“Hi! I’m wearing a costume!”
I was going to open this post by saying “man, it’s hard to believe it’s really been ten years since this show started,” but then I realize, no, I’m pretty sure I felt the slow passage of all ten seasons of this “no tights” (except for all the other superheroes) “no flights” (except for all the other flying superheroes) series about Clark Kent’s meandering journey into Supermanishness.
But it’s finally over…a show that, despite its awkwardness, and its goofy plotting, and its overreliance on head injuries, and that whole season about magical tattoos (don’t ask), and its weird vacillating between coyness about being too comic-booky and straight-up giving us Hawkman, still managed to keep me tuning in week after week, partially due to an appealing cast but primarily due to the possibility that Annette O’Toole might pop up on screen at any moment.
As for the finale itself:
- I did really like the moment Clark finally, finally acquired the power of flight via Jor-El’s “flashback vision” review of Clark’s super-abilities. A bit corny, perhaps, but Superman is always best served with a little corn worked in.
- Speaking of that scene, Zombie-Lionel-Possessed-by-Darkseid was good ‘n’ creepy. Yeah, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have full-on Darkseid as Darkseid fighting Clark, but 1) hey, it’s Smallville, why would they start giving people what they want now? – and 2) there’s now precedence for the Fourth World characters moving in our world via avatars (thanks to Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and Final Crisis), but I think we can thank the show’s budget for that decision.
- Okay, the show’s premise, as originally stated, was “no tights, no flights.” We weren’t going to get Clark in costume because, hey, he’s not Superman yet, and we weren’t going to see him flying, because…it was too superhero-y, I guess? So way back when I figured, when the show finally ended, the final scene would be Luthor about to do something nefarious, when, suddenly, he turns to see behind him (and we see at the side of the screen) a flutter of red cape, and perhaps a boot, and then THE END.
Now, had the show only run three or four years, that might have been fine. But the show kept stringin’ folks along for ten years, and during that time we discovered “no tights, no flights” only applied to Clark, as we started seeing more and more superheroes and supervillains pop up who violated both rules. (And even Clark himself took a flight once in a while, kinda sorta.) And I figured, okay, after all this time, surely the last episode will just be full-on Superman action, as a reward for all the folks who stuck around for all this time.
Well, no, not exactly.
I’m not complaining, as such…it’s not as if there’s any shortage of Superman movies or TV shows already, so it’s not as if the world is suffering a loss in potential Superman action. But after ten seasons, I was kind of hoping for more than just…a fluttering cape, and extreme close-ups of Clark’s face while he’s wearing the costume (as shown above), and bits of CGI that were hardly more than what we saw in this flash-forward. But I understand the decision: this is a show, at least as originally imagined, about Clark, not Superman. I still would have liked at least one shot of Clark in the full outfit just as a final payoff, though. And it’s not like they didn’t have Clark in other superhero suits prior to the red ‘n’ blues…giving us a good look at Clark as Superman would have been a nice counterpoint to those other outfits we’ve been having to put up with over the last couple of years. At least we did get him ripping the shirt open to reveal the “S” at the end of the show.
- So did anyone else think that the Ghost of Jonathan Kent was some kind of projection sent by Jor-El? Especially when he started telling Clark “hey, you need to go back to Jor-El and have him help you out?” I mean, it seems like all the clues are there.
- Also, I may need to rewatch the series (NOTE: I’m not actually going to rewatch the series) to figure out when Jor-El made the transition from “enemy of humanity” to “tough-love computer dad prepping his son for superheroing.” Wasn’t there a whole subplot about Clark possibly being sent to Earth to conquer it on behalf of Jor-El? How did that get resolved…it’s been so long, I don’t even remember.
- I also don’t recall the exact point in the series when Lex finally turned from “put-upon friend who knows there’s something up with Clark” to “evil arch-nemesis.”
- Okay, back to the finale: offing Tess seemed like an awfully dark way to go with that character, but I guess we needed to reestablish that Lex was a bad dude, or something?
And speaking of Lex…I was sure they were going to allow Lex to retain his knowledge of Clark’s powers. The conversation in the burnt-out Luthor mansion felt like it went a long way to establishing an adversarial relationship that would be just between them, and while it was never explicitly stated Lex would keep the secret, it sort of felt implied. Or maybe I was just reading too much into it. But it’s a moot point anyway.
- The resolution of the “Apokolips drawn to Earth by people infected with the Omega symbol” plot went a different way than I expected as well. Given that Clark can dispel the Omega symbol simply with the powers of Concerned Onlooking and Being Inspirational, as he did with Ollie during this episode, I figured they were leading up to having Clark finally show up in the Superman outfit, inspire the people of Earth with hope in the face of destruction, and thus all the Omega infection would pfffft disappear. Okay, he does say that he can’t do for the entire planet what he did for Ollie, but I thought maybe he was just being modest.
Instead, of course, he just flies up and pushes Apokolips away, which doesn’t appear to be any big deal, and all the Omega symbols vanish. Another Smallville-style simple resolution!
- So I wonder when I’m going to get my first request at the shop for this Smallville comic that appears in the episode:
Maybe I can direct them to these.
And frankly, that comic’s very existence within the Smallville milieu raises more questions than it answers.
So anyway, Smallville…probably overstayed its welcome by a season or five, but I think I’m going to miss it now that it’s gone. …Well, there is that one episode I missed, where Lex marries Lana, which originally aired in the middle of a bunch of weeks of reruns, so I’m not quite done yet. …Is there no escape?