What I’ve learnt from Smallville

Smallville is finally leaving our screens forever, but Chris reckons that are some key lessons that can be learnt from it...

After ten years of uncontrollable hugging, slow-motion sequences and more Kryptonite than you can flap a cape at, show runners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have called it quits after Smallville‘s tenth season, which is currently airing in the UK.

As many of us know, the ending of the show will see Tom Welling finally whack on the super-tight suit and become ‘The Man of Steel’. Being an avid fan of the show and, indeed, DC’s beloved All-American hero, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learnt from spending so much time in Smallville and Metropolis.

Here’s my list of lessons learned during a decade of Smallville episodes:

Never trust a Luthor

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This may seem obvious, but the Luthors are pesky devils, who play with fate, power and absurdly technological sciences in order to get the results they want. Whether uncovering caves and ancient paintings, or collecting countless Kryptonian artifacts, Lex and Lionel are certain to befriend anyone if it gets them closer to the truth.  Lionel (John Glover) even pretended to be blind throughout the second season, in order to gain more secret information about his son and “the Kent boy”.

If it’s green, it’s mean

Clark Kent’s weakness is hardly a secret to us, but to virtually everyone in the world of Smallville, it is. With the exception of a handful of lucky people who are in the know about Clark’s ‘abilities’, the rest of the gang are more than happy to expose him to Kryptonite.

Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) wore it around her neck for god knows how many seasons until Clark finally had the bottle to tell her.

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Clark’s encounters with Kryptonite are incredibly frequent, and the nasty green ‘meteor rock’ comes in all shapes and sizes, from a big liquid gunge tank that supposedly kills Davis Bloome (Sam Witwer) in season eight’s Eternal, to a collection of weaponry powered by the stuff funded by his buddies Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). Charming.

Red Kryptonite is fun

Forget the rules. When Clark is exposed to Red Kryptonite, he becomes an insane and reckless party animal, who tears up everything in his path. Yes, it’s not conventional hero behaviour, but it’s very entertaining.

In season two’s aptly titled Red, Clark becomes a beast after being in contact with the substance and becomes a biker draped in leather that sports aviators and kisses various girls. Considering just how noble Clark/Superman is, it’s quite nice to see him let loose and have a laugh, even if that does mean causing chaos, destruction and wrecking lives.

Metropolis is not safe

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There’s more crime in Metropolis than anywhere else in existence. No matter how many petty street thugs Davis Bloome/Doomsday killed during the eighth season, there would be even more the next episode.

Usually Clark or Oliver are close by to offer a helping hand to the needy, but it’s advised to not walk anywhere that has too much artificial smoke. It’s very bad for your health, car, handbag and your ego.

Farm equals manual labour

Clark is a great son as well as a hero. No matter how many people he saves and crimes he stops, he still has time to help good old Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) put up fences or carry bales of hay.

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The Kent farm isn’t just a haven for Clark, it’s a second workplace. If you revisit the first three seasons of the show, Clark spends the majority of his spare time hammering poles into the ground at lightning speed, or fixing the barn, which has been damaged by unwanted guests.

Pick Lois Lane

She’s bossy and quick-witted, she’s annoying and ‘in your face’, but she’s much easier than Lana and not a ‘close friend’ like Chloe.

We’ve seen countless awkward moments between Clark and Chloe, and seen even more tiresome moments with Lana that make fans shout at their TVs saying. “Move on!” But Lane is a different story.

When she arrives in Smallville in the fourth feason, she and Clark bicker and argue about everything, almost like brother and sister. But as the show develops, so does their inevitable relationship, and fans became desperate for them to get the courage to become an item.

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My personal favourite romantic scene between the pair is in season eight’s Committed, when Lois has to admit her love for Clark, otherwise he’ll be tortured in a Saw-like fashion. It’s a wonderful moment in a furiously bold and brave episode.

Overall, Lois is motivated and ambitious, much like Clark and we know they’re meant to be together. Plus, Erica Durance is ridiculously attractive.

JorEl gets in the way

Yes, he is Clark’s real father and the reason he was sent to Earth, but Jor-El (voiced by Terence Stamp) has a habit of making situations overly complicated as his booming voice of reason fills The Fortress.

Clark spends a good seven, if not eight seasons under Jor-El’s spell. Every move he makes can have a dramatic impact on his father, and on the few remaining Kryptonians out there. Plus, he makes current situations seem like impossible tasks for our hero frequently. Take season five’s Reckoning (the show’s 100th episode and arguably amongst its best).

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After Lana is killed in a car accident, Clark rushes to Jor-El to ask if he’ll save her. Jor-El is reluctant to change fate, but agrees, on one condition. If Lana is saved, then another loved one must die, and sadly, Jonathan gets the chop. Just as the man’s been elected as state senator too. Karma, right?

Everyone’s good with computers

We learn early on that Chloe is a bit of a whiz kid. She spends her Smallville High years writing and publishing the school newspaper, The Torch, and then moves on to bigger and better things. But it seems that all involved with Clark are expert computer hackers.

Lana is apparently pretty good, as is Lex (Michael Rosenbaum), but probably the winner, alongside Chloe, is Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman).

Together the pair are the female versions of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, battling to be top dog. Chloe has The ISIS Foundation (thanks, Lana) and ‘Watchtower’ (thanks, Jimmy [Aaron Ashmore]), whilst Tess has the Luthor Mansion and Luthorcorp (double thanks, Lex and Lionel). So, they’re pretty evenly matched.

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Commuting is quick

Clark’s commute from the Kent Farm, Smallville to The Daily Planet, Metropolis from season eight onwards is acceptable. The guy can run faster than the speed of light, but it seems as though everyone else has cars of the same ability.

Lois and co can easily get to and from places in almost the same time as Clark. It’s pretty common to see people working at the Planet, and after a cut scene, they’re in The Talon, Smallville enjoying a beverage.

However, nobody can move a muscle when Clark’s super speed seems to slow down time to micro-seconds, which is ridiculously awesome.

Smallville will be greatly missed

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Although ten seasons is long enough, I’ll miss the show dearly. Unlike most shows, Smallville is able to attract comic book fans and people who have no interest in superheroes at all. It’s a marvellous achievement.

Smallville uses brilliant character drama and merges it with fantastic action and science fiction, making a unique blend of storytelling.

Tom Welling is the perfect Clark Kent, and I’m pretty disappointed that he hasn’t been cast in Zack Snyder’s forthcoming The Man Of Steel, but I suppose even heroes need a day off.

So, thanks to Gough and Millar for reinventing the hero that I love, giving him that much needed makeover, and for creating one of the best television shows of the 2000s, as well as one of my favourite shows of all time.

The tenth and final season of Smallville is currently airing at 9pm Tuesdays on E4.

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