I couldn’t find anything to watch, so I decided to watch Smallville all over again. Being a huge fan of Lois, I tend to just rotate through seasons 8-10 but I have started from the beginning again and thought I’d make a top 5 for each season.
During that first viewing back in August, I loved season 1! There are a lot of hit and miss episodes, though. In fact, while I was watching them again, I came across two episodes I straight up quit halfway through during that first rewatch/watch.
One is the second episode, ‘Metamorphosis‘ – I saw spiders and bugs and I was like, NOT TODAY and never went back. The next episode was ‘Craving‘ which featured Amy Adams (before she was Lois Lane) as a meteor infected girl who literally ate people.
I’d say there are good moments in all episodes, but there are a few standouts and without further ado, here are my Top 5!
Bonus fact: We never see the students at Smallville High in class during this season despite it being a prominent setting. Apparently, they didn’t want to draw attention to the fact Tom Welling was a 24 year old actor playing 14 year old Clark Kent. Mmmhmm.
1. Hourglass (Season 1, Episode 6)
Clark Kent meets Cassandra Carver at the Smallville Retirement Center. She lost her vision during the meteor shower, and now she can see the future. When Harry Volk falls into a pond full of meteor rocks, he becomes young and sets off on a mission to kill the descendants of the jury who convicted him of murder 60 years ago, including Jonathan Kent. Cassandra is able to provide Clark with some insight into his future, but she dies when she sees a vision of Lex Luthor’s future.
This is the best episode of the season, and one I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about. The main scenes are the vision of the future Clark sees. He’s standing in a graveyard and everyone he knows is dead – and it really makes you think about Superman outside of the main time frame he’s usually in. I wish they’d snuck in a Lois Lane tombstone just for kicks. It’s heartbreaking to watch Clark contemplate such a dark future.Similarly, Lex goes to have his future scene and it’s so appalling that it kills Cassandra. And I think the episode does a good job of showing the fear Clark and Lex both have. Lex fears going to a point of no return, and Clark fears being left alone. It’s made bittersweet by the fact that… we know both scenarios will come to pass.
What was so sad was that Clark is told someone he’s close to will die and it turns out to be Cassandra and he’s genuinely saddened by her death. She’s probably the reason why he begins using his abilities to help people, too.
By contrast, Lex finds out his future is so terrible that it kills an old lady and he runs away.
There’s another subplot, but it was a bit ridiculous if I’m being honest. A man falls into meteor rock infested lake, gets electrocuted and ages back down to his younger self and goes after the jury members who sent him to jail.
2. Tempest (Season 1, Episode 21)
As Clark comes ever closer to making his first discovery about his origins, a tornado approaches Smallville. Meanwhile, a reporter hired by Lex is about to discover Clark’s superhuman abilities.
This was the finale and what a finale it was. First of all, you all know the Smallville theme song? Well, they have the band who sings it, Remy Zero, playing in this episode and it’s SO AWKWARD.
I watched a One Tree Hill episode with Gavin DeGraw and they set up theme song performance nicely.
Smallville did not.
For some reason, they have Pete yell, ‘REMY ZERO!’ to… no one and ugh. Somebody save us.
Other than that, the episode begins with Clark preparing to take Chloe to their Homecoming dance. Chloe is picking him up in her car because a reporter Lex hired blew up Clark’s truck – with him inside – to prove that he’s not human. A lot of the people who discover Clark’s secret do really dumb things.
Anyway, the episode ends with all the characters caught up in a storm and we get a dun dun dunn about their fates.
I guess you have to watch it to believe it’s one of the best episodes because I’m not really selling it very well.
3. Stray (Season 1, Episode 16)
A boy who can read minds threatens Clark’s secret, and Lex mulls taking a job offer from his father that would mean moving back to Metropolis.
SUCH A SAD EPISODE. Clark meets a boy called Ryan who can read minds. His stepfather has been abusing his ability to rob stores and whatnot and after a robbery goes wrong, Ryan runs away. He pretends to have amnesia and the doctors at the hospital agree to let him stay with The Kent’s.
Eventually, he does have to leave and it’s sad because Clark enjoyed being a big brother and yes, anyway, it’s a touching and emotional episode
4. Leech (Season 1, Episode 12)
A lightning strike transfers Clark’s superpowers to a classmate, who begins to abuse his new abilities. Meanwhile, Lex thinks he has proof of Clark’s superpowers.
This episode was all kinds of dark, but weirdly enough the episode doesn’t focus on the set up at all. Clark’s powers are transferred to a fellow classmate, Eric, (who seemed like he was about to jump off a bridge before lightning struck him) and Eric had fun with them. Perhaps Clark didn’t tell anyone what Eric was about to do? Or he told the teacher, who was Eric’s father (and abusive to boot). The point of the episode is clearly that Clark could easily have had shitty parents, but I felt sorry for Eric really. Nobody really tried to get to know him, or understand what he was going through. Although, there’s the whole superpower thing. By the end Eric had flipped and was tossing people like rag dolls so I guess they were too busy running away from him?
Anyway, Clark initially embraces his lack of power, going far enough to play his first basketball game – cue Fat Lip by Sum 41! – and by the end we learn he feels ‘responsible’ for his abilities whether he has them or not. Poor Clark!
5. Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
A teenage Clark Kent must learn how to harness his superhuman powers while growing up in Kansas. Clark tries to avoid being the victim of a high school hazing ritual involving the football team.
I don’t know why I picked the pilot. Nostalgia? There’s a lot of things on Smallville that haven’t necessarily aged well. Clark using his telescope to spy on Lana is one of those things, however, it’s a very 14 year old boy thing to do, so maybe it’s not far off. Anyway, what I like about the pilot is that it quickly establishes several things – the aversion to Kryptonite, Lex Luthor’s fascination with Clark and how vulnerable Clark can be even with his abilities.Oh and, there’s the iconic line spoken by Lana.
What are you, man or Superman?
Most importantly, and I know a lot of people have rediscovered Smallville during quarantine too, it reminded me of a time when things were much simpler. I’d probably never seen the pilot in full before until this year, but I very much appreciated that 2000-era vibe it had.
During a time when I wasn’t in the best of places, this first season came through for me. ❤
I’ll be back with season 2 (which I’m taking FOREVER to finish. I guess that means I liked season 1 better? LOL).
Goodbye 2020! & Happy New Year!