He looks around, more confused than usual. All the colors are desaturated and gritty. Also, he appears to be in the Luthor mansion. He gets up and pulls on a T-shirt, his confusion mounting when instead of his usual S-shield, he finds an unfamiliar U-shield. A mysteriously not-dead Lionel Luthor appears in the doorway behind him, not bothering to knock or ask permission to enter, because he's not just not-dead but not-polite, as well. As Clark begins to freak out, Lionel begins to quote Marcus Aurelius: "When you arise in the morning, think what a privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to enjoy, to love, to think." Thinking isn't really Clark's strong suit, dude. Lionel tosses an article of clothing to Clark. "We Luthor men must seize our day," he says. "You only live once, Son." Clark boggles. Somebody save him! Also, somebody give Lionel slightly less cliché things to say!
I just sat through all the opening credits sequence for the first time in a long time. It's kind of funny how much of it is composed of Tom Welling making weird faces.
Clark buttons up a dress shirt as he follows Lionel out of the bedroom. "What are you doing here?" he asks. "You shouldn't--" You shouldn't even be alive. Lionel cuts him off, more concerned about Clark getting rid of his ladies of the evening so as to not risk another audit. Dude, you need to start paying your hookers in cash. Clark, still dazed, follows Lionel toward the study. Lionel compliments him on his "Ultraman" persona: "It's a great way to strong-arm our opponents, but your display of ego is attracting too much attention -- you're getting reckless!" He tells Clark to finish buttoning his shirt to hide the U-shield peeking out underneath. Clark thinks he must be dreaming, but Lionel takes everything he says at face value. He gives Clark a Luthor-style lecture on family and empires and the dream that Clark is putting in danger. He tosses Clark a rapier. Clark catches it by the blade, cutting his hand on the blue-tinged metal. "This is one of my trials," Clark hopes. "No, no, it's practice," Lionel says. He grabs a weapon of his own and proceeds to spar with Clark. "I know what you're capable of; you can make a father proud." Lionel punctuations each statement with a thrust of his blade. Clark might as well be holding a wet noodle, for all the good his rapier is doing him. "I'm not your son," Clark says. Lionel just warns him about his "emotional reactions" and effortlessly disarms Clark. Clark stumbles to his knees. Lionel touches the tip of his sword to Clark's chin, forcing him to meet his gaze. Lionel allows him to get to his feet without lowering the blade. "You want to be your own man, that's natural," he says. "But remember, Clark, I am your father and I alone raised you in my own image to become the man you are today." He walks Clark slowly across the room. "I must have lost perspective," Clark says, finally playing along. Lionel chuckles and tosses the rapier aside. He holds Clark's face in his hands, for a moment, then raises his arms in a display of ego and showmanship, pronouncing him "Clark Luthor!" Lionel was the one who found him in the cornfield that day in 1989 and who, for some reason, didn't give him some meaningful literary or historical name. [Or at least one that starts with an "L." - Z] He laughs at the thought of what might have happened had "ignorant farmers" found Clark instead. Well, he would have become the central character in a very long-running TV show, for one thing.