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[OPINION] - Top Ten Best Episodes Of Smaillville

6 Apr 2020

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Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpoilerTV.

Smallville's status as one of the most iconic TV shows of all-time cannot be denied. It almost single-handedly paved the way for the superhero TV boom of the past decade, and while certainly, the entire Arrowverse owes its existence to it, I'd argue every superhero series that's come about since owes a bit of gratitude to this sensational Superman origin story. Now it's time to take a look back at the 10 episodes that stand as the best the show had to offer. I will say I was a bit too young to be fully engaged with a show like this at the time, so know that my perspective is one that's viewing in this show in a much more recent lense. Though this should go without saying, but SPOILER warning for all seasons of Smallville ahead.

10. Season 9, Ep. 11: "Absolute Justice"

They're not many shows that hit a big stride towards the end of their run, but Smallville is definitely one of them. All of the last three seasons are incredible and hold some of the best episodes the show had to offer. High above them all though, Season 9 stands as the show's best season. This episode, in particular, is an extremely exciting and eventful one. So eventful, it was actually promoted as a movie-like event and split into two episodes. In it, we get to see Clark and members of the Justice League meet the old guard, as the Justice Society Of America makes their grand, live-action debut. Characters like Stargirl, Doctor Fate, and Hawkman bring the comic-bookiness level to the absolute max, and it's a DC lover's dream come true. While having the main villain be Icicle was a bit of an odd, underwhelming choice, it's a small complaint in the grand scheme of things. The episode managed to expand the show's mythology, while also using Doctor Fate to further push Clark into becoming the hero he's meant to be.

9. Season 8, Ep. 10: "Bride"

Season 8 is where the show really started to pick things back up after the lackluster seventh season, and this episode is where it's showcased the best. Here Doomsday makes his terrifying debut as he crashes Jimmie and Chloe's wedding, and while one would think a show with a TV budget couldn't do such a monstrous, iconic villain justice, Smallville once again proved naysayers wrong. The creators wisely used lighting and shadows to play with how we viewed the beast, preventing us from ever truly seeing him completely. Though one can't ignore the budgetary reasons, this approach actually made the villain even more horrifying. Though towards the end the plot started to weaken and his full appearance wasn't handled as well, here he was handled perfectly. Outside of the action-packed last few minutes, the rest of the episode proved to be just as engaging. The beginning flashforward teasing Doomsday's inevitable appearance causes the entire episode to have this intense aura surrounding it. Knowing that such a terrible thing is about to happen at any minute makes you truly worry about all the characters as you watch them enjoy the wedding festivities. And of course, I can't leave out the continuing Lois & Clark dynamic that gets amped up big time in this season. Just as Lois is about to make her move on Clark, Lana of all people shows back up. I'm sure many people were ready to smash their TV's at that one (no offense to Lana, but by this point, everybody is just ready for Clark to get with Lois).

8. Season 5, Ep. 9: "Lexmas"

It's Smallville's version of It's A Wonderful Life that focuses almost entirely on Lex and ends with him officially deciding to take the path of villainy. Need I say more?

7. Season 9, Ep. 7: "Kandor"

I'm a sucker for lore building episodes and this is a big one. Another entry from Season 9, in this episode we get a lot of important developments and revelations surrounding both Zod and Jor-El. Firstly, while Kandor had made an appearance before, this is the first, truly Kandor/Krypton centric episode in the series. You get to see Jor-El and Zod in their prime and see how the political climate was like on Krypton at the time. You also get to see how Zod developed a hatred for Jor-El, as well as learn why Zod and the other Kryptonians don't have their powers in the present day. Outside of those awesome moments, in the present-day Jor-El from the past shows up and pushes the Zod conflict forward. Zod joins forces with Tess and discovers that Jor-El has a son running around, and Clark gets a tear-jerking moment when he sees his true father face-to-face for the first time, though unfortunately, it's as he is dying. This causes Clark to declare Zod a lost cause and one who must be stopped. Overall, a fantastic episode.

6. Season 2, Ep. 23: "Exodus"

Season 2 is when Smallville began to grow beyond just the "freak-of-the-weak" stories and into more of what we are familiar with in the Arrowverse. The narrative was more serial than episodic, with a bigger focus on mythology and a larger narrative. The writing and characterization were also significantly improved as well. All of these elements were showcased best in the season finale, where Clark must contemplate whether to stay with his family and Lana or to follow Jor-El's orders to rule the Earth. Of course, this is an incredibly hard decision for Clark to make, and Tom Welling gave one of his standout performances here showcasing that conflict. Tension and anxiety fill the episode before it culminates in Clark bearing Red Kryptonite and running away from his family and his destiny, avoiding the situation altogether. I enjoyed the show beforehand, but it was this episode that took it to the next level and truly hooked me in for the long haul. Just an incredible episode through and through, that sets up one of the darkest chapters in Clark's life. (Side Note: The show was known for its use of current rock hits, but Matthew Good's "Weapon" in this episode stands as the best use of an outside song for the entire series)

5. Season 7, Ep. 16: "Descent"

Season 7 is usually considered one of the weaker seasons of the show, as the show was juggling too much at once with Veritas, Brainiac, Lex, Supergirl, and Bizzaro all serving as major storylines/characters at some point or another. Amongst the mess though, lies one of the show's greatest episodes. It starts with Lex killing his father, so that pretty much lets you know what's all about to go down here. Though Lex had been on the villainous path for a while before this, it is this episode where he fully cements himself as Clark's greatest enemy. A true confrontation between the two was long coming, and here it plays out perfectly. The tense argument between the two might be one of the best super scenes ever filmed period, as both Welling and Rosenbaum delivered chilling performances. The last scene with both Clark and Lex silently standing over Lionel's grave was an excellent way to show that these two will never be friends ever again.

4. Season 10, Ep. 21/22: "Finale"

While Season 10 wasn't as consistent as 9 was, it still offered plenty of exciting comic-book-inspired greatness as Clark reached the end of his journey to become Superman. While the series finale was notoriously divisive, I believe it stuck the landing. Sure, you don't ever get a true, full-body shot of Welling in the suite, but if you can get past that detail, it's hard to not see how triumphant of an episode this was. Clark and Lois finely get married, Clark learns how to fly, he takes down Darkseid, he literally hurls Apokolips away from Earth, and he saves Lois and a bunch of people on a plan (can you get more Superman than that?). We also get several touching scenes, including Clark leaving his Smallville home for the last time, Clark seeing both of his parents at his wedding, and Jon Kent's legendary final line "Always hold on to Smallville." Add to that the iconic final scene with Clark running across the rooftop and revealing the Superman logo while the classic John Williams theme plays in the background, and you got yourself one heck of a finale.

3. Season 10, Ep. 4: "Homecoming"

It'd be a crime to talk about great Smallville episodes without mentioning this one. Honestly, while the rest of the season is solid, unfortunately having an amazing 200th episode so early on makes it harder for everything else to match it. In this episode, Clark and Lois attend their high school homecoming (it's pretty hilarious seeing Lois getting mad at everyone for not remembering her 5-day attendance), while Brainiac intervenes and takes Clark on a journey through his life. There are some hefty emotional scenes here, most notably when we see Clark revisit his father's funeral and comes to grips with the guilt he has surrounding his father's death. We also have a fun glimpse into Clark's future as the Man Of Tomorrow, which is enough to make any Supes fan totally nerd out. The fun, rollercoaster of an episode caps off with a tender moment between Clark and Lois as Clark finally tells her he loves her.

2. Season 9, Ep. 21: "Salvation"

The action-packed ending of Season 9 serves as the best season finale of the series. Fast-paced and exhilarating from start to finish, this episode serves as an encapsulation of what the show could accomplish storywise. In many ways, this season served as a sort of "Superman: Year One" type of story, as it was the first time Clark truly stepped into a costumed hero role (though a much grittier, less flashy costume than we are used to). That story reached a thrilling conclusion here as he convinced the Kryptonian Army to stand down and defeated Zod. Zod was easily the best villain outside of Lex, and his intriguing plot surrounding the stranded Kryptonians and the quest for restoring their powers was very compelling. He and Clark engage in the best one-on-one fight in the series as they battle it out in the rain on the rooftops of Metropolis (Arrow took big influence here), ending with Clark sending Zod into the Book Of Rao. Lois also discovers Clark's secret after a kiss from "The Blur", which just adds icing to the cake.

1. Season 5, Ep. 12: "Reckoning"

This might be the usual pick for the best Smallville episode, but it's only because it truly deserves the slot. Coming off a somewhat lackluster 4th season, the show made a big comeback in Season 5. The first half was especially awesome, as Clark attempts to start college, begins a serious relationship with Lana, and deals with Brainiac all while his father is running for Mayor. The show was firing on all cylinders, and that all culminates here in the 100th episode. Clark finally decides to tell Lana his secret, only to start a chain of events that lead to her death. As if that wasn't a roller-coaster ride by itself, Clark then has Jor-El turn back the clock in order for him to stop it from ever happening. He then decides NOT to tell her his secret, seemingly ending any chance for them at a real relationship, only for that decision to inadvertently cause his father Jonathan Kent to die of a heart attack after Lionel reveals HE knows Clark's secret. I feel drained just writing about it. The subsequent funeral and emotional fallout hits hard and causes Clark to doubt and blame himself until 100 episodes later. Brainiac-5 himself says that it's "the moment in your life that changes you forever." Thus, it's my pick for the best Smallville episode of all time.

What are your thoughts? Agree/disagree with my list? Have any personal favorites? Let me know!