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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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Eagleone

@Orean Keels Jr. say it well... and Tom always say in interview that he will never put on spandex !!! Still miss it. F*** I have to watch it again this week.

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Ok now the goal of this episode was to bring the series to a fitting close as stated by the producers. I actually really enjoyed the finale. Sure they did not put Mr. Welling in the full suit so you could see the culmination of Clark to Superman. Let's face it, we are very demanding Smallville and Superman fans. If we had seen the suit, there would have been the debate of whether on not they like this suit, whether it made Tom Welling look fat (he admitted gaining weight over the 10 years of the series) whether or not he has enough muscles (how did you have a strict workout when you are holding down 4 jobs?). Let's face it, short of giving 6+ months of Workouts as they are for Henry C., but even then, I am sure that even then there would be naysayers. In short, the producers were not going to win. For fitting closurses, I actually thought that the first flight in the barn was fitting. Clark had worked on flying in that barn several times, including the Supergirl episode earlier in the season when he fell through the roof while almost flying saying "it's not flying if you are mostly falling". The tux was a nice touch (sigh). As far as I'm concerned, the force of light gave an added bonus of power over the Darkness/Darkseid. That would account for Green Arrow and Clark/Superman ease of victory. I was actually having issues with an attempt to send nuclear bombs to push off Apokolips when two planets within close proximity of each other would have massive gravitational issues on a luanch. My other did issue is does the farm get sold? Thanks to all who have been putting Smallville together over the years... It will be missed. When are they annoucing the new Justice League movie? Hurry we need a hero fix badly.

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The didn't show Tom in the full suit for one reason and one reason only: Smallville was never about Superman. It was about Clark. If you understood that, you'd see that showing him fully in the suit would have been a HUGE mistake.

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this is the problem with the internet. instead of looking at the episode as a whole and being like, wow! people feel the need to pick and pick. your main gripe is that people are kissing while the world is in danger and that the battle was too short? ok, well one, smallville is about the growth of a hero, not seeing how cool CG can be with a half hour battle scene. the matrix would have been a lot better if instead of being like, let us show you what we can do, the fights had been short and sweet. the whole point of darkseid is not it's physical capabilities, it's the power it has over people.
as for lex, there's a reason they wipe the memories- comic book lore says that Lex Luthor does not know superman's identity. that's the entire point! he has feelings of hatred and resentment, but he doesn't know why. and as for the suit, if you've been WAITING TEN YEARS FOR THIS! you need to get a life. it's JUST a suit, not a life changing event. some people are just never happy, and will complain about everything. why don't we try and highlight the good parts instead of coming down on small things you don't like.

Jeffreykirkpatrick

@filmguy VERY good point. As I said, I'm still digesting. Watched it late last night. :-)

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I agree with all of your complaints but my biggest gripe was perhaps with the cheap cop out to wipe out Lex's memories. Wow what a way to make seven years worth of his journey feel totally empty with one stupid decision. We are what our experience make us and if he doesn't remember why became the villain how can he even be the villain? I mean it's one thing to make him forget Clark's secret but to also obliterate his entire history with his father and his dark upbringing from his mind is going way too far. What an incredible disservice to one of the more interesting journey's, if not the most interesting. Beyond that I just felt like the writers dug themselves into a hole with some of the worst writing this show has ever seen this season. It has never felt so slapped together and sloppy. It felt totally unfocused and ill prepared. The result is that they couldn't clean up the mess with just two hours and finale was disappointing as a result. Very anticlimactic, especially after a 10 year build up. Of course it never would have been able to reach everyones expectations but it almost feel like they didn't even try. A good story would have made all the little things forgivable but the script for the last episode was just okay at the very best. The show should have shown it's best work at the end here and sadly it did not.

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I've been a die hard fan and it's sad to admit but most of that finale was terribly disappointing with a few minor exceptions! You named a lot of the same issues o had with it too.

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It wasn't perfect but it was well done its sad to see the end but it had to be done sometime nothing goes on forever. The only thing I would have changed was the costume the one in superman returns was way better, but o well what's done is done it was a good ending. Good luck to all of the cast I hope we see them on the screen again sometime in the future.

A

@Michael actualy Tom W. in his contract he put that he well do a series finaly at season 5 but only if he never get to put the suit becase he does not like it

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The 'Smallville' series finale did not disappoint at all. Not only did it bring the show full circle but it also set it up as the beginning of new and great things. There are 1 or 2 things which I can complain about but they are negligible which you look at the episode in its entirety. It was simply genius! Well done!

Smallville Quotes

Clark: She saw it.
Nurse: Saw what?
Clark: Her future.

Eric: Come on, Clark. If you had the power to do whatever you want, what would you do?
Clark: I'd stop people like you.

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