During my freshman year in high school, the pilot for Smallville aired on the then WB network. Growing up as a Marvel fan I didn’t have very high hopes for Smallville, but I did tune in for the first episode. Much to my surprise I found that I really enjoyed the show, and moreover found that I really liked Superman. Advancing from the “Freak of the week” story lines, to more in depth stories like Bizarro, Zod, Doomsday and Darkseid; Smallville covered a lot of ground. What really made the show work for me was the cast, Tom Welling (Clark Kent), Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang), Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) and Allison Mack(Chloe Sullivan) were the meat of the stories, but they were also backed up by many other outstanding actors such as Anette O’Toole (Martha Kent), John Glover (Lionel Luthor) and John Schneider (Jonathan Kent); and of course Erica Durance (Lois Lane), Cassidy Freeman (Tess Mercer) and Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow). This is what kept me tuning in, and why it became part of my weekly routine. It was also neat in a way to “grow up” with Superman, when the series began Clark Kent just begins high school and I progressed along through the grades at the same time. I don’t believe I was conscious of this then, but looking back what an amazing ride it has been. With the show coming to an end after 10 years, I have a lot of thoughts on the finale. If you haven’t seen it, and you are a Smallville fan then you definitely need to see it.
*** There be spoilers here! ***
We pick up in the Darkseid story Arch of season 10. Darkseid has brought his home planet Apokolips hurling towards Earth and has turned most of the world into a dark and evil place. Clark and Louis have some touching moments going through their pre-wedding jitters, sharing their vows and overcoming their doubts. Clark talks to Martha who is now able to see Jonathan everywhere she goes, but they both are sad that Clark can no longer see him as he has let go of his past. On the wedding day Oliver possessed by darkness attempts to slip Clark a gold cryptonite ring that would essentially render Clark human forever. Chloe notices the ring just in time and saves the day, while Clark battles Oliver and eventually relinquishes the darkness inside of him. Tess is intercepted by some people in suits while trying to warn Clark about Apokolips, and we later once again meet alternate reality Lionel who informes Tess he needs her heart for another Lex clone she did not know of. In the end she shoots lionel and makes her escape. Darkseid comes and makes a deal with Lionel, in exchange for Lionel’s soul he will let Lex live – finally, the return of Lex! Clark comes to the Luthor mansion to find Tess, but instead he finds Lex. Lex informs Clark that a person is measured by the greatness of their rival, and how Clark was always one step ahead of them. Clark apologizes to Lex for not being able to save him, and that he will always be there to stop him; to which Lex responds, “I’m counting on it”. Tess later confronts Lex and is murdered by him, as she dies she touches Lex’ face with a neurotoxin that erases all of his memories, putting us back into the regular Superman universe where Lex is unaware of Superman’s identity. Lex then goes to the window, completely confused to watch the impending end of the world. Lois realizes that the President is going to attempt to Nuke Apokolips but also knows that this will just rain down nuclear fallout and kill millions of people, she steals a media pass from the politics correspondence and boards a plane with the president. Darkseid now confronts Clark in the form of Lionel Luthor and tells Clark that it has been centuries since anyone was able to stop him, and that Clark is the darkness so he must be destroyed. As Clark is hurled backward by Darkseid, he is frozen in time for a moment as he hears the words of Jonathan Kent that he must listen to Jor-El now. Jor-El brings him to the fortress and shows the past 10 years of Clark’s life to him, these were his trails and this is what made him Superman. Cut back to Clark frozen in air where we see him hovering for a moment before finally taking flight and smashing through Darkseid. He then flies to the fortress where Jor-El reminds him that his powers may be of his blood, but his time in Smallville is what made him the man he became. There is a loud rumbling in the fortress and we see the suit emerge, within a Crystal. As Clark turns around he sees Jonathan holding the suit, and gives his final words of wisdom, “Always hold on to Smallville.” With that Clark flies out of the fortress and puts the suit on, speeding to Lois to save her. Clark adjusts the plane Lois is on with the president and then flies up into the sky past all of the citizens of Metropolis, this act alone gives them enough hope to free them from the darkness and he hurls Apokolips into the sky. We then move ahead several years and we see Chloe reading the a Superman comic to her son, who is implied to be the son of her and Oliver. Jimmy Olson, the younger brother of the other “Jimmy” is now working at the planet and Clark and Lois have their quirky office relationship now. Clark hears over the radio of a big incident going on and he runs up to the rooftop, removes his suit and reveals the Superman suit underneath. With that, 10 years has now concluded.
That is an overall summary of the final 2 hours of Smallville, and in many ways what a fantastic way for it to come to an end. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get any good shots of Clark in the suit as the scenes were all CG. I have read it was because the suit didn’t fit him, but I don’t know if that is true. I was also disappointed with Michael Rosenbaum, I could immediately tell his head was covered with a bald cap because he had an alien shaped head; also his performance wasn’t nearly as strong as it used to be when he portrayed Lex; though overall I was happy to see him return. I was bummed that Tess was killed off as Cassidy Freeman did a terrific job over the past few years to fill the shoes of Rosenbaum. High points in the episode for me, were pretty obvious. Seeing the story of Clark and Lois play out was very sweet. Obviously seeing Clark finally fly and wear the suit were huge as well. I loved the episode overall, but felt there was some fluff in the place where better things couldn’t have been written by the staff. I forgive them though. It has been an incredible 10 years, and I own seasons 1-9 in some format (DVD/Bluray) – I am sad to see Smallville end and am very grateful to everyone that made it what it was. To all my fellow Smallville fans, I leave you with the same words Jonathan Kent delivered to Clark, “Always hold on to Smallville!”