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Smallville Finale


[Note: I do get into spoiler territory in the bottom half of this post for the finale. You should be “safe” up until the spoiler warning line later in this post.]

I remember when I figured a summary of Smallville could be spoken in three words: Clark Kent’s Creek. Another high school drama but instead of new characters, it would plug in names from familiar Superman characters. Add to that assumption the fact that I was in college, with no TV in my room and having largely gotten away FROM watching TV in general…and despite having been a Superman fan for over a decade, it didn’t bother me one bit that I didn’t see the pilot. Or the first season.

I’m pretty sure it was during the show’s second season that Christopher Reeve showed up in the role of a scientist who revealed to Clark his alien origins. By this time, I did actually have a tv in my room, and though I used it mostly for watching stuff on VHS, or cartoons, or CMT…a good friend told me about Reeve being on Smallville, so I watched it. Cuz hey…one Superman to another, and all that.

I never kept up with the show. A few years later when I was in grad school, I found myself intrigued by a commercial for a specific episode, and wound up watching it. That a friend from class was a fan and we chatted via IMs about the show helped–I think I MIGHT have seen as many as 3 episodes around then, as I had someone to talk about ’em with. (And it’s always cool to find another Superman fan in-person).

Another several years later, my roommate had Smallville on, and I recall there being mention of some Doomsday weapon. Come to find it was reference to THAT Doomsday. But altered for the show. Also some supposedly fan-favorite actor playing Brainiac (I realized earlier this year that it was the actor who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer…so I may go back and watch these episodes on DVD just to see the actor in another role).

And of course there was that Legion episode written by Geoff Johns. I don’t recall knowing about it ahead of time, but I do recall seeing Johns’ name in the credits while my roommate had it on, so I made a point of watching the episode, too. But again never really kept up with the show; missed the big finale with Doomsday and “Jimmy” and all that.

But when Season 9 came around, I decided to jump aboard, see what it was all about at this point. Seemed the show had actually gotten kinda good, in my estimation.  Plus I was frustrated with the comics, and finally decided Smallville was just some alternate reality and rather than seeing it as some definitive re-imagining of Superman’s past, just settled in to enjoy this alternate history for a character.

Loved the Absolute Justice episode/mini-movie, and there were a number of other moments in the season that I enjoyed–even though I had almost no context for ’em. (One episode with Zod felt like they tried to seriously homage the Highlander TV series–though I’ve never cared for Zod and find the character totally over-hyped, I enjoyed this).

And of course after watching all of season 9, stuck around for season 10.

And then, this finale…not just of the season, but the entire series.

[Spoiler Warning – series finale discussed loosely but openly below.]

I want a copy of that comic book featured in the episode. I would gladly plonk down $2.99 for a copy of that.

The episode itself (yeah, yeah…two crammed together, I see it as one 2-hour finale) spent waaaaay too much time, I thought, on incidental stuff.

I saw a lot of fun nods and references to other things. Liked the CGI Apokalips, cheesey as it was. Commented about the “red skies” thing–atmospheric disturbances/etc…to me, at least, some reference/paralleling to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Thought it was clever the way they were able to work Lionel and Jonathan back into things. Even Lex himself, though it seemed almost too little, too late, to be worthwhile.

But then we got down to about 25 minutes left, and there was still this huge world-shaking threat looming, and all these things not yet done.

And there were still commercial breaks!

I’d gone into the episode with the simple hope of “flights & tights.” Checked off that “flight.” Then noted “tights.”

Normally I don’t notice some of the cinematic visual tricks and such…but I quickly noticed that we weren’t really seeing Welling in the costume as much as we were seeing a tiny red-blue-blur CGIed into things…which technically made for a disappointment, even though story-wise we officially finally had Superman.

I liked that we had the huge plane, with Lois, and Superman saves it.

I still don’t really “get” how a tiny blur suddenly shoving a huge planet a little way would inspire all the infected citizens of Earth. Also not a huge fan of Darkseid only being seen in brief CGI shots, but being almost entirely portrayed as black-eyed posessed people. DID like the reference to “some anti-life equation.” But what happened TO Apokalips?

And then we were down to something like 5ish minutes. I was sorta surprised at the flash-forward 7 years. Liked the nod to President Luthor. The obligatory intro of the REAL Jimmy Olsen. Perry in the Planet, Lois being herself, Clark being…well, Clark.

That swell of the iconically familiar score was great…the obligatory Clark racing along, yanking the shirt open to reveal the S….and even the brief bits of end credits mimicking the 1978 film…

Nice touches, all.

But sorta token in a way, especially crammed SO closely together in such a short scene. I would have loved to have seen at LEAST a final 15-20 minutes of Clark already having embraced his destiny, in-costume, dealing with the public. But I figure that flash-forward allows for all that stuff I’d’ve liked to see. That Superman became publicly known, and all those early adventures actually AS Superman got to happen.

So…the finale didn’t live up to my expectations, not really.

But it was still a darned good one, it hit nearly all the right points that would be looked for, and it’s possible to see where it could lead into other known versions of Superman.

I do plan to watch it again…or at least, that ending.

Despite my overly high expectations, Smallville’s finale was pretty epic, and the ending WAS satisfying.

And I’ll admit it.

The Superman theme from Superman Returns, as well as the classic John Williams theme, and Williams’ The Planet Krypton…

They’re on both my mini iPod shuffle clip, and my iPhone.

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