The Superman prequel drama Smallville spent its first four seasons with Clark Kent (Tom Welling) going through what any teenager goes through; high school. The only difference for this particular teenager was that he had to go through the struggle most teens deal with while also living with Kryptonian powers that he had to constantly hide. But as Clark was entering his final years in high school, the boy of steel began growing closer to exploring his destiny. As the character grew up, so did the series in its own way.
The fourth season of the Clark Kent drama started off in a big way after the major fallout in the season three finale. Just like with seasons before Smallville’s fourth year, the season had some phenomenal episodes while also having a few missteps. With that said, these are the best and worst episodes in Smallville season four.
10 WORST: Jinx (Episode 7)
While it wouldn’t be until the fifth season and forward where Smallville was bringing in more DC characters, the fourth season had a few. One of them was the show’s own take on Superman baddie Mister Mxyzptlk in the form of Mikhail Mxyzptlk (Trent Ford) in the seventh episode that season. Rather than be portrayed as an imp from the fifth dimension, Mxyzptlk is a high school student who had the power of mind-control. This was before the show got more comic book-y hence the scaled-down version of Mxyzptlk.
9 BEST: Onyx (Episode 17)
One of the best things the show did was its exploration of Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), destined to be Clark’s greatest enemy. The seventeenth episode was a big one for Lex as we got to spend time with not, but two Lexes after his evil and dark side were literally split into two thanks to Black Kryptonite. With his evil side running around, fans got a good taste of what was in store for Clark when he and Lex would eventually become opponents in the future.
“Onyx” also comes with one of the show’s most iconic lines when the evil Lex informs Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) that he was right about all along: he is the villain of the story. While the two Lexes are eventually merged back together in the end, Lex’s inner darkness was greatly explored in this episode.
8 WORST: Devoted (Episode 4)
Kryptonite was used in so many ways on the show aside from being Clark’s weakness. The fourth episode had one of the more ridiculous uses of kryptonite. Somehow, the cheerleaders were making love potions that were enhanced by Kryptonite. Even though the episode had its own way of justifying how the love-potion was able to work, “Devoted” still stands as one of the weaker hours of the fourth season.
7 BEST: Run (Episode 5)
The fifth episode introduces the show’s first future Justice League member when Bart Allen (Kyle Gallner) ran into Clark’s life. While Bart certainly didn’t start out as a hero, his dynamic with Clark got him on a better path. It was genuinely fun to see someone like Bart come into Clark’s life at this point in the series.
From teasing about how much faster he is than the Man of Tomorrow to foreshadowing the team that Clark would eventually lead in the future, Impulse’s debut was one of the strongest points in the fourth season. The final scene where the two of them race before Bart takes off, played to Rascal Flatts’s ‘Feels Like Today’ is one of the best endings for any Smallville episode.
6 WORST: Recruit (Episode 13)
Before DC Comics writer Geoff Johns wrote episodes for Smallville, his name was already associated with the series as early as season four. In the thirteenth episode, a college football star named Geoff Johns (Chris Carmack) acted as the freak of the week as Clark was deep into his football period in high school. It doesn’t take long before Clark discovers Geoff’s true colors. “Recruit” is also one of the bummers of the fourth season as it becomes the end of Clark’s football aspirations.
5 BEST: Transference (Episode 6)
Not only is the sixth episode one of the best season four episodes but “Transference” is one of the show’s best episodes of all time. This is where Welling and his co-star John Glover (Lionel Luthor) really got to show their talents when one of the Kryptonian crystals causes Clark and Lionel to switch bodies.
Seeing Welling do a spot-on performance as Glover in Clark’s body was unforgettable from his mannerism to the small details. Glover’s performance as Clark in Lionel’s body is outstanding as well. Even though things went back to normal in the end, “Transference” stands out as one of Smallville’s finest hours.
4 WORST: Ageless (Episode 20)
While Clark and Lana (Kristin Kreuk) had their moments throughout the series, the twentieth episode of the fourth season is probably one of their weirder ones. In “Ageless,” Clark and Lana end up finding a baby who had one heck of a metahuman power. As seen throughout the episode, Evan ages rapidly which sadly lead to his death by the end of the episode. Even though it was amusing seeing Clark and Lana as parents, this was definitely one of the weirder episodes in the season.
3 BEST: Crusade (Episode 1)
The season premiere in the fourth year is mind-blowing for many reasons. This is where Lois Lane (Erica Durance) enters the Smallville universe as she, similarly to Clark, goes on a journey before she becomes the iconic character we all know and love. Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve Superman films, guests as Bridgette Crosby who worked with Reeve’s Virgil Swann character. Then there is also Clark’s big return as Jor-El had reprogrammed him into Kal-El in order to begin his destiny on Earth.
While the show was still under a strict “no flights, no tights” rule, we still got to see Kal-El take it to the skies in an amazing flight sequence. Despite Clark getting out of Jor-El’s control, “Crusade” set many important things into motion for not just the season, but the rest of the series.
2 WORST: Spirit (Episode 18)
The eighteenth episode lands as one of the sillier episodes of the season all thanks to a drama queen. When Dawn Stiles (Beatrice Rosen) gets into a car accident involving Kryptonite, her spirit gets the ability to take over people’s bodies. Several of the main characters are taken over including Clark, where we for a second get to see Welling act like a bratty teenager obsessed with winning Prom Queen.
1 BEST: Commencement (Episode 22)
After the long quest of finding the three Kryptonian crystals, the season finale brought everything full circle while also beginning a whole new chapter. While our characters are focused on finally graduating from high school, the universe had a different plan in mind.
From a second meteor shower in Smallville to Clark uniting the three crystals, “Commencement” is not only an epic finale but also a strong Smallville episode. With the high school period of the show ending in this episode, the last minute of the finale promised viewers that one of the most important Superman chapters was about to begin.