I had hoped that with the Ally, Anderson, and X-K plots converging, the season would feel a little less disjointed. However, “Into Oblivion” made it obvious how many threads there are, and honestly, my patience is wearing thin for some of them.
For starters, I am so over the Cortez/Cushing family drama. Everything to do with Lana and Kyle feels so far removed from the rest of the show that it’s almost like a different show entirely. I wasn’t invested in their family before this, and I certainly don’t care now. Although I did appreciate the nice feminist rant Lana went on, about how she’ll be “punished” for her husband’s actions. (The entire town was almost taken over by aliens last season. Why is everyone so concerned about what’s going on in Lana’s marriage?)
It isn’t just Lana and Kyle’s separation, it’s everything having to do with Sarah as well. I cannot believe Sarah had the audacity to try and guilt Jordan into being friends with the girl she cheated on him with. The way she talked Aubrey up, and how she completely ignored how obviously uncomfortable Jordan was with it, was not a good look. She hasn’t done anything to really atone for kissing someone else (I can’t remember, did she even apologize?), and now she wants to force Jordan to interact with her.
I don’t think it would bother me so much if I felt the Kent family wasn’t getting shortchanged. But that isn’t the case. The Kent family dynamic has been suffering this season, and these unnecessary scenes like Kyle helping Lana with debate prep are just taking up time that could be used to give Clark time with either of his sons.
At this rate, I believe that the Jon/X-K arc will last the entire season. Every episode gives a little, but nothing really wraps up. While “Into Oblivion” did feature Clark having more of a conversation with Jon than in the previous episode, I am still not a fan of how he just completely dismisses his own son. I get that he and Lois are disappointed, but Clark doesn’t seem to be willing to hear Jon out at all. Jon even thinks Clark hates him, which breaks my heart.
I mean, it’s not like Jon has been perfect. He’s a teenager whose life was completely uprooted recently. He lost his girlfriend, his popularity, his role on the football team, and likely his sense of self. It’s obvious that Clark, and potentially even Lois, have always viewed Jon as the “easy child”, and therefore don’t seem to be spending much effort trying to actually parent him.
I found myself scratching my head at Jon’s punishment. I assume getting him a job was giving him something to do so that he wasn’t just sitting at home (as he is most likely expelled). But at the same time, they talked about how angry the whole town was at Jon, so I’m a little surprised they gave him a public-facing job. Are they not worried about his safety?
While the parent/child interactions were lacking, there was a lot of brother bonding in “Into Oblivion”, which was great. At least Jordan cares about Jon’s reasoning. Jordan even risks his relationship with Sarah to run to Jon and Candice’s aid. This isn’t his first real fight, but I think it’s one of the few that Clark wasn’t around for, and he handled himself well. I’m looking forward to a brother crime-fighting team-up.
A side note here: When did Jordan develop super speed? One of the best things about shows where teenagers get superpowers is seeing them figure out their abilities. Jordan getting his super-hearing was like a three-episode arc. We got to see how Clark reacted to each ability that Jordan developed. But here Jordan just busts out with super speed and that’s that.
Now, I’m still up in the air about whether or not Candice has more sinister motives. I can’t decide if it’s years of internalized misogyny or if the show is genuinely trying to make Candice look guilty of something. We got no development of her and Jon’s relationship, so I don’t really buy their love. I do believe that Jon is a stupid teenager who believes he’s doing something altruistic by taking the fall for his drug-dealing girlfriend.
That said, she wasn’t terrible in this episode. I did have a moment where I thought, “Did she somehow orchestrate this attack?”, but her actions in the scenes that follow don’t fit that theory. Whereas in previous episodes, I didn’t get the sense that she cared that much for Jon, in this episode I felt that she was more open with her emotions. She seemed genuinely distraught and concerned.
By the way, even if Jon never gets powers, he is still a hero. He faced off against a guy jacked up on X-K (what a guy, who has to do drugs to fight a teenager) without fear, and he got another broken arm for his trouble. Yes, his brother came in the nick of time, but Jon didn’t know that. It makes Clark’s earlier remark about not having integrity look ridiculous.
I’m glad to see John Henry and Natalie back, but their roles in “Into Oblivion” were… weird. It seems that after eight episodes, Natalie has finally expressed her distaste for their current situation – living with her not-mom and her not-mom’s husband, who looks exactly like the man who killed her actual mom. Later, she and Clark have an almost heartfelt moment that was more moving than any of the scenes he’s shared with either of his sons this season.
John Henry’s “confusion” will likely come up later this season. I can’t imagine they would have that in there just as a one-off. John Henry spent much of the episode assuring Clark that Natalie would eventually come around. So it stands to reason that at some point later in the season, John Henry is going to forget that this Clark is not the man who killed his wife.
I do appreciate the confirmation that it was the anti-matter wave from Crisis that brought them to this Earth. It explains why they can still remember their world. The only people who possess their pre-Crisis memories are those who were outside of the wave.
The Ally situation went full-on Stranger Things this week. We knew that Bizarro had come through a portal in the mines, but until “Into Oblivion” we hadn’t actually gotten to see the portal. I thought it was really well done. It gave off a feeling of malevolence even before it started basically eating people.
I really loved Chrissy in this episode. She went from super pumped about getting the story to apprehensive to horrified. It must have been terrifying to witness people literally disintegrating in front of you.
The Kent family dynamic could use some work, but I love what was going on with the Lanes in this episode. Ally manipulating Sam and causing him to break down about Lucy’s “death” was evil. (She is such a good villain, because she makes you hate her so much.) Lois was trying to rationalize – they didn’t see her enter, so they don’t have proof – but in the end, she succumbs to grief as well. That moment in Lucy’s apartment where Clark comforts her was so beautiful. At least Lois and Clark’s relationship never falters.
I agreed with Lois; there was no proof that Lucy had entered the portal. Important characters don’t die offscreen! (Usually.) But when she showed up at the Kent farm, I was immediately suspicious. She mentioned how they took her phone, but Sam tracked her phone and it was in her apartment. And she proved my suspicions correct by drugging her father, which leaves me with absolutely no sympathy for her. I understand that people can be swept up in an ideal – that’s how cults happen – but she has betrayed the trust of her closest family members and refuses to entertain any negative thoughts about Ally.
In short, I felt “Into Oblivion” was a bit hit or miss. I was really a fan of the brothers and everything around the Ally plot, but some of these subplots are starting to drag. Hopefully, the narrative tightens up a bit as we get further into the season.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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