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‘Smallville’ 10×01: Still a fan favorite 10 years later

25 mins read

It’s been a decade since Smallville’s final season premiere graced our silver screens and the show’s impact on the entertainment industry is still felt today. For this reason I’ve decided to celebrate the anniversary by reviewing each episode as they aired a decade ago.

Smallville is a decade-long original take on Superman’s origins telling of how Clark Kent became the famed Metropolis marvel. It ran for 217 episodes and the entire series would take nine consecutive days to binge. It’s currently available on Hulu. 

Smallville’s season 10, episode one, premiered Sept. 24, 2010. For nearly a decade, beloved Superman characters, and series’ originals, suffered through meteor showers, alien invasions, near apocalypses and so much more. Basically, this series covered nearly every imaginable genre at the time. 

When we last left Clark during the season nine finale, he was battling the recurring villain, and destroyer of Krypton, Zod, atop a downtown Metropolis skyscraper. During season nine, Zod was aspiring to retrieve his Kryptonian powers on Earth (which were suppressed by Jor-El years ago) by turning our yellow sun red — using LuthorCorp to do so. His plan ultimately failed but he still retained his powers nonetheless thanks to Clark’s past heroics using a drop of his blood to save the Kryptonian dissident. 

At the tail end of season nine Zod awarded the resurrected Kandorians the same powers but unilaterally lost their trust after killing Faora, who was pregnant with Zod’s child. When Clark confronted the war criminal, his followers all vacated Earth, fleeing to New Krypton utilizing the Book of Rao. 

Zod avoided this with blue Kryptonite, which tethered him and Clark to Earth. A fight ensued and, after destroying some significant rooftop architecture, Clark allowed himself to be stabbed in order to exile Zod. As Clark fell from the rooftop, Zod ascended to his fate (something we’ll learn about later on this season).

This is where season 10 picks up. A presumably dead Clark lies broken on an abandoned Metropolis street where the courageous Lois Lane finds him. 

Can I just express how excited I felt when Lois was finally let in on Clark’s secret? The frustration I’ve experienced since season eight was all but forgotten with an anxious filled sigh of relief when she realized Clark was “the Blur.” 

As an emotional Lois embraces a limp Clark, we’re transported into his psyche. In what can only be assumed to be Clark’s own personal purgatory, we see the Kansas farm boy lost at the edge of a never endless corn field. Teetering between life and death, Clark notices a cleared path among the stocks and decides to venture into the eternal corn maze. 

As someone who has been lost in a corn maze before, I found this action quite courageous. 

Clark eventually came to a familiar clearing at the epicenter of the unremitting corn field and approached the foot of an empty scarecrow stand. 

While there, Clark gets yet another lecture from Jor-El about leaving the people of Earth defenseless without him. Clark mentions that he left a team of adept heroes behind to protect the planet. Jor-El counters his argument by saying this new evil is one nobody but Clark can defeat. In frustration, Clark lashes out and the communication with Jor-El comes to an abrupt end. 

While trying to deduce everything going on around him, spooky music erupts and a familiar figure emerges from within the neverending corn stalks. The figure is none other  than Clark’s old foe, Lex Luthor. 

Even though it’s just Lex’s silhouette, I was pleased to see this clash of Titans once again. Growing from friendship to resentment and finally settling in hatred, the two reuniting literally cracked the sky open. When Clark realized the figure was Lex, thunder cracked and a flock of crows flew in fear. 

I remember watching this episode for the first time with my mother when it premiered. I was filled with anxiety because I didn’t want the show to end badly, something that’s all too common these days. I didn’t want it to end at all, but I slowly accepted the change. This episode is largely responsible for that. 

Over the later seasons Clark has embraced his destiny faster than a speeding bullet. It was a necessary change to prevent stagnation in the series and I loved it. When Clark started working at the Daily Planet with Lois in Season Eight, my heart was all a flutter. That’s why this final season premiere episode, “Lazarus,” was so brilliant. 

It tied in negative outcomes from Clark’s past mistakes, showed the burden Lois bore as someone who loves a man meant to save the world and it reintroduced us to the overarching series’ villain.

Here’s my rating for this episode.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After Lois discovered Clark in downtown Metropolis, she soon pulled the dagger from his chest “resurrecting” him. While Clark is reacclimating, Lois hides behind some Metropolis street garbage (looking too much like Gotham City if you ask me) and witnesses the healing power the sun provides him. As soon as Clark is brought back to his full potential, he speeds away. Lois smiled and so did I. Que the intro music (back when there was intro music).

One interesting fact to point out about this season is that there were only four series regulars. Five main characters, and one (Chloe) only appears as a guest star. This is a huge drop compared to the main cast of season one, which consisted of eight main actors. 

Enter a series favorite, Chloe Sullivan, on a mission to save the love of her life, Oliver Queen. I have to admit, I was not a fan of this ship. Oliver, a.k.a. the Green Arrow, has always belonged with Black Canary in my opinion (except for in “Arrow,” where I like Olicity. It was a hard pill to swallow though). 

Anyway, Chloe is trying to track down Oliver, who was abducted last season by unknown assailants. Chloe somehow retrieved the missing archer’s body camera and surmised that he was taken by a new opponent. Honestly, I was more concerned with Lois Lane telling Clark she knew about his powers that I was waiting for this scene to end. To surmise my feelings and help readers better understand, Oliver was taken by a team of presumed hero haters and Chloe was trying to save him on her own. 

I’ve been frustrated with Chloe for a while. She used to be filled with such hope and light, persevering over trauma (like the loss of her mother), that she helped guide Clark towards his destined path. Now she’s secretive, overly vigilant and manipulative. Maybe I’m no longer a fan due to the actor’s involvement with a sex cult, but I began to fall out of love with Chloe sometime in season nine. 

Lois Lane, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. Mind you that I’m a gay man and I wasn’t attracted to Erica Durance physically. Her precision in acting, capturing the entire essence of my all-time favorite fictional character is what always drew my attention to scenes with her involved. 

As Clark was headed to the Daily Planet archives to research LuthorCorp’s past cloning operations (because that’s a normal thing on Smallville), Lois was there doing a bit of research of her own. The reporter of might is paging through digital issues of Clark’s high school newspaper, “The Torch,” and gathered that every person close to her boyfriend already knew about his super abilities.

“I’m the last to know.”

Lois Lane

The two have a comical exchange about “the Blur,” which Lois now knows is Clark, and the result is pretty great. Seeing these two interact has always brought a smile to my face, but when Lois mentioned that “the Blur” laid one on her, I chuckled a bit. The dynamic between the two talking about a third person who was really Clark always fascinated me, but when everyone knows the truth but Clark doesn’t realize it, a new love triangle emerges. 

Lois says the blur landed “the most passionate kiss” on her lips. “It was great.”

Any scene with Lois Lane’s clever quips involved is as golden as the globe spinning on the Daily Planet rooftop. So after an intricate scene between the two love birds, Lois finds an excuse to allow Clark to use his powers in secrecy. She wittingly drops her pen under a desk. As she’s “searching” for the pen that’s already in her hand, Clark super-speeds through the archive room and finds a file on Cadmus labs. 

Clark calls Chloe to tell her that he’s retrieved the necessary file only to discover that she’s no longer at the Watchtower, she went to the Justice Society of America’s abandoned headquarters for Dr. Fate’s helmet. She accepts the helmet’s terms of a possibile plunge into madness and places it on her head. While donning the golden mask (which is obviously plastic), Chloe sees everything. The computer whiz learns of what she must do to retrieve Oliver and witnesses Clark’s heroics in the red cape.

When Clark finds the unconscious Chloe, he rushes her to the Watchtower’s medical unit. She tells him what she saw and then decisively mentions that Cadmus Labs is burning. As he speeds away she whispers, “Goodbye Clark.”

LuthorCorp CEO Tess (Mercy) Mercer, who was burned by General Zod last season, wakes up on an operating table in the aforementioned Cadmus Labs. Her face has miraculously been healed and she discovers the truth behind the elusive Cadmus project.

Those familiar with comics, or even the popular animated series “Young Justice” will recognize that Cadmus is notorious for their underground cloning operations. The Smallville doppelganger is no exception. While there, Tess discovers multiple Lex clones. Some are disfigured, some are aging rapidly and others are plain out messed up in the head. Tess also located a young Alexander (Lex) Luthor clone, whom she later decides to foster at the Luthor Mansion. 

As Alexander is giving Tess the grand tour of this multimillion dollar laboratory I found myself questioning so much: Where the heck was the staff? Where were the scientists? The security team? 

I guess you can only ask for so much on a CW scaled budget. Alexander tells Tess that the clones were grown for one single purpose, to heal their creator. He also reveals that her recovery was due to him giving up some of his own skin for her. 

Now I’m no doctor, but I know a skin transplant takes longer than a few hours and scarring is definitely going to be noticed immediately following the procedure. But, hey, it’s Smallville and I let them get away with it. 

As Alexander is unloading all of these details unto Tess, a knocking can be heard nearby. Curious, Tess opens a door only to learn that “the bad ones” are kept locked in on the other side. An older Lex emerges and pins Tess against an incubation chamber. 

Now, I know Tess has been through quite an ordeal, but this woman has faced many Titans. She’s well versed in the art of self defence yet she was thrown around by a nearly 60-year-old Lex Luthor like she was nothing but a rag doll. 

I was not pleased and to this day I still find myself yelling at the screen telling her to kick that Voldemort looking man’s ass. She didn’t and was forced to watch as Lex burned Cadmus’s cloning chambers. Soon after elder Lex tied Tess up and hatched a notorious scheme against none other than Clark Kent.

Classic, but still a bit disappointing. Tess has sought vengeance against Lex since season eight, and when her time finally came she was robbed of the opportunity for what can only be presumed as limited screen time. 

When Clark saves Tess, she tells him exactly where to find him. As this is happening, Lex has somehow traveled from Metropolis to Smallville where he abducts Lois Lane. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love this show’s originality. I loved having the town of Smallville within driving distance of the City of Tomorrow. However, the effortless time it took our characters to travel from the Daily Planet to the Kent Farm (or vice versa) has always bugged me. Clark has super speed but sometimes showed up minutes before others. Does everyone have super speed? 

In a direct throwback to the show’s pilot episode Lex ties Lois to the same scarecrow perch he rescued Clark from in 2001. 

This is where it gets really interesting. In true Superman fashion, the villainous Lex manages to get under the skin of both Lois and Clark. He understands that the two stand as Titans when they’re a team. He tells Lois that she is Clark’s greatest weakness and he infuriates Clark beyond control. 

Lex sets the cornfield surrounding Lois ablaze and meets Clark under a picturesque tree. There he convinces Clark that he’s not ready to be a savior. He refutes that the only reason he’s called a hero is because he cleans up after the disasters he unleashes. To be fair, from Lex’s point of view, I could understand the confusion.

Clark gets so angry that he nearly snaps the clone’s neck with one hand but soon regains control after seeing Lex’s nose bleed. Basically, don’t mess with Lois Lane or this will be the result. Problem solved. 

As Lex explains Lois’ fate, he also reveals that Clark has a choice.

“There’s an explosion rocking the roof of the Daily Planet. You can stop that beacon from falling into the rush hour traffic… or you can save the woman you love.”

Clone Lex

Then the faulty clone dies. He just dies. He did all of this just to die. 

Faced with a seemingly impossible ultimatum, Clark makes the obvious decision and goes for Lois. He extinguishes the flames that are nearly engulfing our favorite reporter and removes her from the scarecrow perch. He then leaves her (not knowing Lex died) right in the same place she was held hostage. I get the guy was in a rush, and I get that Lois can handle her own, but come on Clark.

Anyway Clark runs to Metropolis practically breaching into the speedforce (you’re welcome Flash fans) as the famed Daily Planet globe falls from the roof. 

Now Smallville is filled with “first time” controversies when it comes to Clark’s powers, especially flight. He’s hovered over his bed before or flew when he was brainwashed in season four, but I consider this the diamond absolute. Clark leaps from atop a Metropolis taxi cab and stops the plunging globe dead in its tracks. There’s a brief second and the globe soon ascends back to the rooftop. THERE IS NO WAY HE DID THIS WITHOUT FLYING. As crowds cheer, pride sinks in. 

I don’t blame the guy though. If I caught DC Comics’ most renowned landmark I’d be filled to the brim with pride. This scene was pulled directly from the pages of Superman comics. I cried when I saw this for the first time. My mother was concerned. I loved that they did it and nothing could have been done better (besides Clark’s god awful suit).

Speaking of the suit, last season Clark’s mother, Martha, revealed that she made Clark a new one for him. I was hoping for something original to the series, but since star Tom Welling refused to wear one they decided to recycle an old outfit. Thus the “Superman Returns” suit made it’s vibrant reappearance — for a brief moment at least. 

Pissed off that Kal-El doesn’t follow his guidance, Jor-El confiscated the suit like an overprotective dad finding out their kid broke curfew. At least that’s how I felt. Then, as Jor-El explains that the coming evil preys on wavering souls, you begin to understand his frustration. 

This darkness that will try to extinguish Clark’s light is everlasting. It’s something we were robbed of when Zack Snyder’s Justice League was redone. It’s Darkseid — on a CW budget.  

The episode closes with a few major season 10 plot points. The young Alexander (Lex) Luthor clone is living with Tess, Oliver is traded for Chloe and Lois decides to distance herself from Clark because she believes she’s holding him back. 

Overall, I found this episode fantastic. The title, “Lazurus,” was very fitting because numerous notable resurrections took place. Clark was brought back by Lois, Lex was brought back by Lex and my hatred for Clark’s disastrous suit was brought back by Clark’s disastrous suit.

All seemed hopeless yet again for Clark as he read Lois’s goodbye letter. After littering the earth with it, watching it float away, we see a familiar figure working on a fence near the Kent Farm. It’s Jonathan Kent. 

A ghost, Jonathan Kent gives a healthy dose of his iconic fatherly advice to Clark. A common Superman element that’s never generally understood but wholeheartedly accepted.

Dead since season five (nearly one hundred episodes ago) Jonathan urges Clark to follow his heart and do what’s right. 

“You could be the greatest hero the world has ever known.”

Jonathan Kent

As I’ve mentioned, Smallville is my all-time favorite show and this episode did not disappoint. 

Come back next Thursday, Oct. 1 as I review season 10, episode two, “Shield.”

Zack Benz

I'm a big fan of Superman, I love architecture and I have a strong passion for all things Daily Planet

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