On last Friday's Smallville ("Upgrade"), Metallo jumped up to get beat down, Clark acted like a creepy boyfriend (both with and without the influence of red Kryptonite), and Zod became the new Kryptonian messiah.

"Upgrade" opened with Lois infiltrating one of Tess' secrets labs at Blur-Zod's behest. She opens with a heroic zinger (referring to the morally ambiguous Ms. Mercer as "Tess of D'Ubervillains"), but quickly squanders all of her plucky cub reporter cachet when she accidentally blows up a lab full of scientists. Sure, it was an accident (she knocks a security guard into a gas canister), but still – Lois Lane manslaughters scads of people in this episode's first five minutes. She doesn't stop to meditate on the enormity of her actions because she careens down an elevator shaft (Metallo catches her).

Cut to Lois' apartment the next day. Clark has snuck in and is watching her sleep. Lois is a little wigged out but she finds it endearing enough to start getting kissy-kissy with C.K. Suddenly, Blur-Zod calls and demands knowledge about Lois' laboratory escapade. Clark gets huffy and leaves. He may be the Man of Steel, but he's also The Man of Crippling Self-Doubt. Not an attractive combo.


Lois also gets in a huff and hangs up on Blur-Zod. She chases after Clark and discovers John "Metallo" Corben in a warehouse. She learns that Tess' scientists were upgrading Corben (until Lois killed them all). Lois really needs to work on her contrition.

Clark power-walks over to Tess' lab. He's aware of the location since he's LoJacked Lois' keychain. Clark's superheroic credentials are dwindling by the minute. Clark inhales the red Kryptonite pixie dust Tess was implanting in Corben. In the comics, red Kryptonite makes Superman's skin see-through and weak. In Smallville, it just makes him an even worse boyfriend.

Clark - still bombed out of his box on red Kryptonite - confronts Chloe about Tess' lab. It turns out Chloe and Ollie have been stockpiling Kryptonite to deal with the impending Kandorian uprising. This chagrins Clark so much that he etches the House of El symbol into the wall. I imagine Shaquille O'Neal does the same thing in the locker room whenever LeBron's hogging the rock.

Clark is still loopy when meets up with Metallo, who is immediately piledrived by Zod. At this point, Clark teams up with Zod and shows The Big Z the Fortress of Solitude. Metallo returns (via Tess' mind control upgrade), removes the red Kryptonite from Clark's system (using green Kryptonite), and hits on Lois for good measure (she breaks his cybernetic heart). Meanwhile, Zod discovers that some of his followers are defecting - Clark's their leatherboy of choice.


In the grand scheme of Smallville, this episode wasn't half bad - it detailed the hidden, paradoxical alliances amongst characters (i.e. Tess is sleeping with Zod and upgrading Metallo to stop him), and Corben was a sympathetic cameo. On the downside, Clark was overbearing and unlikable (even when he wasn't tripping on Red K), and the "Zod as Kryptonian Jesus" scene was an absurdly hamfisted metaphor. Sure, the Kandorians need to drink his blood to absorb his powers, but stigmata? Between all the black clothing, blood-letting, and Christ parallels, you'd think this was an episode of True Blood.