Here we are at what would have been the series cliffhanger for Smallville had the WGA strike not ended. And based on the previews, this episode will have Clark and Kara coming up against not one Luthor but both of them, as well as Braniac. And, if the blurb on the CW is to be believed, Kara will teach Clark to fly. So, let's see how well Veritas lives up to its hype.
Well, such a monumental episode would have to start big, right? And it does. With a hawk spying on Kara as she does chores around the Kent family farm. Seriously. A Hawk watched her do stuff, then flew into the barn. Kara actually manages to notice this, and follows the bird of prey into the barn, where the dog is barking furiously at it. The shadow of the Hawk changes into a human form, and we see Braniac step out of the shadows to taunt Kara with memories of Krypton. Kara, having never met Braniac, wonders who it is, and Braniac simply teases her by saying it knows the answers to her secrets. It continues by telling her that it could bring her back to Krypton. Kara protests, saying she likes her life here, but Braniac sees through what she is saying, and says it could give her the opportunity to go back and save those she loved. Kara rejects his offer, at which point Braniac seizes her. Before it can attack, Clark zips in and throws the android halfway across the farm. Braniac strikes back once, saying that this could have been avoided if they'd simply gone along with it's plans, and then it flies off, leaving Clark and Kara to helplessly watch. (Although, to be fair, Kara could've pursued without Clark. I guess that didn't occur to them.)
Kara is demanding to know from Clark why he didn't tell her there was another Kryptonian on the planet. Clark responds by telling her that Braniac isn't a person, it's a machine. Since the last time Clark and Braniac tackled it was to free Zod, they wonder what Braniac is after this time. Kara surmises that Braniac wants her. However, Kara also points out that if they're going to fight Braniac, they need to all be on the same playing field - or in this case, same sky.
Over at the Daily Planet, Lois and Jimmy are bemoaning their lack of a good story to work on (which has some interesting shades of the future.) As they're chatting, Lois gets the news about the death of Patricia Swan from Traveler. Lois has the info to suggest it was a murder, not an accident.
And almost as if on cue, just then Lex's new assistant comes in to tell him that the tracks showing the locket coming to him have been covered. Lex is pleased to know that he has finally come that much closer to finding the secrets his father was covering. It turns out that the gunshot in Detroit from Fracture unsealed memories that Lex lost after the first meteor shower.
What memories are these? Well, we get to see in the form of a flashback, where a young Lex is playing hide and seek with equally young versions of Patricia Swan, Jason Teague and Oliver Queen. During this game of hide and seek, Lex overhears their parents discussing the traveler, and whether or not they would try to control the traveler or if they would meet with him first. The arguments between the members of Veritas are strong. It seems that Swan knew the way to defeat or control the traveler, but locked it in an envelope unless they discovered that the traveler was a threat.
And back in the real world, Lex opens the locket to reveal the key that will open that envelope, giving him power over the traveler. If Lex knew that Clark was the traveler, things would be really bad. Fortunately, he doesn't. At least, not yet.
Into the bowels of Luthorcorp we go, where Jimmy and Lois are posing as gardeners to get close to Lionel, where Lois immediately begins to question him about the death of Patricia Swan. Lionel mocks their combination of courage and stupidity, which Lois throws back at him. They present a good deal of circumstantial evidence tying Lionel to Swan. They also show that her locket was taken after her death. Lionel is clearly affected by this knowledge, but hides his distress as he has security take Lois and Jimmy away. Once he's alone, Lionel reveals to the camera that he also had a locket with a key.
So, let's see if a man can fly. Kara is demonstrating to Clark how to fly over the Kent farm. Kara keeps telling Clark that it's easy, but he is clearly reluctant. Clark stalls, saying that they don't have time for this. Kara says that she'll cover the sky and he can cover the land, but Clark points out that he still can't find Braniac, even with Chloe busy tracking it. They surmise that Braniac must absorbing energy from somewhere, and guess they might track it that way.
Little could they guess that Braniac is closer than they might have thought. The Kryptonian supercomputer surprises Lana while she is at Isis, and easily overpowers her. Braniac inserts a probe into Lana's brains and eyes (in a remarkably icky moment), and then smiles sardonically as Lana stands there dumbly.
Clark is waiting for Chloe at the Planet where he sees the news announcement about Patricia being found. Clark and Chloe wonder why she might have been killed and whether Lionel is behind it. Clark starts a guilt trip, but Chloe cuts him off with the evidence she's obtained about where Braniac has been drawing power. This leads to them seeing that there was a drain at Isis.
Rushing to the rescue, Clark zips over to Isis where he finds Lionel there. Lionel was also looking for Lana. Clark begins to accuse Lionel of the inhuman acts he is guilty over, including the deaths of the Queens and now Patricia. Lionel tries to protest, ultimately saying that it doesn't matter if Clark hates him, but that he needs to give him something. (Presumably, the key.) Clark wants none of it, but instead demands to know where Lana is. Lionel says he doesn't know, and that the receptionist said that she had a visitor, and then left. Assuming that the visitor was Braniac, Clark speeds off to find her, leaving Lionel alone at Isis.
Clark returns to the farmhouse where he sees Lana. At first, Clark is relieved, believing that Lana must not have been at Isis when Braniac was there. But then he gets a closer look at Ms. Lang, who is standing in the room, motionless, burning her hand on a pot of boiling water. Clark examines her more closely, and sees that her eyes are glazed over, characteristic of Braniac's victims.
Kara returns, saying that she thought that Clark was going to contact her once he and Chloe found Braniac. Clark shows her the semi-comatose Lana, and Kara realizes that whatever Braniac did to Lana should have been done to her.
Lana, in a robotic trance, writes a message to the two Kryptonians. (In the Kryptonian language, no less.) Braniac wants Kara delivered to it at the Daily Planet. While Clark turns his attention back to Lana, Kara flies off, and the viewer is led to believe that she is turning herself over to Braniac.
Within Isis, Lois and Jimmy continue their hunt for proof of Lionel's involvement with the death of Patricia Swan. They don't find that, but they do find a note from Lionel telling Lana that he was innocent, and instead proving that Patricia's killer was working for Lex.
Lex's assistant comes in to tell Lex that they found the bank, but that there's a slight catch. The key that Lex now has in his possession is only one of the two keys needed to open the vault. Lex enters a flashback, where he realizes that the other key belonged to Queens, and is now in Lionel's possession. In Lex's flashback, he also sees his father talking on the phone (probably to the Teagues) about the fact that the traveler is useless to them without the means to control him, and that means is in a strongbox in Zurich. Exiting the flashback, Lex tells his assistant that he knows where to search for the key.
Kara is waiting for Braniac on top of the Planet, when Clark arrives to keep her from sacrificing herself to Braniac. Braniac then arrives, pointing out that no force on Earth, other than it, can revive Lana from the state she is in. Braniac then says that they can end her suffering if Kara goes with it. Clark doesn't want to let Kara endanger herself, but Kara is as much a hero as Clark, and she willingly goes with the Kryptonian machine. Both Kara and Braniac fly off into space, leaving Clark alone on top of the Daily Planet building.
Inside the Daily Planet, Lionel is waiting for Chloe, where he again tries to show his innocence. Finally, Lionel is able to articulate the fact that he has become a different man since Jor-El chose him as his vessel. Chloe tries to remain cold to Lionel, who literally gets on his knees to plead for Chloe to listen to him. Clark has turned away from Jor-El, and is vulnerable, and Lionel needs to get the information to Clark. Once again, Lionel insists that it doesn't matter if Clark hates him, but that Clark needs to hear this warning and what Lionel has to offer in the form of the key. Unfortunately, Chloe refuses him once more.
Lana has been hospitalized, and Clark is in the waiting room, hoping for good news about her condition when Chloe arrives. Clark is desperate for news of Braniac and Kara, but Chloe says that they have both dropped off the map. (Which makes sense, since they're in space.) Before more can pass between Chloe and Clark, an intern tells Clark that he can go in to see Lana. Clark visits with her, and she remains mostly comatose. In her still "I'm a pawn of Braniac" state, Lana whispers "You're too late, Kal-El." Clark closes her greyed-out eyes and sits in front of the woman he loves, truly defeated.
The episode ends with Chloe, and the audience, watching a now-broken Man of Steel crying at Lana's feet.
A good episode (even if the thought of Clark flying turned out to be no more than a tease), and one that ended on more of a downbeat than I think we've ever seen on Smallville. It's going to be a long two weeks as we wait for the show to return on April 17th. I'll see you then!