Smallville Review: Raised By a Luthor

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I never liked the character of Lionel Luthor, especially the cozier he became with Martha Kent toward the end, and was not the least bit unhappy when Lex offed him seasons ago.

His return was not anything I was looking forward to, and expected for "Luthor" to be yet another diversion off the track of what, so far for me, has a been a somewhat inconsistent season of soaring peaks and plummeting valleys. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when Smallville delivered us another one of the best episodes of its 10-year run, in no small part thanks to the writing of Bryan Q. Miller and his accomplished knowledge of the subject. 


Wrapping a visit to Earth-Two around Tess' newfound Luthor heritage was a masterstroke in giving a nod to one of the greatest entries in the history of DC Universe. I didn't even care (for once) that Darkseid has still yet to fully manifest himself.

And if you've been reading my reviews this season, you know what a major feat that is. Well done, Mr. Miller.

Earth-Two Lionel was a mirror image of his arrogant, pontificating and vicious Earth-One self, which was not at all surprising. I was just waiting for Clark to ram him into a wall over making the "ignorant farmer" remark. It was tragic to see how different Clark was on Earth-Two simply for having been raised as a Luthor.

I recall learning back in the Veritas days that Lionel had also gone out to the cornfields looking for "the traveller," but that the Kents found him first. Hard to imagine something as simple as an extra bale of hay to load or fence post to repair could have been what prevented Clark from having a stable, nurturing Earth-Two upbringing.

When John Glover appeared to break the fourth wall during the final seconds with his remark that he returned just in time to see how it all ends, I came 'this' close to needing to change my shorts.  He can play one intimidating bad guy, I'll give him that.

One thing the I'm curious about, though: exactly how did Lionel and Earth-Two Clark stifle Jor-El and what was that project in the Fortress all about?

Also eerie was seeing Oliver and Lois engaged, but nowhere near as disturbing as the news that Clark was engaging in conjugal visits with his step-sister Tess. Blood relation or not, that's just sick. Glad that was taking place in an alternate reality where, assumedly, Oliver took care of Earth-Two Clark.

I was absolutely captivated by Cassidy Freeman's performance, as I have been all season. She has been delivering stellar work as of late, stealing this episode right out from under Tom Welling, and I hope she continues to wow us right up until the very end.

The scene between Tess and Clark where they discussed the "poisonous" blood that runs through her veins was the highlight of the night.

Clash of the Swords

Hearing her heartbreaking revelation that even though she knew the Luthors were a sick and twisted family, all she could help feeling was sadness that she'd been abandoned by Lionel, made me ache for her. Ms. Freeman can wrench the heart right out of you when she wants to.

I also appreciated Clark's retraction and admitting that it wasn't the bloodline, but the influence of Lionel that was corrupting, and Tess was all the better for having avoided the experience.

While Tess' intentions have always been murky, I really want to believe she is on Clark's side. Seeing the two of them bonding just feels right. I hate the thought of Tess double-crossing the heroes and being alone because of some misguided loyalty to the Luthor name.  Let's hope her allegiance stays all along the Watchtower.

Welling was also on his A-game, playing the yin and yang versions of Clark from both worlds. As great as it is to have Clark be the sweet-natured guy he is - and telling Earth-Two Lois he couldn't live in a world where she didn't love him was pretty darn swoon-worthy - Evil Clark is such a guilty pleasure to watch. 

I don't know about you, but I kinda wish I'd seen the battle that led up to the ridiculous shambles of a Watchtower Clark returned home to.

Once Smallville ends its run, Welling should seriously consider taking a role in an "American Psycho"-esque thriller. I have no doubt he'd kill in a role like that. Pun intended. The little we saw of Earth-Two Clark, brought back fond memories of his impressive turn as Clark's red kryptonite affected alter-ego Kal.  


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (52 Votes)

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Evil Superman, aka Ultraman, is actually Earth-3. Whatever, the episode was still way better than I expected. Kudos to the writer for turning what could have been yet another stupid temporary-personality-shift episode into one that feels iconic. And we should be grateful to have John Glover back for the big finale. That'd better not disappoint.

Saad khan

I don't know why you didn't found a diversion from the main story? the alternative world was fascinating but it was Out of the Blue just to bring Lionel Luther back is kind of Too Much! Cassidy Freeman Aka. Tess was Heart wrenching ... I always said that she is the most Complex character on the show and after finding out she is a Luther and brought up by Granny. we get her character now. After Lex gave her the excess to his whole empire so it means he knew already that she is a Luther and I think One day he will come and claim Luther Blood Sacrifice from Her. Lets see what happens.
I didn't enjoy the episode that much bx we have seen Tom Welling in Bad Avatar before So to create an alternative world just to unleash that Tess is a Luther is too much in a Show which is ending in 12 weeks.
Oh i will miss Small Ville :-(


I found Luthor to be a total snoozefest for the most part. i really can't stand the Tess character, so for an episode to be devoted to her was a real downer. And the evil Clark/Tess was waaaay too long. Messaage to Kelly Souders - kinda obvious you are pandering to the fans who wanted Clark and Tess to hook up in season 8. You have single handedly RUINED the Clark/Lois relationship for this viewer. Tom Welling's kiss with Cassidy Freeman was way hotter than any of his previous scenes with Erica Durance. And the length of the Cless kiss was insulting too. Not sure if I'm going to watch next week's episode. I may just watch the Clois highlights on youtube. Less chance of me wanting to spork my eyes out!


Yea the whole idea for this episode was pretty genius, not only is Lionel back but it's a more badass version of him.


I have followed the show since the beginning. I did not like the fact that lionel was the prophet, but I do believe that the show itself took a major hit when John Glover left the show! From the beginning he was the best actor on the show (just a little better than Michael Rosenbaum). I am glad he is back, and the sooner Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) comes back the better! I think this should have happened last season so that there would be time to build the storyline. It all seems a little rushed. There is still room for another season, and with the roots of the show coming back why not?


I thought the same thing with his "Wouldn't want to miss how it all turns out" with his classic sneer/grin look.
There's a few storylines he can join with a snap too, either on Darkseid's evil alliance or he can nurture Lex/Alexander until he's ready for a showdown with Clark. - I've never read the comics but I think someone commenting will bring up Ultraman. Loved Oliver's line about the name though, "what were you thinking? Did it look good on paper?"

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Smallville Season 10 Episode 10 Quotes

I often wonder what would have happened to my little traveler if he'd been discovered by the first ignorant farmer that came along.


Clark. Calling another woman at this hour. What would the illustrious Lois Lane think?