Many works of speculative fiction employ a story element known as a MacGuffin device around which the plot develops. Usually this happens to be some kind of weapon of mass destruction.
However, the 2007 season finale of Smallville decided to take the concept in a decidedly different direction with interesting parallels to current biotechnical developments.
In the episode, Lex Luthor is bent on creating an army of enhanced soldiers to combat the growing menace of superpowered humans (as well as to no doubt line his own pockets and enhance his own political status).
Yet what makes this episode stand out is that it is revealed that the success of these experiments is linked to capturing a disembodied entity (a demon if you will) that escaped from the Phantom Zone, the netherworld utilized by the people of Krypton as a workaround of their stance against the death penalty for the planet’s worst criminals. For you see, the entity alters the genetic code of the human host it possesses and Luthor believes the alterations can be mass produced.
However, things do not work out as intended and the entity eventually gets a hold of Clark Kent’s DNA and morphs into what the creature itself describes as a “more bizarre version” of the Man of Steel. As the being flies off, coupled with that comment and the white powdery appearance that comes over its face in mid-flight, it is apparent the character is meant to be Bizarro.
Interestingly, in past incarnations of this warped version of Superman, he comes about as the result of a direct botched cloning. Those following developments in transhumanism where the Doctor Frankensteins of the early 21st century hope to meld all manner of creatures be they animal, human, or nonterrestrial together will no doubt note the parallels of this new interpretation in the episode to the events alluded to in Genesis about the mingling of distinct orders of being in the hopes of bringing about the elusive ubernmensch as the character is the result of the fusion of the biological and the extradimensional.
Fans will also enjoy typical season finale hijinks and as usual will be left wondering all summer whether Lana or Chloe will survive their annual excursions to death’s door and just whose side Lionel Luthor is really on.
By Frederick Meekins