Well tonight was the 200th episode of Smallville (can you believe it?). Here's the official description of tonight's episode:
In an attempt to cheer up Clark (Tom Welling), Lois (Erica Durance) convinces him to attend their five-year high school reunion. A visit back to the home of the Crows has Clark remembering old times with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Chloe (Allison Mack), while Losi is furious that no one remembers her five days as a student. Brainiac 5.0 (James Marsters) uses his Legion ring to visit from the future and takes Clark through his past, present and future. He shows Clark what really happened the night Jonathan died, Oliver’s (Justin Hartley’s) current pain and Clark’s future at the Daily Planet with Lois and his role as Earth’s favorite red and blue superhero.
Upon first glance, this celebratory episode of Smallville is very much three separate entities. An unimpressive clip-show of seasons past, a spectacular glimpse at the franchise’s future and a proverbial “get out of jail free” card that allows producers to bypass some tricky plot-points that have been previously established this season. Fortunately, while this 200th episode of Smallville is far from perfect, there are enough wonderful, jaw-dropping moments that any shortcomings (and there are many) this episode had are well worth the price of admission.
Take, for example, the first thirty minutes of this episode. For a season of Smallville that’s been so impressive in its storytelling and ability to progress the plot, while continuing to fully supplement the supporting characters' storylines, it’s hard to believe that the producers were completely behind the use of a high-school reunion to convey this episode’s story-arc. While it’s wonderful to take a look back at the fictional Smallville High, I would have rather had more cameos of past characters than the resulting 30-minute clip show that we received.
No doubt, a very disjointed effort at using past clips to illicit a sense of nostalgia. This ends up feeling like nothing more than something that was completely tacked on to the episode at the very last minute - after the producers realized that they were dealing with the 200th episode. In a sense, the sequences with Brianiac 5 were initially so poorly realized that it felt as if the producers had lifted this entire episode from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The notion of showing Clark his past, present and future is completely understandable with this season’s particular storylines, but those sequences completely fell flat as I was less focused on what lessons Clark may learn from this ordeal than anxiously awaiting Jacob Marley to show up and lay out the rules to our proverbial Scrooge (Clark).
Fortunately, this extremely extended life lesson with Brainiac 5 was cut short (somewhat) as Clark lunged to save Lois from Smallville High’s insect empowered meteor freak, Greg Arkin. As Clark incorrectly moved to save Lois from what he thought would be Arkin’s retaliation from, well, squashing him all those years back, our favorite flight-less Kryptonian was transported into his future – and this is when the episode begins to redeem itself.
Just as you think that the same stale reminiscence is going to continue, your eyes are drawn to a nearby edition of The Daily Planet. With the title of “Superman Saves the Day,” one doesn’t need Dorothy or Toto to let us know that we’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, we are still in Kansas, but it’s in the future. Everything that occurred following that newspaper reveal was nothing short of wonderful. Not only was it able to touch upon specific elements that fans have been waiting to see from the beginning, but they executed it so perfectly that one couldn’t help but contemplate whether Tom Welling as Clark Kent for the Superman movie is less of a fanboy movement and more of a realistic possibility.
From the beginning of Smallville, I have wondered how these characters (Lois and Clark) would be when they actually became the same characters we’re used to seeing in films, television and print. While it’s true that Durance and Welling are technically those characters, they have yet to take on the specific personalities and classic looks that one connects these two with – until now, that is. Even though “wow” is an extremely weak exclamation of wonder, I can’t think of something more fitting the situation.
In those moments, Erica Durance was Lois Lane – the Lois Lane we know and love. Even though her character had only slightly tweaked her everyday outfit, the personality, cadence and line delivery were completely different. As if that were not enough, the real Clark Kent shows up and he was absolutely textbook perfect. The hair, the clothes, the voice, the attitude, the glasses were all perfect. Welling really showed a different side of himself tonight - something that not only has me excited about what’s to come as the season continues, but even somewhat has me wishing that the series would continue with those versions of the Lois and Clark characters.
Of course, as most good things must come to an end, so does this glimpse of Clark’s life in the future. And, as any good after-school movie has taught us, it takes but a mere 42 minutes to learn even the hardest of life’s lessons. With that, Clark has “seen the light” and Darkseid has seemingly lost whatever advantage he once had over Clark and being able to see the doubt in his heart. While it’s not exactly the best of conclusion to that specific story element, at least it moved things along. Unfortunately, perhaps the producers were a little heavy-handed with their “aw-shucks” moments in this episode. While I’ll happily take any explanation to further Clark’s transformation into Superman, I’m not exactly thrilled by “bug-boy” Arkin using his moment with Lois to deliver a corny monologue in our heroe's favor.
Thankfully, I was still smiling from what I had previously seen, so it doesn’t really matter.
Smallville airs Fridays @8pm on The CW
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