Anticipation for "Odyssey" was very high for me. I do regret being as spoiled as I was, especially with the Lois/Clark clips CW released, because it reduced the surprise factor. That being said I was very pleased with the episode and the foundation that they laid for the season ahead.
The altered credits are pretty but it was weird seeing Alison Mack so soon into them. Don't get me wrong, with Michael and Kristen off the show I do believe she should be second. It's deserved. She's been on the show since the beginning. As much as I adore Erica and Lois they won't be in every episode. They should be but they won't be and even if she was I do think Alison's time on the show should be acknowledged. But I do miss seeing Kristin and Michael in the credits. Michael Rosenbaum's decision to leave the show really hit home with his absence in the credits and the Lex clips in the season 7 recap. To steal a bit from X-Files' own pre-season 8 dialogue in which the producers said Mulder would very much be the "absent center" of the series, I hope that Lex's absence will be integral part of season 8. Not to the point of making Lex the "absent center" per say of Smallville because Clark should be the focus but the show was built around Clark and Lex. Lex's absence should always be palpable.
So, because of Lex's non presence there is a void to be filled and that leads us to one of the show's new resident baddies, Tess Mercer. I saw the Lois/Tess scene CW release prior to the premiere and I liked very much what I saw. I think the actress brought the right amount of coldness to her character. And then there's the fact that these two really sizzled on screen together. I didn't really buy the Lois/Athena faux!lesbian scene from "Combat". Maybe it was all the actresses' piercings but here I was totally game. I also liked Tess' invasion of Lois' personal space when she reaches for her lapel. Lois doesn't jerk away but she does roll her shoulder slightly to free herself. Interesting. I look forward to many more scenes between them. Lois/Tess fic would also be greatly appreciated.
However, I wasn't too keen on Oliver's description of Tess being "even more deceptive than Lex ever was." No one should ever be more than Lex Luthor in that department. I don't like it when the writers place the new and the shiny over the established and canon characters. That was a misstep. It's only Oliver's opinion and one I gather is from personal experience but having him say it gives it some weight. I would have preferred that he make reference to Tess learning from the very best, ie. Lex, in the deception department rather than placing her above him.
Because of Oliver's comparison of Tess and Lex I worry about how far the writers are going to play their similarities and use her as a Lex replacement. Tess should always remind us that Lex Luthor is out there not replace him. They staged her entrance into Lex's mansion office in her last scene in much the same way as Lex's. The both strut into the room and open both door simultaneously. Heck that's even the scene used for the actress in her opening credits moment. The opening of the doors in that manner is very much a Lex Luthor visual trope. I believe other characters have entered in that manner but none of them were supposed to fill the Lex void.
That being said I did enjoy Tess' final scene in "Odyssey". I got a "continuing Lex's work until he gets back" vibe from her. His office should never be mothballed. Everyone else may have given up on finding Lex alive by covering the mansion in drop clothes but not her. Tess does momentarily indulge herself by taking a seat at his desk but it could also be read as Tess realizing that she has a great responsibility in ensuring that Lex is found alive, which is how I chose to read the scene. She has undying sense of loyalty towards Lex. Tess didn't like the insinuation from the female lackey that she has anything other than temporary stewardship of LuthorCorp. (Two quibbles: The mansion staff decided to mothball the place after only a month? And the amount of dust that accumulated looked like more than a month's worth.) Also, the female lackey looks like a major lightweight.
I love that the JL has actively been pursuing Clark since his disappearance. I enjoy the fact that the commraderie between them comes out with their light ribs on each other but the lines came off a bit scripted at times. I think they came off a bit better with Cyborg in "Justice". That being said I did enjoy their presence very much.
I kinda had a non reaction to AC when he first popped up in "Aqua" but I have to say that I'm enjoying him more and more. I thought he was loads of fun in "Justice" and the scene of him taking a shower was very much appreciated. But talk about being taken down during a particularly vulnerable moment. What can I say, I'm getting rather attached to the big lug.
I haven't seen "Siren", only read about it so this is my first introduction to Black Canary. I like her. From what I've read about her she's been softened up a bit and I found her light oogling of Clark in their final scene adorable. I'm guessing that when she commented that he should wear something more "form fitting" to fit in with their own "home made costumes" it's gonna be quite a surprise when Clark busts out with blue spandex and a cape. Hee! Now about those costumes. I think SV has done a nice job of taking the classic DC costumes and making them a bit more practical. But when not shrouded in darkness the bright colors of the JL looked a bit hokey as they were against the snow in the Arctic.
And then there's Oliver. I've always enjoyed Justin Hartley as Oliver. I especially loved him paired up with Lois because they were the one SV couple that was loads of fun and not weighed down by "secrets and lies". I'm not including Lois & Clark in this bunch because while they are a fan pairing they aren' t a couple on the show but a dynamic. I do share concerns that having Oliver on the show on a more regular basis might steal time away from Clark but for now I'm going to put those fears aside for a while and welcome the addition pretty that'll be coming to my screen on an almost weekly basis.
And now for the best parts, for me, of "Odyssey"--Lois & Clark, individually and together. From the moment the Comic Con teaser trailer showed up online fans had been speculating about what appeared to be darker hair on Erica Durance. Could it be? Was Erica finally allowed to go with her more natural brunette? Promotional images confirmed it and there was plenty of rejoicing among Lois fans. Erica looks stunning. Gone is the frizzy, blonde hair. Gone is the unflattering makeup.
Lois had one goal throughout this episode, find her cousin. It's a lovely callback to her introduction into the series back in season 4's "Crusade" and she was as effective as ever. She discovers that Chloe wasn't taken by the government but rather by Lex. She gets to the Montana compound where Chloe is being held on her own. She also continues to display her penchant for going undercover much like she has in "Facade", "Exposed", "Combat", that episode in which Lois wears glasses, and "Veritas" She always gets caught and thrown out but hey no one's perfect. In "Odyssey" she goes undercover not once but twice and the second time she was able to showcase some of her own talents. Her entrance in that scene is seriously amusing. "I can't believe it. One alarm clock malfunction and suddenly you're demoted and sent to Deliverance territory," we hear Lois lamenting to an amused guard behind her who chuckles at her comment. A fic on how Lois finagled her way into them thinking she was another guard would be fun. I bet they loved the idea of having a pretty girl to work alongside. Then she runs into Clark, who is also searching for Chloe. I love how slow to catch on Clark is. He's so thrown at seeing Lois in such an unlikely place that it makes him a little slow on the uptake. But Lois knows how to handle herself. She's quick on her feet and she knows how to handle a gun.
Scruffy Tom Welling should be a weekly appointment. I've never gotten around to seeing his remake of The Fog but I have seen screengrabs and boy is he physically channeling that movie. I approve wholeheartedly of the rain falling on our hero. I also approve of the Russian work camp, even if it is a TV cliche. The camp a couple of miles over is the one Mulder and Krychek were held in during the X-Files episodes "Tunguska" and "Terma". This one, however, is far more sanitary. They do weird experiments with alien black oil at the other. This one is just manual labor. And Nic Lea's Russian is so much better than Justin Hartley. Sorry Justin. I still think you're great though. Oliver's faux fight with Clark was also great. Now don't lie Ollie. You don't want to finish him off yourself. You want him because he's pretty.
I was giddy with excitement as Clark spoke of his epiphany to Martian Manhunter. It's a wonderful moment but then he puts on that cursed red jacket and he ruins it. I get the symbolism. I do but the desired effect of the blue t-shirt and red jacket stopped sometime in season 5. It's extremely over used. Rather than being an iconic wink to his future uniform it inspires eye rolls. Regardless I'm glad Clark has evolved to the point where he's aware that the farm and everything associated with it are part of a life he'll never have. He wasn't cut out to be a small town farmer or have the wife and t.5 kids. He doesn't mourn that revelation. Clark accepts it and he's ready to move to the next phase of his life.
The Lois & Clark was on at full force. It hasn't been at this level since season 4. I love it. I adore Clark's snark about wanting good coffee. I have a request. I want Clark drinking coffee at the Planet. Chloe and Lois are the resident java junkies but I'd love to see Clark with a mug in hand. We haven't seen that in a while.
And lastly of course there's the wonderful tag. Lois and Erica totally owned the Montana compound banter but the DP was all Clark and Tom. He was an absolute revelation. When's the last time we've seen Clark this playful? I love that he caught Lois off guard. He's perfectly capable of giving as good as he gets but we rarely get to see. It wasn't hard to see that Tom was really enjoying this other side of Clark. Oh Clark you're adorable. Please don't leave.
Oops I almost forgot about Chloe and Jimmy. I'm not sold on the Chloe/Jimmy relationship so there's not much to say there. And on the Chloe front I prefer the supercomputer!Chloe over the Healer!Chloe. For one her new power is less dangerous for her health. I'm guessing that Chloe absorbed part of Brainiac and that's behind the supped up Chloe. Only time will tell.