In preparation for the year’s biggest crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” the Daily Planet has compiled a list of important Smallville episodes to watch.
When news broke about Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Erica Durance (Lois Lane) returning to their iconic roles, I litteraly wept. No lie. Growing up cowering in the closet, struggling with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (F.A.S.D) and having some estranged relationships with certain family members, Smallville was always my scapegoat from reality.
The real magic of the show lied within the dynamic duo of Metropolis, Lois and Clark. As the show first advertised, “the story of Superman began in a place called Smallville.” A town nicknamed the meteor capital of the world after an immense meteor shower struck the corn crazed Kansas hamlet.
I spent 10 agonizing years glued to my screen, once a week, watching the backstory of my favorite hero unfold. I watched as Clark evolved into Superman and witnessed the first journalistic strides of Lois Lane. To simplify, I loved the show. It’s still my favorite to this day.
If you haven’t watched the series and wish to learn the backstory of Welling’s version of the Man of Steel, the following is a list of some of the more pivotal episodes to watch before this years “Crisis” event on the CW. Even though my personal bias urges you to watch the series from start to finish, I realize that doing so would require an immense amount of time (nine days to be exact) so I hope this list helps condense.
Smallville is now available to stream on Hulu.
Episode One (Pilot)
It goes without saying that the first episode of Smallville will play a vital role in knowing Tom Welling’s incarnation of the Man of Steel’s origin. This is the episode that introduces the alien from Krypton for the first time. Clark, Lana and Lex are all well established in this pilot. Kryptonite, better known as “meteor rock” is also introduced as Clarks ultimate weakness and as an accelerant for what’s now known as the meta gene.
Episode Four (X-Ray)
Putting the “cheesy” special effects from the early twenty-first century aside, this episode introduces a new power to a developing young Clark Kent. This episode establishes one of Superman’s most archetypal superpowers and explores the explanation of how the exercise of x-ray vision works.
Episode Two (Heat)
Going through puberty can be a trying time for anyone. When you add heat vision to the mix, you get an interesting superpower origin. The series “Smallville” explored the development of Clark’s powers one by one in very interesting ways. This episode illustrates Superman’s recognizable heat vision in a previously unimaginable light.
Episode Twelve (Insurgence)
In this historic episode Metropolis’ Maggie Sawyer is first introduced and the Daily Planet Building makes its first physical appearance. In an iconic scene, after Martha Kent and Lionel Luthor are taken hostage across the street from the newspaper in Luthor Corp. Plaza, Clark takes his first super leap from the Daily Planet rooftop.
Episode Seventeen (Rosetta)
Smallville was notorious for introducing legendary Superman actors in new roles. With guest star Christopher Reeve (Superman: The Movie ) playing reputable astronomer Virgil Swan, Clark learns the truth about his home planet and struggles with his own identity. In all honesty, if you’re familiar with the Superman mythos, this episode can probably be skipped. I just love the “passing of the super-torch” that occurs.
Episode Five (Perry)
Guest starring “Breaking Bad” actor Michael McKean as future Daily Planet Editor-in-chief Perry White, this episode establishes the source of Clark’s abilities. In a semi-comical chapter of Smallville White crusades after a paranormal story and the background of journalism in the Superman fable is delved into. Again, if you’re familiar with Superman, this episode could be skipped.
Episode Ten (Whisper)
When Clark temporarily goes blind he has to explore alternate ways to “see.” This temporary blindness sets the way for Clark’s other senses to be heightened and paved the introduction of super hearing. In this episode the Kents explore and practice an ability that never really had a solid explanation before “Whisper.”
Episode One (Crusade)
The audiences first impressions of a new personality appearing in a show that’s already established relationships and character development for the past three years can always be difficult. Especially when you’re introducing an icon like Lois Lane. Yet Smallville pulls it off elegantly. Portrayed by Erica Durance, Lois gives off her witty elegance and quintessential sarcasm in a pure form of artistry. The late, great Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in Superman: The Movie (1978) also makes an appearance.
Episode Twenty-two (Commencement)
Anxieties run high when the town of Smallville is threatened by a second, much larger, meteor shower. Evacuation commences and characters are thrown into a chaotic scramble for safety, the susceptible to Kryptonite Clark Kent included. As fire and brimstone rain down from the heavens, Clark gets transported to the arctic where he soon constructs the Fortress of Solitude.
Episode One (Arrival)
In an epic tome to the Superman trope, Clark constructs his Fortress and Kryptonian villains are sent to the Phantom Zone, which is first introduced. Smallville tries to cope with a much larger, much more destructive meteor shower and Lex inches closer to the dark side. This episode is a strong establishing push towards Superman and is definitely a must watch.
Episode Twelve (Reckoning)
The 100th episode is an emotional rollercoaster ride with a very tragic ending that helps push Clark towards the man he’s destined to be. It’s an absolute must watch.
Episode Twenty-Two (Vessel)
The world is thrown into chaos when the infamous General Zod escapes the Phantom Zone. Riots ensued in Metropolis and anarchy sends favored characters into yet another scramble for safety with none to be found as the entire planet faces its first cataclysmic event enforced by an alien entity.
Episode One (Zod)
The aftermath of “Vessel” is explained and yet another famed personality, Jimmy Olsen, is introduced into the fold. This is an historic episode in the Smallville universe and is often referenced in future seasons.
Episode Two (Sneeze)
As Clark continues to mature, his arsenal of powers continues to expand. When Clark faces a reflex he’s never experienced before, he learns that he has the capacity to exhale tremendous amounts of air pressure. This “super breath” could also be used to freeze opponents if need be as well.
Episode Four (Arrow)
In an epic introduction, Oliver Queen debuts in the echoed canyons of Metropolis dressed in a bright green leather costume. Later labeled as the Green Arrow [Bandit] by Lois Lane, this one episode was the first inspirational seed for the hit show with the same namesake, which is concluding after its eighth annual run on the CW this season.
Episode Two (Kara)
Laura Vandervourt starts her portrayal of the girl of steel in this chapter of Smallville and Lois Lane begins pursuing her destiny as she starts her prestigious career at the Daily Planet.
Episode Sixteen (Veritas)
In this cataclysmic episode Lex Luthor descends into darkness with one final devious act. You see the roots of one of DC’s strongest antagonists form.
Episode Two (Plastique)
As Clark Kent begins his orbit as a reporter for the Daily Planet, a bus explodes and Metropolis is forever changed. The Flash alum, Jessica Parker Kennedy (Nora Allen), plays the pyro energy projector, Bette Sans Souci.
Episode Seven (Identity)
A super-speeding vigilante has been making frequent appearances throughout the City of Tomorrow and in a stark twist of fate, when Lois Lane finds herself in a bind, Henry James (Jimmy) Olsen snaps a photo catching a red-blue blur coming to her rescue.
Episode Fourteen (Requiem)
The “final” fate of Lex Luthor is revealed and the love affair between #clana (Clark Kent and Lana Lang) comes to an abruptly destructive and heart wrenching end.
Episode Three (Rabid)
Okay, so this one isn’t an absolute necessity for our watch list but we suggest you witness this nervy narrative regarding the day of the dead in Metropolis.
Episode Eleven and Twelve (Absolute Justice, Part One & Two)
The Justice Society of America shows up in this heroic poem of an episode when Amanda Waller and the forces of Checkmate start making moves on the worlds heroes. In this specialised installment of the Smallville Universe we see so much that it would be foolish not to include it on this list.
Episode Twenty-One (Salvation)
Futures are foretold, secrets are revealed and destinies are jump started in the finale of season nine. Lois and Clark’s relationship takes a giant leap in a single bound, making #clois and Superman fans extremely happy. There’s not much else to say without going into spoilers.
Episode One (Lazarus)
Besides the series’ climax, this episode is perhaps the most Superman energized in the entire show. We learn a few secrets about Lex, Clark has to save his one true love and a familiar sight takes place when a recognizable symbol falls from the Metropolis skyline.
Episode Four (Homecoming)
Celebrate the 200th episode of the series by exploring the past, realizing the present and by embracing the future with Clark Kent and Brainiac. In this episode you learn about the torches fate and see Smallville High five years after Clark graduated.
Episode Six (Luthor)
Alternate realities are introduced when “Earth-two’s” Clark Luthor swaps places with “Earth-one’s” Clark Kent. This episode could play a pivotal role in the coming crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Episode Twenty-One and Twenty-Two (Finale, Part One and Two)
Clark literally gains his wings in this legendary culmination of Smallville and Superman makes his triumphant first appearance in the show. This episode brings an end to Clark’s origins and will probably be important knowledge to obtain when watching the coming crossover.
Check back later for what to watch on Arrow. Featured photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment