The Lana Lang/Lex Luthor relationship in Smallville Is … Gross

As you may know, I’ve been steamrolling my way through a re-re-watch of the television series Smallville. I’m a little over mid-way through the seventh season. In my few write-ups here and there about the show, as things stick out to me, I’ve been teasing this post, and welp, here it is:

Lex Luthor, aside from being a megalomaniac obsessed with Clark Kent/Superman, he’s also a creep. Throughout the entire course of the first five seasons, Lex, as an adult, has been grooming freshman, sophomore, junior and then senior Lana Lang.

Manifest in his obsession with Clark, Lex wants everything Clark has: Two loving parents who provide a stable home environment, friends, like Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross, and Lana, the love interest.

Even before the grooming begins, it’s weird that Lex is hanging around high school kids, and in particular, trying to play match-maker with Clark and Lana. Clark, Lana (Chloe and Pete) are all supposed to be freshman in high school in the first season, so Lana is thereabouts that age when Lex begins grooming her in the first season, and he’s, what, maybe early 20s?

The main seed he plants is letting a 14-or-15-year-old co-own the Talon, a coffee shop in town. He’s the benefactor for it and did it only to get in the good graces of Lana.

From there, he teaches her how to fight, forgives all of her transgressions (when she’s possessed by Kryptonite or other issues), and by season three, when Lana decides to go to Paris, he is the one who helps fund it. He was also the one there at the airport to say goodbye to her when Clark wasn’t (BECAUSE HE WAS OFF SAVING THE WORLD).

Then by season four, the relationship between Lex and Lana sours some, as Lana is with Jason Teague, who she met in Paris, but Lex tries to break up that relationship by revealing to the school that Jason, who is a football coach, is dating a high school student. (The whole Lana/Jason relationship is problematic, too.)

When Lex is obsessed with obtaining the Stones of Power and needs Lana to do it at the end of season four, she even realizes how evil he is, by saying, “This was never about my safety was it, this was about you getting your hands on that stone!”

Yet, despite all of that, because Lex also knows about the spaceship at the end of that season and because of the prior seeds planted, Lana starts having feelings for Lex. He groomed her from the start and it came to fruition by season five.

Still unbeknownst to either Lana or Clark, Lex hired a powerful hypnotist to essentially break Lana and Clark up by making out with Clark in front of Lana.

It’s gross, dare I say, icky.

He doesn’t care about Lana; he only wants to make Clark suffer. To be sure, I get the position Lana is in: Clark, in trying to conceal his identity, has constantly lied to and made excuses or left things unexplained. That’s frustrating to Lana. And it’s frustrating to me! Just tell her Clark! Trust her!

But alas. She ends up going with Lex, where HE MAKES HER THINK SHE’S PREGNANT SO SHE’LL MARRY HIM. Eventually, she realizes all of this, realizes Clark’s secret, gets away from Lex, still is obsessed with bringing Lex down, and the relationship between her and Clark is never the same.

Also, one of my biggest issues with it is that I love the Lana character of the first couple of seasons, despite how frustrating it is that her and Clark don’t get together (or stay together, as it were). But by seasons five and six, she’s becoming more like Lana Luthor than Lana Lang, and that dark side of her is rough to watch.

To be clear, I think all of this makes sense for THE villain in comics to do because he wants to overwhelmingly destroy Clark and adding a layer of creep to a psychopath makes sense, but still, it’s gross to watch!

What do you think, if you’ve seen the show?

3 thoughts

  1. My problem is that when I first watched I’d think why’d he say that o her? Then I’d say he’s just being nice. Then season 5 happened and he was just really manipulative. Not to mention Lana believed every word he said, just because he would manage to compare himself to Clark or say he wanted to do charity like her. On the re-watch even their friendship is unsettling. Me too on Clark’s secret I didn’t like the gas lighting approach he used particularly with Lana or Lex. Stop pretending to be normal, they’ve seen you use your powers and heard about it!

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  2. The Lana Lang/Lex Luthor relationship in Smallville Is … Gross:
    My problem is that when I first watched I’d think why’d he say that to her? Or what was the point of that scene? Then I’d say he’s just being nice. Then season 5 happened and he was just really manipulative. Like s ton of lines about how Clark is never going to trust you. Or Clark makes you feel guilty. Not to mention Lana believed every word he said, just because he would manage to subconciously compare himself to Clark or say he wanted to do charity like her. On the re-watch even their friendship is unsettling. Me too on Clark’s secret I didn’t like the gas lighting approach he used particularly with Lana or Lex. Stop pretending to be normal, they’ve seen you use your powers and heard about it!

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  3. Lana and Lex’s relationship was equivalent to stockholm syndrome, codependency, Machiavellianism, etc. It’s actually debatable to say Lex didn’t love Lana. Because it’s not that black and white. Ever since Lionel Luthor has abused Lex during childhood, Lex’s mother died, Julian died, Clark was being secretive, women were taking advantage of Lex lovelessly, and other things, Lex would never be the same again. Perhaps Lex was not the completely evil mastermind after all. Maybe he was abused and corrupted. They say that evil is not born, it’s made. Not that I’m being a Lex apologist. But, Lex might have felt affectionate towards Lana yet in an unhealthy way.

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