So I've got this friend–let's call him Mike, because that's his name and I have a terrible memory. I blame him for this. See, Mark is the only person I know who watches Smallville. In fact, Mick might be the only person who watches Smallville, period. The rest of us are convinced the show-runners send him Christmas cards, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn he's got access to the web-cam in Erica Durance's dressing room. (Or maybe Tom Welling's? I dunno. Dude's Canadian, I'm not sure how it works up there.)

Back on point, Mack watches Smallville, so when it came from down on high that somebody needed to write-up the season premiere to at least pretend like we cared, I volunteered for the job. I figured, Mork could get me up to speed, it's only an hour out of my life, and it kills time before the season premiere of Supernatural. (Which is airing as I write this, curse you CW!) Marv was kind enough to send me an excellent primer on the show, but watching "Odyssey" tonight, I feel almost like he needn't have bothered. Because while a lot of stuff happened in those forty minutes of between-commercials filler, the less attention I paid, the more sense it seemed to make.

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But hey, let's at least give an attempt to recap the tomfoolery. It's like this: last season ended with Chloe under arrest, Lana gone for (finally) good, Clark stripped of his powers by a pissy Jor-El, and Lex and Clark finally giving into the passion and embracing one another as the Fortress of Solitude collapsed around their ears. Or something like that. Anyway, as "Odyssey" begins, Lexcorp is hunting down it's erstwhile CEO, led by Lex's former helpmate, as well as a new player, Tess Mercer. Their searches are interrupted by Oliver Queen, Adam Curry, and Dinah Lance–Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Black Canary, aka the Justice League D-squad. They manage to take out the business types, but all they get for their troubles is Clark's doofy red shirt.

They aren't the only ones having problems; Chloe's now a super genius, and the government is using her to crack impossible codes. Except it's not the government, it's that naughty Lexcorp again, and through Chloe's gift, they're able to take out Dinah and Adam (who, naturally, is in the shower at the time of the attack).

Meanwhile (there's a lot of "meanwhiling" on this show), Clark's in Russia. I don't know why, and the ep never does much good at explaining it; first he's hiking through the snow, then he wakes up on a fishing boat in the Atlantic. After a horribly ill-advised escape attempt, Clark has his bacon saved by Oliver, and the two make a hop-skip-jump back to the states to save Chloe; she's being held at Black Creek, the one Lexcorp facility that Ollie and pals haven't raided yet. Which, coincidentally, is where Adam and Dinah are being held. Squee!

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Forces converge on the base, and Clark happens across Lois, who in her second daring disguise of the day (first was the French maid outfit … of course) has infiltrated the facilities as some sort of security personnel. In what was easily the most painful part of "Odyssey," the two proceed to banter while they hunt to find Chloe. It's only a handful of lines, but it's really, really terrible. Good-looking people, passable actors, terrible, terrible dialogue. (And considering their romantic relationship will probably be one of the main threads of the season … brrr.)

But hey, at least Clark gets shot with an arrow, right? Lexcorp has developed this new drug (created from the spinal fluid of Chloe's mum) that makes people obedient. Hilariously, Oliver gets an injection and is told "Do whatever it takes to find Lex Luthor." Given that the drug seems to last about ten minutes, it's a lucky thing that Oliver translates this as, "Kill the heck out of Clark Kent."

Ah, but Clark isn't really dead. Martian Manhunter shows up in the nick of time to fly him to the sun, which gives Kent back all his powers. Clark wakes up the next day (nice that we don't see anybody escaping from Black Creek, really) and MM tells him that this is the last time he'll be saving Clark, since while the sun healed proto-Supes, it took away the Manhunter's powers. Seeing how Clark was unconscious, I'm not sure how the hell the two of them got back to Earth, but whatever. The near-tragedy has given Clark a new direction in life. There are a couple hints about secret identities here (more horrible, horrible dialogue), but nothing definite; still, by the end, Clark does have a job at the Daily Planet, so maybe he'll be busting out the glasses and the cape sometime soon.

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Gosh, what a silly show this is. I mean, the appeal is obvious: the plot makes no sense, but it makes a fast, exciting kind of no-sense, at least if you have a very low standard for fast and exciting. Plus, lots of eye candy for whatever your particular sexual preference may be. (I've heard a lot about the chemistry between Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum; Lex is out of the picture now, but I will say that there was more heat between Clark and Ollie Queen than between Clark and Lois.)

But it's just so flat and tiresome–a bunch of scenes thrown together haphazardly that only make sense if you keep forgetting five minutes ago. The funny thing is how it throws in comic book nods in such a way as to deeply annoy anyone nerdy enough (hi!) to get them. So Clark is out of school and working for the Daily Planet, but he hasn't established a secret identity yet, or made a costume, and he's known Lois since he was in high school, and Jimmy Olsen is gonna get married, and Jor-El was a bad father? Also, the JLA is soooo lame. So very, very lame.

Ah well, I can't stay mad at Mook for ever. After all, due to some bizarre psychological dysfunction that science refuses to acknowledge let alone comprehend, he's actually going to watch the rest of season 8 of his own free will. Me, I'm out. Have fun!

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Stray Observations:

—No Michael Rosenbaum or John Glover. What the hell, people?

—On the plus side, no Kristin Kruek.

—Y'know, Allison Mack was pretty good. Not amazing, but at least I never thought she was selling shampoo.

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