A Case of the…. Smallville – Episode 7-20

I’m disappointed to say that I was, well, a bit disappointed with the Smallville finale. And to tell you the truth, it didn’t really have anything to do with the content. Quite simply, the episode felt extremely rushed (especially the last ten minutes), and really would have benefited from being a special 90-minute finale. In fact, they could have very easily devoted 90 minutes to the Smallville finale, and then used the remaining half hour to promote The Dark Knight. They did something very similar a few years ago when Batman Begins came out.

Actually, I will clarify what I said above: to tell you the truth, I quite liked what happened in the finale, and if they had tacked on an extra 30 minutes, I daresay it would have been perfect. But just like a few weeks ago when I said that they made a massive error by jamming Clark’s return to Krypton into the last five or ten minutes, they did the same thing this episode with the Clark/Lex confrontation. In a way, the entire series was leading up to this point: Lex finally finds out Clark’s secret, and has the power to control him, and Clark must stop him. This should be a truly monumental scene – the culmination of seven years of storytelling.

On top of that, the writers seemed to do a complete about-face regarding Lex’s quest. Throughout the season, Lex’s desire to find out the secrets of Veritas and the Traveler was out of his obsessive curiosity and his passion for obtaining power. In fact, his curiosity was so intense that he actually MURDERED HIS FATHER. Quite callously, I might add. Lex’s discovery of Clark’s secret and their consequent altercation should have been the pay off (for both Lex and the viewers) for Lex’s fixation. It would also prove to be the final nail in the coffin not only for Lex’s friendship with Clark (what is left of it, anyway), but for Lex’s soul as well.

Instead, seemingly out of nowhere, Lex’s mission suddenly became an altruistic one. Kara (or Brainiac, rather) led him to believe that the Traveler would destroy Earth, and when upon to realizing that the Travler was Clark, he arguably showed compassion. Especially during their confrontation.

And I think that was perhaps my deepest disappointment with the episode: the climatic confrontation between good and evil. The problem, of course, was that Lex wasn’t evil. After all the dastardly things he has done over the past two seasons – especially this past year – he was entirely too caring, compassionate, and sympathetic towards Clark. It truly felt like Lex wanted to save Clark, but couldn’t because of what he believed to be the truth (which is that Clark would destroy Earth). I mean, hell, the FINAL thing Lex said to Clark was “I love you like a brother.” Then he gently held Clark as the Fortress around them crumbled. It almost felt like Lex was willing to die so that Clark wouldn’t have to alone. Is this the same man that was willing to murder his own father for the remote possibility of finding out a secret?

What’s worse is that this was Michael Rosenbaum/Lex Luthor’s last episode. Instead of him being written off after doing something so incredibly dastardly that he could never possibly be forgiven, our final imagery will be of Lex telling Clark that he loves him while cradling him in his arms. Lex’s journey into darkness has been excellently written and wonderfully developed. Because of that, I felt really cheated with how this episode ended.

There was quite a bit I liked, however. In fact, I think one of the most significant examples of character development occurred when Clark was willing to kill Brainiac. Yes, they justified it by having Clark bring up the very valid point that Brainiac is not human, so it’s not “murder,” but it also showed that he’s willing to make the difficult decisions for the sake of humanity. Particularly with the Green Arrow story arc, we’ve seen Clark see the “bigger picture” with certain scenarios, which certainly wasn’t the case in the earlier seasons.

Perhaps the best news of all: CLARK AND LANA ARE FINALLY DONE!!! Of course, I’ve said that before, and I’ll probably be in a situation where I’ll need to say it again.

I actually thought the scene was wonderfully done, and I really only had two qualms. First, I could have done without the Clark tears. Yes, I realize that it was an exceptionally emotional break up – not to mention just moments after he thought he could reunite with her – but still. The show really should have drifted away from this relationship a long time ago, and the fact that they didn’t, and the fact that the break up brings Clark to tears really makes it seem like Clark SHOULD have ended up with Lana, and that Lois is just the silver medal. That’s a big no-no. There are three absolutes when it comes to Superman: The red cape, Lex Luthor is his sworn enemy, and Lois Lane is the love of his life. They’ve really been dropping the ball with the last one.

I should mention that the one big advantages of having Lana break up with him over a DVD (how modern – hey wait, wasn’t that DVD player a gift from Lex?) was that we were spared from Clark pleading with Lana to stay. Instead, we just had Clark silently reacting to the news (which brings me back to what I said a couple weeks ago, that Tom Welling is a fully capable actor who has the ability to act without words).

The other thing that bothered me was that I really feel like it should have been Clark that ended things with Lana, for the same reasons I discussed above. The way the break up went, they really make it seem like Clark and Lana would still be together if she didn’t hightail it out of Smallville. This particular issue, however, can be remedied with one of the few episodes Kristin Kreuk will appear in next year. I BEG of them to take advantage of those guest appearances by having Clark realize she’s not the one for him. Please, please, PLEASE!

I do want to note this, though. While I have been very harsh and outspoken about my intense desire to have Lana written off of the show, her brief scene did exemplify something else that I have been saying for quite some time, and that’s that Kristin Kreuk is a phenomenal actress. She is exceptionally underrated, and in my opinion there are very few young actresses on television right now that manage to so consistently hit a homerun with those frantically emotional scenes. Her eyes bounce and water up, her voice shakes, she really does a fantastic job. I think the Lana Lang character has been horrible for the past two or three years, and I’m thrilled that she’s off of the show, but I will most certainly miss Kristin Kreuk’s performances, as well as her arguably incomparable beauty.

The hot girl tally continues to go down, evidently, as Laura Vandervoort (Kara) has evidently not been signed on for the eighth season. I’m a big fan of Laura, and I think she did a commendable job as Clark’s cousin. In fact, I think the only weakness has been that of the writers, as they apparently really struggled to make Kara a compelling character without creating a conflict between her and Clark. I think this is unnecessary, as there are ample stories that could be told. After all, Kara is the one person who can answer all of his questions about his family and home planet. She’s also the one person who can get him in touch with his Kryptonian roots, so that he can fully comprehend his abilities. Considering that they kept Lana WAY past her character’s prime, I don’t see why they would be letting go of another character that has a fair amount of fuel left.