'Smallville' Season Premiere: Zod is the very model of a modern Major General

allisonmack_smallville_290.jpg" Smallville" kicks off season nine with Clark's new style, Chloe's search for the truth, our introduction to John Corben, Lois's three-week vacation and Oliver's transformation into Tyler Durden... but first, we must KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

It's been three weeks since the ugliness that was the eighth season finale, and Chloe is a woman possessed to find Clark... except he doesn't want to be found. Lucky for her, Dr. Hamilton has stepped up to the plate to be her new sugar daddy, going as far as to upgrading the Watchtower. To me, it resembles a major market television news set, sans desk and Ron Burgundy. She's clearly on edge, because when she does eventually sidle up next to Clark, she can only bite her tongue for so long. I'm glad she's made her peace that their relationship as we know it will lessen over the rest of the series, but that doesn't stop her from making quite the incredulous request to him: go back in time and save Jimmy (now that she has the Legion ring.) Clark can't possibly fulfill this request, as Smallville plays by Back to the Future rules. She hisses that any humanity left in him is gone, but major props to Clark for not giving in to peer pressure.

Lois beams in from nowhere onto a train that quickly careens out of control once a mysterious assassin beams in right after her. While the girl scuffle ensues, the train plummets off the tall bridge, only to be saved at the last second by Mr. Kent (who has decided to ditch his signature look for something a bit more... dark.) He's also taken it upon himself to leave his mark burned into whatever he can find. She can't calm down (even at the hospital) and forgets the Legion ring behind for Chloe to find. The next day, she investigates the wrecked train car when, of all people, Brian Austin Green shows up ready to play 20 Questions. It's clear they have vastly different views on the good and usefulness of the Blur, but once he reveals himself to be John Corben, new Daily Planet field reporter... all bets are off.

Meanwhile, Lois finally tracks down Oliver (who's still in the opening credits), fighting his way up Metropolis' version of Fight Club. While he's shirtless the entire time he's on-screen, he finds looks aren't everything as Lois has all but given up on him being a hero... and instead calling him an "obnoxious" individual.

Tess is back ( sigh), but she's been beaten the hell up by some young thugs who answer only to one person... you may call him Zod. Major Zod. That doesn't mean all is well with this season's primary antagonist, as he seems to be lacking the answers his associates are looking for. As per her usual method, she proposes an alliance which only mildly interests the Major. It takes a near mutiny before Zod rises to the occasion. While he admits they're on Earth likely because their home world has been destroyed, he stirringly rallies the troops by declaring they will be victorious... or he will die trying!

And yes, they all absolutely kneel before him... even the cute assassin that came back with Lois.

tomwelling_smallville_290.jpgAs for Clark, he most certainly hasn't been slacking in the three weeks since the ugliness. In fact, it seems on the surface those events gave him a focus and drive he'd been lacking. Of course, Jor-El is quite the coach, telling Clark that he's good to go physically but mentally is another story. Someone or something is holding him back, and until he shakes the proverbial monkey off his back, he can never become what he's destined for. Thank you faceless Terence Stamp ( General Zod) for stating the obvious. Chloe understands where Clark is coming from when it comes to their relationship, but can't believe he still pines for Lois.

More than that, the mystery assassin checks in with our hero. She claims to be a fellow Kryptonian, intent on "helping" him from himself. Sporting Jor-El's watch (set one year in the future), she even throws down Blue Kryptonite to show how serious she is in accomplishing her goal. The two have quite the rumble in the Kent Barn, but Clark emerges victorious when she dies thanks to a knife in the chest... except she's later revealed as one of Zod's kneelers!

Our Moment of Zen comes with Lois falling asleep with a content look on her face. Once in dreamland, though, we see flashes of sex, fire & rock and roll. Foreshadowing?

So what are your thoughts on episode 175?

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