The CW’s Smallville is well into its final season, and thus far, it has delivered in a way it hasn’t in a few years. Knowing that the end is near has given the writers the freedom to move forward with some long-simmering plots, and Clark (Tom Welling) has finally grown as a person and a hero. He’s wearing more red and blue instead of black! Some fantastic guest stars have been brought, or brought back, into the mix, and there are plenty more coming.
This week’s entry, “Abandoned”, dealt with the abandonment by their biological parents of two main characters: Clark and Tess (Cassidy Freeman). Each have been stunted in their emotional growth, and unable to fully develop into who they’re going to be because of these dark moments in their past. Each had to come face to face with what they had buried, and see their parents in a new light in order to move on.
Clark came out of the experience much better for it. He got to see, as more than a disembodied voice this time, his father Jor-El. The body was played by Julian Sands, as he was in a prior episode, even though he is usually voiced by Terrance Stamp. Clark’s mother, Lara (Helen Slater) was also there. Clark finally realized that they sent him to earth by himself out of love, not disappointment. They didn’t wish to send their son away alone, but felt they had no choice. He also saw that they were proud of him and loved him, which healed Clark enough to consider taking his relationship with Lois (Erica Durance) to the next step.
Clark and Lois’s evolving romance has been a focal point of the tenth season so far, and is satisfying in a way it has never been. In a recent episode, Clark traveled to the future and saw himself with Lois, and it seemed to give him a new lease on his feelings for her.
The same episode also showed Superman for the first time, even if it was just a brief glimpse. For fans who worried about the series getting the rights to the famous suit or the name, it appears that those issues have cleared up, and in the best way possible. Hopefully we will get a glimpse of this Clark as Tom Welling before the final credits role at the end of the year.
Tess has much deeper baggage, which was not easily cleared up as Clark’s. Tess discovered that her father is Lionel Luthor. Lionel used to be a series regular played by Jonathan Glover, but we only saw the back of his head this week, so it is doubtful that it was Glover. Glover will be returning to the show in a couple of weeks, although in what capacity is unclear, since Lionel was killed off a couple of years ago.
The character of Tess was added to the series after the departure of Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) as a sort of replacement for Lex. Fan embracement of her has been slow, but I’ve loved her, and the wonderful actress that plays her, for some time, and I hope recent movements have been enough to win over most of the naysayers left.
And going back to the episode’s title, sure, you can argue that Lois was also abandoned by her mother, Ella, who was stricken down by cancer, but unlike the other two, Lois didn’t seem to have deep-seated personal issues stemming from that abandonment. She had some regretful feelings, but not to the level of the other two plots, and her issues seemed done a third of the way through the episode. It’s worth nothing, however, that Smallville scored a considerable casting coup by persuading Teri Hatcher, who is a series regular on a popular show on another network, to take the time out and appear as Lois’s mother. Superman fans will remember that Hatcher played Lois Lane in the 90’s series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”.
What I found a bit confusing was the absence of Oliver (Justin Hartley) this week. He has had a banner season, with important plot about revealing his secret identity to the public. It used to be that Smallville would try to juggle around ten main characters, and understandably, some of them would have to sit out for weeks at a time. Sadly, despite her importance to the overall series story, Lois was missing more often than most. However, there are currently only four main characters on the show. I love every minute of this week’s episode, but with only four main characters, it seems odd to not use them all every week. Perhaps there was just too much rich plot to leave room for Oliver. Or maybe his contract allows for weeks off. I don’t know, but he was missed.
This episode was also surprisingly important to the Big Bad of Season 10, the super-powerful villain Darkseid. While Darkseid himself has not been seen, his three minions have finally come together. One was this week’s featured baddie, Granny Goodness, played by the always wonderful Christine Willes (Dead Like Me, Reaper). Another was a recently possessed radio host, Gordon Godfrey (Michael Daingerfield). The last, Desaad (Steve Byers) has also appeared before this week. Now that they have teamed up, it will surely only be a matter of time before Darkseid himself fully comes into the picture. After all, November sweeps are already half over.
Looking at the season as a whole, the casting lineup has been spectacular. Already we’ve been revisited by Jonathan Kent (John Schneider), Kara / Supergirl (Laura Vandervoort, V)), Braniac (James Marsters), and Carter Hall / Hawkman (Michael Shanks), among others. Next week will feature the return of Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) and Deathstroke (Michael Hogan). As mentioned above, Lionel Luthor will be coming back soon. And the addition of Cat Grant (Keri Lynn Pratt) to the Daily Planet has been a wonderful delight. Chloe (Allison Mack) is still missing. Plus, a Smallville icon, The Talon, was blown up into tiny pieces!
If you haven’t watched Smallville in years, now is the time to get on board. The coming end will surely not disappoint, if the beginning of this season has been any indication. Smallville airs Friday nights at 8pm on the CW.