Smallville reminisces, still disappoints

Last Friday began the epic concluding season of a decade long series, Smallville. For the past couple seasons, clips from previous episodes have reminded the audience of the triumphs and tribulations of our heroes rather quickly, yet surprisingly informative. This season was no different, clips from season nine lit up the screen with shots of the Justice Society, cloned Kandorians and the Blur’s dark costume. The series of clips ended with Tom Welling’s introduction to the final season of Smallville.

For a series long fan, these words marked the end of an era, a decade of Smallville. This episode would be the last first episode, the beginning of the end. But this ending would revisit the most important aspects of Clark’s life, specifically the first ever episode.

Credits should be given to Tom Welling. After ten years, he is the only remaining series regular, on top of adding Executive Producer and Director to his bill. His character has grown only through the excellent portrayal by Welling. Welling’s acting propelled the episode forward.

Smallville’s first act does what it does best, quickly revealing the previous season’s ending cliffhangers. Yes, Clark survives. Yes, we do find out who abducted Oliver. Yes, Lois knows it was Clark. And finally, Tess does survive. These quick wraps lead into the season long arcs, specifically the two known evils of the season: Lex and Darkseid.

While not played by Michael Rosenbaum, Lex’s presence was filled through out the entire episode. As it turns out, Lex has been imperfectly cloning himself to heal his broken body. While he does not live to see his plan come to fruition, his clones’ personality was virtually a carbon copy of the deceased billionaire mogul. While an excellent cast choice for the evil, older Lex, his clone reminded us that Rosenbaum is the only Lex. I am interested in how Alexander (younger Lex) and Tess’s plot arc will play out.

Darkseid’s CGI reveal at the end of the episode was unexpected and leaving the audience wanting more. The writers hinted to the audience that Darkseid will be a big presence of the season.

Back at the plot, Clark enters a dream state while teetering between life and death. Jor-El accosts Clark’s path as a martyr, claiming that Clark is leaving humanity at its most vulnerable. The characterization inconsistency over the years has led to his character becoming nothing more than a reason for the plot to stall, and it all comes off quite negatively.

The action of the plot picks up in the last half of the episode as the cloned Lex Luthor has kidnapped Lois Lane and strung her up in a field, branded with a red S. Long time fans remember this imagery since Lex first saved Clark from a similar situation ten years earlier.

Clark, having to choose between the love of his life and the citizens of Metropolis, pushes himself further than ever as he rescues Lois from the burning field and catches the falling Daily Planet globe, preventing it from crushing the people below. The classic hero choice may be over done, but was a good propeller for Clark to push his abilities further and even hints of flying. The use of effects was very well done, especially for Smallville’s very limited budget. After 10 years, they have learned to switch up graphics with new effects for the super speed, which was refreshing.

The ending was superb, plain and simple. Jonathan Kent’s unexplained ghostly return to talk to his son was emotional and well needed. It has been 87 episodes since an appearance, 96 since his death. Jonathan’s words expressed his unyielding love for his son, telling his son how proud he was. The talk even showed Clark’s doubt as a hero, stating that “Every time I do something right, I do something wrong.” This raw emotion drives the scene and allows the audience to really feel for Clark. The ominous warning ending the episode about something dark coming was met with optimism with Jonathan Kent knowing that his son could handle it.

Overall, the episode was above average for premieres. Hopefully the final season proves to be the best season Smallville has ever seen.