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Season 4 in Review:
Explanation of the Confusing Story Arc
K. Green Written February 2007
What was the deal with that Lana/ Countess Isabelle & Kryptonian Destiny Story arc in Season 4? Season 4 has been called Smallville’s weakest link, and the reason for that has to be the overarching story arc of the season. The intentions of the writers were good. They wanted to place Lana into the history and destiny of Clark. But all they really did was confuse people. Bringing Lana into Clark’s destiny was a good decision. The Lana Lang character in Smallville is very important. So to place her into Clark Kent’s destiny only made sense. The question I have to ask is – “Why this storyline?” They could have gone anywhere with this. Why a story about a 17th century witch who happens to be Lana’s ancestor and who ends up inhabiting her body? Though some really good things did come out of season 4, I have to admit this story line really turned me off. Good thing I was already a die hard Smallville fan. But for many viewers this season and this story arc were incredibly baffling. Let’s see if we can sort out what really happened in season 4 as we review the pertinent episodes and ask the pertinent questions.
It all began in Crusade (which happens to be one of my all-time favorite episodes, btw). When Season 3 ended, Lana went off to Paris. While in the City of Lights, she meets Jason Teague. Lana is in an old church working on an art history project. Incidentally, it was her new boyfriend who suggested her subject: Countess Margaret Isabelle Thoreaux. Lana covers the tomb with tracing paper and begins a charcoal rubbing. As she continues to work, the symbol on the shield lights up and she touches it, engulfing her in a powerful, blinding light. The next day she awakens in her room with no memory of what happened. She missed her date with Jason and takes a shower. As she gets out and begins to wrap a towel around herself, she sees in the mirror something on her lower back. It is the symbol that was on the shield of the Countess. And so it begins.
Lex is on a quest to obtain these stones. We see him in Egypt looking for one of them. He finds an ancient statue and takes it. While flying back to Smallville, the statue is broken and a stone is found within. But the stone flies out of his hand and through a compartment wall in his jet. It is stolen by none other than a flying Clark Kent – well, actually he is Kal-El at this time. As Clark puts it so succinctly at the end of the episode, “Kal-El can fly. Clark Kent is still earthbound.”
Clark returns to Smallville in a bright streak of lightning. But he isn’t Clark. He thinks he’s Kal-El. When he hears a ringing noise, he flies away and intercepts Lex’s jet. He returns with the stone to the caves. He opens up a wall to a secret compartment. Inside is an altar with Kyptonian symbols on it. Clark places the stone in the center and it fits perfectly just awaiting the other two stones. Bridgette Crosby who works for Dr. Swann brings Martha some black Kryptonite which will return Clark to himself.
Façade - We find out that Lana cannot remove her tattoo because it is branded underneath her skin.
Run - Jason first sees Lana’s tattoo. She is very evasive and then defensive about it. Lex purchases a page from a medieval Russian book – 14th century manuscript. The decorative boarder includes Kyptonian symbols. Underneath is a map. Lex shows the page to Clark, but when he discovers the map he keeps that information to himself. But Clark can read the Kyrptonian symbols that say to look deeper. He uses his x-ray vision to see the map underneath. Clark begins to question if he should accept the destiny Jor-El wants for him in discovering these stones. He knows that it has something to do with this map. Lana finally tells Jason what happened to her back in Paris and shows him her tattoo and then she takes him to the caves to explain why she had to come back home. He finds the symbol on the cave wall that matches her tattoo and asks what is means. She doesn’t know.
Transference – The second stone comes into place in this episode. This is the stone of water (used for transference). Lionel discovers that this stone will transfer him from his body to someone else’s. He tries to get into Lex but instead he gets into Clark. As Lionel, Clark learns that there are three stones. The one he has is the stone of air. (Interesting since he obtained it in the air) The one that transferred him is water. And the last one is fire. He is told that when these stones are put together, they lead to a trove of knowledge.
Lana does some research on the Countess. She discovers that Isabelle came from the same town in France as her ancestors. She also finds out that Isabelle was burnt at the stake as a witch.
After Clark is returned to himself, the stone is gone. But Lex’s cell mate finds it and gives it to Bridgett Crosby when she gets him out of prison.
Spell – This episode was really meant to give background and explanation to the witch, Isabelle, and the stones which are a part of Clark’s destiny. We get to see that in the past Isabelle was burnt at the stake but swears to come back and gain the “stones of power.” Her heir will awaken her and she will have vengeance. Lana finds the spell book of Isabelle on ebay. (Amazingly!) She touches the symbol in the book that matches her tattoo and she is indwelt by Isabelle’s spirit. Then she prepares a potion to bring back her followers. When she resurrects them, she tells of her plan to gain the stones. Jason starts going through the spell book but Lana intervenes. He knows she isn’t herself. He realizes it is all related to the book. When he attempts to burn the book, she pulls it to her and throws him into a wall. Just before she can kill him, Clark comes in and saves him. Later after Isabelle has resurrected her two friends into Lois and Chloe, they arrange to meet Clark at the barn. Eventually, they take his powers from him. (This seems a bit impossible. His powers aren’t supernatural. They are scientific and natural.) Then Lana realizes that the stones of Power are a part of him. They want the stone he has. Lana as Isabelle gets him to reveal where he has hidden the stone. Jason finds Clark all beat up and without his powers and tells him that the book needs to be destroyed. Isabelle wants to possess all the stones and gain all the power. Then she will walk on the earth as a god. She gets inside the inner cave chamber with Chloe and Lois, but before picking up the stone, Clark arrives. When she picks it up, it hurts her and she drops it. Clark catches it and his powers are restored. Using his heat vision, he burns up the book and the girls are returned to normal. Later when Lana is herself she shares with Clark what happened in Paris and the tattoo. Lex also has discovered the knowledge about the symbol and Isabelle. He goes to the cave and sees the same symbol.
Bound – Lana dreams about Isabelle being burnt at the stake. In the dream, she clearly sees the person responsible and she looks exactly like Jason’s mother, Genevieve Teague. This was before she had actually met his mother. The question that needs answering here is – “Was Jason working with his mother from the very beginning regarding Lana?” They make it look like he wasn’t. His mother is angered that he left Paris. He seems to want nothing to do with her plot against Lana. Did Genevieve know what would happen to Lana at Isabelle’s tomb? Jason meets with his mother later. He questions if he met Lana by accident or not. His mother is odd and mysterious.
Scare – Lionel is released from prison. We find out in a later episode that it was Genevieve Teague. She wants the stones. Jason is having resentful feelings about his relationship with Lana. She wants the truth and he can’t tell her because of his mother. He leaves her. This turn of events is confusing. Did Jason know all along what his mother had planned? And did his falling in love with Lana mess up all those plans? Does Jason know what his mother is up to? Is he going against the plan because he loves Lana and is trying to protect her? Questions, Questions but very few answers.
Unsafe – All season long Clark has been (surprise, surprise) mourning over Lana. Now Alica is back, and she seems to be cured from her psychotic self. Lana, meanwhile, is trying to renew her relationship with Jason who may have an ulterior motive, but he really does love her. He knows that his mother was involved in things related to Lana. He broke up with her to save Lana from his mother.
Pariah – After Jason is attacked, his mother shows up in Smallville. He accuses his mother of being behind his relationship with Lana - like she set the whole thing up in some kind of elaborate scheme. Genevieve goes to Lex. She wants his help with Jason. In turn, she has info on how his father was able to overturn his conviction. Lex offers Jason a job. He tells Jason that together they can figure out what Genevieve is up to.
Recruit – Lex hires Jason just as Genevieve wanted, but he tells Jason right away that his mother asked him to. Lex wants to figure out what she is up to regarding Isabelle. He wants Jason to spy on his mother and Lana. When Jason tells Lana, she goes to see Lex. She’s angry. She tells him he should have just asked her. She only wants the truth. Did Lex purposefully tell Jason to spy on Lana just so she would come to him? At that point he would tell her he thinks sinister things are about and she shouldn’t trust Jason. Lex proves to Lana that Jason was with his mother in Paris the day before he met her. Lex tells her Genevieve has been researching the Countess since before Jason was born and that Jason grew up in a house filled with artifacts and research materials having to do with her. Jason knew about the Countess long before he met Lana. Lex wants her to think about how well she actually knows Jason.
Krypto – Genevieve comes to see Lex about why Jason is still in Smallville. She says she wants Jason apart from Lana. Genevieve mentions how Lionel really got out of prison. Lex doesn’t want to know. He’d rather believe his father truly is reformed. She tells him it is a shame Jason can’t help him find what he is looking for. Lex returns to his lap top as he looks at the map he found behind the manuscript page. Genevieve then goes to see Jason. She wants him to leave with her. He confronts his mother about the Countess. She asks if this is what Lex has him doing – researching 17th century witches. He tells her he knows that when Isabelle died she vowed to come back through one of her descendants and that she knew it was Lana. Jason now believes that was why she had him take Lana to Isabelle’s tomb in Paris. He also believes everything that has happened to Lana is his fault if that is true. He is angry with his mother for using him. Genevieve doesn’t believe it is safe for him to stay. Isabelle was condemned by a woman named Gertrude and so Isabelle swore that when she returned she would wipe out all of Gertrude’s heirs. That is them. Jason says he won’t leave Lana and Genevieve says he is in love with a girl who may wipe out their entire family. Lana is standing on the balcony in the Talon overhearing her last statement. Lana has Chloe researching Jason’s family. She finds out Jason’s grandmother came from the same town in France as Lana’s family and Isabelle Thoreaux. Jason comes into the mansion for Lex and finds Lionel there. Lionel knows that they are researching Isabelle. Lionel reminds him that he can’t trust his mother and of course Lex. He then hands Jason a copy of Lex’s map.
What we can infer from this episode is that Genevieve did have Jason take Lana to Isabelle’s tomb in Paris, but Jason had no idea what was going to happen or who Isabelle was. Genevieve wanted Jason involved with Lana because if she was indeed the one, it would lead to the stones. And Genevieve cares about the stones above all else. Now she wants Jason to leave because it is dangerous. So, Jason really has no idea of the plot behind the stones and Isabelle? Or does he? Hmm I don’t know. Confusion again.
Sacred – Dr. Swann passes away, but prior to his passing he sends Clark a package returning the key to the caves. He says he has been sheltering him from Jor-el but that he was sent here on a mission and Jor-el will help him finish it. Clark takes the key to the hidden room in the caves. Jor-El speaks to him. Jor-El says that earth will destroy itself just as Krypton did if he does not see him mission through. He tells him he needs to find the three stones which were brought to earth. If a human puts them together, the power they gain will lead to earth’s ultimate destruction. The fate of the world lies in his hands.
Jason is in China, but he doesn’t tell anyone about it; not even Lana. Is he working on his own or with his mother? He is following the map Lionel gave him. Lex is on to him and catches him in China. He tells Jason he knows he got the map from his father and that the map leads to a temple just outside Shanghai. Lex is going with him.
Lana looks for Jason and finds Lionel. He tells her Jason is in China. Then he tells her that in the past, Gertrude was looking for the stones. A map was made up, but before it got back to Gertrude Isabelle stole it. Gertrude then had Isabelle killed.
Lana knows Isabelle wants the stones as well. Lionel reminds her that Isabelle is working through Lana as her vessel. He also reveals that Jason is a direct descendant of Gertrude.
Lana prepares to leave for China when Clark finds her. She tells him what is going on. She is angry at Jason since he said they were going to figure this out together. She tells Clark Lionel arranged for her to fly to China is the Luthor Corp jet and a meeting with a professor that might help. Clark says he is going with her.
Jason tells Lex he wants to find the stones because until he does Lana isn’t safe from his mom, from Lionel, from Lex. Is this true?? Is this really his intention?
Lex and Jason are captured in China. Lex doesn’t believe Jason is doing all this for Lana – it’s either his father or Jason’s mother. Lex acts like he is protecting Lana from Jason. Lex and Jason are tortured.
Lana and Clark arrive in Shanghai, and the professor tells them the myth – an all powerful god came from another world, hid a treasure and the left a map. But the map was stolen centuries ago by European bandits.
Lex arranged for Jason and himself to be captured in an effort to find out what Jason knows. But the Chinese turn on him because they want the stones. They torture them both.
Lana and Clark are taken into the temple, and Clark locates behind a wall a tunic with the map stitched into it. He sends Lana and the professor looking around the temple. Clark breaks through the wall and a mask lights up with Kryptonite eyes. Then the Chinese soldiers break in and they kill the professor. Before killing Lana, they notice her tattoo and take her to the holding cell where Jason and Lex are being tortured with electric shock. When they use the shock on Lana, it brings Isabelle out and she frees herself. She tells Lex and Jason that the page was never a map.
Clark back in the temple is still incapacitated on the floor. When the Chinese soldiers move him away, he gets his powers back and incapacitates them. He goes into the chamber where Lex, Jason, and Lana are. Lana as Isabelle pushes him back into a wall. In his weakened condition, he is knocked out. When he comes to, he frees Jason and Lex. He takes them inside the temple to the tunic and mask. Jason realizes that it isn’t a map to the temple it is a drawing of the temple through the tree. Clark thinks the stone is located where the artist was – at the base of the tree. And that is where Lana is looking at the tree. Using magic she unlocks the place underground where the stone is located and it comes to the surface. It is inside a horse sculpture. She breaks it open and holds it just as Clark superspeeds over to it and it flies over to his hand. Isabelle and Clark have a fight over it. They both get knocked out and the stone is gone.
When they return to Smallville, Jason comes to see Lana. She is angry with him. She thinks he’s been working with his mom all along. He says he didn’t tell her about China in an effort to save her from danger. Then he pulls out the stone. He found it when she and Clark were knocked out. She is the only important person in his life. He tells her he didn’t tell his mom about the stone. She smiles and hugs him.
Swann sent Clark one last email saying he too had been searching for the stones with no luck. He sent Bridgette Crosby with the stone they did have. But now Clark can’t locate her and her phone is disconnected. It’s like she never existed.
One question I have from this episode is - if the stones were left for Clark, why were they protected by Kryptonite. I think Jason may be telling the truth because in later episodes we know Genevieve does not know where the stone is.
Lucy – Lana fakes the robbery of the stone Jason gave her. Jason tells Lana, he suspects Clark stole it. Lana wants to forget about it, but Jason wants to find it. Eventually though, he gives in to Lana and says the only thing that matters is their relationship. He makes her think he is giving up on the stones.
Jason then approaches Lionel for the stone. He threatens Lionel and then strong arms him, grabbing him by his shirt and pushing him up against the wall. Lana walks in seeing what Jason is doing. She knows that he has not given up on the stones. Is he still worried that his mother will use this against Lana or is he really working with Genevieve in some capacity? Maybe he doesn’t trust anyone and therefore he doesn’t give whole truths to anyone? It is really hard to figure out what Jason’s intentions are.
Lionel visits Lex to see if Jason was acting on his own or under Lex’s direction. Lionel admits he took nothing. He thinks Lex took the stone. Lex is baffled to hear Jason found the stone. But in reality there was no robbery. Lana faked it so that the stone would in a sense disappear.
On Lex’s property a body is found. It’s Bridgette Crosby. Jason is there when they find her. Jason says he knows that name – she worked for Vigil Swann. Lex tells him this doesn’t concern him and Jason counters that if it concerns the artifacts it concerns him. Jason is escorted off the property. Lex was set to meet with Bridgette that morning to discuss getting the artifact from her. Jason accuses Lex of killing her, and he brings the sheriff in on it. But she can find no record that Bridgette ever lived. Jason calls his mother and confirms that Lex took care of the body just like they wanted him too. He smiles devilishly. He then pulls out a box with the stone that Bridgette had gotten at the end of Transference. He had evidently killed Bridgette and taken her stone and tried to make Lex nervous about the body so that it would disappear.
In this episode, Jason is obviously working with his mother. Apparently, he killed Bridgette and took her stone. If he was not working with his mother before, he definitely is now. This is where more of the confusion comes in. Up to this point, we the viewers were not sure where Jason’s loyalties lay or what his intentions were. He was made to appear like he wanted nothing to do with his mother and her evil plots. But was he in on it the entire time? And if so then why did his private conversations with his mother indicate that he had no idea about Isabelle or the stones. Have I said that this season was confusing??
Agless – Genevieve Teague wants the other stone. She summons Lionel to help her. She is the one who got him out of prison and now she wants him to repay her with his services. She wants the stone they brought back from China. She threatens to go after Lex herself if he won’t do it. Lionel goes to Lex about the stone. Lex admits he doesn’t have it and he wouldn’t give it to him even if he did. Lionel warns Lex about Genevieve and that she is dangerous. Genevieve invites Lionel over again. She thinks he has the stone but instead he has given her poison for threatening his family. He then takes the stone that she took from Bridget Crosby from her. He leaves the antidote as he exits.
Forever – Lex and Lionel are kidnapped by Jason and Genevieve. They want revenge and the stone from China. This is when Lex finds out that Lionel already has a stone. They kidnapped Lex to induce Lionel to give up the stones. Lex thinks they don’t know his father all that well. We also see that Lana still has the stone from Chine. In fact, she has it with her. Jason and his mother start to torture Lex so that Lionel will give them the location of the stones. Lionel gives in and tells them he gave it to Lana because she is the chosen one. Genevieve says she will take care of Lana. Jason reminds her that she said she would not hurt Lana. And she reminds him that Lana has no idea how he’s been protecting her and she has not been loyal to him. His mom tells him she will be loyal to him. Then she goes off to find Lana. Lionel starts talking to Jason and it comes out that Jason was supposed get close to Lana at his mother’s request but he fell in love with Lana. And now he has to abide by his mother over following his heart. She has control over her son. Lionel and Lex escape together with Jason in pursuit. Lionel shoots Jason sending him over a cliff before Jason can tell Lex something important about Clark. Lionel says he shot Jason to protect Lex but Lex says he did it before he could tell him something important.
My only question from this episode is to wonder again if Jason was involved in his mother’s quest from the very beginning. Did he have a role to play with Lana that changed when he fell in love with her? It’s almost like the writer forgot what they wrote at the beginning of the season. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Commencement – Lana returns to her apartment to find Genevieve there. Genevieve admits that Lana has a hold over her son that she has never had to deal with before. Eventually Isabelle emanates in Lana. A fight ensues, killing Genevieve with the stone. Isabelle leaves Lana permanently after killing Genevieve. And Lana is shocked at what she has done. It is the end of her innocence. And Lex walks in to see Lana in shock with Genevieve’s blood on her hands. I wonder why Isabelle leaves Lana permanently. She wanted the stones. Why did she give up on that just because she killed Gertrude’s’ descendant.
Clark’s destiny comes looking for him again. He had a dream or a vision that “it’s coming.” The “It” is the second meteor shower.
Lex takes Lana back to the mansion, and she cleans up. He wants to protect her (he says). He wants her trust him, stay at the mansion and talk to no one. Lana still has the stone now covered in Genevieve’s blood.
Clark thinks his dream is a warning.
Lex returns to Lana’s apartment to find his father there. Lionel has cleaned up the mess. He says he will exchange Lana’s freedom for the stone in her possession. Lex tells him he has let the search for these stones borders on the fanatical. Then Lionel reminds him that he was the one who looted the ruins in Egypt and went off to China for the other one. Lex tells him Lana has nothing to do with this.
And the meteors move closer and closer to earth. The town is informed that the meteor shower is coming to Smallville.
Lex comes to see Clark. He offers to take his family in a Luthor Corp jet to safety. He also tells Clark that his scientists have detected an inner chamber in the cave walls. He tells Clark to stay safe. Clark then goes to the cave and asks Jor-El what is going on. He tells Clark that by denying his heritage and ignoring the stones, mortals have started a chain of events. There are consequences. Human blood on one of the elements has awakened a great danger. He tells him that the only way to save earth is to unite the three elements.
Lana comes to Clark with her stone. She is scared and still in shock. She doesn’t know what is going to happen to her. She wants Clark to have the stone. It is still covered in blood. She tells him it’s the one from China. She knows that it is meant for him. She tells him that whatever happens she will never forget him. He senses that she thinks they might never see each other again. As she looks into his eyes, she says, “I love you.” Then she kisses him. “I love you too,” he says. Then Lana tells him goodbye and heads out of the barn.
Lana returns to the mansion, and Lex wants the stone. He says it is the murder weapon and they should guard it. He wants to hide it in his safe. She says she can’t trust him with the stone.
Before the Kents can drive off in their truck to avoid the meteor shower, Jason stops them with a gun. He is all bloody. He wants Clark.
Chloe and Lois are trying to get back to the mansion to find Lana who left Chloe a message. The military won’t let them through with the evacuation. Lois distracts one of the soldiers while Chloe sneaks through.
Back at the mansion, Lionel is there. He wants the stone. Lex tells him he doesn’t know where Lana is. Lex believes Lionel has the other stone, but he denies it.
Clark places the second stone on the altar in the cave. Back at the mansion, the stone in Lionel’s pocket lights up. Lionel falls on the ground, seeming to be sezuring. When Lex touches him, he is thrown back and hit against the wall. When he wakes up, the light is gone. His father is catatonic. He tells him - “Before you leave this earth, I want you to know... You did create the son you always wanted.” Lex’s men remove Lionel and take him upstairs. On the floor is the last remaining stone, lighting up a brilliant blue.
When Clark arrives at the mansion, he knows the stone is in Lex’s safe because of the ringing. He pulls off the door and inside is the stone along with some artifacts containing Kryptonite. Clark grabs the stone and then falls back in pain until he passes out.
Jason is holding the Kent’s at gun point. He wants to know more about Clark. He’s insane with worry because he can’t find his mother. He wants to be able to give her the one thing she has always wanted.
Lex is sending Lana off in a helicopter. He again asks her for the stone. She admits she doesn’t have it anymore. He grabs her purse looking for it. She realizes that he never cared about her safety; it all about the stones. He says her safety is more important than any of this. She jumps in the helicopter and lifts off still looking at Lex, wondering if she can believe him.
Chloe shows up at the mansion looking for Lana. She sees Clark passed out on the ground. She pulls him out of the doorway of the safe. Lex comes in but he can’t see Clark because he is behind the couch. He walks over to his safe with the missing door and sees the stone is also gone. He tells Chloe he knows she knows more than she is saying. He wants to know who did this. He gets rough with her. He tells her she is coming with him. They go to the caves.
The Kent’s still at gunpoint with Jason, try to give him a false story. A fight ensues. And then just as he is going to shoot them, a meteor hits the house.
Lana’s helicopter crashes.
Clark returns to the cave with the last stone. All three symbols light up red, blue, and yellow. They merge together to form one large diamond looking crystal. Lex and Chloe arrive. They see a blinding light. Inside the chamber, Clark is looking at the glowing crystal. Chloe pushes Lex into the wall of the cave, knocking him unconscious. Then she walks into the hidden room to see Clark. He grabs the crystal and calls out in pain.
At that moment Lionel is in a bed in the mansion. He still stares with catatonic eyes. We move into his eyes and see Kryptonian symbols spinning around his pupils.
Clark cries again with pain as he holds onto the stone. Lex gets up from the ground and heads again toward the light. The light intensifies and Clark is transported to the North Pole. As he looks around, we see he is in the middle of nowhere. There are only mountains and snow.
Back in Smallville, Lois driving Chloe’s car, pulls over to the side of the road. She gets out and runs up a hill and looks out at the devastation of the meteors on Smallville, her eyes filling with tears.
Lana wakes up in the wreckage of the helicopter. Her face is covered with dirt, blood, and scratches. Her pilot is dead. She crawls out; her leg is injured. She continues to crawl away from the wreckage clearly in pain. She sees the edge of a crater. She forces herself to crawl up it and look inside. She can’t believe her eyes. Inside is a huge triangular shaped space ship. The ship door begins to open.
Back at the North Pole, it is peaceful and quiet. Clark continues to look around, trying to figure out why he is there. The stone in his hand floats up and points away. He grabs the stone again. With determination on his face, he throws it. It shoots through the air revolving and …TO BE CONTINUED.
Taking the time to dissect and really analyze this season has reminded me again why this year really brought the show down. It wasn’t the acting. It wasn’t the special effects. It really wasn’t even the individual writing. It was the Big Story. There are so many holes and unexplained parts to this story arc that viewers were just confused and even a little angry at how horrible it turned out. Thankfully, when you look at the season as a whole and all the other stories being told besides this one, there are some good things. Chloe learns about Clark’s powers, we got some Red K Clark (which is always good), Clark is indwelt by a Prom Queen (too funny), the Clana grew sweet again by season end, and Clark moves more toward his destiny as Lex moves further down the road toward his future as an evil mastermind.
© Cindy Green 2007
Picture from kryptonsite.com
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