TV On My Terms: The Sizzles and Fizzles of the Smallville Finale

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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.

Smallville Series Finale

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.

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

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    agree but cw cancel sv

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    I stopped watching the series at least a year ago. Saw in the TV listings that the title of tonights rerun episode is Finale and checked to see if it was the season finale or the whole series finale. I'm happy to see that the whole series is now over. There comes a time when a series has run its course, and I just lost interest in the direction the last couple years were going.

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    Okay so I've loved Smallville since the beginning. Never missed an episode, bought all the seasons etc., and I have waited 10 years for this moment and to me at least, I felt that the big Finale was kind of lacking. It felt so rushed with the whole Darkseid thing. If that was supposed to be the biggest challenge Clark would face to date, don't you think it would be a little bit trickier to destroy it? Another thing that kind of annoyed me was the fact that the majority of the first half of the Finale was talking about whether to get married or not - just get married already we've waited a whole season to see this Wedding and now you're saying no? Really? But it did redeem itself when they actually got to the Church, beautiful scene with Jonathon there and their vows, I will give them that. But I don't, I felt like they could of executed the whole thing a bit differently, less rushed. I remember when Lost had it's Fianle everyone was so angry but if you think about it, Smallville didn't do much better. But hey that's just my opinoin, overall it was a great television series and I don't think that we will be seeing a show similar to this one in a long time (if ever). I'm glad to see it end after 10 amazing Seasons!!

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    The finale was ok but maybe a little rushed. I think it would have been a little better if they had some of the heroes that appeared throughout the series joining in the final battle and be there (like Green Arrow) to see Clark save the day in the cape and tights.

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    Let's face it...Smallville is a low budget TV version of a Superman origin story. You don't get any "epic" superhero battles because they do not have the money to make it all that good. If they would have had a budget and SFX team on par with that of say...Heroes from NBC...then perhaps we could have seen a Superman/Darkseid blow-for-blow beatdown. That being said, Smallville has done a great job working with what it is given. It's more character driven then SFX like a big-screen movie.

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    The only things I regret are from the moment when we see Clark's trials. My guess is that they made two big mistakes : first in showing Chloe falling from the staircase and saved at the last second.... because the savior wasn't Clark but Bizarro! So he cannot remember that, can he?! And last, but not least, we didn't see --- correct me if I'm wrong --- even a glimpse of Ryan. Though Ryan's death was the first big fail Clark encountered and it made him realise that no matter how hard he would try, he couldn't save everyone.
    I wish the editors had a second look on the episode and corrected it!

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    @may if that's the case, then they failed, even with a liberal approach, and should have never teased us with the chance of seeing Superman. I don't like spoilers but TPTB should have warned us and told us they weren't going to call him Superman, or show him in the suit.

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    Time for the Supergirl spin off!

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    @Richie if you were listening to ANYTHING anyone said, you'd know why. smallville isn't supposed to show it legally, and tom didn't want to wear it. If you want a more creative answer, as one of commenters before said, this show is not about superman, it's about clark kent. they've always had a no-tights-no-flights rule- i think they were pretty liberal considering their rule

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    I really just want to hear an explanation on why he didn't wear the suit. I'm going to miss this show and I enjoyed the finale but for Tom not to wear the suit did him unjustice and the show as well.
    I just find it a displeasing that Michael Rosenbaum can wear the Superman shirt during the entire 30 minute Breaking In episode and we can only get 3 seconds of clark displaying the S on his chest.