Long before we had the Arrowverse, Smallville was the breakout superhero hit television show comic fans tuned into week after week. The show debuted on The WB network (now The CW) in October 2001 and chronicled the lives of a pre-Superman Clark Kent, his family and friends. Reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville showcased a high school Clark Kent and his band of friends, including computer whiz Chloe, feisty reporter Lois Lane and even Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, as they battle the forces of evil in the form of Lex Luthor. Along with Lex, the group also defended the cities of Smallville and Metropolis from “meteor freaks,” people who had been affected by the meteor shower that brought Clark to Earth, leaving them with superpowers.
The series ran for 10 seasons, cast members came and went, except for Tom Welling’s Clark Kent and Allison Mack’s Chloe Sullivan, and ended in May of 2011. The show featured many heroes beyond the Superman mythos, including Zatanna, Aquaman and Black Canary. As any television show getting a little long in the tooth, there were both good and bad storylines intertwined through the decade it was on. CBR takes a look at some of the more dubious Smallvile plot twists in the show’s history.
15. OFFICIAL COSTUME TEASE
We all know how important costumes are to superheroes. They’re part of their identity, linked to their iconic image. No matter how many times the character has been rebooted in the comics or feature films, the same iconic colors were used. So while Clark spent the majority of the time saving lives in everyday clothes, towards the end of the series he adopted something close to a costume in the form of a black T-shit with his family crest on it, black pants and a black trench coat.
However, in the season nine finale, viewers catch a glimpse of the classic Superman costume encased in ice at the Fortress of Solitude. It would pop up sporadically throughout, but always encased in that ice. We don’t get to see it put to use until the series finale flash-forward that shows Clark taking flight from the roof of the Daily Planet.
14. KARA MENTORS CLARK
In the comics, readers are introduced to Clark’s Kryptonian cousin, Kara, aka Supergirl, in the late ’50s. A teenage Kara was actually sent to Earth at the same time as Clark, but her ship is caught in the explosion of Krypton and becomes encased in a Kryptonite asteroid. She eventually arrives on Earth, but it’s years after Clark has become Superman, making her actually younger than her cousin.
Smallville basically did the exact opposite of the character’s comic book origin. Kara appeared in season seven, played by Laura Vandervoort, and is relatively the same age as Clark, but further advanced in her powers than he is. She is the one who mentors Clark in using his abilities to their fullest extent, even helping him attempt to fly as she is able to.
13. A WATERED-DOWN DOOMSDAY
Superman fans know Doomsday as the extraterrestrial monster who came to Earth to kill Superman, annihilating everything in his way. In the classic “Death of Superman” storyline, Doomsday takes down multiple heroes, including the Justice League to get at Superman. Unfortunately, this was a far cry from the Doomsday character introduced on Smallville.
This version was introduced to viewers as a human Metropolis paramedic named Davis Bloome, who took an instant liking to Chloe. Eventually turning into an obsession, we later find out that Davis is repressing an inner darkness that sporadically breaks through, transforming him into Doomsday. While Clark and Chloe were able to separate Davis from his Doomsday persona, viewers learn that Davis was evil all along after he impales Jimmy Olsen, killing him.
12. LEX’S CLONE TURNS INTO SUPERBOY
Every superhero needs an arch-enemy. For Superman, it’s Lex Luthor. Lex has been featured in a variety of DC projects, both on the small screen and in feature films, so of course he would be featured in Smallville as the lead antagonist. However, after Michael Rosenbaum’s departure from the show, creators had to find a way to keep Lex Luthor involved in the show.
At the beginning of season ten, we find out that Lex had been dabbling in human cloning, specifically, cloning himself. Tess discovers one of the clones and attempts to raise him as her own child, naming him Alexander. We eventually learn that Alexander is actually a mix of Lex and Clark’s DNA, granting him similar abilities to Clark and adopting the name Connor Kent. Connor later goes to live with Martha in D.C. to protect him from the resurrected Lex.
11. THE JIMMY OLSEN FAKE-OUT
Jimmy Olsen is known as the trusted sidekick to Clark and Lois in the comic books. The trio work together at The Daily Planet, solve crimes and help catch villains together. So, it was refreshing to a lot of viewers to hear that Jimmy Olsen would be added to the cast of Smallville in season six, sticking around for two more seasons after that. Tragically, Jimmy was killed by Davis Bloom/Doomsday, after being caught in a fatal love triangle between himself, Davis and Chloe Sullivan.
Only this Jimmy Olsen wasn’t the real Jimmy Olsen. As viewers found out during his funeral scene Jimmy Olsen’s real name was Henry James Olsen and that he had a younger brother. The younger brother was intended to be the Jimmy who works with Clark and Lois, and the show even had Ashmore return as the younger Jimmy in the series finale, adding more confusion.
10. LOIS’S COSTUME CHANGES
Lois Lane is one of the few feminist icons to come out of DC Comics. A feisty, independent news reporter who becomes Clark Kent/Superman’s love interest, Smallville brought the character to life by casting Canadian actress Erica Durance. While this version of the character worked hard to be seen as an equal among a group of superpowered heroes, her character was also shamelessly used as eye candy for the show.
As a reporter for the Daily Planet, Lois often found herself going undercover to get the scoop on her latest story. However, producers of the show seemed to take pride in putting her into the most provocative outfits they could get away with on television. From a rubber-wearing S&M dominatrix to being scantily clad while being possessed by Isis, Lois’ integrity took a hit with each ridiculous costume.
9. LANA GETS…POWERS?
Lana Lang was a main character on the show for the first seven seasons and went through the ringer during her time. After the first season, Lana bounces back and forth between relationships with Clark and Lex. At first, she couldn’t trust Clark because of all of his secrets, so she turned to Lex but then found out the truth about Clark and got back with him.
There was a whole “blackmailed into marriage with Lex and baby drama” added in there as well. Lana eventually becomes a stronger, more independent character and steals a kryptonite-powered suit from Lex. While this suit granted her superpowers, the kryptonite absorption properties of the suit lead to Lana leaving Smallville (and Clark) for good. While we know Clark will ultimately end up with Lois as the love of his life, we think there could’ve been a better way to handle Lana’s departure.
8. MARTHA GOES TO WASHINGTON
One of the problems with television shows featuring teenagers/young adults is the struggle to keep writing material that is just as fresh and exciting for their parents. We’ve seen how parents of main characters are eventually written out of shows, and Smallville was no exception. While Clark Kent’s parents were featured heavily during the first half of the show’s run, Jonathan Kent would eventually suffer a fatal heart attack and his wife, Martha, would take his state senate seat and later move to Washington, D.C.
Martha had no real qualifications for the job. The only thing we saw was her stint as Lionel’s assistant and a manager at the local coffee shop. We knew that in order for Clark to fully stand on his own, his parents would have to not be in the picture, but we can’t help but feel there could have been a better send-off for her.
7. LANA AND LEX’S RELATIONSHIP
Everyone knows that comic books are part soap opera, interweaving the personal stories of heroes along with their adventures in fighting evil. Naturally, this would be incorporated into Smallville, by way of the first love triangle of the show between Clark, Chloe and Lana. Clark and Lana would eventually even up as a couple but Clark’s secrets in regards to his identity caused Lana to break up with him and find solace in the arms of Lex.
Once Lana finds out what kind of man Lex really is, she goes back to Clark, who eventually admits his abilities to her. However, Lex also learns about Clark’s abilities and blackmails Lana into a relationship and eventual marriage, using Clark’s identity as leverage. Classy, right? Lana eventually comes to her senses and breaks free of Lex’s manipulations but her character definitely lost some credibility in the process.
6. CHLOE TURNS ON CLARK
Reeling from Jimmy Olsen’s rejection, a distraught Chloe found solace in the arms of paramedic Davis Bloome. Their friendship blossomed into a relationship, but Chloe’s loyalty is seriously tested once she finds out Davis and Doomsday are the same person. While wanting to get him help at first, Chloe is put between a rock and a hard place when Davis confesses being around her is the only thing that helps him keep Doomsday in check.
In a moment fans will never forget, Chloe lies to Clark about Davis’s death, under the misguided notion that she would be keeping Clark safe as long as she stayed with Davis. However, the Doomsday persona eventually took over, forcing Chloe to confess her sins to her best friend in order to save everyone.
5. CLARK’S “COSTUMES”
While we’re aware that Smallville is an origin story for the teenager/young adult who would eventually become Superman, there were some missteps along the way. We wouldn’t see Clark suit up as Superman until the final episode of the series, so the show improvised with what they thought a young hero just starting out would wear. The results were a little underwhelming.
During the first few season when Clark was still in high school, he did everything in civilian clothing. He later adopted the colors of red and blue, usually in the form of a red T-shirt and blue jeans, earning the nickname “Red-Blue Blur” in the media. Season nine saw a darker side of Clark, both literally and figuratively. Temporarily giving up on his humanity, Clark adopted an almost Neo from The Matrix look, wearing all black with a gray family crest symbol on his chest.
4. CLARK’S EVIL TWIN
In the final few seasons of the show, viewers learn of an alternate reality in which Lionel Luthor raises Clark and Lex, favoring Clark due to his abilities. This Dark Clark is involved in a toxic relationship with Tess. He eventually gains access to the show’s reality after our Clark accidentally switches their bodies. This leads to chaos in both worlds.
A classic soap opera twist, the evil twin assumes the good twins’ identity and vice versa. We see our Clark struggling to fix wrongs in his new environment, while Dark Clark relishes in terrorizing Lois, Tess and Oliver posing as the real Clark. Ultimately, the Clarks are placed back into their correct realities, with Dark Clark’s Lionel hitchhiking his way into the show’s main reality.
3. CHLOE HAS POWERS, THEN SHE DOESN’T
In a heroes’ journey, there is often a human sidekick involved. Buffy had Xander, Iron Fist had Colleen and Daredevil has Foggy. In Smallville, Clark has Chloe, his high school best friend, who eventually joins the fight against evil along with him. Chloe becomes an integral part of the show throughout its run, taking on various roles within the cast of characters.
At the end of season six, Chloe discovers that she is also meteor-infected, though her powers aren’t revealed until she attempts to revive Lois, bringing her back to life with Chloe’s tears. Then in season seven, after being attacked by Brainiac, her healing powers are negated, but instill the powers of vast intelligence and technopathy instead. These also would eventually wear off, leaving viewers feeling underwhelmed by the does she/doesn’t she have powers arc.
2. CLARK TURNS HIS BACK ON HIS HUMANITY
No hero is perfect all the time. We can sometimes forget that superheroes are people, just like us, dealing with everyday problems on top of their responsibility of constantly fighting evil. Occasionally, we have seen heroes break under this pressure, with some of them taking a brief break from being a hero, while some hang up their capes altogether. All heroes lose faith at some point.
In the season eight finale, following the death of Jimmy at the hands of Doomsday, Clark makes a dramatic decision to end his identity as Clark Kent, intrepid reporter, and focus solely on being Earth’s savior. In doing this, he also breaks all ties with his former life, including his friendships with Chloe and Oliver, as well as putting an end to his romance with Lois. This completely goes against his character, as it’s his human “flaws” that really make him a hero.
In the final season of Smallville, viewers were teased in multiple episodes about the arrival of one of DC’s greatest villains, Darkseid. The tyrannical ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to conquer the universe and wiping out free will. Darkseid’s heralds are introduced one by one, including Granny Goodness, Gordon Godfrey and Desaad. We even see Darkseid’s influence possess a time-displaced Lionel Luthor in order to resurrect Lex.
However, we never actually get to see Darkseid. There’s a partial apparition that appears in the final seconds of an episode, there is the looming threat of his planet, Apokolips, on a collision course with Earth, but still no Darkseid. To be touted as the main villain in the series finale, Darkseid’s “appearance” turned out to be kind of lame.
What was the worst Smallville moment to you? Let us know in the comments!
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