Look, I could nitpick every little thing about the two-hour "Smallville" series finale, including the plodding first hour, the surprisingly fast resolution the Darkseid plot and the overuse of Jonathan Kent, but when it comes down to it, I needed exactly four things from this episode:
- Clark had to fly
- Clark had to put on the suit
- Clark had to fly in the suit
- There had to be a scene where Clark ripped open his shirt to reveal the suit underneath
"Finale" delivered all four of those. Was it a bit of a tease that all of that came in the final 15 minutes of the episode? Sure, but after a 10-year run that at time has drifted too far from Superman mythology into typical WB-then-CW melodrama, those 15 minutes of pure geek fanservice were absolutely perfect.
Overall, I thought the two-hour episode was solid, though really it was almost two separate episodes packaged together. The first hour was very much a "Lois and Clark" centric episode, as they hashed out their relationship and wedding drama, including a painfully long scene where they talked to each other from opposite sides of a door. The episode got much stronger as it shifted into the second hour, as Clark finally embraced his destiny to battle Darkseid and save the Earth from Apokolips.
Really, for all the small problems the episode had (the ones mentioned above, plus much too frequent use of clip montages, particularly the extended one in the middle of the Darkseid fight), there was only one big thing I had a problem with: the handling of the Lex Luthor situation.
Obviously, given what's transpired on the show over the last 10 seasons, there was no good way to transition "Smallville" mythology into "Superman" mythology, particularly where Lex Luthor was concerned. In "Smallville", Lex has known Clark since Clark's high school days, and has known about Clark's powers since a few seasons ago -- and suspected them for much longer. On top of that, Lex has had the small problem of being dead for the last couple seasons. Well, this episode took care of resurrecting Lex -- Darkseid took alt-Lionel's heart and put it into Lex's body before possessing Lionel's body to fight Clark -- but it still had the knowledge problem to deal with.
So, to take care of that, the show had Tess have a final confrontation with Lex, during which Lex inevitably stabbed her. Before she died, she rubbed a neurotoxin on Lex's face, which was quickly absorbed by his skin. In her final moments, Tess explained the neurotoxin would completely erase Lex's memory, and he wouldn't remember anything before that moment.
Now, ignoring the obvious problems with erasing ALL of Lex's memories (like his education, his language skills, etc), the move -- while creating a cleaner transition to "Superman" mythology -- is a slap in the face to longtime fans of the show. So much of what shaped the characters of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor on the show was their relationship with each other, and now as far as Lex is concerned, that never happened. It's a huge copout on the part of the show, and puts a damper of what was otherwise a solid wrap-up to the series.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.