Short version: Overacting, a boring story, and now a witchcraft connection from the 1600's to Clark Kent make for the worst Smallville episode ever.
I've been a big fan of Smallville since Day 1... I've hung on from the "Kryptonite villain of the week" episodes all the way to last season's "will someone please drop a truck on this Clark/Lana thing", but I gotta tell ya, the ice is getting mighty thin this season.
The first signs of this appeared during an interview with Tom Welling where he commented about the amount of skin being shown this season. It's obvious what he was talking about... this season it seems like Millar and Gough have been tapping teen porn spam for some of their ideas for particular scenes. There has been more partial nudity and sexual innuendo in the few episodes that have aired this season than in the previous three seasons combined.
But I digress...
Spell opens in the 1600's with three women in deep trouble and about to be burned at the stake. When the hooded one (the leader) finally shows her face, she turns out to be Kristen Kreuk playing her own ancestor. She is defiant in the face of death, and tricks the magistrate into presenting her with the book of spells she requires to create some sort of curse. After she spits blood at the book, onto the replica of the Kryptonian symbol which matches the one on Lana's lower back, she laughs maniacally as the flames engulf her and her two cohorts in a scene that looks like it came from an Ed Wood movie.
Back in Smallville, Lana has maxed out her credit card to purchase this same book and inadvertantly unleashes it's magic, causing her to be possessed by her ancestor. She then commences (over)acting strangely unlike herself, eventually co-opting Lois and Chloe and causing them to be possessed as well. When the three of them showed up all dressed in black, I just couldn't get The Witches of Eastwick out of my head.
Now who do you think would be the first to figure out that something is amiss here? Clark, with his vast experience of people being taken over by others, even having been controlled himself? Naaaah, Lana's boyfriend, a complete newbie to the weirdness that is Smallville is the first to get a clue.
We learn here that Clark's powers are susceptible to magic (which I believe does follow the comic book), and at one point he is relieved of his powers by Lana/freaky witch chick. BTW, in this episode he uses his heat vision to deflect knives hurled at him.... can someon explain to me how the heck heat vision can deflect objects? I'm not talking a subtle shift in direction either, those knives acted like they bounced off a wall.
About the only saving grace in this episode were the couple of scenes in which Lex appears, which are stellar as usual. Lex is by far the most interesting character on the show.
This episode moved excruciatingly slowly. We had Lana acting creepy/threatening to her boyfriend. Then we had Lana acting creepy/threatening to Clark... then to Chloe and Lois, then to Lex.... well, you get the picture. It was bad enough when the show veered off a bit into X-Files territory with the whole Indian/Cave/Krypton thing, but now it's gotten really bad with links to ancient Egypt, and now with 17th century French witchcraft. They had better tie these threads together pretty soon or I'll bet they'll start losing viewers despite all the spicy scenes they've added this season.
Don't forget what happened to the X-Files: They yanked our chain for far too long, giving us a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, and in the end we ceased to care and the show faded away with a whimper.
All in all, I was pretty much completely bored by this episode which felt like it lasted 2 1/2 hours instead of 45 minutes (thanks to my DVR).