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Smallville explores what it means to be a "Kent": Back Home

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***In Lexington, the CW is channel 117 (digital cable), 384 (satellite), 914 (HD).***

Back in the 'real' universe, Lois quickly realizes the imposter. She enlists Emil's (Alessandro Juliani) assistance in repairing the one device that can bring her love back home again. Unlike other incarnations of Superman, where Lois is a fiercely independent woman who doesn't 'need' Clark, this Lois has known him since his geeky days, and understands the role they play in each other's lives. It does not detract from her strength to be so bonded to Clark. Rather, it makes them both more complex, interesting individuals as they balance the duality of individualism with their romance. Smallville shows this better than any other version of the story told before. This may be the closest look at Lois and Clark's relationship ever shown on screen.

Clark Luthor has come to the commonly considered standard reality to find Lionel Luthor (John Glover), his adopted father, who escaped to this side months ago, and kill him. It is a really well illustrated example of nurture winning out over nature. Yet, while Clark Luthor does not accomplish his wicked goal, Clark Kent sees something in his counterpart that may be redeemable. When Clark Luthor is sent back to his universe in the Fortress, it appears he may finally consider Jor-El's (Terence Stamp) wisdom. Even after everything that has happened, a good father figure, as well as a peek into what might have been, could still save his soul. If nothing else, it's a comforting idea. And a reminder that Superman is, at his core, optimistic.

Caught up in Clark Luthor's games is his half sister, Tess (Cassidy Freeman). Recently realizing she is a Luthor, and struggling over how to deal with her biological father, Lionel, Clark Luthor tells Tess she must help him kill their daddy, or face death herself. She pretends to go along with Clark's wishes, but betrays him, almost resulting in her death. Thanks to a timely rescue, which is never assured so close to a series' end, Tess will breathe for at least another week.

The fact that Tess chose good shows a real character development for her. Ever since her introduction, she has straddled the line between good and evil, much as Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) used to. As his replacement, that is appropriate. But she is making the opposite decision than her brother did. While Tess's ultimate loyalty may still be up in the air, it seems likely she will stick to the right choice.

Tess, more than anyone, is not given her due. She is a complicated person, with deeply dark hues. Freeman is an excellent actress, managing to do much with what little she is given. With only four weeks left, Tess will be the one character that provides the least satisfaction. She could be taken so much further than she will be. Freeman deserves much gratitude from the fan base for her contribution to the show.

Please click here to read the other part of my review for this episode, The Father.

Smallville still airs Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET on the CW, though not for much longer.

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Article first published as TV Review: Smallville - "Kent" on Blogcritics.

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