My thoughts on the Smallville finale...

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_IronManDude_

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#1 _IronManDude_
Member since 2008 • 1595 Posts

Before I saw this episode, I told myself that I would make a video of my thoughts on the Smallville series finale, afterward. Unfortunately, this was before I had actually seen it.


Any ideas I had were foiled. Plans were dodged. Because this episode wasn't good. And it wasn't bad, either. And that's what makes it next to undiscussable.

But I plan to, anyways. So! If you haven't seen the episode but you plan on doing, you might choose to skip this article, as I will be giving away pretty much everything about the plot. If you haven't seen the episode, and you don't plan on doing, then you may wish to read ahead anyways, because you are now aware that you have nothing else to do. So ha.

But due to the rather unusual nature of this episode, and the way it was layed out so oddly, I will not be talking about it as if it were anything else. This review will be split into the good, and the bad. Each good thing that happened, and the awful side-effect that came with it like a conjoined twin who sings country songs. An apt metaphor for the way the series turned out, with the whole light and dark thing. So, let's just get started, shall we?

GOOD: They finally had the suit, and it finally felt like Superman was really there.

BAD: They only show the suit onscreen for MAYBE a minute, and almost every time the entire suit is in view, we see it zoomed back from a mile away. Now, I get that this was the story of Clark Kent and not Superman, but they had a really cool costume! Would it have been so much to ask that they actually show all of the damn thing? That it was actually visible onscreen, and not as an action figure dangling from a string? The honest fact is that I don't think anybody really gives a damn about Clark Kent. First with Lois and Clark, and then with Smallville, people only watch these shows because they want to see Superman be... well, super. So after showing us ten seasons of Clark Kent (which they really did their best to drag out, what with the whole "blur" thing), they couldn't have maybe let us see a tiny bit of Superman? For God sakes, nobody even says the name "Superman" once in the entire episode (except Chloe once :D). The episode called, most generically, "Finale". What, it occurred to nobody that they might have wanted to call it "Superman"? Christ sakes! Yeah, first God sakes and then Christ sakes -- I guess my sakes got a demotion.

GOOD: In the last scene, I was squeeing hard as they finally played the ****c theme. It was truly epic in every sense of the word, and like all good series finales it left you with a real sense that the story was just beginning.

BAD: While I'm not really sure whether or not this was actually directly related, the fact is that the writers of this series left one of the biggest plotholes in HISTORY (attached onto an already massive crater of a plothole), and the nice music and cool visuals are just a distraction. What am I talking about? Well, it's simple:

CLARK KENT DIDN'T WEAR GLASSES FOR TEN YEARS.

Oh, yeah. Hey, writers, remember that absolutely glaringly-obvious plothole that you left un-filled? We didn't forget, and it did NOT go unnoticed. It was unbelievable. But, you know, I can't say as I'm surprised that they could be so stupid to leave something like that out. What about everybody that SUPERMAN went to school with? What about everybody that SUPER-FREAKING-MAN works with? What about everybody that THE GOD-DAMN SUPERMAN put in jail, or in that funny farm in the first few seasons? What about the old lady that he passed in the supermarket one time, who asked for his help getting down some toilet paper, and he helped, and she took note of his face? What, was he just hoping she'd die before he put on his super best? You have to understand, this wasn't like on Lost when they'd make a huge plothole and then clumsily try to fix it in the later seasons. This was the writers saying, "oh, yeah, about that...", and just sweeping it under the rug. How do you get this stupid?!

GOOD: LEX RETURNS! YAY! YAAAAY! COOKIES FOR EVERYONE! HOORAY! They had a few really great scenes with him doing what I came to love Lex for: long speeches and trade-offs with Clark. They did it again, and they did it well. And Ol' Babyface Rosenbaum -- my favorite Lex Luthor, and somehow one of only two to actually be bald -- didn't look a day over 3-years-old.

BAD: HOW DO YOU DO THAT?! WHY WOULD YOU EVER DO THAT?! YOU COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DESTROYED EXACTLY ONE QUARTER OF WHAT THE SERIES WAS DEVOTED TO!

Now, let's just calm down, here. To explain what I mean (cleverly, without actually telling you what happens yet), take your favorite characters. Books, movies, TV, games, doesn't matter. Throughout your character's story, (s)he underwent what's known as a "character arc". What that is, is where that character starts out a certain way, but due to a series of events has a change of heart, a change of mind, and, in general, a change of character. Now, let's take that character of yours, and let's just smash his brain with a claw-hammer until he completely forgets everything that evolved him, that changed him, that humanized or de-humanized him, and made him what he was. So, you can understand where I'm coming from.

SPOILER TIME!  Lex returns because his father from another universe decided to build a clone out of the perfect parts, but he was missing a heart. Lionel tried to take Superboy's heart, but when asked, he answered with "I'LL KILL YOU TO DEATH", so he just gave up. Instead, he chose Lex's sister Tess (Lutessa, and when she was first introduced it was implied that she might have had a special... relationship with him. Quite a special relationship indeed) as the perfect candidate for the heart transplant. But, Tess suddenly becomes Sydney Bristow and does a few of those femmy-kicks where she brings her leg around on a guy, steals a gun, and finally kills Lionel. Again. When this happened, in all fairness, I clapped. Because as much as I loved Ol' Ben Lionel, this was the way to go out. The only better way would have been to have "Hide & Seek" by Imogen Heap playing throughout. So, Tess escapes, but Lionel enters Clone-Lex's room to summon Darkseid (because poor literacy is kewl), and has him give his (Lionel's) heart to Lex in exchange for his eternal soul.

I want you to understand something: a heart is not actually a literary symbol of emotions or goodness. It is a vital organ. The lack of which does not make your villain "super-duper evil", it means he is dead. Which kind of makes him cooler, but still. If this were shooting for realism, then when the Smoke Monster came into Clone-Lex's room to take a vital organ from Alternate-Lionel (and then his soul, because, you know, he can do that, I guess), he would have chosen something like a kidney, or possibly a bladder. But, you know, only if they were shooting for realism.
So, why did I tell you all this? Because with Lex back to normal, Tess returns to Luthorcorp and confronts him. Lex does what he does best, talking, and in general it was a pretty cool scene. Lex eventually kills Tess, which is passed off as a sad or tragic bit, but I just didn't care. But then Tess uses some magical MacGuffin liquid of plot contrivance, and Lex completely forgets his entire life. They even do a "memories" montage, just to twist the knife a little bit more. Considering every scene Lex was ever in on this show was purely devoted to setting up the man he becomes, the fact that he forgets all that Lionel "taught" him, all the cunning tactics and chess-like manuevers that he had used over the years was a pretty enormous middle-finger to everybody.

In the last scene, he returns as "President Lex Luthor" in the year 2018. Well, whoop-de-****. He isn't the same person, he's just some random dude without any hair. You could argue that Lex Luthor IS Lex Luthor because it's just the way he was born, and under any other circumstances, you'd be correct. But with this story, we saw Lex go from brilliant-but-good teenager, to ruthless and evil adult -- and all because his father made him that way. So, if he forgets everything, he goes back to just being a nice guy. And I thought they would end the series with him dying. Pff. At least then he would have died as Lex Luthor.

GOOD: Chloe was back, and... aw, that's just swell. If there were a Superman movie that only had Allison Mack, and nobody else, I would watch it and enjoy it. It would be the warmest, most friendly movie ever made, like a film was giving you a big hug. I'm not sure it would make my heart swell, but something would swell, to be sure.

BAD: Well, nothing related to Chloe could ever be "bad", but there were a few parts that made me cock my head sideways. For one, halfway through the episode she disappears again. So, in the tenth season alone, she was there, and then got kidnapped, and then came back, and then came back with about seventy "Chlones" (why couldn't the series just end there, on a high note?), and then left again, and then came back, and then left again. By this point I literally began singing "there she goes, there she goes again".

Another thing was Justin Hartley. Up to now, Chloe's been with Jimmy Olsen (oh, we'll get to him in a second), I think Pete, and a few others. But nobody has pissed me off more than Green-Aquaman himself, Oliver Queen. Now, maybe the only reason I hate him so much is because he's not Batman, maybe because he doesn't have a God-damn beard, maybe because he played Aquaman in that pilot, maybe because while Hartley directed the last episode to feature Zod (who had illegals in his bottom), he used more slow-mo than Paul W.S. Anderson. I'm not sure, but I know that each time I see him, I seem to hate him a little bit more each time. And I think that in this episode, I finally understand exactly why that is.

Here's a fun game, kids! Anybody watch Doctor Who? Well, picture this: Allison Mack as the Tenth Doctor (here's an even more fun game -- picture her as Ten along with Rose and Martha). She's standing in her TARDIS, and the glowy stuff surrounds her. She looks up and says, tearfully, "I don't want to go!" And then she does. She REGENERATES! And the TARDIS starts exploding, and we see as she cross-fades to...

Justin Hartley as the Eleventh Doctor. Because Justin Hartley is exactly what a male Allison Mack would look like. I only recently noticed this, and I honestly had nightmares about it last night. I think the scariest part of this idea is Justin Hartley playing Matt Smith's Doctor. Bow-ties would completely stop being cool and I would never look at Amy Pond the same way again. 

Then there's the scene when Lois and Clark are getting married, and Oliver is about to give Clark the ring of gold Kryptonite (which would permanently take away his abilities -- a MacGuffin, yes, but honestly a very good one). It all goes slow-mo, and I literally start doing the whole "nooooooooo!" thing. And then Chloe literally does the whole "nooooooooo!" thing. I could only laugh and say "holy ****" when I realized that some director was actually happy with that take. I thought slow-mo "nooooooooo!" only happened in parodies.

P.S.: Allison Mack is the best Lois Lane yet! Not a fan of the second one they picked, however.

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_IronManDude_

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#2 _IronManDude_
Member since 2008 • 1595 Posts

GOOD: A very cool plot, and some awesome special effects. This is the closest to the comic books that Superman has ever been on film or television, and something tells me that won't change in 2012 with Man of Steel.

BAD: Oh my God, that ending was such a God-awfully horrendous insult to my intelligence that I'm surprised there wasn't a big sign that pointed to Superman saying, "that guy is the hero, buckwheat". You wanna know what happened? As the horrible hell planet Apokolips (A-pock-o-leepse, as Delores Herbig pronounced it) was bearing down on Earth, Superman triumphantly rose up and... used his middle-finger to swat it away. Woo.

Actually, speaking of Granny Goodness (Delores Herbig, as in "Herbig Female Furies"), what the hell was the deal with the way she and the other Death Eaters were dealt with? You had her, that guy who looked like the priest from the first season of The Sopranos, and Desaad, and guess who killed them? Green Arrow. GOD DAMMIT GREEN ARROW, GO SIT IN THE CORNER AND LET THE REAL SUPERHEROES DO THINGS. C'mon, Granny Goodness is such a cool character and she's finished off by Surferman and Zelda's light arrows? I call shenanigans on that.

I mean, my God. Could there possibly be a more anti-climactic ending? It's bad enough that the final battle between Superman and Darkseid was resolved by simply flying through him, but all it took to get rid of Apokolips was pushing it away like it were made of styrofoam. At this point, I was yelling at my TV: "NO! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THERE'S NO FINAL BOSS?!" But there was a final boss fight. Yeah, the one in the Kent Barn between Not Superman and Zombie Lionel (to be fair, it sounds like a pretty good roster for a fighting game). And let me tell you: this "evil of all evils", often confused for Hades, or Loki, or even Satan himself, is the biggest pushover wimp that I have ever seen. He comes into the barn, does the whole "ex-ter-mi-nate!" routine, Not Superman flies past him, and that's it. I call shenanigans on that, too.

Yeah, the battle between Satan took place in a barn. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? Perhaps in a barn?

What they should have done is basically this:

  

... which would have naturally run into the following TV movie "Superman: Darkseid of the Moon", in which there is actually a God damn battle, Chloe decides to go nude for some reason, and Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up. Because I like him.

GOOD: The wedding between Clark and Lois was nice. I understand why a lot of people take issue with the series, because of the personal aspect of things. In the beginning, it was the teen drama. And believe me, if anybody hates teen drama, it's me. It's the most unimportant part of anybody's life, and it's all the same. But as the characters grew, the teen drama died and it instead moved on to simple personal drama. And marriage has been a big part of that. But now it's Lois and Clark's turn for a shot at happiness (and hopefully it would end up better than Lex and Lana... eesh). And they did it very nicely. Over the years, most of the actors lost any talent they might have had, and chiefly Tom Welling and Erica Durance. And while Tom Welling was never great, he was always good, until about the halfway point, when it would seem that he just got bored with the role. But Erica Durance was never particularily good in the role as Lois Lane and frankly, I never really felt that she, or Welling, could really play the personal roles. They just weren't good enough.

But, I digress. Tom Welling's Clark Kent and Erica Durance's Lois Lane got married in this episode (almost disastrously, considering the ring of gold K), and it was all very nice. As talentless as they might have been in the end (and let me say, they aren't BAD, they're just not good), they definitely shared great chemistry here. I am not a romantic person, but that was a very heartwarming scene and I enjoyed it very much.

BAD: Well, really, there wasn't much bad to be found in this part of the episode. I would say that the pacing was pretty poor and they spent far too long having to reassure you that Clark Kent and Lois Lane would, in fact, be getting married (yeah, because that was a real cliffhanger). But the wedding itself was very nice, and in general it's one of the better parts of the episode. But to some degree, I feel silly and stupid for wishing that they had spent more time on heroic acts. Because that's one of the things that made the series good -- the fact that it stuck heavily by the personal side of Superman, like nothing has really done before. Similar to The Dark Knight. The only difference is the incredible writing, direction, acting and general storyline that The Dark Knight had.

FINAL VERDICT: It was good, but it was also bad. In many ways it was the best episode of the series, because it did really leave you wanting more. They got a lot of things wrong, and it seemed like the best parts were so obvious that they would have been impossible to screw up. And yet, with Lex and the main freaking plot and so much more, they still managed to blow it. There were plot holes, yeah. But this is one of the most memorable series finales I have ever seen. Despite its actual quality, I will hold this against the likes of Lost, or The X-Files or other great finales, because though it may not have been perfect (in so many ways), its flaws evoke a personal reaction that makes it quite memorable. Would I have changed things? Yes. But, it might be easier for me to create my own series and move things in the correct order, than to become bitter because one of my favorite shows screwed up the ending.

So, in the end, it really backs up a quote that I coined: "beauty is imperfection". It is the greatest thing ever to happen to Superman on film. Nothing else has come close to matching the cheesy, contrived, and really awesome nature of the comics quite like Smallville. If you tried watching it before, but stopped because of the teen drama, I suggest you start at around season five or six. That's when the series stopped being "TV good" (good acting, storylines, direction), and started being "comic book good" (hammy acting, plot-convenience-ridden storylines, laughable direction). If for nothing else than MST'ing value, and of course the reams of beautiful women (and Erica Durance), watch this series.

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Sharpie125

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#3 Sharpie125
Member since 2005 • 3904 Posts

First, lemme say, awesome and thanks for writing all that. I've wanted to say something about the finale, but you nailed just about every point I wanted to address.

About the suit, it's a shame. But also because it was all completely CGI. Tom Wellings publicly stated he wouldn't wear the tights and cape on the show, so I didn't go in expecting anything else.

The finale was all right. I tuned in because I made it through 10 seasons of the show (though I missed the back half of 9) and let's just say, with everything adding up, I went in with low expectations because the writers have been known to pull some BS from time to time. I wasn't disappointed with the finale, it was very fitting I think. But they could have done a ton of things better, and I realise this is due to budget or time constraints.

COOL that they brought back John Schneider again, although I think because of his other handful of appearances throughout the last few seasons, the impact was a little dimmed... but I liked seeing him again, regardless. Lex coming back was nice, though it feels like Tess was wasted in this episode. And that's unforgivable. If I kept coming back for the previous seasons, it was because of Cassidy Freeman. But anyway, I like that she sacrificed herself to "save" Lex. I also wish they didn't wait 'til the end of S10 to start building a relationship between her and Alessandro Juliani's character. They were cool.

But about other people not showing up to fight for Clark, this was bittersweet. Jor El did say that this was Clark's fight and that Kara should GTFO, and I guess that works, but at the same time, it feels like a cheap way to say: we couldn't get any of the Justice League guys back. Somewhere in my mind, I feel like this is the finale, it should pay tribute to all of the greats they had on the show over the years, and if ever there was a time for superheroes to shine, THIS'D BE IT.

And regarding the actual event... they could have done a few things way better. Let me preface by saying, the moment where Clark, John and Martha share one last get-together in the loft before Clark has to go do his thing... that was by far my favourite moment out of the entire 10 years of the show's run. The music specifically still gives me chills just thinking about it. But what is a letdown afterwards, is that they did such an awesome job with the mood and apocalyptic feel, they didn't follow it up. There was so little cohesion in anything the heroes did that it worked against the feeling of any conflict whatsoever. Tess was off doing her own thing, Ollie was running around doing his own thing, and I can't even remember what Chloe was up to.

Your screenplay version of what SHOULD have happened is almost exactly what I thought should happen, so great job on that. In part, I feel the episode should have gone like this (from the point where the sky grows dark), Clark and the team should have reconvened one last time (the farmhouse doesn't count) and gone over a real gameplan. Clark is their de-facto leader, he should call the shots. I feel like it should have been like the Angel finale, where Team Angel says goodbye one last time before they carry out their final tasks.

I literally felt like the approaching planet was nothing and people were just standing in the middle of a street looking up. I would have liked to see DarkSeid's influence growing stronger, and actual chaos out in the street and Oliver and the other hypothetical super heroes having to deal with violence in the streets. Or Tess having a moment with the team, because she was Watchtower, after all. Then Clark fights Zombie Lionel (an actual fight) before he finally learns how to fly and becomes Superman. And yes, the final shot should have been Clark flying over the city and heading straight towards the planet, close up on his face and chest.

Overall, it was an entertaining watch. Smallville had the benefit of not having series-long questions that needed to be answered so at the very least, they tied it up nicely. I just feel they spent way too long on the wedding, Lex was kind of shoe-horned in, and DarkSeid as the big bad was definitely not developed enough.

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waZelda

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#4 waZelda
Member since 2006 • 2956 Posts
I find it funny how you started by calling it almost undiscussable, then wrote such a long piece. I haven't watched the finale, but I want to, so I avoided reading due to spoilers. Might bump this thread after I do see it.
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Foolz3h

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#5 Foolz3h
Member since 2006 • 23738 Posts

"It wasn't good. And it wasn't bad, either."

Perfectly sums up my thoughts on Smallville as a whole. boom tish.

This however was quite entertaining!