Superman has come in many forms in live-action both on the big and small screen. One of the most beloved incarnations of the Man of Steel is Smallville, where Tom Welling portrayed a young Clark Kent for ten seasons on The WB and then The CW. For ten years, fans got to follow the boy of steel as he figured himself out and discovered his true destiny as Earth’s greatest hero.
For a decade we got over 200 episodes of material where viewers followed Clark and the people in his life before he became the Man of Tomorrow. While the journey was long, Clark eventually ended up in the classic suit as he took it to the skies and became Superman. When a show has gone on for as long as it had, each season definitely comes with strong episodes as well as some stinkers. With that said, these are the best and worst episodes of Smallville Season 1.
10 WORST: Craving (Episode 7)
Before she was Lois Lane in the DC Extended Universe, Amy Adams had already stepped into the world of Superman. In the seventh episode of Smallville’s first season, Adams played Jodi Melville who is struggling with being overweight. This was one of the show’s wackier ways of using meteor rock (which would later become known as Kryptonite) and this happened early on.
In this episode, Jodi makes smoothies through vegetables that were infected by meteor rock and this caused her to lose weight really quick. But of course, it came with a cost, as she could only please her hunger by sucking literal human fat.
9 BEST: Leech (Episode 12)
One of the recycled obstacles that Smallville liked to use was making Clark temporarily powerless every once in a while. The first time was in the twelfth episode in the first season where Eric Summers (Shawn Ashmore) who gets Clark’s powers through a thunderstorm via meteor rock.
Even though Clark had a shot of living a normal life, our young hero eventually had to stop and take Eric's powers after he begins to act like a villain.
8 WORST: Metamorphosis (Episode 2)
The early season enjoyed its freak-of-the-week structure with some being better than others. Following the freak we had in the pilot, the second episode dials it up to an 11 when they introduced Greg Arkin or Bugboy (Chad E. Donella) as he was better known by.
For a second episode to get as strange as Metamorphosis was a pretty weird move by Smallville. Visually, it was also off-putting seeing a meteor-freak (before they were known as meta-humans) with insect-like behavior as well as some powers.
7 BEST: Stray (Episode 16)
One of the later episodes that really stand out in Season 1 is the sixteenth episode “Stray.” In this one, we meet Ryan James (Ryan Kelley), who has the power of telepathy. But unlike some of the other meteor-rock infected people, Ryan didn’t use his powers for evil. In fact, he was being used by his stepparents who took advantage of Ryan’s power.
While on the run from his home, Ryan gets temporarily taken in by the Kents and this gives us one of the sweetest episodes, allowing Clark to have a little brother for a period of time. It’s genuinely a lovely episode because of the dynamic between Clark and Ryan.
6 WORST: Drone (Episode 18)
“Metamorphosis” wasn’t the only bug-themed freak-of-the-week in Smallville’s first season. In the eighteenth episode later that season, we got Sasha Woodman (Shonda Farr), a student with the power to control bees.
The whole notion that she was using these bees to take out all of her competition in the ongoing race for class president is both hilarious as well as overall freaky. Overall, not one of the best episodes.
5 BEST: Hourglass (Episode 6)
Clark goes through an emotional roller coaster in the sixth episode when we meet Cassandra Carver (Jackie Burroughs), a blind woman with the ability to see someone’s future after touching them. This episode is iconic in many ways because her first vision causes Clark to learn that he will outlive the people he loves. However, Cassandra’s role in this episode is unforgettable.
She becomes one of the early people to inform Clark of the role he will play in so many people’s lives, hinting at his future as Superman. Then there is also the vision she has of Lex that is iconic in itself, where we see him in the White House before being surrounded by death, hinting at his destiny as a villain. While she sadly passes away after that, “Hourglass” is outstanding because of the destinies that are hinted at for both Clark and Lex.
4 WORST: Cool (Episode 5)
In the fifth episode, we get one of the cheekier freaks of the week in the form of Sean Kelvin (Michael Coristine) who had one of the worse accidents when it came to meteor rock. After falling into an iced lake that had meteor rock in it, Sean is stuck with permanent hypothermia.
However, Sean gets a dangerous gift that allows him to suck heat out of anything living, which in turn warms him up. On paper, "Cool" probably sounded fine but the execution was somewhat lacking.
3 BEST: Pilot (Episode 1)
This is the episode that started it all and to this day, it still holds up as one of the best series premieres of any show. Through the pilot, we get introduced to Clark’s world from when Krypton exploded to his life in high school.
There are so many iconic moments that are still amazing today: Lana Lang’s (Kristin Kreuk) “So what are you, man or superman?;” Clark saving Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), and Clark becoming that year’s scarecrow. This is the episode that made it clear Smallville had an amazing story to tell about DC Comics’ icon.
2 WORST: Reaper (Episode 17)
The seventeenth episode was another unsettling one that was just hard to watch. In this, we meet Tyler Randall (Reynaldo Rosales) who comes back to life through meteor rock, but also with a deadly gift. He could now touch anyone and turn them into ash.
It gets even more intense when he decides to “help” those who are suffering by killing sick people so they could get a peaceful death. While it made him one of the more dangerous freaks of the week, it was still a bit too much for the series given that it was its first season.
1 BEST: Tempest (Episode 21)
No matter whether a Smallville season is considered strong or weak, the show always kills it with its premieres and finales. The first season finale made that incredibly clear. Clark and his friends are focusing on having a good spring formal, but everything goes to hell when a tornado hits the little town.
While that is all going down, there is major tension with the Luthors, as Lex and Lionel (John Glover) were going through some serious drama. The finale also has one of the most unforgettable endings with Clark going into the tornado to save Lana.