SMALLVILLE “Finale” Review

SMALLVILLE “Finale” Season 10 Episode 21 – Well, that’s it. Over two hundred episodes, several networks and ten years after its debut, Smallville is no more. The Blur has become the Man of Steel, Clark Kent finally donned the suit and become Superman, and the most successful television show in the superhero genre has finally come to an end.

Part I was written by Al Septien and Turi Meyer, while part II was written by showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders. Part I played out like a melodrama as Lois and Clark go through the ringer as to whether or not they should get married, and part two embraced a more epic tradition as Clark Kent finally realizes his destiny, battles Darkseid and saves the world from an apocalypse.

The whole Lois and Clark wedding crisis was a pretty bland storyline, introduced at the end of last week’s episode and it’s a pity it became the central focus of this episode. Lois and Clark’s relationship has been through almost everything a superhero genre cares to embrace and it’s a little tiring to have to be reminded of their love for one another for the umpteenth time.

Considering that this is the story of Clark Kent’s journey to embrace his destiny and become Superman, it seems weird that the most interesting plot line of the entire series finale revolved around Tess and her father Lionel Luthor, who kidnaps his daughter with the intent of taking her heart for his dear, darling son Lex. Tess pulls out the karate moves and shoots her father, who exchanges his soul with Darkseid’s in a final bid to save his son’s life.

Tess’ storyline was, for me, the highlight of the episode. It was exciting, bleak and gothic. Her death, whilst inevitable, was sad nonetheless because she’s such a great character. There was a certain poetry about her being killed by the only child her father ever loved, and then dying in her brother’s arms, utterly alone. Nobody mourned her. We skipped forward seven years and she was never mentioned, as though she’d never existed.

Meanwhile, Clark dealt with the same shit he’d been dealing with for ten years. I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t punch the air when he started flying in the barn, or when the John Williams score kicked into play, and I’m not upset that they barely showed a glimpse of Clark Kent as Superman because Smallville is not about Superman, it’s about Clark Kent becoming Superman, and once he became Superman the show ends. It would have been nice, of course, to see a little more of Superman, but I can live without it. I can also live knowing that the show ended on a totally clichéd note of saving the planet from a freakin’ planet simply because it needed to give Clark a reason to fly around as Superman.

This was a fine series finale. It will never go down as a great finale, but then I don’t think the show will go down as a great show. Smallville, with its inevitable ending, suffered from hubris and greed on the part of the producers and network. It should have ended years ago, back when it was still verging on greatness, and even though the episodes that have aired since Michael Rosenbaum, the original showrunners and half the original cast left have been entertaining, they have not been super.

Speaking of which, Michael Rosenbaum returned in glorious fashion as Lex Luthor (one of the best, if not THE best portrayal of Superman’s ultimate foe). As necessary and awesome as his return was, it didn’t exactly help the show. It just made the contrast apparent between what the show was, and what it could have been.

If it seems like I’m hating on the show, it’s really not my intention. I love Smallville. I love that whole superhero/fantasy genre which has never really made a big splash on television. I think Smallville the television show is a very good series with sporadic glimmers of greatness. It just went on too long and this is less of a glorious series finale, more of a series snuffed.

What did you think of the finale of Smallville? Sound off in the comments below!

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