Previously on Anthems on Anthems: Part 1
2) The big bad in season 10 is Darkseid. Unlike Doomsday, Darkseid is a cerebral antagonist, plotting against and subverting his opponents through strategy. His presence in the latter season of Smallville gnaws at the fringes of each character and he becomes fully realized in the last episode. He succeeds in infecting Oliver Queen and uses him to try and take down Clark Kent on his wedding day with gold kryptonite.
A fight ensues between Clark and Darkseid-infected Oliver Queen. Lois tries to intervene in her wedding dress and heels, only to get swung across the room by the adversary. Then Clark tries to talk some sense into Oliver. He tells Oliver: “I believe in you.” The darkness within Oliver is driven out. Crisis averted. Wait. What?!
I understand that Superman is a Judeo-Christian allegory, but the position Smallville undertakes is particularly Born-Again Christian. Clark basically converts Oliver back to his side. At the end of the finale, all of Metropolis believes in a “higher power”, but not before he saves them from…
3) Darkseid has arranged for his home planet, Apokolips, to collide with Earth. The American government’s strategy in this case scenario: blow that thing right outta the sky, sacrificing a couple of million people to save the entire planet.
So Lois decides this is a bad idea and makes it onto Air Force One by stealing some 2-dimensional bitch’s security pass onto the plane (?). As Air Force One is airborne, Lois makes it past security (??) and tries to reason with the Secretary of Defense. She convinces him to wait 5 minutes for her hero. (???)
Meanwhile, Clark and Darkseid-incarnate finally come face-to-face. They duke it out and Darkseid sends Clark flying…literally. For some reason, the writers thought it a good idea to write in Clark’s discovery of flight through a flashback montage to demonstrate that he’s always had that power in him. Clark then flies forward to Darkseid, vanquishing him with one punch. Deus ex machina.
Having realized the full scope of his abilities, Jor-El finally deems him worthy of the Superman outfit we all know and love.
Apokolips’ collision is imminent and Air Force One trembles in the turbulence, which poses the question why the hell is a plane carrying the President in the sky when the Earth is about to be destroyed?
Answer: because it’s convenient to the plot. Clark stabilizes the plane, saving everyone in it — an act/image we have all come to associate with Superman. He then uses his super-strength to push Apokolips away from the Earth, saving everyone, thus “converting” them into believers.
4) In between all of that, Lex Luthor is alive! Thanks to crazy old man Luthor (Lionel) who sells his soul to Darkseid in order to revive him… I think. It’s all too unclear and rendered a bit too convenient, but there you have it.
Clark and Lex meet again and don’t battle it out. They just talk. Nothing is really said and Clark zooms off to save the day. A bit later, Lex kills his sister Tess Mercer and she dies in his arms, but not before smearing on his face some serum that wipes his memory clean. Deus ex machina.
Seven years later, Lex Luthor is president. LuthorCorp is LexCorp and, really, there was no point in bringing back Lex Luthor other than to please the fans and set a precedent for future episodes that won’t exist.
The whole finale suffers from nonsensical plot points and easy-way-outs. Deus ex machinas and kitsch. The series ends with a bumbling Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. He dashes to the rooftop where he rips his work shirt in the classic pose to reveal the S symbol of his hero uniform underneath. Punctuating the action is the anthemic John Williams’ Superman theme as Clark whisks away to save the day.
I keep telling myself Smallville is a string of great ideas plagued by stagnant writing and rigid filmmaking, but that’s not quite it. The Superman iconography is what provided the groundwork for potential greatness, but the creators and producers did not realize that with great power comes great responsibility.
Tune in next week for Part 3! In which I reveal secrets of the show that you weren’t supposed to know!