Smallville

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Tippi Blevins: B | Grade It Now!
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A Backstory With a View

After the commercial break, Chloe walks through the front door of the Kent house, looking for Shelby: "I've come to take my favorite blond for a walk!" The blond she finds is not the loveable golden retriever we all know and love, but Jor-El, who's looking rather ominous in the shadowy kitchen. (Also, where is Shelby? Chloe called for her, but she never shows up. Now I'm going to worry about this damn fictional dog for the whole rest of the episode.) "Who are you?" Chloe asks. "My name is Jor-El," he says, which visibly stuns Chloe. She crosses the room toward him, saying, "You made it to Smallville! Clark found your markings in the desert." He just frowns at her. "You're Clark's father," she whispers with wonder. Jor-El thinks she's mistaken, because he hasn't got children. Chloe shows him an adorkable photo of Clark from his high school days and says, "His Kryptonian name is Kal-El." Jor-El seems rather awed by the prospect, but doesn't understand why his son would be on Earth. Chloe knits her brow, confused as to why this man doesn't seem to know his own history, but fills him in about sending Clark here as a baby. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Krypton was destroyed," she tells him gently. "My wife, Lara," Jor-El says, turning away. Chloe is surprised Clark's mother didn't come with Jor-El. "She wasn't part of the experiment," he says. Chloe expresses her sympathies, then tells him they've been searching for the other Kryptonians who've arrived. Jor-El doesn't think it will be easy, as they're well-trained and led by Zod, who's a "great commander" as well as Jor-El's best friend. A bright light shines down on his face...

...leading us into a flashback to Krypton. The Kents' farmhouse fades away and is replaced by the pitch-black chamber of the Ruling Council. The light that shines on Jor-El now is the harsh light of judgment. He is surrounded by the images of four, big curmudgeonly faces. One of the faces tells him he's been charged with treason. Jor-El stands inside those whirling Hula Hoops of Judgment like Zod, Ursa, and Non did in Superman 2. The grown-up part of me thinks it looks kind of silly but my inner child-geek wants to clap her hands and squee. Also, Jor-El is wearing long white robes with a black S-shield on the chest. I think I'm just going to have to let go of my confusion over why it's an S on this show, even though they had previously established the House of El symbol as looking more like an 8. Jor-El explains himself: "The technology I created was intended to heal those afflicted by wars and disease, not to resurrect the dead through cloning." Another of the faces tells him the orb will ensure the survival of Krypton's strongest in case their planet is ever destroyed. I like those odds. Jor-El is worried about the clones developing super powers under the Earth's yellow sun, putting the powerless humans at risk. "We cannot doom another planet's future to preserve our past." The Ruling Council is not moved and sentences him to death for his treason. Zod and his over-emoting lips burst into the room to interrupt the trial, which displeases the council even as they're honored by his presence. Zod, demanding to be heard, calls Jor-El the "truest hero" he has ever known. "He has dedicated his life not to death, or war, but to creation." Tears fill Zod's eyes as he talks about the fall of Kandor, and the loss of its people. "What good will come if you extinguish another life unnecessarily?" He asks them to let Jor-El live. The faces murmur amongst themselves. Jor-El and Zod give each other some mighty appreciative looks. The Council agrees to spare Jor-El's life, but orders him to not only complete the orb but to include both his own DNA and Zod's. (Did anyone else get a dirty thought right there? Don't be shy!) One of the faces says, "Our survivors on Earth will be led by two of our planet's greatest heroes." The lights go out for a moment. When they come back on, the faces have vanished, as have the Hula Hoops of Judgment. Zod rushes toward Jor-El. They clasp hands. "I am in your debt," Jor-El says. Zod: "Never forget that, my friend." The lights go out...

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Smallville

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