Tempest (1)

Episode Report Card
admin: B | Grade It Now!
You say "TorNAYdo," I say, "TornYAYdo"

Some very shiny black shoes. Some very wavy, loose black pants. Funky music plays. It's "What Do I Have to Do," by Stabbing Westward. As the camera pans up, it's clear this can be the only man in Smallville who wears sleek black pants: Lex Luthor. He's wearing a black overcoat and a baby blue shirt, all flapping in the wind. The camera keeps moving up until it's over him, the visual ogling continuing. Lex is squinting at something and it makes his head look a little compressed. Behind him are some big metal buildings. We're in front of the LuthorCorp plant. We pan even higher and see that Lex is standing on a landing pad. In front of him, a helicopter is descending. In the helicopter, Papa Luthor, wearing dark sunglasses, flashes a crocodile smile. Papa bounds out of the 'copter and greets Lex as he duck/runs, saying that it's a beautiful day. Lex says that storms are on the way. Papa throws some foreshadowing down on our asses by saying that in the Heartland, things can change in a minute. Papa asks if everyone is assembled. They walk up some blue-carpeted stairs. Lex says that twenty-four hours is short notice, but they tried to gather everyone. Hey, one show crammed a whole season of episodes into twenty-four hours. Lex asks what this speech that Papa's going to give is all about. Papa Luthor lies for no real reason. He says it's the same motivational speech Lex has heard a gajillion times. Papa meet 'n greets some plant executives, who all look way middle-aged. "Fire up the troops!" Papa Luthor calls. As they walk up some more outdoor stairs, Lex says that the plant just turned a profit for the first time in two years, and that the workers are expecting a deserved pat on the back. "I'll try not to disappoint them," Papa says. Oh man. I smell evil.

Lex and Papa Lionel finally hit a stage with a huge LuthorCorp logo on a sheet behind them. All the employees stand up and start clapping and carrying on. Papa Luthor raises his arms in a wide V. He tells the workers that they've all worked hard this year, and that they should be proud of themselves. Everybody claps as if it's a USO rally and Papa Luthor is Bob Hope. Papa gestures for the applause to die down. Lex claps behind him. "Just as a ship can only follow the course set by its captain, any business is only as good as its leadership," Papa Luthor announces. "Due to management failures beyond your control, this plant will be closing, effective immediately." The extras in the audience get rowdy. "What?" some of them mutter. "Good luck to all of you!" Papa says and raises his arms again as if he's expecting kisses. The crowd, obviously, is not pleased. Lex looks like he got punched in the gut. He follows his dad back down the stairs. Lex points out that his father just fired 2,500 people and blamed it on Lex. Papa replies, "One day you'll thank me, Lex." When? On Opposites Day? Papa Luthor says that Smallville isn't in Lex's future. It's just a brief bit in his biography -- the chapter titled, "Big Barn Love and Weekly Villains in Platitude Country." It even has woodcut artwork. Papa says we live in a meritocracy. (Oh, shit. We do?) He says that the plant wasn't performing, and he had no other option. Lex asks that Lionel spare him the corporate-barbarian spiel. Papa Luthor says, "Ooga, argh, growl!" In my head, at least. Lex says that the fired folks have families, kids, mortgages. Papa Luthor lectures that they're in business to make profit, not friends and that they can't let emotions get in the way of good business. Michael Moore is hiding in the back with a camera and an oversized check for thirty-five cents to pay for the first hour of Mexican labor. Lex says that the only reason Papa is closing the plant is because Lex wouldn't go work for him in Metropolis. True dat, true dat. Lionel says that Lex may have thought he found a home, but that Smallville was just a training ground. "Your training is over," Papa says. Lex looks pissed. Lionel gets on the 'copter and calls out, "You're coming home! Son!" The music builds back up. The helicopter flies off. Another overhead shot looking down at Lex on the landing pad. We zoom down on his face in tight close-up. Lex, you need a nap, my friend.

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