Until last night, I’d never seen an episode of Smallville.
I knew about the series, about how it’s about Clark Kent as his powers develop, before he becomes Superman. I have coworkers and former coworkers who watch it religiously. My youngest sister, who wouldn’t be caught dead with a comic book, loved it in its early years, but I think she stopped watching it somewhere around season three or four.
And last night was the series’ two-hour finale. After ten years, Clark Kent was going to battle Darkseid, save Earth from Apokalips, get married to Lois Lane, and put on the Superman suit. At eight o’clock, I found the local CW station (I had no idea what it was) and I settled in to watch.
There were things about the first hour that I liked. I liked the wedding vows that Clark and Lois wrote for one another, I liked the way the scene through Lois’ door was shot when Clark arrived to call off the wedding. I really liked the wedding itself, and I thought it was a neat little thing when Clark walked Lois down the aisle. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Clark/Lois romance.
What I didn’t like about the first hour was that there didn’t seem to be any plot, and that instead the time was given over to people telling Clark not to turn his back on his past. I kept wanting the story to get on with it, especially since we knew that Apokalips was on its way. Really, Clark is more than a little thick.
There were things about the second hour that I liked. Clark embracing his destiny and getting the suit, even if we didn’t really see him in it. Lois being the fearless reporter and getting onboard Air Force One. Green Arrow being all badass with Granny Goodness (I’m assuming that’s who the old woman was) and her other evil minions was nice, too. I liked the mother telling the story of Superman’s debut to her young son, because it made me think of how all stories are imaginary stories, and how Superman is one of those stories. I loved hearing the John Williams music at the end.
What I didn’t like about the second hour was how long it took for Clark to get in the suit. For forty minutes, people alive and dead were telling Clark that he needed to embrace Jor-El, and Clark kept putting it off and putting it off. I thought some of the mystical hero’s journey mumbo-jumbo was laid on a bit thick, though perhaps not as heavily as Bryan Singer’s Superman-as-Christ imagery from Superman Returns. I didn’t like how Darkseid’s threat was dealt with — Clark flies through the possessed Lionel Luthor, and then as Superman he pushes Apokalips away from the Earth. I didn’t like how unmenacing Darkseid’s voice was; he spoke with about as much gravitas as Charlie Sheen, without the benefit of tiger’s blood. I didn’t like Lex Luthor getting his memory wipe, though I suppose there wasn’t any way around that since he knew that Clark had superpowers and he would make the connection. I also didn’t like the way certain scenes, like Clark embracing his destiny and Lex’s mindwipe, were handled through the extended flashback sequences; either they were trying to hammer the point home, or they didn’t have a lot of money to spend and they had to fill the time. I really didn’t like how the plot didn’t kick in until the episode had ten minutes left.
I’m unsure about the epilogue and whether it follows from the rest of the episode or if it exists in an entirely different Superman continuity. The bumbling Clark Kent threw me off, as did the fact that it was seven years later and Clark and Lois apparently weren’t married after their wedding was interrupted by a demonically possessed Oliver Queen, though considering how it echoes a similar scene with Oliver and Chloe at the beginning of the first hour it’s possible that Clark and Lois are going to be best man and maid of honor at some other wedding.
At times, I enjoyed watching the Smallville finale. At times, I was bored stupid by it. I don’t know what Smallville was like through its ten years, so I don’t know if the finale was typical or atypical in its style and its structure.
The finale doesn’t inspire me to seek out more Smallville. It does inspire me, though, to rewatch the first season of Lois & Clark.