This was one of those episodes I'd been anticipating all summer. I'm always curious how writers will write themselves out of holes they've dug... and they don't always do a good job.
I'd have to call this one 7 out of 10.
You know how it is when you build something up in your head: usually the thing you're looking forward to just can't measure up. In this case the writers built a heck of a cliffhanger: Chloe dead, Lex poisoned, Lana in Paris, and Clark in some nether-region resembling the Phantom Zone. The season opener takes place 3 months after the events last witnessed by us.
First, what I liked...
The various hanging threads were resumed in a roundabout manner, showing situations that leave you wondering what's going on. A strange young woman in Chloe's office viewing a final message, Lex in Egypt apparantly fine although he seemed left for dead previously, Lana bumping into some guy on a Paris street corner with some convoluted story about his girlfriend, and Clark showing up in the middle of a cornfield naked and with amnesia (I could have done without the "naked" part, more on that later). A cameo by Margot Kidder (who played Lois in the Superman movies) is pretty cool. And to top the list... we get to see Clark fly!!
A lot is going on in this episode, so I'll give it to you stream-of-consciousness style. Jonathon Kent is comatose following the attack by Jor-El in the cave, and Martha is at her husband's bedside, refusing to allow doctors to pull the plug. Lois Lane (yes, that Lois Lane), Chloe's cousin, turns out to be the young woman in Chloe's office and is in town to get to the bottom of Chloe's death, which the FBI has ruled an accident. Lionel Luthor is about to go on trial and presumably go free due to the lack of testimony from Chloe. The guy Lana bumps into turns out to be someone she's had a relationship with for 3 months. Finally, Clark has no memory of who he is or anyone he knows and appears to be on a quest to find something that will give him the details of his mission on earth.
What I didn't like...
The use of coincidence: Lightning hits the road right in front of Lois' car which causes her to veer of into a cornfield EXACTLY where and when Clark appears after being missing for 3 months. Come on now....
The fact that Clark meets Lois while in high school, when everything ever written about Superman states that he first meets her when he starts work at the Daily Planet.
The road this show is apparently following which consists of as much nudity or near-nudity as they can possibly fit into the story. We've got Clark naked twice, once with a butt-crack shot (remember when NYPD Blue got an adult audiences warning before the show for this kind of thing?). Also a shot of Lana in bed barely covered by a strategically placed sheet, and then a silhoutte shower scene and the following toweling-off. Previews for upcoming episodes show more of the same. And this show just went into syndication on ABC Family network... give me a break.
Finally, Millar and Gough (the two primary writers) seem to want to wrap this show more in mysticism than science fiction. In my opinion they are starting to walk a thin line with this overarching plotline of the symbols in the indian cave that is looking more and more like the Fortress of Solitude in Kansas. Now they're adding hidden Kryptonian objects in ancient Egypt and ancient cathedrals in Europe. Huh?
Lemme tell ya, if this show crosses over into X-Files territory, I'll drop this show like a hot potato. X-Files got to the point where there were twists and turns just for the sake of having them, and I had the feeling after a while that Chris Carter did not have a master plan he was following, but instead was making it up as he went along, leading us by the nose like a bunch of fools. The show seemed like a test to see how much B.S. we'd put up with until we finally gave up.
If Smallville goes that route, where they keep dangling weird clues that don't seem to make sense, and go on and on with these threads without some satisfactory resolution soon, I'll be outta here.