They can even make us feel sorry for Lionel. I was afraid that he would pull the trigger at the end. Will Lionel die or will Lex help the FBI to bring him down first? The alliance between father and son did not last long. Lionel is now using his considerable resources not for further profit but for mere survival. That does bring him down to closer to everyone else's level.
Lana rings the Youth Center Crisis Line because she has foreknowledge that, when she rings that line, Clark will answer it. It is interesting to hear her say, "It's happening!" now that we know what that means - and how she came to be where she was with Adam despite her friends' attempts to prevent that.
We should not have seen her body lying with a bullet in the back. That is prevented from happening. Readers of the comics know that "Crisis" is a very powerful title.