I’ve never read a DC comic (or Marvel for that matter) and I’ve only watched the four “Reeve” Supermans and Superman Returns. Thus I have no idea what does or doesn’t contradict Superman mythology when I watch Smallville, which is an advantage I think.
And off we go:
Synopsis: A meteor shower hits a small town in Kansas: Smallville. But with that shower a spaceship arrives and it contains a small boy that is adopted by the Kents. 12 years later. Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross are freshemens on the Smallville Highschool. And Lex Luthor, son of Lionel Luthor takes over the management of the Smallville fertilizer plant. But then an accident happens where Lex nearly gets killed – if it weren’t for Clark. And a man awakes from a coma in which he had laid for twelve years.
My Opinion: I really liked the homage to the first Superman movie, when Clark missed his school bus and ran across the fields again. I also liked most of the cast from the start. I also thought it to be interesting that Clark didn’t already possess all of his abilities. But the pilot plot also introduces the scheme of the show for at least the first season: Freak-of-the-Week. But they also have some minor arcs from the beginning.
Synopsis: The story continues on the day after the Homecoming. Lex still possesses Lana’s meteor rock necklace and intends to help Clark with it. But not only Clark and Whitney are interested in Lana but also Greg. He’s stalking her until he’s stung by a swarm of meteor-infected bugs. Then he becomes dangerous and only Clark is strong enough to stop him.
My Opinion: An ordinary FotW episode. But also the first where Clark has to accept his fate: He may be the rescuer but often he won’t be able to take the credit for it. He has to conceil who he is and that will bring him in as much trouble as facing his opponents will do.
Synopsis: The football coach uses a sauna with meteor rocks which gives him the ability to burn things at will. He is also very ambitious and wants his team to win no matter the costs. And Clark wants to join the team even against the will of his father. Meanwhile Lex’s father wants his son to fire 20% of the employees in the fertilizer plant.
My Opinion: A good father-and-son-confrontation episode but both confrontations where totally different of course. If I were to imagine Jonathan Kent’s early years I can’t help but to think of a certain Bo Duke (The Dukes of Hazzard). 😉 To watch Lex over the course of the years is also interesting because they choose to portray him as “not so bad” guy in the beginning. If he were bad from the start I don’t think it would have been that interesting. There’s one problem though: Lex is supposed to be 6 or 7 years older than the others (IIRC he was 10 when the meteors hit Smallville) and although Michael Rosenbaum (29 in 2001) is actually 5 years older than Tom Welling (24 in 2001) it doesn’t feel that way. When they both face each other they both seem very adult, but Clark is only a 16-year-old Highschool student.
Synopsis: After sudden flashes of headaches, Clark is able to see through things though he can’t really control it. But this new ability helps him to uncover a plot to blame Lex for a bank robbery he didn’t commit. A girl who has become a bad copy of Lana has the ability to shape-shift and she can fool everybody but Clark. Meanwhile a reporter tries to blackmail Lex with knowledge about his past in Metropolis.
My Opinion: This episode starts several things. Firstly, the tradition to introduce one new ability in every season, in this case his X-Ray vision. Secondly, Lex’s obsession with Clark that will presumably never end. And thirdly we see that he has both a past that is at least greyish and that he becomes ruthless when he’s threatened.
I doubt I would have noticed it before Buffy but that was the second time in only four episodes that had at least one scene in a cemetery.
Synopsis: After the football player Sean has fallen into the lake he comes out of it barely alive. But something has happened, he can’t keep warm and he needs new sources of heat all the time. The best source seems to be the body heat of a human and Chloe has just given him her phone number. In the meantime Clark is driving to a concert – together with Lana, but “just as friends”. But then he learns of the danger Chloe is in and immediately returns to Smallville.
My Opinion: This will also be a recurring theme that Clark has to walk out on someone to save another and of course he can’t explain why. I thought it a bit too convenient that Whitney would find Lana in that café when he was supposed to watch a game on a Pay-TV channel, but then again, Clark’s and Lana’s relationship is as complicated as it gets, it’s even worse than the one of Ross and Rachel (Friends).
I also liked the remark when Chloe asked Clark if he comes from an ice planet – considering the movie and the place of his Fortress of Solitude that wasn’t far from the truth.
Synopsis: Clark does community work in a retirement home where he reads stories to an old, blind lady who claims to be able to foretell the future. But then one of the elders “gets lost” and instead a young man appears in Smallville and he has a score to settle.
My Opinion: I wonder if this old woman Cassandra (what an unimaginative name for a person that can see the future) has seen Clark as himself or as Superman when she looked into other people’s future. I also “liked” how they presented Lex’s future, the way that sunflower field turned into a wasteland covered with bones. It seemed fitting for the character.
What I didn’t understand was Harry’s motive to kill the descendants. He said he wanted to destroy the future of that teacher und thus he killed his son. He wanted to hurt the teacher, otherwise he would have killed him, too. So why now kill the children of the original jury when they jury members themselves are already dead and can’t feel any pain anymore? He simply could have left Smallville and started a new life. Mabye I don’t understand because I am not a homicidal lunatic.
Synopsis: Jodi is obsessed with diets because she is an overweight teenager. But then she finds the perfect shake: vegetables grown in meteor soil. She slims down to a perfect body, but this diet has side-effects: she needs huge portions of fat to survive. And she gets it from wherever she can.
My Opinion: People who are unhappy the way they look are very exhausting, it’s no fun to be around them. But one shouldn’t define oneself by the looks. But then again I was never a female teenager.
Once again Clark can’t be with Lana because he has to save a friend and I can understand that she’s disappointed. She said a funny thing in a previous episode, that Whitney would always be there when she would need him. Clark will also always be there when she needs him, just not in the way she meant it or expects it.
Synopsis: A man claims to have worked on “Level 3” in the Smallville fertilizer plant and he got somehow sick there. Now he demands answers and takes hostages at the plant. Among them: A group of Highschool students. Among them: Lana, Chloe, Pete and Clark. The problem is: This plant has no “Level 3” – at least not officially.
My Opinion: This was the first hint, that LutherCorp conducts research on the meteor rocks and that it isn’t entirely legal. And it also showed that Lex isn’t involved in his father’s plans – at least until now. I also liked the closing scene where Lionel and Lex hugged for the cameras while the Kents hugged as a family. One could see that Lex envied them.
Synopsis: A corrupt cop who witnessed Clark’s powers is now blackmailing him. When Clark refuses he frames Jonathan for a murder. Meanwhile principle Kwan fires Chloe as editor of the school paper “Torch” and installs Lana as her successor.
My Opinion: The frame was so obviously fake I don’t believe anyone could have really fallen for it. They get an anonymous tip and then they find a body in the middle of the barn, on the ground, unhidden?!? But apart from that I liked the stunts Clark pulled to get back at the dirty cop.
Synopsis: Lex’ castle is haunted. A ghost lives there that can move without being seen. But there’s also Amy, the daughter of an employee in the mansion. She has a crush on Lex and dislikes his new girlfriend. When the new girlfriend is attacked by the “ghost”, Clark and Chloe put one and one together and get three.
My Opinion: The cool thing about this episode is that I always forget that it is the brother and not Amy herself. It was an ok episode.
Synopsis: A very persuasive business man comes to Smallville and plans to open a new plant. But for that he would have to buy the Kent farm. There’s also a hermit in the woods who wants to be left alone but also doesn’t want to have this business man in his town. But Clark’s alliance with Kyle the hermit causes a riff between Clark and Lana who suspects to have been attacked by Kyle.
My Opinion: That episode I really liked because I liked Kyle. I like grumpy people because in the end they always have their heart in the right place. While the fight between Lana and Clark felt a bit constructed I really liked the end scene again when Clark (or was it Lex?) claims that the story of their friendship will be the stuff for legends. One regrets that it won’t end so well.
They also used the “forgetfulness plot device” for the first time to make Lex forget that he saw Clark’s powers.
Synopsis: When Clark tries to rescue to a fellow student both are struck by lightning and through the meteor rocks his powers are transfered to Eric. From now on, Clark is normal and Eric becomes “Superboy”. But then he begins to abuse his abilities and Clark has to stop him.
My Opinion: “With great powers comes great responsibility” (Ben Parker, Spider-Man) I really liked it that Clark’s nature didn’t change just because he had no powers anymore. He still tried to help even when that caused him a few broken rips. Episodes where Clark is incapacitated or otherwise limited are always interesting, yet it conveniently happens always when Lex doubts Clark. I also liked Shawn Ashmore (Iceman, X-Men trilogy) in the role of Eric.
Synopsis: There’s a series of break-ins and no one can explain how the thieves did it. But they run into Clark and Chloe when they try to rob Lex. Clark can’t prevent that Chloe falls out of a window and gets seriously hurt. Now Clark does anything in his power to find and stop these guys and he has help from the inside.
My Opinion: I am sure that there are people asking and complaining that Clark didn’t save the bad guy, too. From the looks of it it would have been possible to pull both of them out. But from my POV there is s strict order: Good guys first, bad guys later if there’s time. And maybe Clark didn’t know that the tattoo had worn off. After all he was standing there on his own free will, so: Shit happens.
Synopsis: Lex’s past catches up to him: Three years ago there was an incident at the Club Zero in Metropolis. A man was killed and now this man wants to find out what really happened. But he also endangers the people around Lex. Meanwhile there’s a school project going on and this project threatens the secret of the Kent family.
My Opinion: Now Chloe has begun to research Clark’s past, that makes the second person around him. I liked this episode because it showed pieces of Lex’s past and it didn’t reveal too soon the secret of this dead guy. With Chloe’s digging another side-story has started which means the stories will become more and more arc-y and less FotW-y. I don’t know if it was planned from the beginning but over the last episodes they have scattered a few bread crumps like the mystery of his adoption that will become relevant in later episodes. I like that.
Synopsis: A man smashes into Jonathan’s car and then overturns his own. When Jonathan tries to rescue him he comes in contact with a flower that makes him act out of character. But then he slips into a coma. When Clark, Chloe, Lana and Pete investigate the case, Lana and Pete get also infected and they are going to die if a cure isn’t found.
My Opinion: Two words: Lana. Hot. *must concentrate now* I believe that was the first time that Lex lied directly into Clark’s face because he has secrets of his own. I don’t count Zero because he bluntly told Clark to stay out of it but here he held back informations because this doctor secretly works for him. It’s a long road he has started to go down. 🙁
Synopsis: A young boy called Ryan jumps in front of Martha’s car in the middle of the night. When he wakes up he claims to have amnesia. But he has also a secret: He can read minds and that’s the reason he is hunted by his stepparents who use him for robberies. But for a while he is save on the Kent farm and he bonds with Clark and through his ability he learns about Clark’s secret.
My Opinion: I found it funny to see super-hero comics in a series based on a super-hero comic. 😉 I liked this episode because I liked Ryan. I think it would be hard to hear other peoples thoughts. It might sound cool in the beginning but I think one can handle only so much honesty and I think such a person would eventually leave all the people to give the mind some rest.
Synopsis: Tyler’s mother wants to die but when her son tries to grant her that wish he is caught and falls out of a window, breaking his neck. But during the autopsy he re-awakes from the death – a meteor rock around his wrist saved him. From now on he has the ability to turn people into ashes and he uses that to help people die. But then he kills someone accidentally and Clark has to stop him.
My Opinion: Euthanasia is always a complicated topic but even if one isn’t opposed to the idea in general no one has the right to make that decision for another person. I liked it that Tyler saw the error in his way and ended it his way. It would become boring if Clark always had to put down the bad guy himself.
Synopsis: Pete convinces Clark to run for class presidency. But then his competitors are attacked by bees one after the other. Clark has a pretty good idea who is behind this. Additionally he has an argument with Chloe who supports another candidate.
My Opinion: There are some parts of the american culture I will probably never understand. This was just a class presidency election, yet there were banners and buttons and flags and flyers and … all over town. Some villages around here wouldn’t put that much effort to it when it comes to the election of the next mayor. I also wonder who would fund such an election since Clark didn’t seem to have asked Lex.
Synopsis: Justin has just come out of recovery. He was injured in a hit-and-run accident the previous year. He lost the ability to use his fingers properly and thus the ability to draw. But instead he can move objects with his mind. He still tries to find that driver and Chloe helps him with that. Clark – who had a major run-in with Chloe – is sceptical about Justin because freak accidents happen around him.
My Opinion: The writers managed to put Clark in a lose-lose situation. Everytime he socializes with either of the girls he has to run off to save the other. And that won’t change for quite some time. On the one hand it’s understandable that both are disappointed by this behaviour but on the other hand they both should have learned by now that Clark only runs off when he has a very good reason to do so. Before I started this marathon I thought about making a list of people who know about Clark’s secret and have “forgotten” it again. Maybe I should make a list of how often he saves Lana’s and/or Chloe’s life.
Synopsis: Lana is knocked out by an explosion on a field. When she awakes she is somehow mentally connected to a kidnapper. She sees that he keeps Chloe as prisoner but nobody believes her because Chloe is supposed to be in Metropolis. Clark – who has experienced stranger things – goes onto a search for Chloe.
My Opinion: Two more notches. This time he had to save both, first Chloe and then Lana. I liked the episode because he finally asked Chloe out for the spring ball. If I were him, I would have gone for Chloe a long time ago. Yes, I admit it, I belong to the Chlark (Chloe + Clark) fraction.
It was practically just a side-remark but the discovery of the octagon disc will set many things in motion. It will become one of the most important items of the show.
Synopsis: Clark goes to the spring formal with Chloe and Lana brings her boyfriend to the bus station because he decided to join the US Marine Corps. But before that happens the reporter that was hired by Lex some time ago blows up the Kent’s truck with Clark in it. And he is right, Clark survives without a scratch. After that he learns both about the octagonal disc and the ship in the storm cellar. This will be a stormy day in Smallville.
My Opinion: Great finale. Smallville is a series that uses cliffhangers at the end of each season and the first parts are often great. But sometimes they fail to give it a good resultion in the next season.
I never had much interest in Whitney but he was a good reason why Clark couldn’t be with Lana. I am not sure if it was a good idea to take him out of the show that early.
The Season – My Opinion: As I said, I’ve never read a Superman comic, but I liked this show from the beginning. The cast is great and several arcs are set in motion. It wasn’t the best of all seasons but that rarely happens and in the league of first seasons it was a good one.