Monday, May 9, 2011

TV: Smallville Top 10 Episodes (Commentary)

Ten years for a TV show is a memorable achievement. Ten years for an adaptation of a comic book character is unheard of. But for the WB (and eventually the CW), Smallville proved to be that once in a lifetime type of show with its story of a boy from another planet growing up and learning to become the hero he was destined to be. With a dedicated group creating a quality production week in and week out, it quickly became the flagship show for the fledgling network. To celebrate the series finale of Smallville, GeekPlate has decided to have a week of posts dedicated to Smallville. Today's post: 10 Favorite Smallville Episodes.

10) S06E12 "Labyrinth"

Coming in at 10th is the Season 6 episode, "Labyrinth". An episode cannot have a better premise. After being attacked Clark wakes up in a reality where he has been in a mental hospital for over five years, and is told his entire life has apparently been an elaborate fantasy he created in his delusions. Throw in a lovesick Lana, Martha Luthor, crazy Chloe and a wheelchair bound Lex and you have a wonderful break from the regular Smallville status quo.

Honorable Mention: S02E16 "Fever" - In the second season came this memorable episode that just missed being in the Top 10. Clark and Martha fall ill to a deadly kryptonite virus, Martha is found to be pregnant, Chloe reads her love letter to Clark and Dr. Helen Bryce gets her hands on a vial of Clark's blood.

09) S04E12 "Pariah"

For Season 4 Smallville saw the return of Alicia Baker to wrap up her storyline as Clark's love interest in "Pariah". Lana and Jason get attacked and all signs point to it being Alicia. Clark initially defended her but when his suspicion of her rose, a hurt Alicia decides it was time for Clark to stop lying to his best friend and she forces him to unknowingly reveal his abilities to Chloe. But before she can see the repercussions of her mischief, Alicia is attacked and killed by the true bad guy. This unleashes an emotional and rageful Clark who has to be talked down by Lois before he exacts fatal revenge.

08) S04E19 "Blank"

Shortly after "Pariah" came along this episode that showed how much the friendship between Chloe and Clark had grown since she learned of his secret abilities when he experienced total amnesia and she had to look after him and keep him from inadvertently revealing the truth to the curious duo of Lana and Lex. The episode even ends on a fantastically honest conversation between Clark and Chloe where she comments that the only different thing Clark did as an amnesiac was to trust her.

Honorable Mention: S03E06 "Relic" - Most of the early seasons of Smallville dealt with the idea of Jor-El being an evil, manipulating character but in this Season 3 episode Clark got to relive Jor-El's memories from the time he visited Smallville forty years before. The past of Smallville was full of Luthors, Kents and actors Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk playing their character's ancestors.

07) S10E04 "Homecoming"

The only episode from the final season to make it onto the list, "Homecoming" marks the 200th episode of the series and touches fondly on the series' past and its future thanks to a trip through time with Brainiac 5. There were flashbacks to "Pilot" and the 100th episode of the show, "Reckoning" and a cameo from Greg Arkin, the villain from the Season 1 episode "Metamorphosis". But the most memorable part is Clark's visit to the future where he meets his future self, and saves future Lois in a time when Superman exists.

06) S01E01 "Pilot"

A list of favorite Smallville episodes is not complete without the episode that started it all. "Pilot" introduced the town of Smallville and the characters surrounding the story's protagonist, Clark Kent. His adopted parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent; his best friends Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan; his crush Lana Lang and her much older boyfriend Whitney Fordman; and Lex Luthor, the misunderstood son of the hated Lionel Luthor.

Honorable Mention: S04E01 "Crusade" - The start of Season 4 signaled the next chapter of the series as Pete Ross was gone, Chloe Sullivan was presumed dead and Lois Lane had arrived in Smallville to find out what happened to her cousin. And this was the first true glimpse of Kal-El, the Kryptonian side of Clark he had long rejected that now was running things thanks to Jor-El. And oh by the way, Margot Kidder makes a cameo as Bridgette Crosby, a colleague of Dr. Swann's.

05) S03E08 "Shattered"

This memorable Season 3 episode marks the point of no return for Clark's genuine friendship for Lex, when he sacrifices Lex's wellbeing by letting him get taken to a sanitarium in order to protect his secret. Lex had been seeking revenge against Morgan Edge and Lionel for his grandparents death and in return has a plot put against him to make him lose his mind. Lex's fragile psyche unravels under Clark's watch thanks being drugged and his paranoia causes Lana to get in a terrible accident with a frightened horse and forces Clark to save him from Edge's oncoming car. But it was Clark's decision to leave Lex behind that stuck the most from the episode.

04) S08E15 "Requiem"

After a writers strike and actress Kristin Kreuk's filming schedule cut down on Lana Lang's presence on Smallville during the latter half of Season 7, it was great to see the character get a second opportunity to say goodbye during Season 8. And what a final episode for Lana it was. There was an explosion at Luthorcorp during a board meeting where Oliver was announcing his takeover, Lex Luthor is blown up because of Oliver's doing and Lana Lang saves Clark and Metropolis by sacrificing any future she could have with Clark to absorb the entirety of a Kryptonite bomb that was on the rooftop of the Daily Planet. Their goodbye scene in the loft was powerful and sad, the love between them still strong but forever not meant to be.

Honorable Mention: S05E09 "Lexmas" - This Season 5 episode was perhaps the last chance Lex had to turn towards the side of good and become the better man he had the potential to be when he was shot and was shown by the ghost of his mother of a life he could live with Lana Lang and a strong group of friends and family if he got out from under the thumb of his father, Lionel Luthor.

03) S05E12 "Reckoning"

The 100th episode of Smallville came during the fifth season and was a life-altering episode for many of the characters of the show. It was practically a roller coaster episode with the ups of Clark finally revealing his secret to Lana and proposing to her to Jonathan winning the Senatorial election only to be followed by the down of Lex chasing Lana into a fatal accident. Stricken by grief Clark meddles with time and suffers the consequence as Lana's life is saved but their relationship is over, Lex is consoling her and his father, Jonathan, dies instead. A very emotional twist to emphasize the magnificence of the episode.

02) S07E16 "Descent"

Arguably the best episode of Season 7's latter half that was produced after the end of the writers strike, "Descent" deals with Lex's final steps into the dark side thanks to his quest to save the world from the Traveler. He kills Lionel, fires Chloe from the Daily Planet and destroys his conscience once and for all. And Clark is left a message from Lionel where he learns what the older man had been trying to tell him while he was still alive, that there is an object out there that can control the Traveler and he needs to find it before Lex does.

Honorable Mention: S06E11 "Justice" - The last Smallville episode on the honorable mention list is from Season 6, when the first inklings of the Justice League come to happen with the teamup in "Justice".

01) S02E17 "Rosetta"

The most memorable episode on this list happened during Season 2 and is at the top for several reasons. Firstly, Christopher Reeve guest-starred as Dr. Virgil Swann, a recluse physicist who has knowledge of Clark's Kryptonian heritage that he shares with Clark along with a few messages that came on the day of the meteor shower. Also, Clark learns to read the Kryptonian language thanks to the key and he finds another message left for him in his spaceship that leaves him disturbed, that he was sent to Earth to conquer it.

That was it for this Smallville Top 10 installment. Tomorrow's post will be a Top 10 covering the Superpower Moments of the show. Enjoy Smallville week!

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