In the fall of 2001 a show debuted on, what was then, the WB network. The show told the story about a young Clark Kent, who hadn’t even started on that long road to becoming the man of steel yet. The idea of the show was simple enough and the execution of that premise was very well done. In Smallville, the show took the classic mythos of the great hero from Krypton and turned it slightly (and at times greatly) on its ear. In this world, Clark Kent and his Nemesis in the comics, movies, cartoons and other television shows before, Lex Luthor were friends. The show would explore how each of these iconic characters would end up at their ultimate destinies that the viewer knew was coming.
In the beginning, Smallville was called a Dawson’s Creek for comic geeks, and yes I admit the love triangles between Clark, the girl of his dreams of that time, Lana Lang, and best female bud, Chloe, were heavy handed at times, as was Clark’s constant pining for Lana, admittedly went on a bit too long, especially since everyone knew who Clark would eventually end up with. But along with the melodrama we got to see the young boy who was never noticed by anyone outside of his small circle of friends show flashes here and there of the hero he would grow into, and not just when he zipped along with super speed or used his heat vision.
The first few seasons were pretty straight forward, basically presenting a new enemy, or as fans of the show would call them, freak of the week for clark to tangle with, as a sort of training exercise for the kid before he puts on the red cape.
We also catch glimpses of Lex making moves here and there to become the arch enemy and evil mastermind he’ll grow into, though, the show made it a point to always pull Lex from the edge of pure evil as the show continued on. In fact, it took 7 years for Lex to become THE Lex Luthor everyone loved to hate.
As Smallville went on and outlived other would-be superhero shows that tried to challenge it or use the same kind of blueprint that made Smallville so successful, it became less and less about the freaks of the week, and more about a young man who was now well on that road to becoming the man of steel, and understanding just what that meant. More and more we started to see glimpses of the hero fans of the show have been wanting to see since the show began. Glimpses of the choices and sacrifices a true hero must make for the sake of those he loves, if not for the world, to understand that a world needs a hero it can rely on and embrace, something that Clark had shunned for a very long time on the show.
Now we come to it at last, the final episode is set to air, and as someone who has been there from almost the beginning (I think I came in around episode 3 of the first season) I’ve witnessed the highs and the oh so lows of this show. While the quality of the show dropped off in later years, the last two seasons, especially this last one, have been very good, an almost return to its glory days of just pure fun and entertainment. The final season has seen Clark take all but that last step to become that great hero we know he can and will be. All that’s left is for him to don that iconic suit and fly into the sunset, something the show runners know all-to-well the fans want to see. And undoubtedly, the return of Clark’s most formidable foe and destined enemy returning will have a little something to do with it as Lex (the true Lex, not this clone mess the show’s been toying with the past couple of seasons) shows up to fulfill a promise that was made by the show in the first episode. That promise being that in order for one to truly be what they’re meant to be, the other must play a part in that creation. Indeed, in the world of Smallville, there cannot be the man of steel without Lex Luthor and vice versa.
Smallville has been that show, that show that I don’t miss for anything if I can help it, and it’s been that way for ten years. Throughout all the time and day changes, through the changes in the cast and storylines and episodes I could’ve done without, I stayed with it, because I had faith that when the end came, the show would get it right, a faith that is just as strong now as it has been for all these years. So all that’s left is to sit and watch, enjoy and take in as much as I can of the final episode, awaiting that final moment, as bittersweet as it will be, to see Clark Kent, take that last step and become Superman.