As Lionel's sole surviving heir, Tess receives a Kryptonian "mirror box" that has the ability to switch people between parallel universes. Before she can figure the box out, Clark calls her over to Cadmus Labs in search of a missing Lex clone. Clark spouts off about how the clone, like the original, is inherently evil because of its Luthor blood, not realizing that Tess, too, is a Luthor. When he finds out Tess has kept the clone a secret from him, he thinks she's betrayed him. He also finds the mirror box and inadvertently activates it, hurtling himself into a parallel universe where he was raised by Lionel, who is not only still alive but still bastardly. Little by little, Clark finds out that his Luthor self is a corporate chip off the old block, a supervillain named Ultraman, and his sister Tess's hot, forbidden lover. Tess only figures out that Clark isn't her hot, adopted brother when she fondles him and finds he doesn't have his usual Luthor-branded scar. She then reveals to Clark that the other version of him has switched places with him.
Clark, realizing that the evil version of himself is running amok back home, tries to find the mirror box so he can set things right. Everything is all wonky, though, with a short-haired Lois engaged to an Oliver Queen who's loathed by the public for evicting Smallville farmers. The reason for this is that he's been mining Kryptonite from the land, preparing to take down Ultraman. Thanks to some misdirection from Lionel, Clark thinks that Oliver has the parallel universe's mirror box. He temporarily kidnaps Lois in order to make a trade, but Oliver sets a Kryptonite trap for him. Lionel shows up not to rescue Clark, but to kick the living snot out of him, thinking that he's beating down the Clark Luthor who's trying to betray him.
Sadly, we don't get to see much of the actual Clark Luthor's adventures, but he does make out with Tess a bit, thinking she's his sis. Tess catches on pretty quickly that something is amiss and promises to bring him the mirror box so that they can stay in this Lionel-free universe together forever. Naturally, evil Clark is smart Clark, and he figures it out. A whole lot of hell must go down, because when Clark Kent finally switches places with his Luthor doppelganger, he finds himself staring down Oliver, Tess and Lois, all armed with K weapons. At the end, he apologizes to Tess and realizes that it's Lionel who's the poison, and not some inherent evil in Luthor blood. He'll have a chance to explain that new theory to Lionel himself, who has decided to do a little universe hopping. Does that mean Lionel's dead body switched places with him? Stay tuned for the full recap.
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There are no "previouslies" this week, and it's just as well because this episode is like something from a whole different show. Lucky for us, it's a much better show.
We start off outside the Luthor mansion, over which a shroud of perpetual ill weather has been draped. A stained glass medallion within the window bears a medieval-looking "L" that the show must want us to remember for later, since we are invited to gaze on it for several moments before swooping into Tess's study. Tess walks into the room, followed by an Asian woman who's carrying a small metal case. "Not that I've been getting any sleep lately," Tess says, "but this had better be important." Tess's evening visitor turns out to be a lawyer, and she tells Tess about certain conditions of Lionel's will. She hands the case over to Tess, saying it hadn't been discovered until after Lex had died. "You can imagine our surprise when Lionel's heir turned out to be... you," the woman says with undisguised snootiness. [Yes, especially since Tess only discovered it herself two episodes ago. And late-night visitors aren't allowed to be snooty. - Zach] Tess takes the case, making a mental note to have Miss Snooty fed to piranhas later. Once she's alone, Tess opens the case to find a purple silk-wrapped bundle inside. She unwraps it, but we're not allowed to see it for ourselves just yet. Instead, we see only a glimmer of reflected light across Tess's face. Ooh, something shiny. Before she has much chance to study her new thingamajig, she gets a call from Clark. "Calling another woman at this hour," she says, answering the phone. "What would the industrious Lois Lane think?" She's trying to make her voice sound normal when she's clearly shaken by whatever Lionel bequeathed her. The resulting tone is quite humorous. She even smirks slightly, like she knows how silly she sounds. Clark asks her to meet him at Cadmus Labs. Tess is instantly nervous, but agrees to go. She stuffs the purple bundle into the kind of gigantic purse that the women on this show only carry when they need to stash weird and mystical objects that will be discovered accidentally in the next scene.
Cadmus Labs. The place is still in total disarray from that whole attack of the Lex clones business in the season premiere. Clark greets her in a darkened hallway with a stack of printouts. Tess tries to act casual as Clark tells her that Emil has sorted through all the files and discovered that one of the clones is unaccounted for. "There's another Lex on the loose," he says. "Lex on the Loose" sounds like a teen summer movie, possibly starring second-tier actors from the High School Musical franchise. Tess pretends not to understand why Clark would be looking for him here: "I closed the books on this place months ago." "Supplies are still being sent here," he says. Tess meets Clark's gaze with some difficulty. She suggests that "someone" must be helping the clone survive. With her back to him, she says, "You're assuming that he's a threat just because he's a Luthor." Isn't that what you assumed, too, Miss Luthor? "Whatever happened to everyone deserving a second chance?" she asks, looking at him with big, hopeful eyes. "Luthor blood is Luthor blood," Clark spits. "It's poison." Lutessa Luthor looks very sad. When Clark goes to check a lead-lined room, Tess tries to get ahead of him but Clark warns her away. "They're dangerous," he tells her. "They're born that way." This was basically my only real annoyance with the episode, that they backtracked on Clark's recent character development in order to give him an emotional arc for the story.