I don’t think anyone was really asking for more Alicia episodes on Smallville, but surprisingly Holly Harold’s follow-up to ‘Unsafe‘, manages to be one of the more effective episodes of the season. While the supernatural shenanigans of the main story arc runs itself into the ground, and occasionally shows up via the guest star appearances of Jane Seymour as Jason Teague’s mother, it’s says a lot about this season as a whole that the smaller arcs dotted around the main thrust of Smallville‘s fourth year are so much more entertaining and a lot better than the where the main focus is meant to be.
The episode functions as an end point for a character and a story arc that the season wisely acknowledges only has so much juice in it, but this takes the thread of that story, and her part in Clark’s life at this stage, to a natural and somewhat tension soaked conclusion. And just to to put a little icing on the cake, manages to throw in something of a game changing twist into the season, and the series as a whole while it’s at it.
While the episode is primarily focused on Clark’s relationship with Alicia and the impact it’s having on those around him, especially in regards to the main plot that involves Clark’s immediate friends being attacked, which leads everyone to make the obvious, albeit incorrect, conclusion that Alicia is involved, what gives Harold’s script major points is that finally Chloe learns of Clark’s secret and it gives the season another better story arc to attach to.
For the past three and a half seasons we’ve watched Chloe be consumed with wanting to know Clark’s secret, somewhat unhealthily at times, and while the series might not have Chloe admit to him that she knows about it right away, thus opting to add some much needed suspense as we wonder when she will tell him that she knows, there is a huge weight being lifted from the series at having Chloe find out. The final scene in particular is a fantastic one.
It’s a lovely shifting of some of the core story threads of the series and a reminder of just how brilliant Smallville is at this stage even though anytime the episode cuts back to anything involving Jason, Lana and Genevieve, we’re reminded that this is still far from the best season of the series.
The Alicia storyline has given the season some suspense and an interesting dynamic to the soap opera dynamic that is a reminder that this was a series that aired on The WB/The CW, and that while that type of thing can be a drag (just look to the lesser seasons of Arrow and its spin-offs to see it being done really badly), Smallville always had a better grasp at combining soap and superheroes.
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Yes, any scene with Lana is still a strong indication of the series at its weakest, and anytime the series deals with her or her new boyfriend (it always feels like we’re just watching Jensen Ackles killing time here until he gets the Supernatural gig that will make his career), it just seems to reiterate that the series really finished her storyline in season three and the move to Paris was the best point at which to move on.
Despite that, the good things in this episode are really, really good, and a solid reminder of just how much Smallville can still fly even in the face of a season of lesser quality.