Somebody saaaaave meeee… I’m pretty sure that Remy Zero never would have imagined that their pop hit “Save Me” would wind up being so intrinsically tied to one of the top shows in recent television history. Yet, for ten years fans listened to that cry for help as each new episode of Smallville showed us a little bit more of Kal-El’s journey from a young Clark Kent to Superman.
That journey ended earlier tonight on The CW in one of the most powerful series finales that I’ve seen in recent television history. In fact, I absolutely did not want to write a recap blog post talking about my thoughts on the Smallville season finale. However, the final episode of this show – and really the final half an hour or so – was so powerful that I felt compelled to jump on the blog and at least give a few brief kudos to the entire team at Warner Brothers as well as the team at The CW for producing such a masterpiece.
But, of course, you can’t put together a television masterpiece without the right cast and Smallville has always had the right cast for this show. For my money, Tom Welling has got to be the best Superman in the character’s television history. No offense to Dean Cain, George Reeves, or even the movie-Superman actors (Brandon Routh and Christopher Reeve), but Welling recreated and gave definition to the psychological base that Superman operates from as a superhero. Welling’s performance over the last ten years was absolutely amazing; though I guess if you have ten years to perfect a role, you’re probably going to get it right!
But Welling was only the leader of an ensemble cast that came together tonight to highlight the entire ten year history of the show. From the persistent presence of both Annette O’Toole and John Schneider throughout the final episode as they reprised their roles as Martha and Jonathan Kent to Cassidy Freeman‘s demise as the ill-fated Tess Mercer to the return of Superman’s greatest enemy – Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor – tonight’s cast gave excellent performances.
And there are still so many more players in the game that made tonight’s final episode great. The freeing of Justin Hartley‘s Green Arrow from the grip of Darkseid, the emotional struggle of Erica Durance‘s Lois Lane, the quiet knowledge and knowing look of Allison Mack‘s Chloe Sullivan, the innately evil portrayal of Lionel Luthor by John Glover – it was all done to perfection. Even the scene where Clark Kent realizes that he has powers beyond his knowledge while watching a flashback of the show’s history was well done. On the topic of artfully performed flashbacks, I also liked the very well done scene where a dying Tess Mercer condemned her brother, Lex Luthor, to a future with no knowledge of his horribly troubled past. So much “happened” in the story of Superman during those two scenes and I think that the folks behind Smallville chose the right paths to bring those critical changes in each character’s history to the television audience.
I haven’t heard about or read any reports of a Smallville movie and, frankly, I can’t imagine that this absolutely brilliant series finale left room for a Smallville movie, per se. Sure, there is a seven year gap presented to the audience at the end of the show, but those seven years aren’t really focused on the story of Smallville. Instead, those are the seven years between the end of Clark Kent’s ascent to truly becoming Superman and his marriage to Lois Lane as well as Lex Luthor’s presidential victory. Is there a story to tell in that seven year period? Of course! Would Smallville fans eat up that movie? Yeah! But to revisit any portion of the Smallville universe (i.e. to go back and add additional information to any of the existing series canon) would do a disservice to the power in tonight’s finale.
Anyway, those are my quick thoughts. And a quick final thought on the Smallville series finale for my fellow long-time fans: how absolutely amazing was it to watch Tom Welling‘s Superman run in slow motion on the roof of The Daily Planet as he tore his Clark Kent outfit off and revealed the Superman suit… with the classic Superman theme playing?! It was awesome! That was an absolutely phenomenal payoff for this Smallville fan!
Well done, Smallville!