The 10 Worst Episodes of Smallville

There isn’t far to look for bad episodes of Smallville. Continuity wasn’t a friend of the writers in the first place

#10. “Lexmas” from Season Five

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Such a filler episode. Ugh.

Johnlocke108‘s poignant remark sums up a huge problem with the episode:

We all knew from the beginning that Lex was going to choose to continue on to his path of corruption. Though for someone as smart as Lex, he sure doesn’t know his Charles Dickens very well. He says he had a Scrooge-like experience and to secure his happiness he needs money and power. First off, if he had a Scrooge-like experience he would be more into the welfare of others. Second, he would learn that money and power is worthless compared to being loved. 

#9. “Unsafe” from Season Four

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What do you when someone was obsessed with you and threatened to kill the girl you adore the most? You marry her, of course! Total sense!

There are several problems with this story that unnerved me. First, despite Alicia being ‘cured,’ she still knew his secret, and used Red K on him, hindering Clark from making sound decisions, and the most that gets is a “truly sorry” and everything is OK by the end of the episode. Really? Manipulation is pretty serious stuff, and that is just swept under the rug for now.

The B-story here is no less better, unfortunately. Lana confronts Jason about their relationship. Jason explains to Lana that she isn’t ready for “that kind of relationship.” Despite saying this though, he later confesses that this isn’t even the reason he broke up with her in the first place, which is a rather large can of worms to talk about. It’s actually because Jason thinks that his mother orchestrated their whole relationship. Even more shocking is when Chloe is surprised they haven’t had sex yet, because you know… why? What’s he rush about? This episode is apparently about conspiracy theories, and pressure to sleep with guys when they want it.

In the end, Lana proves she is ready for “that kind of relationship” and Clark stays with Alicia despite the huge betrayal. The moral of the story is not to take any advice that this episode presents to you about relationships, because it’s just not redeeming or well intentioned. Awful.

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Last year’s episode, “Obsession.”

#8. “Fierce” from Season Seven

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Krypton Site Columns gives an adequate summary of the awful episode this really is:

Clark was being a bit of a hypocrite about Kara trying to fit in by doing something to stand out, he was the captain of the football team after all, but still…. I’m not sure how anyone, not even a teenaged girl, might think that winning a beauty pageant would help her fit in.

Why would a girl from a technologically advanced civilization really find the idea of a beauty contest appealing? Maybe the cult of beauty that’s so prevalent in our society wasn’t “in” back on Krypton. Perhaps doing something so vapid, hedonistic and exhibitionistic was a novelty she couldn’t resist, but they never really explained her reasoning aside from tying to “fit in.”

For Clark it was easy to see why he went out for the team. Playing football equaled acceptance. In many towns across America, believe me (I live in one) when I say football is almost like a religion. And fitting in is something he wanted so desperately his whole life but even more so after he found out he wasn’t even human. Playing football well would go a long way to making him be completely accepted. And it’s something he’d wanted since the Pilot.

However, for Kara, where is her need to fit in coming from? She’d been stuck in stasis, not wasting her best years like she’d claimed. She hadn’t aged at all in the intervening 18 years since the meteor shower. What years got wasted? Why is becoming a beauty queen something she “missed out” on while stuck at the bottom of the reservoir?

She’s an alien and doesn’t need to accept it, unlike Clark. She’s talked to him about him not being human or really fitting in more than once in fact. So, how does this girl go from lecturing Clark on not really being human or ever completely fitting in to trying to fit in herself through something as meaningless as a Beauty Contest? I’m not sure that the “trying to fit in” explanation totally makes sense.

Anyway, I guess Kara did actually do something useful because of the contest. She found the Kryptonian artifact because of it and that certainly opened a huge new storyline. Where the heck is the Kryptonian that has been hanging around for the last 100 years or so waiting to be rescued?

And they’ve never really covered just how it was that Kryptonians had been able to come and go to Earth anyway and yet only three (well, five if you count alien Ken & Barbie from “Arrival”) have survived that weren’t in the Phantom Zone when Krypton was destroyed.

That subject is probably one best not too closely examined and yet here they are introducing what could be one huge plot hole they’re digging themselves into. I hope it makes more sense than the is-he-evil or is-he-good Lionel plot-line from last season that I still don’t really get…

Another thing that doesn’t make sense in this story is the key Kara had for the Talon. Why, exactly, would anyone give Kara (a brand new employee that doesn’t “technically even work here yet”) a key so she could lock up?

Now that I’m on the subject of the Talon, why would Clark let his newly discovered Kryptonian younger cousin work at a place that Lex owns? Especially a girl whose powers are not entirely under control? Given the history between Clark and Lex, that doesn’t make much sense. He’s probably going to be drinking a lot more coffee in the Talon now she’s his employee.

Oh, and another thing. Why is Chloe living in the Talon with Lex as her landlord? With what happened last season with Lex using her Mom in his experiments and the three hour commute to Metropolis, that’s probably asking for a lot of suspension of disbelief on the viewers. Oh, I guess Metropolis isn’t three hours away anymore and people conveniently ignore Lex’s ownership of the Talon if they need a place to work or stay. Or is it because Smallville doesn’t have the budget to build new sets?

You know, sometimes continuity really stinks on this show. 

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#7. “Hidden” from Season Five

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This story sucked pretty bad.

First, they really need better security at missile silos if a teen can strong arm a few security guards. Second, the Sheriff is involved with a military operation? In Smallville, all the types of Government have no discernible meaning. City, state, and federal might as well be the same thing. Third, so a former High School student thwarted the Us Government and got access to the silos? I suppose no explanation is necessary when it is discovered that his father worked there. All makes sense now.

Lionel-as-Jor-El saves Clark after he flatlines from getting shot by the former High School student, only to leave an omen that he will take away someone that Clark loves, even though he explains that Clark’s destiny is “too important” to sacrifice. That’s one hell of jumbled explanation.

Overall, this episode had a possibly great premise, but had so many missing pieces throughout you just got Swiss Cheese out of it.

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#6. “Noir” from Season Six

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Most of this episode was Jimmy-centric, and thus incredibly underwhelming in plot and execution. They don’t really have much to do with Jimmy unless Chloe brings him in to do something, and given in the past, trying to do things on his own has resulted in pretty bad mojo (Fallout, Sleeper), all they have left is a story (though nice in nature, mostly) that has no impact on the overall story arc. Laaaame.

KryptonSite Columns again expresses the major flaws in this story:

As much fun as the idea was, and as good as everything and everyone looked (and I do like to take a dip in the shallow end from time to time), the idea didn’t work as a cohesive whole.

Jimmy’s dream-world was interesting the way it reflected his view on the relationships in Smallville. I found it funny he called it Chloe life a “soap opera” since teen angst and somewhat overwrought melodrama is a hallmark of the show, but the events in the dream had no real connection to anything real except for that cigarette case. However, was that really revelatory about anything? I don’t think so since the link between the two versions of the cigarette holder broke down completely because Jimmy never solved the mystery of why Lana had it or why it was so important someone nearly killed her for it. But would he really be allowed to solve the mystery on a show where Aaron isn’t in the credits? No, I suppose not. Otherwise, why did they give the job of finding out more to Lois?

While we’re on the topic of Lois, why even have her be in this episode at all except to look really fabulous? Maybe Lois finding that video was useful and kept this episode from being nearly a complete waste of time, as beautiful as it was. Her discovering that case (and the video it contained) certainly seemed like a set up for further complications down the road. It gives her a juicier story than krypto freak fight clubs to investigate anyway. Also, a reason for Lois to look deeper into Lex’s Project Ares seems like it will build into the next episode, “Prototype,” but still… She felt shoehorned into the episode becoming just an expedient bit of arm candy for Lex. 

#5. “Jinx” from Season Four

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Basically, Mr. Mxyzptlk  is now Mikhail Mxyzptlk, a foreign exchange student from the Balkens with the power to control the “hand of luck.” The premise of placing foreigners as somehow harboring magical evil intentions seems to be grasping at straws, when we are reminded that Clark Kent is actually an alien from another planet who has near invulnerability due to our yellow sun, and Lex Luthor is destined to become one of the most evil men on the planet. Just your cookie cutter Monster-of-the-Week episode here.

#4. “Quest” from Season Seven

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Clark heads to St. Christopher’s in Montreal where he is captured by Edward Teague, the last surviving member of Veritas, who believes he must kill Clark before someone else takes control over him and destroys the world. From the KryptonSite Columns, as follows:

If Lionel was that obsessive, why would he pay to move the castle from Scotland and then never step through its doors?

If you would recall, in the Pilot Lex had told Clark that Lionel had “never even stepped through the front door” of the mansion. Yet in “Onyx,” Lex had a long conversation with himself in the basement of the building describing how frightened the weaker half of him had been as a child back when “they” had gotten trapped in the wine cellar after his father had had told him to never play “down there.” It was like he’d been in the house when he’d said it, so I guess Holly was just depending on the earlier “Onyx” retcon to support this new plot point.

But I’m fuzzy on the Veritas timeline and this episode just further confused things. Just how long ago did Jor-El plan to send Clark to Earth? When had Jor-El started sending those communications? Milash, that antiquities expert, had said that the clock maker who had made the cryptograph, Dietrich Brauer, did his work before the Second World War.

Added to that, in previous episodes they had established that Jor-El had been a young man back in 1961 when Clark had learned his father had visited Earth before in the third season episode “Relic.” And it was in an episode earlier this season about Clark’s birth mother, “Lara,” where they’d established that Kara had visited Earth in 1986. And it turned out that Lara had been pregnant with Clark, or baby Kal-El, at the time.

So, how did Jor-El send information and stuff back forty or more years? Maybe this all ties into how Jor-El had managed to hide the stones back to Earth’s distant past which created the Fortress, but they’ve never really explained how he did that in the show.

With all of this, however, keep in mind that Jor-El was the same man that Raya had described in the season 5 episodes “Zod” and “Fallout” as good man; a man of science; a man of peace. Clark’s own birth-mother, or at least some sort of weird alien clone of her, had said pretty much the same thing just earlier this season in the abomination that was “Blue.” In that same episode, Zor-El had called Jor-El a “feeble minded pacifist.”

So why would Jor-El, a leader of his people, a man of peace, a recognized pacifist, feel it necessary to send weak-willed humanity a way to completely control his son? Is this a retcon? Is Jor-El no longer a peace-nick and is now a manipulative bastard willing to believe his son capable of atrocities and in need of someone else having absolute power over him?

Okay, the version of Jor-El that got turned into the AI is already a manipulative bastard, dishing up Kryptonian style tough-love to Clark nearly every week, but is the real Jor-El like that now too? Where’s the hope Clark had voiced on more than one occasion that his birth parents aren’t really monsters? In thinking about what we’ve heard before about Jor-El, it just doesn’t make sense. Why would Jor-El trust humans enough to send his son to them to raise even while providing a way for them to completely control him?

The retconning is running rampant on the show lately, so maybe this episode is no different, but I think some of this stuff is seriously straining credulity even on a science-fiction/fantasy drama….

#3. “Exposed” from Season Five

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This episode is so contrived.

KryptonSite has futher on it:

Writers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson have penned more consistent episodes, to be honest. While I think the original conspiracy theory which Clark had thought Lex was the bad guy, but which turned out to be false, was interesting. However, the story was so filled with odd expediencies that I looked up, utterly shocked, when I had found my suspension of disbelief had left the room.

Story contrivances like why would a girl in trouble spend a quarter to use a pay phone to call a reporter when a 911 call is free? (And would, by the way, make more sense?) And it wasn’t like she had a purse, so did the guy leave loose change in the dress he gave her?

And why were the strippers so averse to discussing the murdered girl? She was run over by a truck, why did that make talking about her such a bad thing?

And since when do printers “remember” their last print jobs? I could explain why a small printer isn’t at all capable of doing that, but I’m not here as a computer geek but a Smallville one… write me if you’re curious.

And since when does diplomatic immunity mean the bad guy can just walk away?

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#2. “Sleeper” from Season Seven

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Gosh. This episode was a worthless 42 minutes of anyone’s life. It has so little in it, you could watch the final minutes and be all caught up for the rest of the season. It’s just that bad. KryptonSite Columns makes the point:

They needed to put Clark into a sort of a holding pattern for the space of this episode. This was largely what is derisively called by online fans as a “filler” episode. I have said in the past that I don’t think that Smallville really has filler episodes, even almost completely pointless episodes show some forward momentum in the season’s storylines. There was some moving along here too: Lex got to Zurich and Clark did finally buy a clue about where Brainiac took Kara and Chloe and Jimmy patched things up a bit. But somehow at the same time, and inexplicably, they actually moved backwards with Clark’s storyline.

The filler vibe in this episode, and I truly think this is like Hero or Blue with the ends very much justifying the means here, is doubly inexcusable because at this point they went in knowing that they were two episodes short this season. Why even have a “filler” episode to begin with? They were lucky they got five more to shoot after the strike ended. Some shows didn’t get to finish their seasons, like Heroes, or only got a few more episodes to shoot, like Supernatural (coming in at 6 episodes short of a full season). Why blow the chance to do their best every single episode they had left?

Maybe this dreck happened due to rewrites done when Tom was given the helming duties for the next episode, “Apocalypse…” The man isn’t a machine, after all. He needs time to do the prep work for what could possibly be the most important episode he’s directed so far. Or maybe it was due to some reshuffling they had to do to get five episodes shot in only 6 and a half weeks after the writers’ strike was over…. I have no clue why a normally very dependable writer (“Subterranean,” notwithstanding) like Caroline would produce dreck like this.

I mean, not only do they do this to Clark, they also turned hapless and not-quite-with it Jimmy into James Bond? I understand that this is homage to a comic book series on Jimmy, but get serious… Does anyone really believe he could take on a trained government agent and not have his butt handed to him on a platter? He can’t take good enough photos to guarantee his job much less have good enough eye-hand coordination to make an omelet without breaking eggshells into the bowl. How could he possibly last longer than a second with a trained operative?

And why was it Clark who had suggested that Chloe break Federal law to hack into top secret spy satellites? With Jonathan and Martha gone, I thought he’d become the new moral compass of the show. Why would he want Chloe to break the law and risk jail for him? How did she even get the skills to do that anyway? She’s not a hacker in the traditional sense and she’s not a computer science major. She’s a journalist. 

And why did they have him do a tango with Chloe? I know Allison Mack has dance experience, but I don’t buy Jimmy as a good dancer anymore than I buy him competing with James Bond for a 00 license.

Why is a satellite monitoring station in the same building as a night club to begin with? Does any night club actually want to be in a building that secure? It’s a silly plot point.

#1. “Krypto” from Season Four

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Lois accidentally runs over a dog and brings it back home to heal, but Clark discovers this dog has super strength. Naturally. This is, of course, based on Krypto the Superdog from the comics, but in Live-Action television this was nothing short of the most boring episode Smallville ever produced.

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One thought on “The 10 Worst Episodes of Smallville

  1. Pingback: The Worst to Best of Sherlock (2010-2014) | The Progressive Democrat

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