has red hair. Martha Kent has red hair. There are rumors that Martha will be popping up this season... oh my Lordy... Tess is Clark's half-sister too!
(I'm only speculating at this stage, of course, but the writers are bonkers enough to do it. Please, please do not let this be the case. There may be tears if it is.)
As for the rest of the episode, there's a fantastic scene involving Lois rummaging through her mother's old keepsakes and finding a tape for Lois to watch. It's a video of her mother not long before her death (Teri Hatcher, separating the men from the boys, with a great stunt performance); it's a beautifully played scene, as well as a fantastic homage and also a neat passing of the baton, if you will, as Smallville's Lois receives a message from Lois and Clark's Lois (replete with old school wig). This motivates Lois to mend Clark's relationship with his own father, Jor-El, resulting in another incredibly poignant message from a deceased loved one, and probably one of Wellings' sincerest performances, even though he doesn't have any dialogue.
The whole Granny Goodness plot is all rather light fare, even if there are hints at child abuse, but I did have fun watching a bunch of women kick the crap out of Clark. Out of a shirtless Clark. I think Clark should remain shirtless for the rest of the season (I'm only thinking of the show's very limited budget here... every penny counts.) I have to say, though, kudos to the casting team for nabbing Christine Willis (Dead Like Me's gloriously kooky Delores Herbig), she definitely made me like the episode more, and her Granny Goodness outfit towards the end made her look a dead-ringer for her comic-book character!
So there ya have it... two episodes where the ending has saved ho-hum episodes, and now this one, a solid enough episode that is completely ruined by a mind-numbingly stupid story development. Mind-numbing. I mean, didn't Lex and Lutessa (ugh!), ya know, bump uglies?