The Art and Musings of Felix Quinonez Jr.

When Hollywood Couldn't Get Superman Off the Ground, It Was a Job for Smallville

 Felix Quinonez Jr.

Smallville opening title

Smallville opening title

It’s been quite a while since the movies were able to get the Man of Steel right. But for 10 years, we were lucky enough to have Smallville, one of the best additions to the Superman mythology to ever hit the big or all screen.

These days comic book TV shows are a dime a dozen. And the movies dominate the box office regularly. It seems that every year there are more comic book adaptations crowding cinemas. And they are so prevalent that it hardly seems necessary to actually read comic books.

But it wasn’t always that way. In fact when Smallville premiered on October 16, 2001, the show was seen as a big gamble. This was only a year after X-Men kicked off the cinematic comic book adaptation craze we are currently in. There weren’t really any live action comic book properties on TV. And the CW hadn’t yet crafted their expert formula for handling DC characters, in fact there wasn’t even a CW yet.

Smallville was developed by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. The series had a very interesting premise and revolved around a very bold rule, "no flights, no tights." In fact at test screenings, no mention was made that the show was about Superman and some viewers were very surprised when they realized they were watching a show about the Man of Steel.

Smallville  season 4 promo

Smallville season 4 promo

The show took place in the titular small town and was set during Clark's (Tome Welling) teenage years as he developed his powers and navigated the halls of high school sans red cape. At the time, it seemed almost certain that the show was doomed from the start. After all, who wants to see a Superman show about Clark Kent?

The answer turned out to be: a lot of people. The show premiered to record-breaking numbers and over its 10-year run it would become the longest running comic book based TV series. It also won awards ranging from Emmys to Teen Choice Awards.

Although Smallville had a revisionist take on the character, it still managed to be very faithful to the source material and fans embraced it. It also provided a fresh take on the story and created its own mythology. 

The show began in Smallville in 1989, where we meet a young Martha and Jonathan Kent. (Annette O’ Toole and John Schneider) It seems to be just an ordinary day in the small town until a massive meteor shower strikes the town. This was of course no regular meteor shower; it was the arrival of the alien that would grow up to be Superman; Kal-El. That he arrived during a meteor shower might not seem like a significant detail at first glance but that goes on to play a major role in the series. The meteor shower was a very big event that would go on to shape the destiny of Smallville and connect the lives of some of the major characters in the show.

Still from the  Smallville  pilot

Still from the Smallville pilot

It was also a showcase for one of the show’s biggest strengths, its willingness to take chances. But unfortunately that’s something that it’s never really gotten a lot of credit for. Instead many people were happy to write it off without ever watching the show. Instead of being a slave to what came before it, Smallville was daring enough to make changes and create its own take on the Superman Legend. 

This willingness of the show to forge its own path instead of treading down the roads we have seen countless of times before is plainly evident in its handling of Kal-El's arrival. As stated before, the meteor shower is a very significant part of the show. One of the main characters whose life was forever impacted by this event is Lex Luthor. Although various other actors portrayed young versions of the character during the series, Michael Rosenbaum, expertly, gave the principal portrayal.

Lex, in town with his father, was wandering through a cornfield when the meteors struck. He was close to the place of impact and was very lucky to survive. Unfortunately, because the meteors have a very strange form of radiation, it caused him to lose all of his hair. This was not only a cool new way to explain his trademark look but it also sparked his obsession with that meteor shower and Clark. And it made him an outcast as the other kids made fun of his appearance. This persistent alienation, no doubt, played a role in shaping the person he would become.

Lex would of course become Superman's greatest adversary but in Smallville, he was at one point a really good friend of Clark. For a lot of people, myself included this seemed like a very odd aspect of the show.

It wasn’t the first Superman story that depicted them meeting in Smallville at a younger age. But the more popular, “real” depiction has them meeting in Metropolis and immediately becoming rivals.

And for some, Smallville’s version seemed like too much of a departure from the mythos. And because of that, they didn’t watch the show. But in the end, Clark and Lex’s relationship proved to be one of the show’s greatest strengths.

A lot of people assumed that because Clark was in High School, he would meet Lex there. To many, this seemed ridiculous because, why would a billionaire attend a public school? The answer was; he didn’t. Lex was actually relegated to Smallville by his father to run a local fertilizer plant.

And the show handled his first meeting with Clark with a very exciting set piece. After losing control of his car, Lex drives off a bridge and hits Clark, who was walking. Clark is, of course, unharmed but sees that Lex is trapped in his car. Unwilling to let him die, Clark jumps in and saves Lex, tying their fates together.

One of Lex's defining traits has always been his obsession with Superman and it was great to see that in Smallville. After Clark pulled him out of the water he had to lie to Lex to protect his secret. After all if any mere mortal had been hit head on by a speeding Porsche, he would not live to talk about it. Clark told him that he saw Lex's car go off the bridge, from a safe distance, and dove in after him. But Lex knows that he didn't imagine hitting Clark and this sparks his desire to unravel the secret of Clark Kent.

This was not only a great way to set up a complex relationship between the two of them but it also fits in perfectly with the rest of the Superman mythology. At times you can’t help but feel that if Clark had just trusted Lex, then maybe their friendship wouldn’t have dissolved. Because of this, watching them together feels like a natural precursor to what would become a great rivalry between the two of them in the future.

In the later seasons, Clark would go on to wonder if Lex ever truly wanted to be friends or if it was all a scheme to learn his secret. Although it's not a very farfetched theory, Lex did spend hours trying to learn everything about Clark. But I do believe that Lex really wanted to be friends, it was just his nature to obsess over learning what really happened the day they met. He did after all barely escape death and he does remember hitting Clark with his car. 

But during the first three seasons, the two of them were really good friends and you could tell that Lex really cared for Clark. He looked up to him and longed to have the family that Clark had. It was because of this that Lex always tried to win over Clark's parents, especially his father. Unfortunately, Jonathan's mind was made up about Lex already.

It was always a bit disappointing that Jonathan, who is usually so kind, would treat Lex the way he did. Unfortunately Jonathan couldn’t see past the Luthor name and decided that Lex was as bad as his father, Lionel Luthor. (John Glover)

Because of one of Lionel’s past business deals, many people in the town lost their jobs and Jonathan Kent hasn’t forgotten about this. He still hesitates to trust any Luthor. This was just another great way the show tied the characters together in an organic way.

But Jonathan Kent’s uneasiness towards Lex served as great foreshadowing. Watching Jonathan repeatedly shoot down Lex's attempts to gain approval was especially disheartening because, as the viewer, we know what the future holds for Lex.

There were so many times that you can’t help but think, “If only Jonathan had been nicer to Lex..." These moments can be seen as turning points or dramatic events that ultimately set Lex on his path and sealed his fate. As Lex would explain to Lana, in season two, "In life, the road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch."

It felt as if the show was pulling back the curtain to reveal Lex’s secret origins. And it provided us with a new understanding of the character. It's kind of ironic that Lex's father was the reason Jonathan never gave him a chance and it was Jonathan's rejection that would help mold Lex into Clark's greatest enemy. Ahh, the sins of the father. That was one of the central themes of Smallville.

Kristen Kreuk as Lana Lang, Tom Welling as Clark Kent, and Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor from  Smallville

Kristen Kreuk as Lana Lang, Tom Welling as Clark Kent, and Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor from Smallville

And one can’t overstate just how great Michael Rosenbaum was as the character. He gave a dynamic, rounded and multi layered performance that no other Lex has been able to touch, on the small or big screen. It’s absolutely no surprise why he became one of the breakouts of the show. And it’s no easy feat to make the viewer care about and sympathize with someone they know will become the hero’s greatest enemy. It also helped that he and Tom Welling had great chemistry.

Another character whose life was greatly affected by the meteor shower is Lana Lang. (Kristin Kreuk) We first meet her on that fateful day of the meteor shower. Her parents were killed during the disaster and it left her an orphan, like Clark. Her world was ripped away that day. But because a picture of her crying became an iconic representation of the events, it was also impossible for her to ever fully move on.

By establishing a deep connection between Lana and one of the show’s biggest events it became instantly clear that she was a very important part of Smallville. And to the show’s credit, it understood that they needed to make Lana more than an object of Clark’s affection.

And it did so by revealing a lot about her past and who she was. That might seem obvious but so often we only get to see the female love interest from the male protagonist’s point of view so it becomes harder to see her as a full person. But Smallville developed Lana, and the rest of the supporting cast, just as much as its hero.

And the meteor shower also tied her and Clark together. They were bonded by a common life changing loss. This loss made them understand each other in a way that no one else could. They both longed to learn more about the parents they never knew and their shared grief showed them that they weren't alone. 

 It also played a role in their relationship. It was a reason why it was tough for Clark to be completely honest and open with her and it drove a wedge between them.

It’s a very common story element in the superhero genre that the hero can’t tell his girlfriend his secret. And so often, as the viewer you find yourself wishing he’d just tell her already but here there is an added element to the drama that makes it more resonant. Clark knows how much Lana misses her parents and the hole in her life the loss has left. And because it was the meteor shower that killed her parents, he blames himself and his hesitancy to tell her carries more weight.

And their relationship is one of the biggest parts of the show, especially in the first three seasons. From the very first episode, it's clear that Clark has a strong infatuation for Lana. This is nothing new of course –especially if you know anything about the Superman lore—because how many times have shows or movies depicted a nerdy guy falling for a popular cheerleader?

But usually it's depicted as the guy falling for the girl just because she's pretty. No signs are given that he even knows anything about her and they barely ever interact. But Smallville builds a real relationship between the two that grows very slowly from the seed that was planted on the day of the meteor shower. 

Their Relationship felt real and natural. It never seems as if they liked each other simply because the script called for it. One of the most important things about how the relationship between Lana and Clark was developed is that we get to see it slowly happen.

At first they don't talk much but when they do, it's clear that they understand each other. When Clark first finds out about his origins, he's understandably shaken. He runs off without thinking and winds up at a graveyard...where he finds Lana.

At first Clark is too wrapped up in his own problems to wonder what Lana is doing out there. When she asks if he’s ok, he points out that he’s alone at a graveyard, does it seem like he’s ok? But she’s quick to point out that she’s there too.

It turns out that she was there visiting her parents’ grave. And in a very sweet scene she introduces him to her parents. But more importantly the scene establishes the loneliness they feel and the bond they share. She's able to console Clark because she knows what he's going through.

It was moments like this that made you care about their relationship. Whenever one of them felt all alone, as if no one could understand them, the other would be there for support. This is what made their connection seem real and why as a viewer it was hard not to cheer for them even when things moved slowly between them. 

And the performances were great. Tom Welling Kristen Kreuk had palpable chemistry. It felt like you actually knew them and couldn’t help but feel invested in their relationship. And you found yourself feeling genuinely happy when things going good for them. On the other hand, it was also sad when things weren’t going well and you found yourself hoping that they would work it out.

Each time, you hope that they’ll finally get it right. So when she finally does leave, it is a heartbreaking moment. The scene with their last kiss is not only emotional and bittersweet but it ties back to the first episode. This is done when Lana reminds Clark of something he said to her on the graveyard scene in the show's pilot.

But Smallville wasn't all about Clark and Lana, there was much more to the show and other characters that defined it. A lot of times in shows or movies, we only get to know a couple of characters and never learn anything about the supporting cast beneath the surface. Even though the show's star is obviously Clark, one of the breakout characters was actually created for the show, Chloe Sullivan. (Allison Mack)

Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan from  Smallville

Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan from Smallville

Chloe is a character we've seen plenty of times before; the best friend who longingly pines for the protagonist. Unfortunately, the main character is love with someone else. But the best friend is usually a guy so it was great to have the tables turned for once. It was also really cool just how well developed her character was. Above all else, Chloe was a great friend. She was extremely loyal and protective of all her friends; especially Clark. She was often the heart of the show.

Even if it was always obvious they wouldn’t end up together, it was still sweet when they were, sort of, a couple for a few episodes. Unfortunately that ended abruptly when Clark ditched her at a dance to save Lana. No one is suggesting that he should have let Lana die so he could get to second base with Chloe but it would have been nice if their time as a couple lasted a little longer.

But Chloe did other things beside pine for Clark, she also had a great curiosity and the drive of a budding would be reporter. It was this ambition that often sparked a lot of the adventures that occurred in the show. And her curiosity often put her in danger and forced Clark to use his powers to save her. For all of Superman's powers, one of his greatest feats has to be his ability to keep his identity a secret. This is a large part of Smallville and it is even harder for Clark because he's still a teenager and brash...and has no costume.

And having an aspiring reporter, as a best friend obviously didn’t make that any easier. Chloe was very inquisitive so it made sense that she would notice that Clark had a secret. What's more, it would be unrealistic, if she didn't at one point discover what he was hiding.

And in season 4, she did just that. Alicia, Clark's obsessed girlfriend, stages a car crash to reveal his powers to Chloe. She figured that if Clark’s secret was exposed, he wouldn’t have to hide who he really is and they could finally be together. The shot of Clark Catching an out of control car in midair, as Chloe watches was not only a thrilling set piece, but a great visual callback to the cover image of Action Comics # 1, Superman’s first appearance.

Although it was a very exciting and emotionally resonant scene it was also a cause for concern. Would this change the relationship between Chloe and Clark, or worse would she be written off the show?

Luckily Chloe got to stay but their relationship did a good way. It was cool to see Clark open up to Chloe...even more than he could with Lana. It also gave him a sidekick of sorts. And it made Chloe an even more likable character because beneath her concern and loyalty to Clark there was also a hint of pride and happiness that she was the one who knew his secret. 

And although he didn’t last as long as other characters, Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) was Clark’s other best friend. He is the king of character that has to grow on you but eventually you can’t help but like the guy. He was a perfect foil to Clark and the two of them had great chemistry. Their relationship was very real, both when they were getting along and fighting. It really seemed like watching two best friends that are practically brothers. Pete also helped bring a nice balance to the group and provided a lot of the laughs. 

Unfortunately, Pete often felt like he was in the shadow of Clark. Sometimes a rivalry arose and Pete felt resentment because he was in the shadow of Clark who had super powers. But in spite of any jealousy or problems, they always had each other’s backs.

And he was the first one to learn about Clark's secret and although his reaction wasn't as noble as Chloe's, it was still genuine. The fact that he knew Clark’s secret put Pete in danger and provided material for some great episodes early on. And despite the fact that it often nearly got him killed, like a best friend, Pete always kept Clark’s secret.

Although it was sad to Pete go, at least it was handled well. After almost being killed for Clark's secret, he decides to move away with his mom when his parents separate. The only sad part was that after leaving, the show treated Pete as if he never existed.

No one ever talks about the fact that they miss him. In fact he was almost completely forgotten until season seven when he shows up for an episode, with powers of his own. Although it was an entertaining episode, it was also a bit of a missed opportunity. It skipped the potential for emotional resonance altogether. Instead it was just a weightless if amusing episode.

The iconic Kent Barn

The iconic Kent Barn

But aside from great friends, Clark also had very supportive parents. It should definitely be mentioned that Annette O’Toole’s casting as Martha Kent was genius. O’Toole played Lana Lang in Superman 3 so it was a real treat to have her here as well.

During her audition, the creators were impressed with her knowledge of the Superman lore. And when she told them that she played Lana Lang in Superman 3, they decided she had to be on the show.

It's always been very clear that the Kents were a big influence in Clark's life but it was really cool to really see an in depth look at how they shaped the boy who would grow up to be the Man of Steel. Martha and Jonathan were portrayed pretty much perfectly. Martha was as loving and caring, as you'd expect her to be. But she was also a very strong character and you could tell that she was the driving force behind many of the family's achievements. And she wasn’t afraid to put her foot down with Jonathan when he was being stubborn about something. In the later seasons she became even more independent and strong willed. And her foray into politics felt natural.

Jonathan may not have been on the show as long as Martha but he had just as big of an impact on the show and Clark. Their close relationship was established from the very first episode. It was completely realistic and it was true to the comics. There were so many great moments between the two of them. When he passed away in season five, it was a genuinely heartbreaking moment.

Although Smallville brought in a lot of characters, Lois Lane (Erica Durance) was probably one of the most controversial. Lois is so closely tied to Metropolis, that it seemed more than a little odd to rewrite their story to have them meet in Smallville.

At least the show came up with a good reason to have her in Smallville. It turns out that, in the show, Lois and Chloe are cousins. And because Chloe went missing after the season three finale, Lois came into town to find her.

But even so, Lois’ introduction to the show was a bit rocky. For a while it seemed as if the writers weren’t exactly sure of how to use her. But in hindsight, at the time, the show was in a bit of a transitional phase. Because the show is about Clark’s formative years before becoming Superman, it should have, ideally, only lasted a few seasons to really stay true to its premise.

And Lois’ arrival marked a new era for the show. That was the point where Smallville essentially rebooted itself. It was no longer simply a prologue to Superman’s life but the show became its own thing altogether. And it gave Smallville more freedom to go in its own direction,

Smallville  season 8 promo

Smallville season 8 promo

It did however take some time for Lois to find her place in the show. Erica Durance was great from the beginning. She was strong willed, independent and funny. But because the show was so set against making her and Clark couple right away, the writers went too far in the other direction. Their relationship was way more antagonistic than it needed to be.

Slowly but surely, the two warmed up to each other and began the relationship everyone already knew was coming. And eventually they did make a great couple. In hindsight, it could be that the writers were simply playing the long game. Because after such a rough start, seeing them finally fall for each other felt like an even bigger payoff than if they had fallen for each other at first sight.

No doubt, emboldened by Lois’ successful introduction, the writers began bringing in other DC comics characters. One of the most popular ones was Oliver Queen AKA Green Arrow. (Justin Hartley) Before becoming Green Arrow, Hartley almost became Aquaman. Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar helped develop an Aquaman show for the CW that would have starred Justin Hartley as the titular character. A pilot was even shot but it was never picked up.

Gough and Millar were very impressed with Hartley’s performance so they cast him in Smallville as the emerald archer. Green Arrow was originally only slated for a multi episode arc in season six but because he was so well received, he was brought back and eventually became a series regular.

Initially, Green Arrow and Clark often found themselves at odd because of their differences in fighting crime but soon they came to respect one another. And eventually they became very close friends.

Hartley gave a very charming performance that really sold the playboy side of Oliver Queen but he was equally effective as the no nonsense vigilante. The show did a wonderful job of slowly revealing his origins and developing the character as he gradually became a more integral part of the cast. In season nine, he had one of the best story arcs. After being guilt ridden for killing Lex, he decides to give up being a hero and hits rock bottom. He slowly has to find his way back to redemption.

Another way the show took liberties was in making Oliver and Lois a couple. Admittedly that might sound a bit odd but Erica Durance and Justin Hartley had such great chemistry together that they made for a really good on screen couple. In fact, an argument could be made for them being the best couple on the show. (But that probably deserves its own post.)

Smallville  season 1 promo

Smallville season 1 promo

But any discussion about the characters on Smallville wouldn’t be complete without Clark. One of the most popular—and unfounded—criticism directed at the show came from people who most likely never saw an entire episode. Many mockingly referred to the show as Dawson’s Creek with Clark Kent. A lot of people didn’t think the character was meant to be in a show like Smallville and they made up their minds about the show before really giving it a chance.

Because the character is so iconic, he means a lot of different things to different people. And they all have an idea of what the character should be and expect any portrayal to match that idea.

This means that a show or movie has to be really careful in how they depict him. And Smallville did a wonderful job with Clark. The show portrayed him as the brave hero and small town farm boy we expect him to be. But it still managed to be adventurous and show new sides to him. They made the character fresh again but stayed true to his roots. It felt like learning something new about someone you’ve known for a really long time. 

Although the first season relied on the "freak of the week" story line a little too much. Each episode revolved around a meteor-infected villain and it got a little bit repetitive. But even then, the show was always entertaining and there were some genuinely great episodes.

One of the early stand out episodes, titled "stray," was about a young boy named Ryan who could read minds. It was very moving and sad. It foreshadowed just how great Smallville would be once it found its footing. In the episode Ryan is used by his stepparents as a tool to commit crimes. It was really moving to see Clark and Ryan bond. And it was great to see Ryan obtain some happiness, even if it was only temporary.       

Another one of the show’s great strengths was its willingness to embrace the character's rich mythology, even the elements that might seem silly or outdated. It’s hard to imagine the current dark and brooding, cinematic, incarnation embracing the different colored kryptonites and their varying effects on Superman. But Smallville did just that, to great effect. After the “traditional” green Kryptonite, the show introduced the red Kryptonite, which removes Clark’s inhibitions. And seeing him cut loose with Chloe and Pete, who were also acting out of character, was great. 

Smallville had a great way of putting a new spin on things that we knew about the characters to make them seem fresh. Comic book stories often work great as metaphors and the show used Clark’s developing power as a great stand-in for his puberty. The episode when he began developing his heat vision was another early stand out. The power began uncontrollably manifesting itself whenever he became…excited. And his new substitute teacher had that effect on Clark. It was an entertaining and fresh take on his origins and touched on the fact that when you’re a teenager, you sometimes feel like you’re different or so misunderstood that you might as well be from another planet.

Throughout the whole series, the writers dug into the huge treasure chest of Superman stories. And they brought on a lot of characters. Some were iconic others were obscure. One of the fan favorite guest stars was the show's version of Impulse as Bart Allen. (Kyle Gallner) He was just perfect, funny, smart, clever, and kind of a dick. It’s understandable but still kind of a bummer that he never became a series regular. It was also great that in his first appearance the show included a little nod the character's comic book origins. Clark was looking through Bart's fake ids and read the names out loud; Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West.

And other DC characters that made appearances are Bizarro, Doomsday, Black Canary, Brainiac, Martian Manhunter, Zod, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Supergirl, Krypto/Shelby, Aquaman, Cyborg, Zatana, Dr. Fate, the legion of superheroes, Booster Gold, and many others. I really don't feel like even trying to name them all and searching online seems like cheating. And the show brought together a group of comic book heroes before Joss Whedons’ The Avengers with great episodes like Justice and Absolute Justice.

From the episode,  Justice

From the episode, Justice

But of course all good things have to come to an end and after 10 seasons, Smallville finally came to its conclusion on May 13, 2011. The finale was a two-hour special that saw Clark finally embrace his destiny to become the Man of Steel. The first hour focused more on the Clark/Lois wedding and the second hour was the big daddy of conclusions in which we finally got to see the "no flights, no tights" rule broken. 

Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the series finale was a bit divisive. Many people have said that because we already know that Lois and Clark would end up together there was no need to focus on it so much. What's worse, some people saw the couple's hesitation and doubts in the first hour as attempts, on the show’s part, to fabricate suspense. But another way to look at it would be that the show was raising the stakes and reminding the viewers of the personal investments Clark had.

And if you think about it, everyone knew Clark was going to become Superman but it was still incredibly awesome to watch it happen. After all, that’s what Smallville was about; the journey not the destination. 

The main focus of the finale’s first hour was the couple’s impending nuptial and the uncertainty surrounding it. The idea that someone might have cold feet before their wedding is nothing new but the reasoning for Lois’ trepidation was great. It's not because she was having doubts about spending the rest of her life with Clark, it was because she knew his destiny and that the world would need him. She didn't want to be the one holding him back. If you think about it, that's kind of a good argument, but Clark was able to convince her otherwise. He gave her a very nice speech that really got to the heart of the character.

It was great that he told her that she wouldn't be standing in his way, that she would be standing beside him and that she wasn't his weakness but his greatest strength. Watching them get married was so great that it made it possible to forgive all of the times that Lois was annoying. And it also reminded us that it couldn't have happened any other way. Clark also had some doubts because he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he ever put Lois in danger but they worked through that too. 

But behind all of the wedding plans there were some sinister things going on. Oliver was under control of Darkseid and was trying to sabotage the happy nuptials. He replaced the wedding ring with one made of gold kryptonite. This was just another example of the show not being afraid to embrace the geeky stuff about the Superman mythology. The plan was to take away Clark's powers so Darkseid wouldn't have any opposition. Fortunately, Chloe was able to spot this and she saved the day. 

Michael Rosenbaum as Lex and Tom Welling, as Clark, reunited in the series finale

Michael Rosenbaum as Lex and Tom Welling, as Clark, reunited in the series finale

The second hour was the more action packed of the two. It also reunited the two major families of the show. On one hand we had the Luthors and on the other, were the Kents. Lionel was killed by Tess (Cassidy Freeman) who was then killed by Lex. It was really good to have Lex back. It's been said plenty of times that a hero is only as good as his villain and Lex was a big part of why the show so great.

Although the "magical mind erase" plot device had been done ad nauseam, the show handled it well. Before Lex killed Tess, she erased his memory of everything that had happened up until that point, which of course includes learning Clark's secret.

This makes perfect sense because Smallville is ending but the Superman story is just starting. This means that Lex is going to be Clark's nemesis and it would be ridiculous for him to know his secret. The Kent's family reunion was a lot more heartwarming. Martha explained to Clark that just because he's embracing the future, it doesn't mean he has to forget the past.

And bringing back Jonathan Kent, at least in spirit, was a great move. Watching Jonathan hand Clark the iconic suit was undeniably moving. And seeing Clark really fly for the first time was an incredibly satisfying moment. It was especially great that as he flew away you could tell he was changing into the costume at super speed. 

John Schneider as Jonathan Kent hands Clark the Superman suit in the series finale. (AKA, all the feels...ALL of them!)

John Schneider as Jonathan Kent hands Clark the Superman suit in the series finale. (AKA, all the feels...ALL of them!)

What followed was really just icing on the awesome cake that Smallville was for ten years. Superman got to the business of kicking Darkseid's ass but not before saving the plane that Lois was on. This was probably one of the best moments. It was great to see him rescue the plane and look into the window to smile at Lois. It's a good thing she didn't have a seat in one the middle aisles, right?

This scene was definitely reminiscent of Superman Returns. And when I say that, it's a complete compliment, I loved that movie. But afterwards he got rid of Darkseid and broke his hold on the people by inspiring them. This was a really great way to defeat Darkseid. Because that's what Superman does, he saves people and shows them the good inside. But yes, it’s true; Darkseid was defeated a bit too easily but, that doesn’t mean he was destroyed. It just meant he lost one battle and if the show kept going, he would have no doubt returned to challenge the Man of Steel again.

But one of the finale’s highlights was the fact that they brought Lex back. And even though he didn’t play a huge role, there was one particular scene between him and Clark in the Luthor mansion that set up what would become their infamous rivalry. And after being away for a couple of years, Michael Rosenbaum perfectly slid back into the role that he made his own.

And seeing Tom Welling finally wearing the suit was what fans had been waiting for this whole time. And although it was short, it didn’t disappoint. Seeing Clark change into his Superman suit on the roof of the Daily Planet as the John Williams score plays, was simply perfect. The show couldn't have ended any other way. 

It’s impossible that anybody could have predicted Smallville would last for 10 seasons but fortunately for us, it did. The show kept the Superman legend on screen while the big screen attempts kept stalling. It was definitely a worthy entry in the rich history of Superman. And it showed us a new side of a character we all love.       

Up until Smallville what happened before Clark became Superman was usually just a footnote but the show managed to change that. It provided a fresh take that also managed to fit into the mythology. (with a few tweaks) For many people this was the introduction to Superman, a very awesome one at that. For ten years Smallville taught us new things about Superman and created a whole new chapter filled with exciting, entertaining and moving stories. And for that reason we will, “Always hold on to Smallville.”