What a jumble of a mess. I'm trying to piece this together from memory for the recaplet and it's like reaching into my brain and pulling out a big ball of tangled Christmas lights. Christmas lights and angry bees, for some reason.
So… John Corben survived as a field reporter on the war front in Afghanistan, then shows up in Metropolis for all of two minutes before he's smashed into a hundred crunchy, bloody pieces by a speeding truck. (He wound up in the road after trying to chase down some character motivation that had slipped out of his wallet: a photo of his sister, who was killed by someone the Blur saved.) Instead of dying, he wakes up in a grungy, makeshift lab of some kind. He pulls off his bloody bandages to reveal new mechanical parts in his left arm and a glowing, kryptonite crablike device implanted in his chest where his heart used to be. We find out later from Tess and her minions that Zod and his soldiers were apparently responsible for the Corben-to-Metallo upgrade, because (she theorizes) they're looking for a way to get their powers back. John gets himself to the hospital, where Emil is working as an ER doctor. He escapes, violently, thanks to new Krypto-powers, leaving behind only his Daily Planet keychain.
Clark, when he learns from Emil about the kryptonite and keychain from Emil, puts on his Blur voice and calls Lois for help ferreting out the Daily Planet's cyborg employee. He tells her not to get into trouble, but, of course, she does. She ends up getting abducted by John after he overhears her on the phone with the Blur. John is now convinced that his destiny is to kill the Blur instead of just writing nasty articles about him. They throw down a little when Clark tracks him to his grody hideout, but John's kryptonite enhancement keeps Clark from putting up much of a fight. Then John decides to kill Lois so that the Blur will know what it's like to lose someone he loves. See? A jumble. Clark manages to slap a melted piece of lead to John's chest and then John accidentally rips out his own cyborg heart when he pries off the lead. (He's only mostly dead, because Tess later says she wants to revive him.) Lois, by the way, was conveniently unconscious during all of this. When she comes to, she sees the Blur's shadow across the room. She begs him to show her his face, but he reluctantly speeds away.
In other plot lines, Lois has still been blabbing to Chloe about what a great confidante she is for the Blur, despite the Blur asking her last week to keep her trap shut about that. This leads to tension between Chloe and Clark -- something about picking and choosing what parts of his humanity he's leaving behind and melodramatic crap like that. But she helps him find Lois and it seems like they work things out in the end. Lois is still having her futuristic visions of apocalyptic nookie. She also has her old job back at the paper, because Tess wants to keep an eye on her. Clark gets his job back, too, because he wants to keep an eye on< Lois. Tess and her minions are still looking for Zod and company; to that end, they've found giant Kryptonian-like symbols all over the world where the escaped Kandorians are looking for each other.
Oh, and one of those symbols is the Superman S. Most importantly, though, we finally have visual confirmation that Shelby is alive!
We open on the Kent farm at night. Crickets chirp. It's dark inside the house where many a yummy baked good was baked back when the show cared a little about the home life of these characters. Lois enters, calling out to see if Clark is there. She sighs when she realizes the place is empty. "Guess not," she says to no one in particular. Sad, dramatic music plays, sounding like it belongs in the background of an '80s TV movie about babies switched at birth or something. Lois runs her fingers over the dusty countertops, noting that Martha wouldn't approve. She wanders around the house some more and then Chewbacca starts whimpering plaintively off-screen. But wait! It's actually Shelby! Clark's golden retriever trots up to Lois, tail wagging. She greets him with a hug (not allergic anymore, I guess) and thinks that Clark has "ditched" Shelby, too. "Smallville isn't the same without Smallville, is it?" she asks. Smallville without Smallville is a lot like this mirthless Metropo-centric show we have now, actually. Lois notices Shelby's food and water dishes are full and wonders who's been feeding him if Clark is supposed to be away. I want to know who's been walking him and playing with him and giving him tummy rubs! Poor sad, lonely dog. Lois's phone rings.
John Corben is on the other end, greeting her with a cheesy, "Hey, beautiful." Lois asks if he's still at the office. He's walking down some grungy street in Metropolis. "Sitting at a desk just isn't the same without your pretty brown eyes glaring at me." God, I hate playful banter that just isn't. Besides which, what's the unemployed Lois doing at any desk at the paper at this point? John says that since Lois turned him down for dinner, he decided to search out some news. As he talks, there's a cop in the background trying to free a gang of hoodlums out of some iron fencing that's been wrapped around them. "Your favorite freak's been at it again," John says. That's super freak to you, bub. He's going to write a story about the Blur all by himself. Lois doesn't try to horn her way in. "I never thought you'd share the Blur," John says, surprised. Lois says there are plenty of headlines to go around, plus the Blur is out there catching the bad guys. John calls him a vigilante. Lois, back at the farm, draws the Superman symbol in some dust. She manages to refrain from scribbling "Lois + Blur = TRULUV 4EVAH!!!" underneath that. She's not pleased with John dogging her hero. Behind him, there's a burned S on the outside of a phone booth. Lois thinks the Blur is cleaning up the city, but John's worried about him screwing up: "How do you hold him accountable?" Lois thinks John is a cynic; he thinks Lois is suffering from "soft-hearted hero worship." "At least I have a heart," Lois foreshadows. John looks down at his notebook. He's holding a careworn picture of a pretty young brunette. John darkly says he's going to expose the Blur and hangs up. Lois looks at her phone like, "Whatever, crazy person."
At that moment, a gust of wind snatches the picture from John's hand. John looks around and sees it lying in the street. Forgetting the all-important lesson to look both ways, he walks into the street and is immediately slammed by a speeding truck. Glass and metal crunch. The sound of his heartbeat echoes. John lies broken and bloody in the street. And I mean really bloody. He's slathered in it, lying in a pool of it. It burbles out of his mouth. Shots of his crushed body are intercut with shots of total blackness. He reaches for the picture, lying a few inches away. Brian Austin Green is doing a pretty good job of portraying a guy whose body's been turned into a bag of chalk and marrow. In the darkness, he sees flashes of an out-of-focus light overhead. There are absolutely disgusting sounds of body parts squelching and shifting around. In a flash, he wakes up on a grungy table. The overhead light was apparently a surgical lamp, now in focus. His chest and left arm are covered with bloodied bandages. "Hello?" he calls out in a strained voice. No one answers. With great effort and much grunting, he gets up. He rips the bandage off his arm, exposing a metallic and hydraulic elbow joint. There's a leaking plastic tube of green goo instead of a vein. He touches the goo in horror. He makes his way over to a filth-streaked mirror, steels himself, and peels off the chest bandage. A green glow rises up and we see what he sees: a ten-legged metallic contraption embedded in his chest, a pulsing kryptonite glob in its center. Eww. Somebody save him!
The Daily Planet rooftop. It's dusk or dawn, with the sky all layered in molten reds and blues. You know Clark's about to be in the shot because it's such a pretty backdrop that he can't resist standing in front of it while wearing his long black coat. And there he is! He super-eavesdrops on the sounds of the city. Most of the chatter is of mundane stuff, like a mother singing lullabies, a father telling his kids to wear their jackets, laughter, a man proposing to a woman. He frowns slightly; humans are so boring! Or maybe he's frowning at the sound of police sirens that are filtering through the chatter. A female dispatcher announces on the police radio that a ""211" is in progress. Clark zips off.
Back in Smallville, Lois is asleep at the Talon apartment, having dreams of the future. The main difference from last week's vision is that this time, she sees the Blur's tattered black coat or shirt waving like a flag. She wakes to Shelby's concerned whimpering. She sits up, looking at an assortment of newspapers, glad that the Blur is making the world a safer place. Chloe walks into the apartment, surprised to be greeted by Shelby. She's confused that Clark's dog is welcoming her home. I'm confused that she's calling this her home. What about her warehouse-sized apartment in the big city? And does Lois know that Jimmy is dead? Way to skip over quiet-yet-important character moments, show. Lois wonders why Shelby was at the farm with "her" food if Clark isn't around. Wait a minute. Has Shelby always been a girl? I should stop asking questions or I'll never get through this recap. Chloe says that she, not Clark, is the one who's been feeding Shelby. Clark isn't back yet from visiting family, she says. Chloe teases her cousin that she misses Clark. Lois offers up a feeble protest: she just can't stand the new guy at his desk. He's a hero-hater, she says, and who could possibly hate the Blur? Lois remarks that she can hear the loneliness in the Blur's voice lately. Stop talking, Lois. You just promised the guy last week you weren't going to blab anymore! Chloe looks stunned. "His voice? Did he call you again?" For a second, it looks like Lois realizes her mistake and is trying to play it off as a work-related thing, but then she just goes on about how sometimes they just chat and she's the only person he can turn to. Naturally, Chloe looks like she's trying to swallow eight years of lemons and jagged rocks, but she just says, "Wow. That's incredible." Finally Lois drops it, because she has to "step back into the ring with a certain CEO." At this point, I seriously expected the show to put Lois and Tess into a literal ring, possibly surrounding a vat of mud. Would anyone really be surprised? Chloe watches after Lois and chokes down a few more lemons.
Kent farm. Clark whooshes inside, calling for his dog. He's still wearing his Blur ensemble. Shelby trots up to him, all wagging tail and kisses. Chloe's not far behind, although she seems considerably less happy to see Clark. She tells him she covered for him with Lois about the dog food, but that Clark is now on Lois's "radar." Once upon a time, it was a fabulous radar that beeped out Kylie Minogue dance beats and glittered with rainbows. Sadly, th