I've been mulling over the image of Chloe strapped to a lab table, experimented upon, and exactly what that means. Because, frankly, it bothers me, you know, beyond the shock factor. This means something: Lex's irredeemability a part of that something.
That final image of Lex calmly watching the experiment footage means that his journey to darkness is complete and anything he does or says now will just be a matter of degree, reflect that darkness. He ordered the death of dozens of people just to tie up loose ends, people that he experimented upon. As far as we know, he ordered Chloe's death--someone who had risked her life to help him at the end of S3--with absolutely no hesitation, so her panic to get the GPS chip out of her shoulder seems completely warranted.
And so much of the experiments--whatever purpose they serve--appear unnecessary, serving only to terrify the subject who is conscious during the whole procedure. Unless the good doctors plan on performing oral surgery or inserting a gastrointestinal microscopic camera into the subject, why is the mouth forced open since there isn't even an anaethesia tube involved? Besides the sympathetic terror this image elicits in the viewer, shock value, this image is indicative of the gestalt image of alien abduction and sexual predation--and many alien abduction stories do have a sexual tone with anal probes and forced pregnancies, helplessness and fear of the clinical. The fact that Lex watches so intently gives credence to predation, prurience, otherwise he could flip through a lab report.
The needle, besides sending a frisson of fear in the viewer from it's sheer length, also has a few possibilities. I can only think of three procedures, actually four, that require a needle of that length: cancer biopsy, rabies vaccine, amniocentesis, and ova extraction. The first two reflect the illness and possibility of madness that the meteor-infected, meteor freaks as Chloe still insists on calling them even when she suspects herself as one, experience; and the last two reflect pregnancy, fertility and genetic perpetuation, manipulation.
And since all the subjects are mindwiped after their experience--although their memories could be possibly retrieved due to their consciousness, really anesthesia would cover *that* base--what does this say about Lana's pregnancy? Could she possibly have been "experimented" on as well? I'd say yes, considering that Lex appears to have no moral qualms left. The only thing that seems to stay his hand in anything now is strategy. The only reason that he swears on the soul of his unborn child--and he's obviously lying and is so forsworn--is because that soul carries no weight with him. He either feels that he's beyond the punishment of fate or he simply doesn't care. Which is shocking, given how much he's spoken of destiny and family in the past. Even if he believes he's the helmsman of his life, able to affect the people around him to his will, this shows such arrogance and hubris. I don't know if he cares about anyone anymore. He's even passed Lionel in this regard.
This means that all the oaths that he's sworn to Clark in the past hold no weight either. Chloe and Lana are the preshow, Clark splayed on the table will be the finale. You could read the sexual overtones in that or not. Lex has just become freaking scary regardless.
And this worries me. The announcements for next season should be made any day now, and I'm wondering where Lex has left to go, next year? He needs to pull off to the side of the road in his journey in order to keep the audience engaged. A temporary alliance with Clark perhaps, fighting a common enemy. Otherwise he risks holding that one note, crescendo, for too long.