To me, Smallville was a WB-abomination of a show that was totally a way to cash in on the Superman Legacy and Dawson’s Creek. I tried watching more than a few episodes in the first season, and beyond the wonderful performances by Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum, the show never did it for me.
I’m not sure why I hold Smallville to such a judgmental realm as I do; but, with all things, I did want to see how it ended. I watched the show ‘back in the day’ on DVD before tiring of the feeling like he’d never fly. And really, that was the whole point of the show, as it seemed, was Clark accepting and unlocking the ability to fly to complete his journey, or ‘his trials’ to fully become Superman, the hero we all know he is.
There would be a few touches I would have enjoyed in this finale that possibly would have made it remotely enjoyable for me, but I’m sure there was tons there for fans, and really, that is all a finale can really do best is cater to those who are fans of the show. And I won’t dissuade you from liking it any more than you did. But I will be first to say I was not one of those who enjoyed it. There we moments that I was on the edge, teetering over into enjoying it but it fell into a major flaw I had with the show.
After ten years of the show, I simply wanted to see Superman. It has always been my problem, and I ‘get’ the idea that it’s budget problems (I’ll get to this more later) and you want to allow the character to grow, it defeats the purpose for in one season for Clark to be Superman, when he is a freshman in high school. But after ten years, he only now learns to fly?
The whole opening of the show was about whether or not Lois and Clark would get married. Only to have it payoff into not being married due to the crisis at hand, was just ball-bustingly cruel to viewers. And for those like me with the complaint that they draw it out, well, it made me mad. For the most part, the rest of it was pretty darn interesting to see how they weaved it around, and with Oliver being turned by Darkseid, but meh. The sharing of the vows was quite beautiful, but felt was overdone. It wasn’t needed. Maybe for fans of the show who liked having things pointlessly drawn out, this was fine and wonderful but man, it drove me nuts.
The last half of the show which I assume they considered to be the lead up to ‘the final ‘battle’ was also not fun. It was long and drawn out in all the wrong ways. The only thing that made it very interesting, and to me, it was the moment when the whole finale officially ‘began’ is when Lex awoke, and confronted Clark. One of those great moments where Lex realizes his destiny. It actually gave me chills. But still, about an hour and thirty minutes in, no flying. It’s like an episode of Dragon Ball Z, nothing but ‘Clark Kent’ standing around talking about his powers and whatever ‘this final test’ would be.
And the whole realization of ‘this’, meaning his time in Smallville (via flashbacks) was the final trial, was a bit long but was worth it. It regained footing it what I felt would have been an epic battle against Darkseid. The point of the ending of Smallville, to me, was that a new beginning of Superman but you’d figure it’d happen with a bang. It instead happened with a whimper.
While the specifics of how Lionel Luther (played wonderfully by John Glover) was corrupted and taken over by Darkseid in his final throes of life which in turn brought Lex back to life) became the final embodiment of Darkseid, the actual final fight, literally consisting of Clark learning to fly and just running him through (like it was no big deal), and moving the oncoming planet of Apokolips. It was all so quick, it left me begging the question: ten years for that? It felt like we were running towards the finish line. What happened to slow and steady won the race and told a good story?
And why not completely show Welling in the full Superman uniform. I don’t care if they said ten years ago they’ll never show him in the full suit. It was cheap, and honestly it made not believe in him as Superman. As someone who watched years from afar to see him only in face with the red cloak waving behind him in space, or barely seeing the red and blue tights, was a disservice in my opinion to those who waited years for that. And again, I wanted to see a final fight worthy of Clark becoming Superman. These ten years have been spectacle, for sure, and to have it be, ‘oh wait, he realizes he can fly and just like that, he defeats Darkseid’?! Uh… Lame.
To add further insult to injury, the finale opens and sort of ends with what would have been a wonderful bookmark, which is Chloe (Allison Mack) reading to her son the story of ‘Smallville’. This is fine, leading into the whole Clark and Lois at the office, with Jimmy Olsen (the real one, because apparently there was a ‘fake’ one?!) and it literally was a beautiful nod to everything in the classic Superman Comic Book/Film mythos. Then queue the music, the wonderful score by John Williams from the theme of Superman. Maybe it’ll end with him doing the classic running towards the camera, ripping the shirt and taking flight, the final image being Superman in all his glory, flying through Metropolis before zooming into the Superman emblem. But no, we end right on the emblem before seeing him in full costume.
Could it have ended fine that way? Maybe. But I wanted to see Superman. Not Clark obscured by the camera as Superman. And because of that, I felt let down. That ending was so close to making the full 2 hour finale not feel such a waste but I still felt let down. Where was the epic battle with Darkseid? Where was seeing Supes in full glory?
For me, and again, I probably missed the ‘point’ or ‘the show just isn’t for me’ but I felt that it was a let down. And trust me Smallville-fans, I almost was won over by the best parts of this series finale to actually want to go back and give the show a shot, but again I was crushed, not by how bad the show is, but how many missed opportunities it is, and that is what makes me realize that is why I really don’t like Smallville. It’s not that it’s ‘bad’ it actually has a lot of good going for it, but it’s mired with missed opportunities, and some of those are pretty huge things to sidestep.
So the finale came close to living up to my expectations only to falter at the end. But for Smallville fans, I’m sure it was everything they wanted and more. And really, when doing a television show, even as someone who didn’t enjoy it as much as I had honestly wanted to, I can say that is all I can hope for.
But what do YOU think, examiners?
Did you like the series finale to Smallville?
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