After last week's mind-boggling "drunk Superman bachelor party" episode, Smallville came down to Earth with "Scion," the latest installment in the saga of Lex Luthor's hyper-aging clone (or as I call him, "Clex"). The thing is, Clex might not be willing to assume Lex's Machiavellian mantle. Genetics have a different fate in store for this hormonal...half-Kryptonian?
Alexander Luthor has had some truly freewheeling characterization this season. First he was the lil' forlorn clone of Lex who redeems Tess from supervillainy. Next, he's a super-fast-aging demon child whose hatred of Clark Kent is etched into his DNA. He then became a melodramatic teenager/would-be assassin of Martha Kent.
Now that he's stopped turbo-aging, Clex's memories of being a whiny genetic aberration for the past five months have disappeared. And — surprise of surprises — he shares half his DNA (and a bunch of superpowers) with Clark. As Lois notes, he's the genetic love child of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor (Lois smirks at the slash fiction implications of such a pairing).
Anyway, Alex's transformation mirrors the origin story of the modern Superboy in DC Comics continuity. After his convenient memory loss, he also assumes Superboy's alter ego, Conner (his name is short for "Cognitional Neuroplastic Replicant").
Despite his newfound, way-less-crazy demeanor, Conner is a clone in need of guidance, so Tess drops him off at the Kent farm for some tutelage with Clark (she probably still feels bad about trying to inject him with a cyanide syringe a few episodes ago, whoops).
After a randy Conner almost incinerates Lois
while trying to use his X-ray vision on her [Addendum: Okay, okay — so he was hot and bothered and used his heat vision accidentally; the trombone soundtrack in this scene was still priceless], Clark vows to be Conner's superpowered mentor. That is, unless alternate dimension Lionel Luthor has anything to say about it.
Yes, after taking over Queen Enterprises in the matter of two or three episodes, alt-Lionel is now gunning to reclaim his long-lost clone son from his estranged parallel dimension daughter and Clex's Kryptonian baby daddy (on Smallville, family trees are more or less Jackson Pollock paintings).
Conner freaks out when he learns he's half-Lex Luthor (everyone totally forgot he has super-hearing) and hightails it to the charred Luthor mansion (which he burnt down in a whiskey fire earlier this season). There Lionel gives him a super-hip red Kryptonite ring, which transforms Conner into the Horndog of Steel (see video). Lionel is oh-so-proud that Conner has the "Luthor Libido!"
After Lois has a super-creepy date with a red Kryptonite-possessed Conner in an abandoned warehouse, Clark smacks the sexual predator out of his clone, breaks the Kryptonite ring, and totally ineffectively lets Lionel get away.
Alt-Lionel doesn't get far though — Tess spikes his scotch with nanotrackers and assumes complete control of Luthor Corp after proving that he's an alternate universe impostor. Her evidence? The fingerprints he left on her adoption papers. I suppose Metropolis has law firms that specialize in parallel dimension fraud.
The episode closes with Conner donning his own S-costume/enrolling in Smallville High as Conner Kent (spin-off potential?) and Lionel presumably making a deal with Darkseid to resurrect Lex. This episode wasn't bad — the scenes of Clark training Conner were amusing, John Glover's scheming and mane are always a welcome sight, and the glimpse we saw of Darkseid was pretty imposing.
The episode did however rely on the tired "the Luthors are evil right down to their DNA" motif and there were way too many explained-away plot points (Conner's shared DNA with Lex, Conner's convenient memory loss, the nano-scotch, the fact that the Smallville universe has a body of jurisprudence that deals with alternate dimension identity theft). But hey, for the last episode of Smallville we get until April 15, it was sufficient.