This might only be her second appearance in the series, but Erica Durance continues to be a wonderful source of joy in these early episodes of Smallville‘s fourth season. Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson’s first script of the season finds so much enjoyment, as they always do with their work, in both the fantasy and character elements. At this stage, they may only have believed it was going to be for a short time, but you can sense everyone’s enjoyment at having Lois around.
There is a clear difference between Clark and Lois’ scenes and those featuring Clark and Lana. Yes, the latter is back in town and has brought her pre-Supernatural boyfriend with her, but you can really see the cogs working themselves out with the series here in order to find ways to keep the Clark/Lana drama going. Jason is basically Whitney Foreman II, a rival for Clark in Lana’s affections. It already feels boring at this point and is a bit of a drag compared to the fun that the episode is clearly having with the Clark and Lois scenes.
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Scenes involving the two characters investigating Chloe’s disappearance have a Lois and Clark: The YA Years vibe to them, and are made even more fun by the episode throwing Michael Ironside into the mix as General Sam Lane, Lois’ dad. Smallville is always at its best when it brings in future key Superman characters for a guest appearance or two, and all these hints at the future (off-screen, very far in the future) plot developments for Clark are, as always, the series at its very best.
Genre legend Ironside steps into Sam Lane’s shoes in a very entertaining fashion. The Lanes may only have been around now for two episodes, but the casting of both Durance and Ironside are amongst some of the best casting choices on the series up to this point. Ironside having played many villains in so many sci-fi, horror and action films over the years, has an air of distrust to him, but also being Lois’ dad you want to trust him, even though, like so much of the best parts of the writing on this show, you know there’s the potential for some ethical betrayals in the future when he finds out Clark is Superman.
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‘Gone’ has so many moving parts to it that are entertaining, and while it isn’t quite as tightly constructed as the season premiere, Souders and Peterson’s ability to write these characters once again shows them to be amongst the very best storytellers on the series, even if the main monster-of-the-week antagonist does at times feel like a copy of the T-1000 from Terminator 2, right down to melting into a puddle when he is killed.
It may not be the best use of the monster-of-the-week format of the series, but it does link itself to Clark and Lois’ search for Chloe, which gives the entire forty-five minutes considerable stakes within the mythology of the series. And while it may not threaten a top ten list of the all-time great Smallville episodes, it’s still an enjoyable episode nevertheless.