After Smallville finished its seventh season during May 2008, the Superman origin story was ready to close one chapter in order to begin a new one. Having followed Clark Kent’s (Tom Welling) young years, the eighth season of The CW drama became an evolution as it began taking the next step to get the Last Son of Krypton closer towards his destiny. With the show’s creator Alfred Gough and Miles Millar stepping down as the showrunners, the torch was passed to long-time writers/producers Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Kelly Souders, and Brian Peterson.
Those weren’t the only big changes as this was the first season to not feature Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. While Kristin Kreuk’s Lana Lang returned for a multi-arc, Smallville was moving forward with new stories, characters that would continue to bring Clark close to becoming Superman. With Lex missing, season eight introduced Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) who would fill his absence, but still stand as her own character. Season eight introduced the famous DC villain Doomsday, best known as the being who killed Superman in the comics, with Sam Witwer playing the creature’s human camouflage. With all that said, these are the best and worst episodes of Smallville season eight.
10 WORST: Instinct (Episode 4)
As the later seasons began introducing more DC Comics characters, Smallville had their hits and misses. The fourth episode of season eight brought in Maxima (Charlotte Sullivan) who was definitely one of their misses. The Smallville version watered Maxima down to being someone who was desperately seeking her soul mate.
Her endorphin kiss ended up killing humans who kissed her as they couldn’t handle it. But Clark was able to take it as he fell for her until being interrupted by a very upset Lois (Erica Durance.) “Instinct” only exists to have Maxima be someone to clash with Lois as season eight began exploring Lois and Clark’s feelings toward one another.
9 BEST: Infamous (Episode 15)
While not having the best introduction back in season six, Tori Spelling’s Linda Lake returns for a very improved second round in the fifteenth episode. Linda threatens to out Clark as the Red-Blue-Blur if he doesn’t agree to let her be his representative in the press. Clark decides to tell Lois his secret so she can tell the world his story.
Clark gets a taste of what it’s like to be in the public with the entire world watching him. But Linda still causes trouble when she reveals at a press conference that Clark is the first wave of an alien invasion and that he murdered Lex. Realizing that he needs to fix this, Clark uses the Legion ring to go back in time and manages to stop Linda. But by doing so, he never finds out that Davis is Doomsday, thus delaying their showdown.
8 WORST: Abyss (Episode 9)
After being infected by Brainiac in season seven, Chloe’s (Allison Mack) condition gets worse in the first half of season eight. In the ninth episode “Abyss,” things get even worse when Chloe starts losing memories until she only remembers one person: Davis. As Clark rebuilds the Fortress of Solitude, he and Jor-El (Terence Stamp) have a long overdue father-son chat following the events of season seven.
During all of this, Clark makes a controversial decision when it comes to saving Chloe. The Fortress is able to heal her and get Brainiac out of her mind. However, Clark asks Jor-El to not restore any memories she had of Clark’s secret as he believes she will live a better life without this burden. While this doesn’t last for long, it was still incredibly off-putting to see Clark doing this to Chloe without her having a say in it.
7 BEST: Bulletproof (Episode 12)
As Clark was creating his dual identity as a reporter and superhero, the twelfth episode took him on an interesting path. After John Jones (Phil Morris) is shot by someone in the Metropolis Police Department, Clark goes undercover as a cop to find out who shot his Martian friend.
That’s where we are introduced to DC character Dan Turpin (David Paetkau), a regular player in the Superman mythos. To see Clark witnessing what’s like for ordinary humans to protect and serve without super-powers was one powerful story.
6 WORST: Power (Episode 13)
Following her return in the winter finale, the first episodes back in 2009 were very Lana heavy as the show was preparing to send her off properly. In the thirteenth episode, titled “Power,” we find out what happened to Lana after she was freed from Brainiac’s control.
While it’s intriguing to see Lana go on this journey to get stronger, it’s the second half of “Power” where things go south. Project Prometheus is revealed to be a specialized suit that would have allowed Lex to heal and have the same powers as Clark. But Lana takes it for herself as she becomes super-powered which was one of the weirdest moves from the show.
5 BEST: Identity (Episode 7)
While Clark spends a lot of the season establishing his dual identity, the seventh episode puts him at a tough spot. Jimmy (Aaron Ashmore) begins to put the pieces together that Clark is, in fact, the new mystery hero in Metropolis.
Because of that, “Identity” becomes one of Clark’s best challenging episodes as he has to figure out a way to convince Jimmy that he isn’t this hero. With the help of Oliver (Justin Hartley), Clark manages to convince Jimmy that he isn’t the Red-Blue-Blur.
4 WORST: Injustice (Episode 21)
After several teases throughout the season, the penultimate episode of season eight brings together Smallville’s version of the Injustice League. But “Injustice” fell flat mostly because of its underwhelming introductions of not one, but multiple Superman villains.
We meet Parasite (Brendan Fletcher), Livewire (Anna Mae Routledge), and Neutron (Jae Lee), who were all lackluster from performance to how they were written. While “Injustice” barely sets the stage for the finale, it was still disappointing to see Smallville waste some of Superman’s better foes.
3 BEST: Odyssey (Episode 1)
“Odyssey” follows Green Arrow, Black Canary (Alaina Huffman), and Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) desperately looking for Clark. This is where we get introduced to Tess who is searching for Lex. After discovering that Clark is stuck in Russia without his powers, Oliver rescues him as they then go to find Chloe. However, Oliver gets injected with a serum that leaves him under Regan’s (Ari Cohen) control, who demands the Emerald Archer find out what happened to Lex at all costs.
This ends with Clark getting shot by Oliver twice which kills the Boy Scout. Thanks to the Martian Manhunter, Clark is saved and given his powers back. “Odyssey” truly begins the next chapter in Clark’s life as he realizes that it’s time to accept his destiny. This leads him to get a job at the Daily Planet where he will now work with Lois (Erica Durance), setting up their epic romance.
2 WORST: Doomsday (Episode 22)
After doing a solid progression with Doomsday for almost a whole season, the finale sadly didn’t live up to its name. Rather than an epic showdown, Clark and Doomsday have a quick fight that doesn’t even last for three minutes.
There is also the devastating death of Jimmy Olsen who turned out to not be the real Jimmy but, in fact, the famous photographer’s older brother. Despite an epic cliffhanger that set up season nine, “Doomsday” is one of the weaker season finales of the series.
1 BEST: Legion (Episode 11)
The eighth season had DC Comics writer Geoff Johns pen a special episode introducing the Legion of Super-Heroes to the Smallville universe. Seeing Clark’s interaction with the Legion that literally exists because of what he’ll do in the future was outstanding, with the episode including many Easter eggs.
“Legion” wraps up the Brainiac-Chloe storyline once and for all with a great team-up between Clark and the Legion as he gets to teach them a valuable lesson in heroism. While they were determined to stop Brainiac by killing the host (Chloe), Clark proved to them that there's always another way to save someone. Thanks to Johns, Smallville got to be a bit more comic-book-y in all the good ways.