EPISODE REVIEW: Smallville: Finale (Season 10, Episode 21)

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Apokalips looms… literally. Clark is loosing his grounding- his reason for being a hero. His closest ally has turned to the Darkseid.

Is there hope?

Well, after ten years of this, I certainly hope so…

If you didn't see the finale, spoilers below.

Recap

Seven years in the future, Chloe is reading a comic book to her son- Smallville- about an amazing boy who grew up in the fields of Kansas…. who was about to meet his destiny: A planet, fire pits burning, smashing through the solar system it's way to Earth..
Cue opening credits.
Lois and Clark are still on the outs. Lois believes that in marrying Clark, she'll prevent him from saving people who need saving. Clark, however, still wants to marry her.
Ollie and Chloe, meanwhile are decorating the church, unaware of Lois' unique case of cold feet. Chloe is determined to wrangle Lois to the church; Ollie has already gotten the rings. As they leave the church, the baptismal font bubbles, and turns black.
Tess, while looking over plans to rebuild the Luthor mansion, is confronted by Granny Goodness, who makes one last attempt to turn her to the Darkseid. (Yeah, I know. I used that before; it's just too good to let it go just yet…) In doing so, Granny spills the info that Apokalips is not coming-- it is upon them.
Martha Kent walks through the mostly deserted farmhouse in Kansas. She is upset that Clark is selling it- She wanted Clark and Lois to build a home there together. Martha tries to convince Clark that in order to move ahead you don't have to cut off the past. Clark doesn't get it. He's so focused on the future that he's leaving too much of the past behind.
Air Force One is grounded, and Lois smells a story. As she starts on her tear, Chloe confronts Lois on her faulty reasons for not marrying Clark. She gives Lois a hand written copy of Clark's wedding vows, which makes Lois realize that she's missing the point.
Storming into Watchtower, Tess tries to access the League satellites, only to discover that Oliver has disabled them. Ollie, however, did not remember to disable the new satellite that the Martian Manhunter had put up. Tess sees Apokalips looming towards Earth.
Ollie, meanwhile, has reported to Granny Goodness, Gordon Godfrey and DeSaad on the success of his mission to blind the League to the coming Apokalips (Yeah, I know. I'm really overusing the 'Apokalips' pun. But that was KIrby's intent, no?). They give him another mission: replace Clark's wedding band with one made of Gold Kryptonite. (Gold K, for those of you who haven't been paying attention since the Silver Age, will take away a Kryptonian's powers permanently)
Clark visits Jonathan Kent's grave, where he talks to the ghost of his father. His father tries to explain why he needs to keep him close. Clark is still trying to cut off his past. Ollie shows up, and Clark is now leaning hard towards cutting off all human contact (again).
He goes to visit Lois, to tell her that she may be right to stop the wedding. He's rather stunned to find that she's now ready to marry him. They talk, and after reading her vows, he realizes that their marriage should go on…
Tess manages to get herself kidnapped….
The church fills to a lovely invisible string quartet…. Clark and Lois walk down the aisle together. The ceremony proceeds, with the ghost of Jonathan looking on. They say their vows, but when it comes time for the rings, Chloe spots the gold K ring and knocks it away. Ollie has gone full Darkness and while Lois evacuates the church, Clark get's knocked through the doublepaned stained glass window by an overpowered Oliver. A superpowered trashing of the church proceeds, smashing the font filled with …black goo. (You'd think one of the guests would've noticed that unusual decorating choice..) Clark reaches through to Ollie, and inspires him to the point where his skull loses the Omega tattoo. As they get up from their scuffle, they see an Apok-eclipse…
Back at the farm, atmospheric disturbances abound. Even the ghost of Jonathan is worried. Clark has realized that it's everyone he's ever cared about that makes the world worth saving. Jonathan encourages Clark to consult Jor-El. Martha joins them in the loft, encouraging Clark to become the miracle that the Earth needs.
Tess wakes up with Lionel hovering above her. He means for her to be the heart donor for the completed, perfected clone of Lex. She's strapped to an operating table, but her Granny Goodness inspired training takes over. She cuts herself loose, kills a couple of lackeys and shoots Lionel through a lung. As she makes her escape, Lionel crawls toward the table where Lex's nearly complete body is lying. Darkseid appears to him; Luthor appeals to the Dark Lord for his son's life. Darkseid agrees, finding the heart to complete the clone within Lionel's chest…
Lex wakes up on the operating table.
At the Daily Planet, Lois and Clark realize that the omegas on people's skulls are part of an anti-life equation that is actually physically drawing the planet Apokalips to Earth. They track Tess and Lionel through a found cell phone to the mansion. Clark leaves to find her; Lois schemes her way onto Air Force One to stop nuclear annihilation (with the aid of a three hole punch…)
Clark finds Lex wandering through the mansion. Lex tells Clark that the great men of the world have always been defined by their enemies. A great exchange takes place, one that puts a nice bow on the relationship between Luthor and Superman, but Luthor realizes that he can only be a great villain if Clark saves the world from Darkseid, and gives Clark what may be the final clue in the creation of the inspirational image of Superman.
Green Arrow makes a visit to the 'three prophets', and destroys them.
Lois, aboard Air Force One, makes a desperate appeal to give the heroes a chance to stop Apokalips before they try to nuke it. She gets five minutes for Clark.
Clark grabs the Jor-El crystal from the loft, but before he can zip out to the Arctic, Darkseid, in Lionel's body, attacks, realizing that the lost son of Jor-El is the light. He throws Clark through the loft. In an instant, Clark sees all the good he's done over the years as his trials, passed. Jor-El tells him that he is now ready to seize his destiny. Clark floats above the ground, flying at last. Superman ( I think we can finally call him that), flies through the Darkseid-animated corpse of Lionel, destroying him.
Tess finds Luthor in his old chair. We find that Lex always knew that she was his sister, he recruited her for that reason. Luthor tells Tess that he loves her, as he takes a dagger and puts it through her. She brushes his face and her fingers leave a trace of not blood, but an amnesia-inducing neurotoxin. She dies, as his memories of all that's gone before burn away. Everything before that moment, gone.
Clark speeds to the Fortress, realizing that he needs to embrace his Kryptonian heritage as well. Jor-El, and the ghost of Jonathan present Clark with The Suit. He takes flight, donning the suit as he soars out of the crystal Fortress.
Air Force One is getting tossed about, losing control until Superman rights it. He pauses to gaze at Lois through a window, then zooms off towards Apokalips.
The firepits fill the sky of Metropolis, when a blue blur zooms toward the rogue planet, pushing it off course and away…
… And seven years (and two hours) later, Chloe finishes reading to her son. Lois calls her on the phone from the Planet…. where all the trappings of the legend are in place. Perry White as Editor in Chief, Jimmy Olsen (the kid brother of the James Olsen that died a few seasons ago); Luthor is now President and Clark is clumsy and bumbling… and preparing to (FINALLY) marry Lois. An emergency comes up, Clark runs to the roof and runs toward the camera, ripping his shirt open, revealing the Suit…

and it's over.

Observations

That was great and mostly satisfying. I can't help but feel that it needed about ten more minutes of Superman, where he convinces the world that a man can fly, and inspiring them to cast off the darkness. Once the darkness and the anti-life equation is negated, THEN he can move Apokalips out of it's course.
In not capitalizing on Superman's ability to inspire, they kind of undermined the whole thrust of this season, in my opinion. The finale was good, in that it tied most things together into a nice tidy package, but it only hinted at what I'm convinced that the producers thought the character of Superman was all about.
And we never really see Welling in The Suit, but to be fair, the Super Suit is another show. Or movie. Smallville has always been about Clark's becoming Superman- not about his being Superman. The writers knew this, and so we don't get the full costume shot- only the hints. In fact, if you look at the final scene, it is not about Superman watching over Metropolis, it's about an adult Clark becoming Superman. The last shot of the series encapsulates what the whole show has been about.
The performances were very good- Rosenbaum, in his one day of work, recaptured the essence of Lex better than anyone else ever has. (Too bad his new series (Breaking In) was cancelled, he was hilarious in it.) John Schneider slipped back into Jonathan Kent like an old pair of jeans, and Annette O'Toole was great as usual.
The series regulars also put nice finishing touches on their characters. Welling was very good, as were Durance and Hartley. I want to single out Alison Mack- her scenes with her 'son' were very warm and genuine, if logically a bit suspect.
Let's talk about the frame story, shall we?
It had a huge logical problem. Why would a Smallville comic exist in that world? Why would the story of Superman's life be told in such detail in a world where he actually exists? I admit, though, it felt nice and warm and evoked a bit of the original opening to Superman: The Movie. It does kind of bug me, though.
There were several nods to the aforementioned Super-movie. Not only did they use the John Williams motifs musically, but a lot of shots were selected that evoked the Donner and Singer movies. The Routh Super-suit was the one that was featured in the Fortress. The rescue of Air Force One as Superman's first feat reflects Superman: The Movie.
The final word is that the finale did put a nice point on the story they wanted to tell. This was the story of Clark Kent learning how to be Superman. For a show that started as a sort of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' ripoff (with a freak of the week), it actually became something better. I hope that they find a way to keep this universe alive through a spinoff or six. But this story is well and truly over.

Good job, guys.

Will Conservatives Like This Episode

Yes. This story was about moving into the future while holding on to what makes us who we are. It is, in a nutshell, conservatism defined. Well worth your time

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