I'll be ready to jot down my thoughts about Smallville's 200th episode just as soon as I stop slow dancing on air.
What a rush of emotions last night must have stirred among the hearts of fans everywhere. "Homecoming" truly felt like a love letter to fans of the long running series, as well as to those of the Superman mythology. It was both poignant and nostalgic, bringing Clark full circle as he makes his final preparations to embark on the path he is destined to pursue.
It's almost hard to believe it's been 200 episodes already, and yet it seems like it has taken so long to get here. Part of me wishes we had another 200 for which to look forward, but alas, all good things must end sometime.
Clark's past, present and future all collided Dickens-style as Braniac 5.0 came from the future, courtesy of a Legion ring, to help Clark realize that life is all about the choices we make, and who you choose to become is less about destiny and more learning from the past, letting go of guilt and grief, and embracing the uncertainty of what lies ahead.As a fanboy myself, I enjoyed all the little nods to the Superman mythology including the return of Clark's glasses, the phone booth, Lois in the falling helicopter, and Lois and Clark floating on air while dancing. It was also a pleasant trip down memory lane with the clips of Lana and Chloe presenting the Wall of Weird.
I especially enjoyed Clark's face to face with Future Clark in the elevator, and then seeing Superman off in the distance containing the nuclear explosion, while Clark watched in awe through a window of the Daily Planet. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention how great it felt to finally hear Lois and Clark share those three little words.
In a revisit to "Reckoning," probably not so coincidentally Smallville's 100th episode, Clark's father Jonathan died of a heart attack, and this is revealed to be the critical moment the darkness initially "infected" Clark. All this time he's been stunted, holding on to the grief and guilt over his father's death, believing it was his fault Jonathan died. Braniac showed Clark "what really happened" and claimed Jonathan died because of the decision he made to protect Clark, and that it wasn't Clark's fault.
I was a bit confused by this, because in my recollection, Clark beseeched Jor-El to turn back time so he could rescue Lana, who died. Jor-El obliged, but warned Clark that someone else he loved would be lost to him in the process. In the same episode, Jonathan died. I'm not sure if this is an error in continuity or what, but either way Clark had been hanging on that guilt for so long, and as Braniac indicated, it was affecting his relationships all around him in the present, both with Lois and Oliver.
Clark would have to let go of the pain and guilt over the loss of his father if he were to move forward. That scene in the cemetery where he buried his father's watch and said goodbye, I admit, had me in tears.
There's a little bit of Clark in all of us, I think, which is what makes his character so endearing and why we empathize and sympathize with him, and remain invested in his journey. We can each identify with someone who wants to always do the right thing, yet dwells on past failures and fears he will never live up to the perception of what is expected of him by others, or rather what he expects of himself. It's a great lesson to take away from "Homecoming," that in order to move forward, we can't let the past hold us back.
Overall this was one of the most beautifully written, filmed and acted episodes I've seen in the last nine years of Smallville, and it surpassed my expectations. I'm very interested to see what happens next, as we continue our descent, approaching that final moment when Clark emerges as the superhero he is to become. Although, not to be a downer after such a wonderful episode, I am disappointed to see in the previews for next week's episode we're being taken to the possession well once again. I guess we'll see how "Isis" plays out.
Some Smallville quotes from last night ...
Lois: A couple more hugs and maybe you'll have the 'bah humbugs' squeezed out of you. | permalink
Lois: Looks like somebody took a bite out of Chloe's conspiracy cookie. | permalink
Braniac: This is the moment your life changes forever. | permalink
Clark: We don't have the privilege of mistakes. Even if we don't expect perfection from ourselves, the rest of the world does. | permalink
Braniac: A hero is made in the moment, not from questioning the past or fearing what's to come. | permalink
Clark: I love you.
Lois: I love you, too. | permalink
Clark: I have to say the one thing I never could. Good-bye Dad. I promise to be the man you knew I could be. | permalink
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.