Awesome episode. That is all I can say. The actors in this episode were right on. It was amazing. The direction was great. The music was great. And Shelby's back!
So, the theme/storyline is not a new one. This has been done on every single scifi show I have ever seen. So while it's cliche, it doesn't ever get old because we get to explore so many ranges of emotions with the characters.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the episode. Martian Manhunter was amazing. I loved him and I want more. What a perfect way to have him approach Clark. He says he's from Mars. He's in an asylum with Clark. Clark can't be sure of anything. But the payoff with his acting and the way his character was written was brilliant.
Chloe was great. Crazy Chloe. It's interesting how the Phantom used Chloe against Clark. From a storytelling pov, she was there to confuse the audience more. Chloe believes in Clark? Great! Clark was right! Something was done to him and Chloe knows! But then it slowed revealed that she's nuts as well and that along with her death is the catalysts that brings Clark closer to the fantasy world. I thought that was a great way to push him closer to giving in.
Kudos to the continuity department for bringing up stuff that happened throughout the series, especially the pilot. That was a nice touch and helped to twist Clark's reality.
Lois wasn't in the episode. I love Lois, but she wouldn't have fit here anyway. So no problem with that for me. I missed Lionel, but he was mentioned. Glad for that as well.
I loved the scenes between Clark and Lex. Wow, MR just really let go. I loved their scenes, especially the one where Lex has tears in his eyes and he's yelling at Clark full of hate. Awesome.
Clark and his mom. This scene really hit me. Clark has always at least been able to rely on his parents. Jonathan and Martha were always there for him and he'd protect them no matter what. To suddenly have his mother not believe in him at all crippled him and you could see it in TW's acting. It was great.
All of these things helped build towards Clark falling apart. I do love how long he stayed defiant and strong. That really speaks to his character. A Clark from S1 and S2 wouldn't have lasted. He would have caved. This is a Clark that is getting closer to who he's meant to be.
However, I'm not pleased with the resurgence of Clana because that ship has been dragged out way way too long. I feel that it is holding the characters back, especially Clark. However, it didn't bother me in the context of this episode. It was an AU and Clark did love her. He still has feelings for her. Often, it takes a long time for someone to get over their love, especially their first loves. The dream presented Clark with an alternative where he could have what he's wanted--Lana. But even in that scene where he gives up and decides to go through, there is suspicion and doubt in his eyes. If you watch those scenes carefully, I see a Clark who is grasping at straws, just hoping that there is this chance even if it's not real. I see Clark in those scenes knowing the truth, but unwilling to accept it. And when he finds he just can't fight past that imaginary world that he thinks he wants, then he helps shatter this alternate world and take action.
The end scenes with Clark and Lana just reinforce how deeply the dreamworld affected him. Clark is still living with this hope that maybe he can have what he wants. But Lana stated it perfectly in his dreamworld. He has two destinies: one where he can stay with her and one where he saves humanity. He cannot have both. And in the end, we all know what his choice will be.