Top ten episodes of Smallville
|LISTS - TV LISTS|
With an annoying hiatus before the final episodes about the Boy Of Steel, here's the cream of the last ten years of Smallville...
It’s going to be a little over a month until the next episode of Smallville, and after they left us with such a great episode cliffhanger, I thought it only prudent to curb my addiction by looking back at the last nine seasons and sort through, and try to find out just what were the best episodes of this re-telling of Superman’s origin. It is a bit of a daunting task, because not every episode is gold, but when this show is on form, it’s fantastic.
10. 'Red' (Season 2, Episode 4)
Clark and his friends are all excited because they’re finally old enough to buy class rings. Jonathan advises against it, and tells Clark to save his money for something he actually needs, but since all the other kids are getting one, he has to have one too. Unfortunately, the company has saved a buck by using not rubies, but red Kryptonite. The second Clark has the ring on, he’s a changed man, and not for the better. Gone are the flannel shirts and we get to see Tom Welling play against type, garbed in black leather and giving us our first taste of 'Bad Clark'. He uses his dad’s credit card to supply himself with everything he’s ever wanted, telling his folks he’s tired of living a humble lifestyle. He is eventually saved by Pete and Jonathan, and in the end, has to come to terms with the fact that the Red K didn’t change him, but brought out a side of Clark that he didn’t know existed, or wanted to deny. It was nice to not only see Clark get a little bad, but to see the show get away from the 'Kryptonite-monster-of-the-week' that plagued the first few seasons.
9. 'Thirst' (Season 5, Episode 5)
I believe that there is an unwritten law that states that any sci-fi/fantasy program has to include, at some point, an episode involving vampires. This is fine, because vampires are cool. And when the vampires happen to be a group of super hot sorority sisters, well, that’s just good television! Chloe is trying to get an internship at the Daily Planet, but is denied. She gets a second chance by Editor-in-Chief Pauline Kahn (a wonderful cameo by Carrie Fisher), who tells Chloe she can have the position if she writes a story that’s good enough to wow her. The story is about Lana, who has moved to Metropolis University, and is invited to pledge the Tri Psi sorority. The sisters are all gorgeous, love to stay up late and sleep all day, and live on a liquid diet. It falls upon Clark, of course, to save Lana and Chloe from the eternal students. Clark is also getting closer to Professor Milton Fine (the always incredible James Marsters) – unaware he is Brainiac – who seems to have it out for Lex Luthor.
8. 'Rosetta' (Season 2, Episode 17)
Strange dreams involving a local cave filled with alien hieroglyphs and the ability to fly plague Clark. He takes a hexagonal key – originally from his spaceship – to the cave and places it in a hole in the wall. Immediately, he’s able to decode all of the symbols, which are Kryptonian in origin. Then, his uncontrolled heat vision goes off, and he burns a Kryptonian symbol in the side of the Kent barn, which Chloe sees and photographs. When she puts it on the front page of the Torch, Clark gets an enigmatic email from a recluse scientist in New York. He travels there to meet Dr. Virgil Swann (played by Superman himself, Christopher Reeve), who gives Clark a little insight into his lineage, explaining that he is Kal-El, and telling him about Krypton. Reeve’s cameo in this episode is bittersweet, because it’s hard seeing him confined to his wheelchair having grown up with his take on the Kryptonian in the movies, and because it’s a wonderful torch-passing moment. It really is touching to see Welling and Reeve onscreen together. Reeve would appear in this episode and in the season 3 episode 'Legacy', which would be his final performance before passing away in 2005.
7. 'Reckoning' (Season 5, Episode 12)
Clark has decided it’s time to come clean with Lana. He invites her for a day out, not telling her where they’re going. Their destination winds up being the Fortress, where he turns a lump of coal into a diamond in front of her, sets it in a ring, and proposes to her, telling her all about his secret life. The two come back to Smallville to announce the engagement to his folks, who are thrilled. That night, they all attend a party celebrating Jonathan’s election to the U.S. Senate, where Lana gets a call from an inebriated Lex, who is upset that she’s not with him. She leaves to help him, and when Clark finds out, he goes to stop her, only to get there seconds too late, and finds her killed in a car crash. He goes to the Fortress to plead for Jor-El’s help in the matter, only to be warned that if he saves her life, someone else will take her place. He starts the day over, but instead doesn't tell Lana his secret. The rest of the day goes pretty much as it had before, but Clark knows that Lana will leave, and stops the accident. But Lionel has called Jonathan to the farm, having something that would interest him. Jonathan believes that Lionel is trying to blackmail him, and proceeds to beat Lionel, only to suffer a heart attack. He dies in Clark’s arms, and Clark realizes that his actions have led to this. The final scene of Jonathan’s funeral is beautifully filmed, and one of the most tender of the entire series.
6. 'Vessel/Zod' (Season 5, Episode 22/Season 6, Episode 1)
Season 5 ended with one hell of a cliffhanger. A mysterious spacecraft, which has been recovered and hidden by Lex, is hijacked by Brainiac, who has plans to 'prepare' Lex to become the 'Vessel of Zod' once he releases Zod’s spirit from the Phantom Zone. Once he possesses Lex, he quickly dispatches Clark to the Zone. Meanwhile, Brainiac has released a computer virus which has disabled every electronic device on Earth, which becomes known as 'Black Thursday'. Chloe and Lionel are attacked as they try to make their way to safety, and Lionel fights off a mob, allowing her to get to the relative sanctuary of the Daily Planet. In the Phantom Zone, Clark meets a former colleague of Jor-El’s, Raya, who helps him get back to Earth. But before he can get back, they are attacked by several phantoms of those who were imprisoned by Clark’s father, and several come through with him. Zod is keeping Lana close to him, with the intention of using her to sire an heir. Lois and Martha, who were on a plane to Washington, crash near the Fortress and Jor-El tells Martha how to destroy Zod, giving her a dagger, and teleports them back to Smallville. Clark confronts Zod, and the two fly off in a struggle. Clark feigns being beaten, and we get the line we waited all summer for ('Kneel before Zod!') Clark reaches up to grab Zod’s hand, but concealed in it is Jor-El’s Phantom Zone-capturing crystal. Clark replies 'My father sends his regards', and Zod is ripped from Lex and sent back to his prison. Great performances all around in this two-part episode, and some really good writing, giving wonderful moments of tension and levity when needed.
5. 'Labyrinth' (Season 6, Episode 12)
One of the best of Smallville’s 'Elseworlds' episodes. Clark wakes up in a mental asylum, and is told that he’s been there for five years due to his belief that he’s an extraterrestrial who is a superhero. He is under the care of Dr. Hudson, who wants to perform experimental procedures on Clark to try to normalize him. Lana begs Clark to undergo the procedure so that they can be together. He starts to believe that this is all real and that he should go along with the plan, until another inmate, John Jones, informs Clark that he’s not crazy. Jones tells Clark he’s an alien from Mars, and that he believes Clark is sane, but the orderlies taunt Jones with a lit match (great reference to the comics). Clark escapes, and runs into Chloe, who is on the run because she’s believed to be insane as well. He also finds that his mother is married to Lionel. He goes to find Lex, who is in a wheelchair due to the accident, but in this version, Lex swerved to avoid hitting Clark. He turns Clark in, and when he is returned to the asylum for his treatment, Jones convinces him he needs to kill the doctor in order to return to reality. Clark does so, and when he awakes, he finds that the hallucination was brought on by an escaped phantom, and that Jones is in real life the Martian Manhunter (who has been underutilized on the show and really deserves a movie of his own – are you listening, Warner Bros.?), who was a colleague of Jor-El’s and infiltrated Clark’s mind to save him. Phil Morris plays John Jones with a subtlety that makes the alien believable, and a welcome addition to any episode he’s on.
4. 'Kandor' (Season 9, Episode 7)
Zod and the rest of the Kandorians have set up camp, and are trying to solve the mystery of why they don’t have the powers they should have under Earth’s yellow sun. Suddenly, a bewildered Jor-El shows up at the Kent Farm to find Clark, but instead finds Chloe. Zod believes that this 'Red-Blue Blur' is none other than Jor-El, and seeks help from Tess to find him. Clark learns that his father has come to Earth, and goes out to find him before Zod does. Zod tortures Jor-El to find out why they are powerless, and Jor-El reveals that he infused Blue Kryptonite into the mechanism that held their DNA, and that this kept them from being super-powered. He also reveals that he has a son, which makes Zod realize that Clark is the Blur. Zod has never forgiven Jor-El for not cloning his dead son, and knowing that Jor-El has a son sets his resolve to destroy him. He stabs Jor-El, and leaves him at the farm for Clark to find. Jor-El lives long enough to meet Clark and see the man he has become, and for a second time, Clark has a father die in his arms, however this is one whom he has just met, only knowing him from a recording in the fortress. The scene is observed by Zod, who sets out to destroy Clark.
3. 'Lazarus' (Season 10, Episode 1)
Clark succeeded in sending the Kandorians to another world to set up a colony. But Zod had one of the Blue Kryptonite daggers in hand to keep him tied to Earth. In the ensuing fight, Clark got him sent through the portal, but was stabbed by the Blue K blade and sent over the edge of the building they were on. The whole review of this episode can be found here. Definitely the best way to start off the final season of this series.
2. 'Absolute Justice' (Season 9, Episode 11)
Chloe is contacted by a mysterious man named Sylvester Pemberton, who says he knows about the group of superheroes, and asks for their help. Before any explanation can happen, he is attacked by a super-villain named Icicle, who kills him. This sends Clark and Chloe to a small museum, which is the former headquarters of the Justice Society of America. There, they meet a mentally disturbed man named Nelson, who is Dr. Fate; his friend Carter Hall, formerly Hawkman; and Courtney, or Star Girl, a teenage girl who was an apprentice to Pemberton. The group disbanded many years before, after members were set up for crimes they didn’t commit, and some were killed. The events left Hall a bitter man, initially refusing to help Clark and his band of brothers. Clark gathers Green Arrow, John Jones, and Chloe to help them find out where Icicle (the son of the original Icicle) is, and to stop him before he kills another member of the team. Icicle is in league with a group known only as Checkmate, run by Amanda Waller (nice performance by Pam Grier). By the end of the episode, Hall learns to respect the group of whippersnappers, but still considers them a little rough around the edges. He does tell Clark that they are, for all intents and purposes, a family, and to remember that. Luckily, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Hawkman and Star Girl.
1. 'Justice' (Season 6, Episode 11)
Bart Allan, AKA Impulse, has been sent to Luthorcorp’s secret lab 'Project 33.1' to dig up information on some of Lex’s shady works. But he’s taken prisoner by Lex, and set up in a torture chamber where he must run or be electrocuted. Clark tries to rescue him, but is subdued with Kryptonite. Chloe gets Oliver to help, and he enlists the help of Arthur Curry (Aquaman), and Victor Stone (Cyborg), to go in and save them. Clark rescues Bart from the chamber, and after retrieving the information they needed to download, they blow the lab. The scene of the five heroes walking away from the explosion is iconic, with Clark front and center. There is no doubt whatsoever seeing that image that he will grow up to be the greatest hero ever. There’s some great dialogue in this episode, including a bit where Bart tells Lex that he wants a lawyer, and Lex responds 'And I want a ponytail'. This and 'Absolute Justice' were both mid-season episodes that really blew many other episodes out of the water, which makes me believe that the rest of this season is going to just get better than it already has been.
There are only a few more months left for this show, and after 10 years, I don’t know that I’m ready to see it end. But they are going out on top, and that’s what really matters. Although, I would tell Zack Snyder that if he hasn’t thought too hard about casting Superman, he could do worse than Tom Welling.
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