Smallville Review: Leaving It All Behind

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To borrow the old and overused Mae West line, when Tom Welling is good, he's good; but when he's bad, he's better.

I hope he gets as big a kick out of playing Evil Clark as I do watching him do so. The way he lasciviously gazes both Lois and Tess up and down as he is either making innuendos or threats, flashing that sly grin in the process, is so precise in its unnerving effect, you don't know whether to swoon or scream. It actually startled me a bit, as it obviously did Tess, when he placed his hands menacingly around her neck as he stood behind her while she tracked Lionel from her desk.

Clark and Lois Pic

Tom has grown so much as an actor, especially in the last few seasons. His ability to so easily transition from sweet-natured, inspiring hero to ruthless, cold-hearted villain proves to me he'll have a long career after Smallville ends in a few weeks.

I feel similarly about Erica Durance. It occurred to me watching "Kent" just how much I'm going to miss her on my TV screen each week. As this series has progressed, not only has she become more and more radiant, she has also developed into a very fine actress in her own right. Her transition from excited to quizzical to terrified as she realized the true identity of Clark Luthor demonstrated just how far she has come since she first took Smallville frantically by storm. She's more nuanced now, more comfortable in her skin and it shows.

In particular was this true in the last scene between she and Tom on the porch. I admit, I choked up a bit, as I tend to do, when Lois tugged at Clark and said "This Smallville is my home." There was more love reflected between them in that one scene than between Clark and Lana their entire relationship. The chemistry between Tom and Erica has synchronized to perfection in this final season and they have done unprecedented work in portraying exactly why Clark and Lois are destined to be together.

It makes me happy to know that Clark has moved on emotionally and doesn't feel tied to the farm and its memories anymore because it means he is ready to accept his mantle and do what he's destined to do. At the same time though, it feels like  someone is coming into my home, tearing into my photo albums and stealing my memories away one by one.

If the conflicting emotions have been the goal of the writers in this final half of the season, then they have done exactly what they set out to do - and I at once praise them and curse them for it.

It's almost a shame there's another Superman incarnation coming to the big screen, because even though Smallville has been all about the journey leading up to the rise of the Man of Steel, I don't think anything else will ever come close to meeting my expectations like this.

I admit I'm tentative about Tess' loyalties at this point. She seemed to be resistant to Clark Luthor's taunts, and ultimately did throw him off of Lionel's trail, but there was a darkness in her eyes that showed up for a split second, something Emil recognized as well. That is one of the things I love so much about Cassidy Freeman. Her performance has shades of Lena Olin's in Alias as she holds an almost impenetrable poker face. Just when I think I know where she stands, I realize I don't know anything at all.

I've said before I do not want Tess to succumb to the Luthor darkness. I want to see her rise above that and take her place once and for all alongside the heroes, but I'm thoroughly enjoying trying to figure her out in the process.

Return of John Schneider

As much praise as I'm lavishing on the performances tonight, I cannot leave out what, for me, was the standout scene of the night, when the alternate Jonathan Kent, played so breathtakingly by John Schneider, called Clark "son." Just when I think Smallville can't get to me anymore than it already has, they play that card. It brought back all the memories of Jonathan giving advice to Clark while they mended fences and performed other chores on the farm and, of course, the requisite lump in my throat.

Praise and curses, again.

There were only two things that marred an otherwise perfect episode for me, in general:  the grainy, blue tint during the alternate world scenes and the quick attempt at redemption for Clark Luthor. I know the tint was intended to distinguish between the darkness of that world and the lightness of this one, but I found it to be a little distracting. The wrap up with Clark sending Clark Luthor back to the alternate world to be taught by Jor-El just felt a little too swift and tidy for my tastes.

Everything else in "Kent" hit the right spot for me, but nothing can compare to the promos for the finale that aired during the episode. The haunting lilt of the original Superman score cascading over key scenes spanning the ten-year old series gave me chills that traversed my entire nervous system.

In a few short weeks, we'll be leaving behind a series that for many of us has defined our generation. I simultaneously crave and dread that final chapter of Smallville. Despite the highs and lows over the years, there's no other superhero interpretation that will ever come close to holding a candle to this epic series.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (58 Votes)

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

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Very good review! I have the same feelings! The scenes with John Schneider and Tom Welling were very moving! I am very impatient too see the finale, but, at the same time, I am very sad because I love so much all the cast and the characters.

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Very good review! I have the same feelings! The scenes with John Scneider and Tom Welling were very moving! I am very impatient too see the finale, but, at the same time, I am very sad because I love so much all the cast and the characters.

Jeffreykirkpatrick

@Fred I'm sorry; I'll try to use bigger words next time to allow you more of an opportunity to flex your obviously superior intellect.

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I think whoever wrote this is a total moron.

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Great review. I love Smallville! I have to agree - Tom Welling is so much hotter as "bad Clark"! And I never did like Lana - she always looked like she was about to cry. Excellent review of an excellent episode. Smallville will be missed.

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Loved the review. It was exactly as I felt while watching the episode. My heart aches for the upcoming final few episodes of this amazing show. Nothing will ever compare in my heart.

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This was a "super" episode. Can't wait for what's next even though I will really miss this great show. It is sooooo entertaining!!! The actors have great chemistry...all of them. I hope they all go on to other great acting jobs!! Tom...you are the....bomb!!!!

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I agree about the quick, tidy and very convenient wrap-up to the Clark Luther bit...it just seemed a bit forced...as did how easily the good Clark convinced Alt-Jonathan that he wasn't the Clark of that universe. Jonathan wanted vengeance for bad Clark destroying his life. He was fighting the urge to outright kill him for the reward instead, but Clark convinces to let him go by showing him that he knew where Jonathan kept Hiram's trusty varmint killing shotgun. Add to that a few key Jonathan sounding phrases and the man changes his mind and calls Clark son? Years of rage and hatred gone in seconds? Sorry...not good enough. The version of Jonathan that Clark was talking about never existed in this universe, he never saw the good in anyone so for him to have a change of heart that easily was just too much to accept. Now I will say that the scene where he called Clark son did choke me up a bit...and since they went there it would have been nice to let Clark say a proper farewell to his father...but no...the pull the cliche "yank him back to his own universe prematurely" card and...well...it just felt like they took the easy way out on this one. The rest of your review was spot on and Tess in that purple dress...WOW! And seeing Jonathan going to Martha's apartment at the end was a nice touch. One final thought...how exactly did good Clark send bad Clark home? It was a bit confusing? Was it the Fortress that did it? And if it's possible for the Fortress to allow travel between dimensions...what's the point of the mirror box anyway?

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cool episode, great review!! I know I say this each time, but I can't believe this is almost the end! I'm watching and loving a lot of series, but Smallville has been part of my (our) life for 10 years!! This is just amazing! I still remember the first time I watched the 1st episode, in my room, on my bed, during the 1st french airing (well before I started to watch shows in english) I was so excited!!

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I hate this episode almost as I much as I hated Luthor. But, ironically, I liked the review for this episode.

Smallville Season 10 Episode 17 Quotes

Clark Kent if I wasn't late I'd kick your bulletproof ass right now.

Lois

Lois: Someone wants to forget that the two nights I was home, he was cavorting around in Bangkok.
Clark: They had floods.

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