It's finally over. I'm still a bit numb to that fact, as Smallville is one of the only two shows I've ever watched consistently for a decade (Friends being the other).
I was as excited as anyone to see how the road would end, or rather, begin, for Clark as the finale approached. Afterward, I'm still digesting it all, but finding myself with conflicting feelings about it. Not to distract from or take issue with the thoughts of my compadre Nick, who captured the essence of the Smallville finale quite well, I thought, there were a few items that didn't exactly sit well with me - despite my overall satisfaction with how the story ended.
Against my own advice to just sit back and enjoy the end of a long and often arduous journey, I'm going to take this moment to express some things I thought could have been handled better.
Super Suit Fail: My biggest grievance was that after ten years, Clark finally was able to don the red and blue suit - and we had barely a glimpse of it. Yes, we had a few little CGI hints of him in the super getup and of course the iconic shirt ripping reveal of the "S" emblazoned on his chest, but I was hoping for a full on shot of Tom Welling as Superman. I think that after a decade of teasing and tormenting fans were owed at least that much.
First Flight Fail: I also was disappointed in Clark's first official flight. In the barn? Really? The ONE thing we'd been forced to wait 215 episodes to finally witness, outside of some alternate reality or kryptonite-induced multiple personality disorder, felt so anticlimactic to have taken place in such a confined space. I would have preferred they cut that scene completely and let his leap from the fortress, suit in hand, capture the legendary moment instead.
Continuity Fail: Did anyone else find it strange that Chloe was reading a comic book to her son about Clark's journey to Superman? I thought Clark's identity was a secret?
Formidable Foe Fail: How big a threat can Darkseid be if Clark can simply fly straight through him and obliterate him? Or throw Apokolips back into space and consider it a win? Yes, I realize the sight of Clark in the red and blue was supposed to give mankind a reason for hope and cause them to reject the darkness. It all took place so quickly, though, that it felt ultimately prosaic, considering this was to be Clark's "final challenge."
Perhaps if they had spent more time on this story line versus the many tangents they took this season, it would have had more impact.
Overly-formidable Hero Fail: I don't exactly understand how Green Arrow managed take out all three of Darkseid's minions with a fistful of arrows, especially when you consider how we've witnessed the daunting nature of their powers before. Granny couldn't stop the arrows in mid-air or toss Oliver out the nearest window telekinetically? Unbelievable, even for a comic book series.
I have a number of other gripes including the clumsy Frankenstein-like insertion of Lex back into the story and his unrealistically rapid recuperation from a heart transplant (even with Darkseid's help); all the back and forth, will-they-or-won't-they wedding angst; Jonathan's omnipresence; the lack of a Lana cameo; the kisses between Oliver and Chloe and then Clark and Lois all while Apokolips is burning its way into the atmosphere (um, save the liplocking for when we're OUT of danger folks!); and I really wish they had included Lois actually giving Clark the "Superman" moniker rather than having Chloe reference it when reading to her son. Despite these minor misgivings, though, there were plenty of moments that I cheered as well.
Everything Lois did aboard Air Force One was classic Lois Lane, and her witnessing Clark's first rescue as Superman through the window felt appropriately perfect.
Tess' Sydney Bristow-esque escape from Lionel (complete with killshot) and her final act in protection of Clark's secret really did her character justice. I am thankful they never turned her back into a villain, and that her last words to Lex were that Clark saved her from turning into him.
The flashbacks of Clark's life in Smallville spurring him on to take the final step to Superman felt like a fitting way to push him across the finish line, even if they did make the moment feel way overdue.
The entire final segment showing Lex elected President, Lois and Jimmy chatting while Perry shouted "Great Caesar's Ghost," and, of course, Clark revealing the Superman "S" on his chest were all great moments that felt appropriate and respectful of loyal comic book fans everywhere, establishing these characters' futures in legendary fashion.
I'm ultimately satisfied with where the series ended, and will sorely miss the adventures of Clark, Lois, Chloe, Oliver, Tess and even Lex. I am especially tearful now that it appears there will be no superhero representation on the small screen for the first time in over a decade.
If only The CW would do the smart thing and greenlight a Justice League spinoff series.