After an at times improbable run of ten seasons, the story of Clark Kent's journey to becoming Superman is coming to an end with a two-hour finale tonight May 13, 2011. Although the famous first rule of the show was "no tights, no flights," in its two-hundred and sixteen episodes there was plenty of opportunity for 'Super' and not-so-Super moments from the nascent Man of Steel and his supporting cast. Hopefully there will be so many awesome moments in tonight's finale that this whole list will be obsolete in a few hours.
Clark vs. a Nuclear Missile
Season 5, Episode 3: "Hidden"
Seeking a permanent solution for Smallville's growing population of people mutated by kryptonite, a disturbed young man hijacks an ICBM to obliterate the Kansas town. Clark, having just regained his powers after a tiff with Jor-El, dashes home from the arctic just in time to see the missile leave its underground silo. With a leap that would clear a tall building (SO CLOSE to flight), he clamps onto its metal hull and climbs up to the warhead, flinging it into space as it reaches apogee where it explodes harmlessly.
Chloe Becomes "Oracle"
Season 6, Episode 11: "Justice"
In an episode that also features the Smallville versions of Green Arrow, Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman who recruit Clark to into an ad-hoc Justice League, it's fan favorite character Chloe Sullivan who steals the moment. Taking over and improving upon Lana Lang's 'Isis' information network and dubbing herself 'Watchtower,' Chloe served as command and control for the team in a role she’d fill until Allison Mack left the series in Season 9. Comic fans recognized that Chloe's smarts and constant proximity to superheroes had prepared her to be the Barbara Gordon/Oracle analog in Smallville’s Batman-free universe.
Perry White Visits Smallville
Season 3, Episode 5: "Perry"
Just because it would be years before Clark would take a job at the Daily Planet, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t run into his (possible) boss one day. Coming to town as a drunken, washed up tabloid reporter, his experiences with Clark put him back on the path to, what in the core DC continuity would be his destiny. A fairly stock story that's enhanced to greatness by Veteran character actor Michael McKean's (This is Spinal Tap) performance.
Clark vs. a Meteor Shower
Season 4, Episode 22: "Commencement"
In a parallel to his own arrival, more meteors from the ruins of Krypton plummet to Earth, wreaking havoc on Smallville. After wrapping up that season’s story arc (involving 17th century witches and magic stones; more on that below in the next section) Clark must save the people of his hometown, including a small boy in a moment that stays in the main title sequence for the rest of the series, by dashing about, blocking the impact blasts with his body. A great example of Clark fearlessly using his powers and bringing some closure to the guilt over the destruction his arrival as an infant inflicted on the town.
Hawkman and the JSA Are Revealed
Season 9, Episode 11: "Absolute Justice"
In a two-part episode written by veteran comics scribe Geoff Johns (Green Lantern) the JSA are revealed to have existed decades before the events of Smallville but have gone into hiding. When an old foe resurfaces to kill them, Clark and Green Arrow join forces (after a customary first meeting brawl) with Hawkman, Doctor Fate and a new Stargirl to counter the threat in a climactic superhero battle that was a first for the series.
Lana Lang is Possessed by a 17th Century Witch
Season 4, Episode 8: "Spell"
In effort to expand the Lana Lang character beyond being the object of young Clark's desire, season four featured an arc that tied the now forgotten Native American prophesy about Clark and Lex Luthor's future enmity to a French witch that was burned at the stake in the 17th Century. Possessing Lana, it bought her the attention of Jason Teague which formed a love triangle between the three characters. Teague would not return for season five, instead joining a fellow teen-show-hunk from Gilmore Girls as the stars of Smallville companion show Supernatural.
The Doomsday Anti-Climax
Season 8, Episode 22: "Doomsday "
In a season that saw the expansion of Green Arrow’s character, the introduction of the Legion of Super Heroes and even a de facto Injustice Gang, Season Eight’s arc was primarily concerned with the coming of a frighteningly powerful creature bent on killing Kryptonians, namely: Doomsday. As Clark wrestled with the possible need to kill his foe, the climactic battle failed expectations set by the Death of Superman comic arc and resulted in a short fight (around 10 seconds or so) with few punches thrown and Doomsday buried alive at the bottom of a deep geothermal vent.
Supergirl Steals Superman’s Thunder
Season 10, Episode 3 “Supergirl”
Starting with her first appearance in Season Seven, the character Kara Zor-El seemed to break the show’s founding rule of “no tights, no flights” by not only being able to fly but by wearing some insanely attractive outfits for the sake of a certain demographic of viewers. Her better understanding of her Kryptonian heritage and grasp of her powers already gave her a Mary Sue-ish vibe, but early in Season Ten when she flew and used her other powers in public while in costume (albeit without an S-shield) she was dubbed ‘Supergirl’ by the Daily Planet. This was well before Lois Lane would famously dub Clark ‘Superman,’ thereby obliterating another piece of the classic legend.
Lana Lang Becomes Superhuman
Season 8, Episode 13: "Power"
As both Kristen Kruek's and the show's original creative team’s time on Smallville was coming to an end, they embarked on another storyline that gave Lana Lang powers again. This time equaling that of the Kryptoinan-born Clark Kent. Perhaps seeing that they’d robbed their main character of his uniqueness, Lana was irritated by Kryptonite and forced to leave town in the very next episode.
Lionel Luthor Switches Sides
Too often to count
John Glover was fantastic in his role as the kind of father one has to have if you are going to grow up to be Lex Luthor. Totally ruthless, he wanted the best for his son but went about it in the worst possible way every time. As the seasons piled up, his machinations against his own son, those against Lex’s friend Clark Kent, his crush on Clark’s mother, his possession by the spirit of Jor-El and the frequent temporary pangs of conscience about what he’s done caused him to shift his allegiance from good to evil at least once per year. When the "good" Lionel died (and of course, his son had already been gone from the show), Smallville producers realized what they'd lost, and created a whole 'nother universe just to bring an ultra-evil Lionel Luthor back to the show, and to Clark's life.