Smallville has had very few ups and so many downs over the course of its 10 year run. I have watched every episode within its week of air date since the very beginning. I have had moments where I hated it and I have had moments where I was so damn excited I couldn’t even get a word out. It’s a Love/Hate relationship for sure but I will be writing this review from the perspective of someone who, now that the show is over, admits that it was a good time overall.
From the very beginning, Smallville has been an unapologetic loose adaptation of the Superman franchise. Something we all have known yet everyone forgets. The network has always said that this show will be its own telling and will ignore all the rules of continuity in the comic books. Yet people come back week after week and complain about how much further they are steering away from its origins. I was so sick of hearing this constant argument, I decided pretty early on that I would need to ignore everyones opinions if I ever wanted to enjoy the show. Plenty of moments in Smallville’s history have angered me. I thought the shows use of Kryptonite in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE and EVERY SINGLE VILLAIN Clark faces was ridiculous. It painted Superman as being a weaker character than he really is. In fact, I blame Smallville for the general public having an extreme disrespect for the Man Of Steel all together. In my opinion, kryptonite should have an effect on Clark that makes him more human. A regular guy with abandonment issues shouldn’t be able to put a rock on his chest and watch him slowly die. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
With that said, Smallville has given me a much better idea of the trials that Clark Kent may have had to go through as a young man from out of this world who needs to learn the responsibilities of his power. Superman isn’t the greatest hero ever known because of his powers. His name is known for centuries to come because of the ideals he stands for. The ideals taught to him from the humblest of Americans. If not for Jonathan and Martha Kent, the boy wonder could have easily grown to be one of the most powerful super villains history has ever known. Many of those alternatives have been told in the genius pages of DC Else Worlds. No average 24 page origin issue will ever be able to make you understand his tribulations like Smallville has. I am the first to admit that he should have been able to fly a long time ago but the finale definitely made me feel a lot better about that fact.
The 10th season felt rushed to say the least and key moments where we should have seen character development were skipped over entirely. The love growing between Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, and Chloe Sullivan, a completely made up character who’s original point was to play as somewhat of an alternate love interest for Clark, became stale in this season and she was gone for most of it. So the spark we should have seen between the two characters was lost on us. We had back and forth issues with Clark and Lois through out the season and the second to last episode attempted to throw us into a direction of doubt by having Lois feel the need to sacrifice her love for Clark for the betterment of man kind. It was a sad attempt that any fan of the show has grown quite used to. I saw it as a way to make us all feel that they would end the show on a hanger inevitably starting a riot of Smallville Apologists. We have stuck around through thick and thin and we demand a relevant ending to the series.
The final episode was appropriately named “Finale” and it played its purpose. Although the first half seemed to be chalk full of reminiscent flash backs to key points in its own history, I felt the second half finally played the much needed homage to the iconic character. I did think that the entire seasons work up to a final battle between Superman and Lord Darkseid was a little bland and sort of despicable. They brought back Michael Rosenbaum for the final episode but only for one measly scene. When hearing that he agreed to come back, I knew he refused to cut his hair. Surprisingly, the bald cap he ended up wearing for that scene was very believable. I knew that Rosenbaum was hell bent on never coming back to the show but I thought he would at least come back for an entire episode rather than just one scene.
The last five minutes or so were when they cleared up everything for the future of the franchise. During the lame fight between Clark and Darkseid, Clark gains the ability to fly and seems to kill Darkseid. Kal El goes to his happy place and squashes his beef with his real father. Jor El informs Kal just how proud of his son he is. Which of course means a lot to him. The ghost of Jonathan Kent stands in the Fortress Of Solitude and is the one to hand over the tights to his son. Jor El babbles on about the trials Kal has had to go through and kind of gives me the impression that he hasn’t allowed Clark to take advantage of the full potential his powers. Maybe making sense of the scene with Darkseid. The next scene shows some quick shots of him flying out of the Fortress and putting on the suit for the first time. We never actually see Tom Welling IN the suit which kind of pissed me off. We get far away depictions of him flying, Obviously in full CGI, but No full body shot of Welling suited up. Kind of lame when thinking about all the red and blue hints they have had in his regular attire over the years. It would have been pretty easy to just show him once but i’ll take what I can get. He then effortlessly flies up to Apokolips and nudges it away from earth with not so much as a deep breath. Further reason to believe Jor El has been holding back his abilities all this time. The only thing that could have made this better is if Superman then flew down to Metropolis and hovers above an astounded crowd of on-lookers who just witnessed the amazing feat of Super Prowess. No speech, no questions, just people enjoying the wonder that is Superman.
I think the major thing I loved about the finale was how they set it up to continue in the DC world we know and love. We get a quick look at what the future holds in the last few seconds. Lex Loses his memory of pretty much everything. So he barely even knows Clark and is shown as being elected for President. Clark and Lois don’t get married, so we get to befuddled Clark Kent in the newsroom. Jimmy Olson has a little brother who grows up to work at the Daily Planet to be Supermans best pal. We even get to see a very important scene where Clark Kent runs up to the roof of the Daily Planet, rips open his shirt and shows off the symbol before flying away to save the day. These last few moments made the entire show for me. I ignored all the crap I hated about the series and made me focus on all the great episodes in its history. I didn’t require anything more. Just that flash forward showing everything set straight and I was a happy camper. I’ve spent years being an apologetic fan but now that its over, I’m content with focusing on my own opinion and I can’t wait to start the series over from the beginning.