Few television series last 10 years – especially on The CW. When Smallville began, nobody would have thought that we’d be seeing Clark Kent actually become Superman. While the series definitely had its up and downs, the fans always stood by it - something that certainly helped the series push through the rough spots and find its way again.
In what has been a good to great tenth season for Smallville, was the final episode everything the fans could have asked for, or were the many years invested in this series a waste?
Let's talk about that, shall we?
The story of Clark Kent’s destiny to become Superman couldn't have ended much better. In what felt like a two-hour whirlwind of an episode, the Smallville series finale managed to not only beautifully wrap up a 10-year-long adventure, but to also negate the “no flights; no tights” rule with a set of scenes that transformed the mild-mannered Clark Kent into Superman.
With the series finale deliberately separating the two-hour time block with their own specific theme, each scene – from beginning to end – elegantly blended together, ever building the suspense and tensions until the episode’s final fifteen minutes.
As Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark’s (Tom Welling) wedding quickly revealed itself to be the focus of the finale’s first hour, expectations of seeinge the Man of Steel were subdued. Fortunately, it quickly became apparent that this was not needed, as the entirety of the two-hour Smallville series finale was peppered with perfectly executed actions scenes that served the whet the palate of all those watching.
While many of Smallville’s relationship subplots find themselves playing second fiddle to the better produced action sequences and storylines, the handling of Lois & Clark's wedding couldn’t have been any better. In scenes that not only touched your heart, but kept you intrigued, this escalating emotional storyline was surprisingly weaved into Oliver’s "Darkseid" – so even if emotions aren’t your thing, you can’t be too disappointed.
Even though I could have done without the Lords of the Rings nod with Oliver (Justin Hartley) taking the place of Gollum, the scene was absolutely acceptable given the surroundings. That being said, in a finale that’s filled up wonderfully crafted scenes, a couple of “acceptable” ones aren’t too bad.
As the Smallville series finale made its turn to the final hour, so did the themes. Gone where color schemes of white. Instead, they were replaced with the ever-glowing color of red. With Lionel Luthor sacrificing himself to save Lex Luthor, the return that Smallville fans have been waiting for arrived. Unfortunately, because the loss of Lionel was needed to bring back Lex, the father and son reunion that fans were waiting for never happened.
Still… Lex Luthor is back – and he’s back in a big, bad way. In a set of scenes eerily similar to M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, the contract of Superman vs. Lex Luthor was signed. Both echoing warnings from the past, and promises of the future, Michael Rosenbaum delivered what may be one of the best monologues in the entire series - it’s just too bad that it didn’t last.
The reunion of brother and sister – Lex and Tess – served to not only bring together the surviving Luthor family, but to also create the Lex Luthor that comic book fans know. As Lex quickly moved and stabbed Tess, the once-forgotten Luthor sibling gave her brother one final gift. Keeping with the familiar nonsensical naming of “magical” plot progressors, Tess basically made Lex forget everything that has happened to him up until that point.
For a character as beloved as Lex Luthor, it was nice to see that the producers attempted to conclude Lex’s plotline in Smallville by aligning him directly with his comic book counterpart – even if that did require some all-too-familiar “mind-wipe magic.”
With 20 minutes remaining in the finale, Clark began taking his final steps to become Superman. Starting things off with a pretty awesome first ACTUAL flying scene, Smallville provided fans with sigh of relief as Clark's maiden voyage was executed so perfectly that you forgot all the many hours you invested waiting for this moment.
While Clark’s aerial defeat of Darkseid seemed a bit simple, it provided for some wonderful Superman moments as the series came to a close. The handling of the suit was absolutely perfect (even though frustratingly, a complete reveal of Welling in the suit wasn't included - damned contractual issues), the amount of screen time that Superman received was well above what I had expected - but most importantly, it provided a wonderful conclusion to a wonderful series.
For 10 years fans have been watching the journey of Clark Kent. While the series had its fair shares of problems, it always found its way back on top. Even though Smallville fans have been demanding for years that Clark Kent fulfill his destiny, this series has made one thing absolutely clear:
It’s not easy to become Superman.
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