Remember in last season's finale when Clark told Zod and the Kandorians that he was sending them to "a better place" and made it sound like a pretty good option? Well, it looks like he actually sent them to the Phantom Zone, just like he sent Slade Wilson earlier this season. Speaking of Slade, he suddenly turns up comatose on terra firma, so Clark and the gang know that someone or something has activated the Zone's portal. Which is weird, because only members of Clark's family are supposed to be able to do that and he doesn't have any family left. So he gets Tess to activate the Phantom Zone crystal so he can go check things out, but then Oliver sort of invites himself along because Clark will be powerless up there and doesn't have a lot of experience fighting like that.
Once up there, they discover the place festively decorated with a bunch of Omega skulls. Finally the show remembered the Darkseid plot! Oliver and Clark are whisked by phantoms to the Zone's new ruler. It's Zod, who's wearing the Zone crystal around his neck and reminds us that Clark once saved him with his own blood. So somehow that made them familial enough for Zod to open the portal. Turns out it was all Darkseid's idea, who came to Zod and promised him rule over the Zone in exchange for getting Clark up there and out of his way back on Earth. Zod immediately pits Clark against some beefy hunk of Zoner in a fight to the death while all his rowdy subjects cheer on. When Clark refuses to kill, Zod kills his opponent for him. With a finite supply of people in the Zone, it seems like a dumb thing to do, but whatever. Zod sweet-talks Oliver into joining him, revealing that Oliver has been marked by Darkseid. Oliver and Clark are then forced to fight each other through a series of slow-motion beauty shots. Oliver skewers Clark, but when Zod comes to make the killing blow, they grab the crystal from around his neck and zap themselves out of there, destroying the Phantom Zone in the process. It was all part of the plan, see?
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Lois and Tess have been waiting for the boys to return. Things got a bit tense once Lois realized that Tess planned to destroy the crystal—and thus Clark's way home—if he didn't make it back. It was actually Clark's plan, but all is forgiven once he returns. At the end, Oliver almost confesses his Omega status to Clark, but then Clark is all "we gotta lock those people up!" and he clams up about it.
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Previously on Smallville: Jor-El created the Phantom Zone, which was an intergalactic prison for a bunch of baddies; Darkseid went around marking people's skulls with an Omega symbol; Oliver got marked after he beat DeSaad to a pulp; Mama Lane bequeathed Lois "Old Blue," a small glass bird that symbolized hope; Lois and Clark decided to sell the farm and get an apartment in Metropolis.
Currently on Smallville: One of Lois's first tasks in getting their new apartment ready is to find just the right place for Old Blue, which she does on a precarious-looking window shelf overlooking the fire escape. On first watching, I spent half the episode worried someone would knock that bird right over the edge. Clark comes in with a box that Lois has labeled for the living room, but he thinks this must surely be a mistake because inside is a pillow made out of her old Whitesnake concert shirt. He's mildly aghast that Lois wants to display this thing on their nice sofa. He's lucky that it's just a picture of a guy playing guitar and not, like, humping his mic stand. Lois says Oliver and Chloe have managed to blend their styles together with no problems. [Luckily, they both like green. - Zach] Clark sighs and tells her not to worry. "My 'for better or for worse' will include your love of hair metal." He looks like he'd rather eat kryptonite Cheerios, but at least he's trying. That thing would be first on my "to accidentally burn" list. Clark offers to unpack the rest of their stuff at super-speed, but Lois is against the idea. "Part of us merging our lives together is taking the time to find just the right spot for everything." That's sweet, but if anyone with super powers wants to help me move next year, please drop me a line. Screw finding the perfect spot for stuff! Clark says something equally sweet about his spot being right there with Lois. "We'll take as much time as you need," he says.
Their laptop trills at them. It's Tess, video-calling them with important news. "I just heard from one of my military contacts," she says. "Slade Wilson's back." She says he was found unconscious in the street, in a coma and completely unresponsive. Good. That way we don't have to waste a scene visiting him in the hospital. Clark and Lois exchange worried looks. "There's only one way out of the Phantom Zone," Clark says. "It has to be activated by a member of my family -- the House of El." Yeah, I'm pretty sure the people you're talking to remember your family name, Clark. Lois thinks someone has stolen the family's key.