We Smallville fans are, I think, an optimistic bunch; we've stuck with the show since the beginning, from way back to 2001, and watched as, gradually, Smallville was sucked into a vortex of mediocrity.
Maybe we're gluttons for punishment.
In any event, here we are in Smallville's ninth season. I'm cautiously optimistic so far. Smallville just might be getting better!
And then we have the latest episode, "Rabid." Yeah, show, you're killing me.
We open to an unconscious Clark, laying on a gurney. He awakens, moaning, noting a latex strap at the crook of his elbow. He pulls off the strap and we see that he is bruised; it appears that a syringe had been used on him, and a shot of said syringe dripping a green liquid (kryptonite!) confirms this.
Clark struggles to get up. The building he's in appears to be the Watchtower. After a few moments his cell phone beeps. Clark walks over; it's a message from Oliver: "I Lost Her," it says.
Making his way outside, Clark notices a seemingly deserted Metropolis. Hmm, something is not right. Vancouver — I mean Metropolis — is usually pretty busy this time of day!
Clark uses his superhearing, and the sounds of heavy metal music stream into his ears. Must be nice to be able to stream music without the need for an Internet connection or a WiFI hotspot! It's Lois. Clark whooshes to the Daily Planet.
The building, much like Metropolis, is deserted. Clark does discover someone at the copy machine, making copies. It's Lois! She turns to Clark, drooling and making zombie noises. "Lois, are you okay?" asks Mr. Obvious. To demonstrate just how fine and dandy she is, Lois attacks Clark.
12 Hours Earlier, the show tells us. Thanks, show.
Clark, having hit the police scanners, is on the streets as the horribly-named Red-Blue blur (although now I suppose he's just the blur, since he dresses in black; maybe he could be called the Goth Blur instead?)
It seems there is a motorcyclist wreaking havoc and speeding all over the city. Clark pushes a truck out onto the street to block the cyclist's path. It's Oliver! He and Clark snark back and forth about Clark's failure to kill Davis Bloom, and Oliver accuses Clark of wanting to be a "modern Jesus." I'm not sure Modern Jesus would be dressed in black as if he were on his way to a Dead Can Dance concert, but you never know. Oliver eventually speeds off (thanks for helping the cops out, Clark!) and a police car take chase. Clark watches.
Meanwhile, at the Luthor mansion, Tess is looking at computer images of the Kryptonian symbols found burned into the ground around the Earth. One of her security guards enters the room. Tess wants to know if Zod and his people have been found. No, says the security guard; they had some trouble (the "they" being the 12 ex-Navy SEALs that were searching for Major Zod).
Trouble, surely nothing will happen to Tess now? Oh wait, something does happen: zombie attackers! They rush in, and Tess has a wicked katana fight with the drooling creatures before being bitten in the shoulder. Uh-oh. I guess it's time to hit the most popular place in Metropolis, Metropolis General Hospital.
Clark and Lois have come to visit Tess, but something must be wrong with the hospital food as Tess has turned into a zombie. No more soup for you!
The gurgling, delirious Tess thanks Lois and Clark for their visit by tossing Lois across the room. Tess is sedated; the doctors think she has a virus which is resulting in psychological distress. Lois, ever the professional, rushes back to the Daily Planet to write up the story.
The Watchtower (Chloe's home, not the magazine). Chloe is at a computer, studying a map. Emil enters and she quickly clicks off the image she was looking at. The two exchange some lively banter when Clark whooshes into the room. He has a vial of Tess' blood and wants Chloe to examine it, telling her and Emil about the fun he and Lois had with Tess at Metropolis General. Emil thinks the virus is causing "viral rage," attacking the brain's fight-or-flight instinct. Clark wants Emil to talk to the disease control people; Emil hasn't, as it's a 30-minute drive. That's a long drive. Longer than it takes to get to Smallville, which used to take a good 90 minutes but now can be reached on foot from Metropolis in ten minutes flat. Clark asks if Emil is prone to motion sickness. "Not really," he says. Clark grabs him and super-speeds away.
Back at Metropolis General, Emil and Tess' doctor confer. It seems Tess had actually made it to work following her zombie bite, but eventually became unconscious. It was only after arriving at the hospital that she displayed zombie symptoms.
Back at the Daily Planet, Lois is soon attacked by invading zombies. Clark returns, and he and Lois fight off the zombies, but of course Lois is promptly bitten. Uh-oh. Hope she doesn't become unconscious at some point, which would of course result in her turning into a zombie.
At the Watchtower, Chloe has finished examining Tess' blood sample and has discovered a suspect enzyme. Emil examines it and determines that it matches an enzyme in Davis Bloom's blood. It's Kryptonian! They could create an antidote for the virus, if only they could get their hands on some Kryptonian blood. Hmm, where to look? Behind this desk? In the library, with a candle stick? Or, better yet, another Kryptonian. Chloe zips off a text message to Clark, asking him to come to the Watchtower. Meanwhile, Oliver arrives at the Daily Planet, announcing the world has turned "Resident Evil." It has? Does that mean I can take Resident Evil 5 off of my Gamefly queue? Clark wants Oliver to keep an eye on Lois, and to make sure she doesn't fall asleep. Otherwise, Freddy Kreuger will attack.
Ah, but how to get at Clark's super-blood? Why, with a syringe coated with liquid Kryptonite, that's how. Back at Watchtower HQ, Emil wonders where they'll find someone with Davis Bloom's blood type. Clark whooshes in to volunteer himself. Ah, Clark is an alien! Emil realizes.
Soon, Clark is strapped down to a gurney and Emil begins to draw blood. Clark howls like a banshee. Which is kind of odd, since we've seen Clark exposed to Kryptonite before and he never howled, not even the time when he was french-kissing the super-squirrel, Lana, who was chock full of Kryptonite goodness, causing Clark's head to nearly explode, just like in Scanners.
Oh, and back at the Daily Planet, Oliver promptly forgets to keep Lois awake and she falls unconscious. Zombie time!
Meanwhile, in a Queen Industries jet, Emil and Chloe have prepared the anti-zombie antidote, which they will feed into Metropolis' water supply, and will also seed the clouds. Chloe wonders how they'll help the folks who don't shower. The seeding commences. Soon, we'll have red, red rain falling down.
Back at the Daily Planet, Lois and Clark are engaging in that age-old zombie/alien dance. The two struggle, and Lois smacks Clark out a window, where he hits the street with a thud. Lois follows. Conveniently, it starts to rain, and Lois is eventually turned back into her old self.
We later find Oliver in a alley, drinking away his troubles from one of those silver flasks that all alcoholics on television apparently own. Clark whooshes in to admonish Oliver for not keeping Lois from falling asleep. Clark whooshes away after successfully completing his lecture (Clark has speech +1, you know). Oliver pulls out his Green Arrow tunic, drops it to the ground, and pours his booze onto it. He then sets it on fire. Poor Oliver. But, on the bright side, less Green Arrow time means more boozing time. Yay?
We conclude in an abandoned warehouse, where Zod is hanging out. One of his minions comes in. Hey, it's the guy from the hospital who examined Lois! Sneaky. The minion explains to Zod that he had unleashed the virus in order to protect Zod and the other powerless Kryptonians. Zod is not happy with this explanation. The minion does reveal that, in unleashing the virus, they have found a Kryptonian with yellow-sun super-powers. The minion believes the Kryptonian to be Jor-El. Jor-El! Zod and Jor-El did not get along back on Krypton. The two debated endlessly on who was the better Captain, Kirk or Picard.
Anyway, the minion believes he is in for a reward or something when Zod asks him to kneel. The minion does. We see Zod is holding some kind of sword behind his back, which he promptly uses to kill his minion. Stupid minions! With that, the episode comes to an end.
While not a horrible episode — you can't go wrong with zombies — it could have been better, although that might be asking too much of Smallville. I suppose we'll have some wacky, mistaken-identity fun as Zod goes on the hunt for Jor-El.
Next episode: "Echo," with an appearance by the Bunnymen…I mean, the return of the Toyman. Oh, that wacky Toyman!