Let me start this by saying that it was better than LOST‘s ending. But that isn’t saying much…
Smallville has always been an uneven show. It had good years, bad years and worse years. It never had great years. It rarely had great episodes. They were there but there weren’t as many as one would hope in a ten year run with a total of 217 episodes.
And yet: Ten years and 217 episodes. There aren’t that many shows overall and even fewer shows in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre that can bring that much to the table.
For all its faults I love Smallville but I am also at peace with it ending now. I nearly gave up on it after what is commonly referred to as Failsday.
Seasons nine and ten became better again and quite a few episodes of season eight have grown on me.
But season ten and its finale also showed that even though they knew exactly how it was supposed to be ending they didn’t really have a clear idea of how to get there.
It started with Lazarus. Jor-El became bipolar again and declared his son unfit to save the world hours after Clark successfully prevented a full-blown Kryptionan-Human-War.
In Shield Lois has a sincere talk with Carter/Hawkman and he makes her understand that Clark can’t do it alone. He needs someone like Lois, so that the burden is easier to bear. That point is later reinforced in Icarus.
In Supergirl his cousin who has not been known to make clear-headed decisions in the all-time low season seven is suddenly better equipped to fight “the darkness”. Not that they ever explained why that would be the case.
Then comes Homecoming. I didn’t like the story all that much because it contained a lot of avoidable ambiguity (“You sent the woman I love away.”), deliberate bashing of Lois by punch-bowl Maddie, a lot of hand-holding for Clark (“Here’s what the future looks like, isn’t it great? Now make it come to pass.”) and Smallville‘s infamous exposition speak (“I will repeat now what I learned in this episode.”).
But we (Clark & the viewer) have understood: If Clark really wants to become Superman he can’t cling on to the past, he has to (as Hawkman put it) “break the chains that are holding him down”. And Lois stands by his side no matter what.
The season goes on from there. Clark reveals his non-secret, Clois becomes engaged, Chloe gets her good-bye arc. The Clone!Lex arc ends with Connor, the VRA is defeated and the three minions of Darkseid don’t really pose that much of a threat.
That leaves Prophecy and Finale. And here we throw everything over board that has been established this season.
First Lois breaks of the engagement. Why? Because she doesn’t want to stand in Clark’s way. It’s not like that this was the reason she went to Africa in the first place. But if it worked once, why not rehash the same plot point again. It’s not like we had seven Clark-Lana break-ups over the course of eight years. Oh, wait….
And then Clark tries to leave his past behind him? How dare he! He’s wrong of course. Clark is always wrong. Other people have to tell him the right way to do everything. Martha never meant for him to sell the farm.
In 1938 telephones may have not been as widespread but even back then it might have been a good idea to pick up a damn phone to ask what the true intention of signing over the deed to the farm was. But clearly that would stand in the way of creating yet another scene of “good” drama.
Everything we’ve learned this season and the reason Clark was able to withstand Desaad is wrong. Clark mustn’t shed with his past. He must embrace it. That’s the right course of action all of a sudden.
It’s not like that this is the final two hours of the show and that they had 20 episodes before that telling him the opposite.
And naturally the minute Lois is brought on the right track again that Clark begins to travel in the anti-wedding direction.
But in the end it works out. That just leaves freeing Oliver from the darkness (Just talk to him!), disposing of the three minions (Shoot them with [special?] arrows!), finally learn to fly (It helps when Darkseid is throwing you across the barn.), destroy Darkseid (Punch-flight!), save Air Force One (Iconic!) and free Earth from Darkseid’s planet (By pushing it away!). There’s no need that people need so see Superman to believe in him. It’s enough to come out of the shadow of the planet to be freed from the Ω mark.
It’s also not necessary to actually call this guy Superman even though both Lois and Oliver had the chance to tell people without making any changes in the script.
I guess the most impressive feat of the final hour: Lois sneaking aboard the presidential Air Force One with a stolen ID.
Well, that’s it then. Not the greatest show of all time, but enjoyable. And there are enough episodes that are either cheesy or good enough (or both ;)) to re-watch them from time to time.
PS: Is it ironic or sad that Lex was the first and the last character to get a mind wipe so that he wouldn’t remember Clark’s secret? And if Lex really forgets everything, what is left that makes Lex Lex?