Why can't all episodes be Szwarc episodes? Every scene was a visual delight, every actor looked fantastic and the lighting was a dream.
What I loved most in this episode was Bug Boy coming back to thank Clark. I wish he'd spoken to him directly and that they'd taken the idea even further, filling the room with former meteor villains and people Clark saved, raising a secret glass to him. (Like the Buffy episode "The Prom" *sob*) But still, awesome.
Marsters is always great and he made Brainiac Five quite different from previous incarnations. Slashier, for one thing. I don't think his hand ever left Clark's shoulder! Marsters always makes the most of his dialogue and I loved his playful line about intending to come to the future with Clark, but Clark jumped the gun.
This episode made me laugh three times, which hasn't happened since Warrior. Once at the guidance counselor with the Clark-doll; again at Clark wearing a crown while Bug Bug made crazy-eyes at him and finally, very hard laughter, at this line from Clark: "I don't think that not returning Oliver's calls equals a darkness within me!" Because part of the reason Brainiac came back from the future? Was to say this to Clark: "Stop punishing Oliver with your silence!" Yes, we must all be nicer to Oliver!
And then Brainiac actually takes Clark to watch Oliver moodily waiting for a call from Clark - I was certain that Oliver's shirt would come off in this scene, but for once, no. This was SeriousOliver. And later Oliver goes on TV when oh no, the reporter asks "Who's on your answering machine?" and Oliver looks emo because Clark still hasn't called. But there's Clark, right in the studio! For the folks that slash Clark/Oliver, this was the slashiest ep since...Szwarc's last episode "Kandor."
The show continues to incorporate more political opinion than in the past, with Oliver using his TV segment to tackle anti-immigration politicians. I approve of topical Smallville.
I had worried about potential retcons popping up in this episode but the flashbacks were well done and sweet. I'm glad the script stayed away from Lex because I think there was a potential to veer off in unwelcome directions there.
Lois dancing on Clark's feet was very cute. I liked her complete enjoyment of her throne and the rueful acceptance of strawberry punch.
Two Clarks in an elevator, checking each other out, is porn waiting to happen.
Here's my caveat: Brainiac sending Clark to see his future...sorta denies Clark the agency to create his future. He now knows there's no risk in telling Lois his secret...because he knows he's told Lois his secret. It takes the risk, the momentousness, away from what should be a huge step for him. If Clark knows the endpoint, instead of forging his own path, he's just following a template: work at the Planet, marry Lois, glasses for Clark, cape for Superman. Sure, the viewer knows that's where he's headed, but shouldn't Clark get the thrill of discovery too?