Or – “In Honor Of The Series Finale…”

It’s been a long, strange trip for the denizens of Smallville, Kansas, and it looks like there might be a red cape in their near future…  Before the finale, Major Spoilers says farewell to Tom Welling, the Junior Lifeguard Association and all those beautiful young women with this week’s Top Ten!

(Due to a conflict in Stephen’s schedule, this Top Ten is being written by Matthew who, in the interests of full disclosure, must admit to never having actually watched an entire episode of Smallville.  Caveat emptor.)

#10 – The One With The Flying And The Tornado

We start with one of the defining moments of the early seasons of the show, probably, as a giant storm coalesces on Smallville, and Clark is forced to rush into action to save Lana.  With a little help from the literally impossible weather conditions during the storm, Clark Kent flies for the first time.  While by all accounts this is a pivotal and awe-inspiring moment in the life of young Clark Kent, as a Kansas resident I can show you footage of a Volkswagen Beetle doing an equal amount of “flying” during the ’66 Topeka tornado.

#9 – The One With The Legion Or The JSA Or Something

Though it’s clear from early seasons that Clark is the first character to gain super-powers, and the other residents all get their abilities from exposure to Kryptonite or Kryptonite radiation, later seasons have brought to light other unrelated superhumans.  Arthur Curry, Victor Stone, Bart Allen and others have popped up, and somewhere along the line viewers learn that there was an honest to Pete superhero team sneaking around.  Of course, they’re either from the past or the future (I kinda skimmed the Wiki), but young Master Kent is probably less isolated knowing he’s not the only one with a secret, I’m guessing.

#8 – The One Where Lana Became A Kung-Fu Master

I only caught a few moments of this one on cable, but apparently, when she left Kansas, Lana Lang followed what may have been her roots (although she may be Native American, possibly) and ended up in a mysterious city in an undifferentiated kind of Eastern city-state.  I suspect this one may have been what they call a ‘backdoor pilot,’ like that episode of the Brady Bunch with Ken Berry and his adoptive kids.  She fought against evil using super-high kicks, and from snippets I saw a few weeks later, apparently grows up to be Ming-Na Wen.  Maybe she’ll come back on the finale and use lightning kicks to finally help Clark overcome the power of whomever it is that threatens the wheatlands.  (I’m betting Composite Superman or something…)

#7 – The One With The Red Kryptonite

The first time Clark encounters red kryptonite in any medium, it’s always shocking, until they discover that something makes it wear off in precisely 24 hours.  I’ve always kind of wondered why the effective life of that radation would exactly mirror one rotation of this planet, being as how the mineral itself hails from Krypton (which was a larger sphere with a longer year, according to the Silver Age of Comics.)  Is the specific wavelength of the kryptonite radiation perfectly attuned to whatever planet it ends up on?  Or maybe it has a particularly violent reaction with Earth’s atmosphere that gives it a ridiculously short half-life?  Either way, ‘Silver Streak’ is vastly underrated among 70’s comedies.

#6 – The One Where Pa Kent Got Amnesia

Then there was the time that Jonathan Kent took a particularly hard blow to the head, and was kidnapped by a small-town sheriff and his corrupt county selectman, then framed for illegally transporting moonshine into Chickesaw County.  Thankfully, Clark was able to slip past the hidden speed traps and such, and even lifted Pa’s car across the collapsed bridges and strangely out-of-place cliffsides, getting his pater familias home safely, even as a smaller blonde man coyly tried to steal his identity.  A memorable episode indeed, perhaps, and one of the strongest pre-mortem outings for Pa Kent in the series.

#5 – The One Where Green Arrow Has A Plan

Of course, nothing is quite as suspenseful as the time when Oliver Queen has to stave off a hostile takeover of Queen Industries by Lex Luthor.  A massive explosion left the board of directors dead and the interim head of Queen Industries, Bernard Lomax, was no exception.  It was only through a brilliant use of Clark’s superpowers and Ollie’s technical prowess (turns out that a boxing glove arrow quickly doubles as a makeshift splint) that they are able to hide the truth about Mr. Lomax long enough for the true culprits to be brought to justice.  It’s the longest Labor Day weekend of Clark Kent’s life, but one that he would always remember, bringing him ever closer to his destiny as Superman…

#4 -The One Where Luthor Went Undercover

Another one that I suspect was designed as a backdoor pilot came in Season 3, 5, 7 or possibly 2 when Lex Luthor was cut off by his father, Lionel Twain, and went undercover at Metropolis University.  I think he was trying to get to Lana, but she was busy learning how to fight from Raul Julia, and Lex was forced to masquerade AS Lana to get at her diary or something.  Either way, when the jocks of the university start harassing Luthor, they get more than they bargained for, first getting humiliated at football then later brutally assassinated and made to look like suicides.  Lex isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and he doesn’t even wash them, because he’s evil.

#3 – The One With The Kryptonite Mask

A standout among the early ‘Kryptonite-powered-monster-of-the-week’ episodes came when nebbishy young drama-team member Stanley (who I think was friends with Pete Ross) found his lucky commedia dell’arte mask coated in kryptonite fragments.  He gained the requisite ‘Meteor Freak’ super-powers, but in a twist, used them to overcome his crippling shyness and finally get up the courage to ask Chloe out to the Cocoa Bongo club, Metropolis’ hottest night spot.  By the time Clark managed to free him of the Green K, young Stan had learned a valuable lesson about life, love, and Jack Russell terriers.

#2 -The One Where There’s Something On The Wing

Of course, a giant standout among Season 5 episodes comes with the episode “Terror”, as the creators step away from the main cast (I think Annette O’Toole was off making ‘America Beauty’) and give us the haunting tale of Bob Wilson, a young man fresh off a nervous breakdown, who finds his fears given a terrifyingly tangible form.  Never have the words “It’s all in your head” been more macabre and unsettling, and even though they never quite convinced me of the reality of the monster (the pyrokinetic football coach played by ‘Wonder Years Dad’ was better realized) it’s a pretty strong performance by someone I think might be a young Chris Pine…

#1 – The One With The Camping

For my money, though, you cannot beat the episodes where Clark and Kara are possessed by their Kryptonian natures, and join Jor-El and the extended El clan on a wacky camping trip in the old Kryptonian tradition.  Former wild-and-crazy guy Steve Martin does a good job as Jor-El, and Laura Vandekampporknbeans is pretty cute throughout.  I do wonder why all the other Kryptonians can fly without the help of a tornado, but it’s clear that the producers don’t want us to think too hard about all of it, just enjoying the ride as we watch what amounts to a super-powered Brady Bunch.

There you have it, folks.  My picks from a stellar decade of not-being-Superman while somehow being a key factor in every historical event of merit in the entire DC Universe.  We didn’t even get to talk about the time when Clark punched out a cow, battled Sharez Jek on Androzani Major, or fell in love with a beautiful young girl named Bella.  Now that Smallville is gone, I shall have to spend my Friday nights doing the same thing I’ve done for the past ten years:  Preparing Hero Histories and reading Snopes.com while my wife complains that I never take out the trash.  We’ll miss you, Clark, but most of all we’ll miss the stunning array of gorgeous women who orbit you like fleas on a feral mongrel dog…

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Do you realize I can triple my page views just by typing a few words?   Laura Vandervoort Allison Mack Erica Durance Kristin Kreuk pajama pillow fight kissing practice

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. brainypirate
    May 13, 2011 at 11:17 am — Reply

    Sigh… took me FAR to long to realize that these weren’t real episodes…. That’s what I get for missing the first five years….

  2. May 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Dude, that airplane episode is totally a ripoff of a 3rd rock from the sun episode in which Dick Solomon sees something on the wing!

    • May 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm — Reply

      F’realz, yo?

      • Jon Hex Brooks
        May 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm — Reply

        I’m guessing he’s just making a joke since John Lithgow was in the Twilight Zonie Movie in a remake of that episode.

  3. May 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm — Reply

    Say what you will about Smallville, there are ten good episodes in the plus 200 episodes.

    I will be the first to admit that a lot of the episodes suck. “Lana being posessed by a witch, I’m looking at you.”

    But the episodes that worked, worked very well. Some of Superman’s greatest live action moments are in Smallville. Plus, you have to give a tip of the hat to a comic book show that was able to last ten years.

    I would love to see Major Spoilers actually write this article for real. Heck, I volunteer.

  4. Creep
    May 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm — Reply

    Yeah you’re rigt…the first seven seasons of Smallville sucked most the time (for example the clumsy introduction of lois, the endless lana-thing, too much teeny-soap), but with the eigth season it became better and better (except for the finale episodes…these sucked in all seasons)…the legion episode, the jsa episode…brilliant

    • Damascus
      May 23, 2011 at 5:57 am — Reply

      So yeah that sounds like a real solid 4 or 5 episodes there. ;)

  5. May 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm — Reply

    How disappointing. I was really hoping for a sincere list of Ten Great episodes because there have been some phenomenal episodes of SMALLVILLE. The show has been very hit and miss over the years, but there’s been some real gems. Including, but not limited to:

    1.) The pilot episode. I rank the pilot episode of SMALLVILLE as one of the most successful pilots I’ve ever seen. Not only does it grab your attention in a big, cinematic way, it set the tone for the next ten years of the show. Really fun stuff.

    2.) When Clark met Virgil Swann for the first time. Seeing Christopher Reeve talking to young Clark, hearing John Williams’ music, and listening in on this conversation gave me goosebumps.

    3.) The recent JSA episode was terribly fun (even with its clearly-Watchman-inspired story).

    4.) Lois’ first episode (and really, every episode in that fourth season that featured Lois). Erica Durance and Lois Lane was just what this show needed and we were finally able to start breaking away from the Lana-angst.

    5.) For the wife, I have to include all the red kryptonite episodes. She loves “Bad Clark.”

    6.) The first episode to feature the Flash. Loved it. Loved everything about it.

    7.) The wedding of Chloe and Jimmy. It wasn’t a perfect episode, but I adored the Clark and Lois scenes. It was in that episode that we really started to see the start of their romantic relationship.

    8.) Every single season finale and every single season opener. The SMALLVILLE writers knew how to end a season with you dreading the summer and knew how to kick off a season.

    9.) The Lex -vs- Clark throwdown.

    10.) The Death of Pa Kent. I’ve never hated a single of any episode of any show more than the 100th episode of SMALLVILLE, which actually makes me really like it.

    How about anyone else? What were your top ten?

    • brainypirate
      May 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm — Reply

      Honestly, I’ve found the season finales to be consistently the weakest part of every season. The writers always leave too many stories open to resolve in the finale, especially with the budget constraints. The Doomsday finale was perhaps the worst at this, for not only was the over-hyped fight all of 45 seconds (with only, what, 2 punches thrown?), but throughout the entire episode, most of the key events happened offscreen–including the actual ending of the Doomsday fight and most everything related to the JLA’s appearance in the episode.

      The series finale was better, thanks to some careful writing that found a way to resolve the wedding and the Oliver storyline simultaneously and to resolve the Lex/Lionel/Tess storyline in a very efficient and effective manner.

      Still, I had to laugh when the Secretary gave Lois five minutes, because that’s as long as Clark always gets to resolve everything in these finales: Darkseid, his minions AND Apokalips are taken care off in a grand total of 3.5 minutes. He spent longer listening to Jor-El yammer on than he did saving the planet!!! And of course, Apokalips had to take second place to saving Lois’ plane (which suddenly ceased to be affected by the turbulence once Clark let go of it — did he give the pilots some of his flying expertise too?).

      The show has been fun, but the writers really need to learn how to resolve more of the plot lines earlier in order to make the finales better. (Think how little we got of Darkseid in the final 7 episodes of the season–shouldn’t that have gotten a lot more weight, instead of giving Lois superpowers and bringing back Zod &c. &c. &c…..?)

    • Damascus
      May 23, 2011 at 6:01 am — Reply

      See I hated the episode where Chloe married Jimmy, but the reason for that is that Clark’s a major tool for not going for Chloe first. Dang, she is so far beyond gorgeous it isn’t even funny.

  6. May 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm — Reply

    This season alone has been worth every single crap episode produced.

    Yeah lets moan about seeing Kandorians, Doomsday, Bizzaro Clark, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash, Lex, Black Canary, Star girl, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Dr Fate, The Legion, Brainiac, Brainiac 5, Lois, Jimmy, Perry White, The Phantom Zone, Zod, The Fortress, Jor El, The Planet.

    Maybe this series deserved a bit more coverage here. This article disapointed me.

  7. Slappy
    May 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm — Reply

    Was that Pa Kent’s son in the pic with the orange car? Looks just like him, only younger.

    • Damascus
      May 23, 2011 at 5:59 am — Reply

      Please tell me you’re joking. I’m not that old am I?

  8. Lapis
    May 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm — Reply

    great article. probly more than the show deserves.

  9. Brainlock
    May 14, 2011 at 11:04 am — Reply

    This list is hilarious.
    and made all the more funnier by my having skipped out last night to go see Dave Foley, who, thanks to his ex-wife’s lawyers, must keep paying her an income after DEATH. So he says he called up Bruce and asked him to take his corpse out for various projects such as the sure to be Broadway smash: “Weekend at Bernie’s: The Musical”. I kid (in the Hall) you not.

    I also had TONS more fun seeing Dave and Dan Chopin’s 70 minutes of stand up last night than the excruciating two hours I watched this morning. I only wish I had drank more. This morning.

  10. Chris
    May 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    I started reading this, thinking it was a snarky, but legitimate Top 10 list. Instead it’s not even an attempt, and like some previous posters said, there are some really great episodes of Smallville to pick from.

    • May 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm — Reply

      I started reading this, thinking it was a snarky, but legitimate Top 10 list. Instead it’s not even an attempt, and like some previous posters said, there are some really great episodes of Smallville to pick from.

      Sorry it’s not to your liking, but it was clearly stated at the beginning that I’ve not watched Smallville.

      • May 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm — Reply

        Then why write one that comes off as a big middle finger to the fans?

        • May 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm — Reply

          Then why write one that comes off as a big middle finger to the fans?

          If that’s the message you recieved, mea culpa, but it certainly wasn’t the intent.

          • May 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm — Reply

            I enjoy the podcast so much, I was really excited to hear your thoughts on the ten year run of SMALLVILLE. The show was very hit-or-miss but as I said before, I think there are some true gems in its many episodes.

            Maybe I’m being oversensitive. I was expecting a comic book article laced with comedy, not the other way around.

  11. Jimmy
    May 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm — Reply

    #5 – The One Where Green Arrow Has A Plan

    I’m sold. You can be the writer for the new Season 11.

  12. Damascus
    May 23, 2011 at 6:07 am — Reply

    I liked the article Matthew, I don’t even regularly watch the show (especially since about the beginning of season 4 and I could tell you were just joking. It’s kind of like when Rodrigo takes a book that he’s read and breaks it down to some ridiculous level and it’s really funny. This is just a comedic take on a 10 year run of a show (that shouldn’t have lasted longer the 5 years, IMO) from someone using just remembered conversations and the occasional 10 minutes of seen footage while flipping channels and throwing some obviously made up episodes in there for comedic flavoring too. I don’t take it as an F-you to fans of the show, plus I’m sure there are plenty of Smallville fansites out there which will heap piles upon piles of praise upon everything that’s ever aired on Smallville for anyone who needs that. I’ve not been to a site like that, but I’m sure it exists.

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