As for me, I would never, ever hurt you again.
--Lex Luthor, "Kara"
Although the episode's title indicates that the episode focuses on the new character of Kara, the scene between Lex and Lana carries the most emotional weight. We see Lex, newly freed from jail, jet over to Shanghai to confront Lana, obsessively playing the security recording from their last confrontation.
"That's the last time you'll ever touch me," Lana says on tape.
This is a lie. As a prediction, it's untrue. As a wish, it is unfulfilled. For as Lex steps forward, begging Lana to kill him, her resolve wavers and he grabs her wrist - a strong and threatening gesture contradicting both her words and his. And he disarms her, physically as he has done emotionally.
Masterfully played, Lex has never been suicidal. He may be willing to die. He's considered a few things to be worth more than death. In this case, if Lana pulls that trigger, she becomes a true Luthor - monstrous - and someone that Clark cannot forgive, much as Clark cannot seem to forgive Lex now.
Lex urges Lana to return to Smallville, but for what purpose? For Lex always has a purpose. We know from the previous episode, "Bizarro", that Clark is not absent from Lex's mind, no matter his new obsession and mysterious savior. Is Lex on such a different trajectory that he would graciously allow Lana and Clark to become a couple again?
"If I wanted revenge, I wouldn't be here," he says.
We'll have to see what it is he does want.
Lana Luthor may be dead to the world, but she's alive for Lex, still a Luthor, and family - as twisted as the Luthor concept of family is.
Currently, Clark has other problems. He's confronted with a cousin that he never knew he had, another Kryptonian that becomes his responsibility as much as she claims to be responsible for him, her mission. Although she possesses the power of flight - which still eludes him - she needs him to acclimate, to control some of her other abilities, to shed some of that natural Kryptonian arrogance. Once the elder, she is now the younger and they have much to teach each other.
Let's hope their 'meet violent' bodes better than the 'meet violent' that Clark had seven years ago.
She is family, and Clark values that more than anything.
But family - as much as it brings closeness - can bring friction. A rivalry is set up as Lois pursues the ship and Chloe does all she can to prevent that pursuit, to discredit it. But the other new character, fresh from the Star City Post, Grant Gabriel, sees value in the story and in Lois. His words to Chloe seem unnecessarily harsh, but what they are is a reminder - a reminder to remember who she used to be, that her role of Clark's Secret Keeper is hurting her. She now brushes over the truth while claiming that is the one thing she values. This can only hurt her journalism, her career, as she skirts that truth. Gabriel may, in fact, set her back on that path.
And that path may lead elsewhere. We know the final story. Gabriel does not stay editor of the Planet, Perry White eventually gains that position. Lois becomes the star reporter - her prose a "bengal tiger leaping off the page."
Could the Star City Post be in her future?
Lois isn't coldly calculating here. She struggles with her own burning ambition for the truth - much as Chloe did before the revelation of The Secret - and her affection for Chloe. They're at odds; Chloe threatened. Lois does everything she can to bolster Chloe, to support her.
After all, she's family. And Lois, as Clark, she values that more than anything.
crosspost warning: JF, IJ, GJ & LJ.