Smallville

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Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
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Abandonment Issues

It's a dark and stormy night outside the Luthor mansion. Tess sleeps fitfully in her bed as thunder rumbles and lightning makes shadows jerk and sway across her face. She breathes hard, tosses and turns. In black and white, she dreams about being a little girl, lying in a simple iron bed, still wearing her school uniform. It's storming in her memory, too. She holds a musical ballerina figuring that spins and plays "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy." She hears footsteps approaching and grips the ballerina to stop her dancing and silence the music. Little Tess hops up from bed, grabs a pillowcase and stashes the figurine inside. The footsteps walk past her door, casting shadows through the crack. Little Tess hurries to a secret panel in the floor and pulls out a key. It looks like she made it herself out of a small spoon. She uses it to unlock the door, then secrets it back under the panel. Tess, with pillowcase in hand, runs bare-footed down the hall of what looks like a Dickensian mansion. She runs down a wide staircase, through a grand foyer and comes to the front door. It's locked. A woman's shadow rises from another staircase, this one leading up from a lower level of the house. Little Tess runs down another hallway, her movements occasionally sped up to lend an air of surreality. She tries more doors, but they're all locked, so she hides in an armoire. The ballerina figurine begins to play again. Little Tess grabs it, silencing it, but her cover is blown. The doors of the armoire open and a woman's hand grabs her by the throat. Little Tess is dragged across the floor by her ankle. She claws at the side of the armoire, her nails gouging the wood. She cries for help. All the while, the ballerina dances.

In the present day, Tess wakes up gasping for breath. For a moment, all she can hear is her own breathing, then, faintly tinny music coming from somewhere inside the Luthor mansion. She follows the sound to the library. The ballerina figurine twirls on a table in front of the fireplace. Tess takes a few shaky steps forward and picks it up. She stares at it in horror. Somebody save her from creepy figurines!

I think that was the shortest teaser ever. It was suspenseful and creepy! I want to know what happens next! But that will have to wait, because after the opening credits we stop by the Kent farm for a visit. Strangely, it's not stormy there at all. Lois is in her jammies in the kitchen, opening a large cardboard box. Whatever is inside gives her pause. She crosses her arms and looks away, closed off. Clark comes down the stairs. "You know, if you'd just admit that you've moved in with me, you wouldn't have to sneak down here in the middle of the night and unpack your things." Lois puts on a smile to face him. She explains they're not really her things, except that they are. "What is it?" Clark asks. "Something I've been avoiding for 15 years," she says. Her father sent it to her after his visit. It was in the back of her old closet but she's never opened it. "It's the keepsakes my mom gave me after she found out she had cancer," she says. Clark reaches into the box and pulls out a blue glass bird. Lois instantly tears up at the sight of "Old Blue." Her mother kept the figurine in the kitchen window. "I haven't seen it since she -- " She can't say the last word. She confesses that she never visited her mother in the hospital. "What kind of kid refuses to visit their sick mom?" "A really scared one," Clark says. But Lois doesn't let herself off the hook. Her mother was there for five weeks, and Lois didn't say goodbye to her. Erica Durance is really good at crying scenes; she's not afraid to get red and snotty. Clark looks pained, but he doesn't know what to say. Lois turns her attention back to the box and pulls out the first of several VHS tapes her mother recorded while in the hospital. "Clark, what if she's angry that I didn't go see her?" she asks. Okay, only Joan Crawford would be angry at a small child for not visiting her in the hospital. Wasn't Lois supposed to be, like, five when her mom died? Lois doesn't think she can face it, so Clark tells her she shouldn't feel guilty. Lois wonders if Clark has felt like something was missing since he cut ties with his dad. He reminds her that Jor-El isn't really his dad. "He's a machine," he says. "It's different." Lois says Jor-El must have cared if he sent Clark to Earth, not making the distinction between real Jor-El and crazy psycho unpredictable machine Jor-El. Clark doesn't seem to want to get into all that, so he decides to go out on patrol instead. Then he remembers he's a boyfriend now, and he's like, "I can stay if you need me to." She gives Clark the go-ahead to leave, so he super-zips out of there before more emotions happen.

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Smallville

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