Ricky Church and James Garcia with the top 25 episodes of Smallville…
For a long time, Smallville was the longest running science fiction show on television, beating out The X-Files and the individual Star Trek series for that honour. With 218 episodes, no one expected the show about a young Clark Kent in his pre-Superman days to last that long. While it had its fair share of downs, there was plenty to make Smallville a good show which honoured the long history of the character and the world he inhabited.
For its 15th Anniversary, fellow Flickering Myth contributor and Smallville fan James Garcia and I decided to compile a list of Smallville‘s top 25 episodes with each of us explaining our reasons for why they deserved that placement. Read on and take yourself back to Smallville.
25. Leech (Season 1, Episode 12)
Ricky: First up on the list is Season 1’s episode ‘Leech’. It’s rare to see Clark without his abilities, especially at such a young age, but in ‘Leech’ Clark loses them after a freak accident with kryptonite and lightning. What he doesn’t know, however, is that his powers transferred to a kid in his class who eventually uses his powers for selfish reasons. Tom Welling really sells the joy Clark experiences at first, such as how he smiles at getting scraped in a game of basketball, but of course comes to realize only he can have access to his powers. This is also the introduction of Shawn Ashmore’s Eric, one of the few Freaks of the Week to plague Clark again later on.
24. Booster (Season 10, Episode 18)
James: “Booster” is one of my favorite Smallville episodes for a number of reasons. It features stellar writing once more from Geoff Johns, introduces us to Booster Gold (one of my all-time favorite superheroes), and features Lois and Clark working out the kinks of his bespectacled, mild-mannered alter ego – while giving some pretty legitimate reasons to why the oft-maligned disguise works at all. It’s stellar superhero television, and a showcase of just how great Smallville’s final season was as a whole.
23. Zod (Season 6, Episode 1)
Ricky: About halfway through Smallville’s run, the show took clearer steps to turn Clark into Superman by introducing more elements from his mythology. Season 5 ended with Zod’s arrival to Earth, taking control of Lex Luthor’s body and banishing Clark to the Phantom Zone. Season 6’s premiere continued from that point as Clark desperately tried to stop Zod, but the real star of the show is Michael Rosenbaum as he delivered a cold and evil take on the villain. Add the fact that ‘Zod’ threw in some nods to Richard Donner’s Superman, such as the spinning glass Phantom Zone to Zod’s Phantom form looking like Terrence Stamp, and you have a pretty good season premiere.
22. Insurgence (Season 12, Episode 12)
Ricky: What seemed like an innocuous episode of Smallville became a fairly integral one in the series’ canon. After Lex hires people to bug his father’s office, it quickly turned into a hostage situation that revealed just how much Lionel was obsessed with the Kent family, even showing he had a safe full of refined kryptonite. We knew by then just how bad of a man Lionel was, but this episode changed the way we saw him after the reveal of just how deceptive he had been, making him one of Smallville’s best villains.
21. Exile (Season 3, Episode 1)
James: “Exile” is one of my favorite season openers. After a heartbreaking season 2 finale, Clark is wearing Red Kryptonite full time, living in Metropolis under the name Kal, and using his powers to commit crimes. The bank robbery sequence is spectacular (and very reminiscent of The Dark Knight), and there was something chilling and exciting about seeing the S symbol burned into Clark’s chest in the phone booth. Couple those scenes with a super-powered Jonathan Kent fighting Clark in order to bring him home, and you’ve got one hell of a memorable episode.
20. Red (Season 2, Episode 4)
James: Smallville specialized in finding ways of turning Clark evil for short periods of time, but there’s something truly special about the first appearance of Red Kryptonite. This offered Tom Welling a chance to cut loose and do something different with his role. It was fun to see a more rebellious side of Clark, and to see him actually enjoy some of his powers.
Ricky: ‘Red’ introduced viewers to different versions of kryptonite, specifically one that loosened Clark’s inhibitions by making him full of anger. In this episode we saw Clark go to some dark places like insulting his parents, blackmailing his friends and assaulting people for very little reason. Though Smallville’s use of red kryptonite was arguably more significant at the end of Season 2 and start of 3, there’s something special about seeing Clark under the influence of Red-K for the very first time, most likely due to Welling’s excellent acting.
19. Commencement (Season 4, Episode 22)
James: “Commencement” was an exciting episode not only because of the impending second meteor shower, but because it marked the end of Clark’s tenure as a high school student. It was the end of one era in his life, and the beginning of another – as evidenced by the creation of the Fortress of Solitude. “Commencement” also had some of the most iconic sequences in the entire series, like Clark saving a child from getting hit with a meteor. Season 4 itself was a bit of a disappointment, but it sure ended with a bang.
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