Review: “Smallville” 10.22 – “Finale”

Finale

Starring Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Michael Rosenbaum, Allison Mack, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, John Glover, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman, Terence Stamp

Written by Al Septian, Turi Meyer, Brian Wayne Peterson and Kelly Souders

Directed by Kevin Fair and Greg Beeman

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

Jesus Christ. I don’t even know where to begin with this.

I guess logically I should look back at the beginning. I was into Smallville when it first started airing, and even remember watching the two hour premiere (with my mother, no less, who was as confused by the premise of Superman before he was Superman as you could expect), and watched religiously for the first 2 or 3 seasons. The show had a somewhat decent “Freak Of The Week” episode format that was, at the time, more hit than it was miss thanks to some fun plays on the Superman mythos, as well as great acting from Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum.

Smallville's Female Leads
Gorgeous female leads that were 2/3 Canadian didn't hurt, either.

About midway through the third season, I stopped really giving a shit. Which was fortunate for me, because this was about the time they obviously just stopped giving a shit themselves. Any remote concern for the mythos it came from seemed to be thrown out the window, as they seemed to finally realize that they would never be considered truly canon. And once the creative team left prior to the show’s 8th season, things really went downhill.

With 10 seasons under it’s belt, Smallville has finally come to a close in finale that simply should have been called “cop out”. It opens with drama regarding Clark and Lois’ wedding, which I must say made for the absolute worst 45 minutes of television I have ever seen. No one really discusses anything; they stare vacantly at each other and exposit long monologues about what we, the viewer, are to believe they have learned over the course of 10 years but have clearly not learned, since they’re still having the same discussions we’ve had for several seasons

I should mention the final season’s big bad was Darkseid, who is going to destroy Earth by crashing the planet Apokolips into it. Holy crap, do I hate Darkseid. I’d be okay with it if he showed up once in a while to pose a serious threat, but this guy is probably the most overused wreck of a villain in comics, showing up anytime the wind is blowing and Superman needs something to hit hard. For Smallville, he’s bastardized into a gaseous mist that goes around making pacts in exchange for souls and hosts. He makes a big deal about how he’s going to kill Clark because Clark is the only one who can “bring the light to the darkness”, and proceeds to set about doing so; unfortunately, Clark settles into a 10 minute long entirely internal flashback sequence, before besting Darkseid with his newly earned powers of flight, which he seems to have gained by unlocking the achievement “Put up with humanity’s ineptness for 10 years”. You read that right, by the way. Darkseid is bested not by increased strength, not by heat visioned fists, not even by a puff of arctic breath to keep him place. Clark simply flies into Darkseid, who then turns into dust and is not seen again for the rest of the episode. I am dead serious.

The finale also sees the long awaited return of Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, which I admit I was more excited about than anything, and was probably my main reason for tuning in aside from finally seeing Clark in the suit (don’t get me started on that yet, we’re getting there). Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to want to pay Rosenbaum for too much work, as his “resurrection” occurs in the final half of the show, and after that he’s only around for his obligatory 10 minute exposition scene with Clark, a quick retcon as to why he doesn’t know Clark is Superman, and a shameless fan pandering moment where we learn he’s elected President in 7 years. A waste of a character who showed up so prominently and could have factored greatly in to Clark stopping the threat of Apokolips. Fortunately for the writers, they instead settled for making the Apokolips threat pretty much a non-issue.

Yes, an entire PLANET is looming in the distance, ready to destroy the Earth. Clark, having just gained his magical power of flight, simply shoves it out of the way, which manages to solve all of Earth’s problems instantly, and then poses dramatically while it soars off into space. Holy shit, it’s a planet! He couldn’t at least attempt to struggle with it? Couldn’t the writers have done something interesting, like have him have to team up with his enemy Lex to save Earth from a crashing planet? No, why do that when the writer’s can cop out and have him shove a planet out of the way effortlessly, so we can get in some more exposition.

This brings me to the final point of contempt: the suit. I know, I know; Smallville was about Superman before he was Superman, and was never about seeing him throw on the suit and go flying around. However, this suit has been a major factor of hype this season, and the writer’s promised numerous times that yes, we will see Clark finally don the famous suit. And anyone who saw the series in the beginning was really looking forward to seeing it, and in a way that’s the bargain we made. We’ll buy that he’s just a normal guy for now, but the last episode’s gotta feature that suit. It should be a perfect, easily defined moment when he drops from the sky wearing blue and red, and dashes forward to save the day. Of course, that would distract from more important factors, I guess. When Clark gets the suit, it’s given to him in the final 15 minutes of the episode. From this point on, we only see Clark in an extreme close-up of his face, or wearing the suit from a distance where it’s details are entirely indistinguishable. Holy shit, what a fucking cop out. It has been 10 years of waiting for this moment, and it’s axed entirely.

The show jumps back to it’s seven years later framing device, where we see Chloe tucking her son into bed and wishing Lois luck at work. Yeah, I’m not sure where Chloe is either; by all accounts, she’s stayed in Smallville, but Lois is at work and it’s early in the morning, so I guess Chloe puts her son to bed around 7AM. The series ends with Clark running out of the Daily Planet as a slightly remixed version of the classic Superman theme plays, and he rips his shirt open as the camera zooms in to where we can only see the S shield. Holy shit, are we finally going to see the suit??

Nope, cut to credits.

Fuck this show. I’m glad it’s over with. What started as a fairly interesting first few seasons quickly and rapidly degraded into a bullshit tween series that focused more on halfway written romance subplots and attempts at shocking swerves. Characters were barely recognizable, and costumes were poorly designed and cheaply made. I don’t know what the CW hopes to replace this series with in the long run, but hopefully their next comic book venture will have more lasting value and entertainment than Smallville did.

 

About Christopher Baggett

Christopher Baggett has owned and operated The HomeWorld independently since 2009 after spinning it off from his previous concept, 'The Anime Homeworld'. In addition to journalistic endeavors, he is an aspiring novelist. Arizona born military brat Christopher currently resides in the Georgia area.

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9 comments

  1. Wow, what a hater! You’re so stuck on insignificant details that all you can do is go ‘wonk wonk wonk’… Tell me how you would have ended it that would have been acceptable to you. I don’t think it exists, even in your imagination.

    It was not perfect, but it WAS Superman, imo. And they tied up all the loose ends. Sure, he could have flown around in the suit some more, but I bet he didn’t because Warner Bros. and/or Brian Singer have BIG lawyers and they don’t want to take away from Jim Caveziel as the new Superman… Simple explanation, doesn’t take away from my enjoyment. Lighten Up, True Believer!!!

    • It’s not insignificant details, it’s missing aspects. The show ended with a letdown to people who have been watching since the beginning. The premise of Clark becoming Superman was a driving force, and one that should have ended the series on a strong note; instead they dodged it because they’re seemingly afraid of the suit. The lawyers don’t matter; if the lawyers and the pending movie were a concern, the suit wouldn’t have shown up at all this season.

    • Pardon, I meant Henry Cavill, seems that even THAT minor detail is a huge roadblock for enjoyment. 😛

  2. But again, you’re not saying what would have been satisfactory for you… I think it doesn’t exist, and you just wanna hate. 😀

    • Nope. I genuinely went into this wanting to love it. I was really big into Smallville when it debuted, and kept up for several seasons, and I’ve always kind of kept a passing interest in it. For me, the finale just didn’t end the series in a satisfactory way.

      • BUT AGAIN YOU HAVE NOT PUT FORTH AN ACCEPTABLE WAY IT COULD HAVE ENDED.

        Sorry, had to troll you, you’re responding like a Republican dodging questions after the rhetoric has been explained away. GIVE ME AN VALID ENDING, Writer!

        • The way I would have ended it? Darkseid has Apokolips ready to crash, and Clark just can’t find a way to stop it. But he stumbles across the newly revived Lex and sees a last glimmer of hope, and the two enemies are forced to team up to save the day. It ends with the Earth saved, but Lex touting that Clark couldn’t have done it without him, inspiring Lex to continue pushing to rid the world of Clark/Superman. Much like the finale did but in a less contrived manner, it would end with Clark coping with this speaking with Jonathan and Jor-El’s ghosts and realizing that he can’t abandon either heritage, and he’s Clark Kent but he is also a Kryptonian. The last shot would be Lois about to be hit by a car when a blue and red clad figure lifts it over his head, a clear homage to the character’s debut, showing off the suit and his heroic posturing before a breathless Lois mutters “Superman!”.

          I’m not saying the suit should have been the focus, I’m saying we should have seen it, and it should have been a big fucking deal. The score should have echoed loudly, and we should have known this is the end of the character’s arc.

          • Finally. The whole series was contrived, so it is not surprising if you would have watched the whole series. But it sounds like you almost wanted MORE posturing. I don’t see how that would be any less contrived. Having him strike a pose and her say his hero… She’s his fiance, she wouldn’t be surprised. Superman ALWAYS saves the day.

            And with that, we end this discussion 🙂

  3. I think that Cesar is a featherbrained and Christopher is absolutely right. Smallvile Finale SUCKS, again for Cesar S-U-C-K-S.

    Now Im gonna make my point. 10 years, I remember to watch seasons 1 to 4, because Lex Luthor was awesome, and Clark was an idiot, the character was poorly developed he was always crying, telling to himself about his powers, and his parents, and his alien parents, always full of regrets, fears, secrets. Come on, it was Superman even if he didn’t fly, being Superman it would be amazing, he is a Good between men and in Smalville he was an stupid teen suffering all the time of being himself.

    From seasons 5 to 10 I watch the important chapters, Justice League, Zor, Hawkman, Destiny, I even tried to understand that Green Arrow was a kind of light bastard version of Batman. On the other hand I had a crush on Supergirl, chapter 3 of season 10 was quite good, so I take the shot.

    From 10 years I was waiting a few things of the finale, the easy ones:

    1) Smallville was a travel about a simple guy without powers to become “the hero”. Not only was about how to use his powers, but to know how to use them. He has to grow up, stop crying about himself and began being a symbol. FAIL He was a crying guy all the damn chapter.

    2) Fly? When he began to use like a kind of Punisher-Superman in black coat I believe that was a kind of fly. When he flies in front Darkside-Zombie-Lionel was more like floating and was terrible.

    3) Darkseid. First of all I’m not a Superman fan, I’m a truly deeply madly Batman Fan, I love when Batman intellect kicks Superman, I just love it. However I recognize that Superman has a few really good lines, I remember one, in some cartoon of JL he is about to fight Darkseid and he says: I’m always control my self to not break anything, with you I can use my real power. WOW That means Super is super-super-power but he controls himself to avoid pulverize some stupid human villain. Darkseid then is pure power too is the bad-ass of all DC. FAIL its just a fog bad fx that makes a Lionel-Zombie.

    4) Structure, Christopher make a point here. Smallville Finale is about 70% trash, and from that 70% like 20% is not even new trash.

    5) The costume, costume like a clow costume, not a suite like a hero suite. Why not show the super like a super? Heroic? Flying? Standing over Metropolis like a Guardian? Two ideas, lack of money or the are cowards.

    The thing is that they could make the Finale of Smalville, but they didn’t. For some strange reason Tom Welling looks tired, Lex looks like a patch to the chapter. Erica Durance as beauty as always.

    If I were one of the Smallville’s producers and I was being honest with my fans, the Superman fans, ocasional viewers, Comic Readers, Geeks and any other strange creature, I would be really sad and disappointed with the final chapter, actually I would resign immediately and forget to work in any other TV series again.

    Christopher is right, Cesar sucks.

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