by Robert Gillis
On another excellent CW show, Supernatural, the prophet “Chuck” said this in a season finale (that was almost the series finale): “Endings are hard. Anyone can create a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass.”
In tonight’s finale of Smallville, there was so much that was good. But I have to say that my sentiments on the “bad” echo so many I’ve seen on the net in the few hours since the show aired — a CGI Superman that was obviously not Tom Welling, close-ups with a cape flapping in the background but no full shot of Tom Welling as SUPERMAN inspiring people (and us!), and no one ever called him Superman (except Chloe at the end to her son).
Look, I’m not a kid anymore — It is VERY rare for any TV show to give me Goosebumps. But as Clark left the fortress flying, and the Superman suit wrapped around him, I was thinking, YES, finally! I felt a lump in my throat!
But we got poor CGI and more of a tease, and the final shot, exactly what was expected for years — the shirt rip — and fade to black.
Tom Welling got his wish and never wore the suit – and despite all the good, and the great, and the incredible Michael Rosenbalm back for the finale, I still feel so very cheated.
There were a lot of good and great moments. It was so good to see John Schneider back as Jonathan Kent and Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent. It was good to have resolution with Jor-El. The scene where Clark walks Lois down the aisle was beautiful. The scene with Clark in the fortress, with both of Clark’s fathers giving him the super-suit — FAR more than I could have hoped for. The scene in the barn where “ghost” Jonathan and Martha counsel Clark — perfectly executed and beautiful. The scene where “ghost” Jonathan tentatively puts his hand on Martha’s shoulder — perfect. Glad Chloe got a happy ending. I always liked her and Allison Mack is a very talented actress.
And Michael Rosenbaum? His brief appearances tonight emphasized how hollow the show has been without him. “I’m the villain of the story,” he says in a flashback. Indeed he is. He has been sorely missed and many thanks to the actor for returning to give the show closure. Surprised that he killed Tess — she being an intriguing but ambiguous character to the very end. Tess’ “memory wipe” of Lex felt FAR too much of fanboy service, far too much deus ex machina. Dozens — dozens — of people know Clark has super-powers. Lex starting with a blank slate negates seven years of character development. Boo!
And how about the “blink and you miss it” Darkside battle? An entire season and we get one punch? SERIOUSLY? Ollie takes out the evil trio with one shot of the magic arrow? If it seems familiar, it’s because it is: This is exactly how the show dispatched Doomsday a few years back: An entire season of buildup and one punch at the end (in that episode, a punch we never even saw). And the entire Gold Kryptonite thing? Clark had to put the ring on to lose his powers? Ollie standing there with the ring NEXT TO HIM wasn’t enough? Please.
Back to the main disappointment: We never got the money shot. We (the viewers) needed that shot of Tom in the full Superman suit, the crowd cheering as he saved them – we never got it.
This finale reminded me of the end of Star Trek Voyager: Seven years of JOURNEY, a two hour finale show and in the last 30 seconds they get back to Earth — and we see about five seconds of them over Earth, the end.
This Smallville show was about the journey – fine — but even if the story is about the JOURNEY, shouldn’t there be a payoff? Validation that the journey was successful, that it was worth all the trials?
No. We got a 10 year journey and a three minute payoff with cartoon CGI cheats clearly ripped from “Superman Returns.”
Wrapping up: My sincere Kudos to all – putting on a TV show is impossible, putting one on for 10 years is beyond impossible.
I’m grateful for all the good. I really am. This show got a LOT of things right and greatly expanded and embraced the mythos. When they got it right, I loved it.
But this finale felt sssoooooooo close, but fell short because of what I believe to be a clause in Tom Welling’s contract: “No suit, EVER.”.
So tonight I feel melancholy. Fade to black.