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Smallville’s Top Ten Most Memorable Episodes

Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/The CW

Here at TV Goodness we’re big on Smallville and we’re celebrating the 10th and final season all year long.  But today calls for another Smallville celebration: the 200th episode.  For any show to reach 200 episodes is damn near impossible these days, and for a niche show like Smallville it’s nothing short of a miracle.  We’ve seen the show grow and evolve from being a teen-bopper-monster-of-the-week drama to an epic saga of good versus evil.  As we reach the 200th episode, we’ve put together our list of the 10 most memorable Smallville episodes from the first nine seasons.

#10 – Season 6 “Labryinth” – Clark wakes up and realizes he’s in…an insane asylum?! Everything he’s ever known turns out to be a part of a psychotic break down that he’s experiencing, except for the loyalty of his trusty pal Chloe who is the only one that believes that he is from Krypton.  I’m a sucker for “what if?” episodes and this was one of the best I have seen.  You know he’s not crazy, but what if maybe…just maybe…he really is?  Tom Welling (who has a tendency to phone it in for the big dramatic moments) really delivered in this episode and made us believe that perhaps Clark was nothing more than a crazy person.  Definitely an edge-of-your-seat thriller episode.

#9 – Season 4 “Transference” – Lionel Luthor gets a visit from Clark while he’s in prison and the two of them switch places due to a meteor rock transferring their minds into each other’s bodies.  I realize that sounds absolutely ridiculous on paper, but this turned out to be arguably the best episode from the entire season.  Watching Tom Welling take on the characteristics of John Glover was truly a delight and the scene where Clark is eyeing Martha is disturbing, hilarious, and absolutely a memorable moment.  You could tell both of them were having fun doing impressions of the other and it made for a nice stand alone episode in a season of very, very drab story arcs (remember the whole witch thing?  Yeah…I try not to either…)

#8 = Season 8 “Bride” – It’s the wedding of Chloe and Jimmy (in Clark’s barn…every little girl’s dream…) and things seem to be going smoothly…which means you KNOW the s*** has to hit the fan!  Lois and Clark are THIS close to finally kissing and giving the fans what they want and then who else walks through the door but one Lana Lang.  But things get much worse for the wedding guests (and Jimmy in particular) when Davis can’t control the beast inside of him and the dreaded Doomsday appears to just tear the effin place apart.  And at the very end of the episode we see a devious bald head hooked up to multiple life support machines watching the chaos from a bank of monitors.  This episode was the midseason finale and it certainly left all of us salivating for the next episode and wondering if this was all the handy work of an MIA Lex Luthor.

#7 – Season 1 “Hourglass” – This was one of the first few episodes of the series and it revolved around a mysterious old woman in a retirement home that could see anybody’s future by touching them.  At the end of the episode, Lex asks the old woman to see his future and she sees Luthor as president amidst a dying wasteland that used to be Metropolis.  Her vision of Lex’s horrors is too much for her to handle and the old woman dies before she can even tell Lex his fate.  This episode left no doubt that the Lex we knew and loved so far would someday be gone, and that when he did turn evil it would be unlike anything we had ever seen before.  The scene of Lex in a white suit surrounded by a field of burnt flowers has become an iconic image for the series and was reused a few times within the series, each time invoking as much of a chill as the last time.

#6 – Season 9 “Absolute Justice” – This episode was such an event that it was labeled as a TV movie and really pulled out all the stops to live up to the hype.  The Justice Society of America came out of retirement and we got to see real life versions of Dr. Fate, Star Girl, and the most awesome Hawkman.  We also got a good glimpse at Checkmate, the evil organization headed by Amanda Waller (Pam Grier) and some really great action sequences that made it all feel like more than just a regular episode.  For comic book nerds this was definitely a highpoint of the entire series.

#5 – Season 7 “Arctic” – The first half of season 7 was awkward and disjointed, but the second half was a fast paced thriller that led to the ultimate showdown of friend vs foe.  Lex was hell bent on finding “the traveler”, the alien that came down in the meteor shower of Smallville.  The season culminated in one final scene at the Fortress of Solitude where Lex finally discovered Clark’s secret, and brought down the entire Fortress of Solitude.  This would be the last appearance of Michael Rosenbaum on the show (to date…here’s hoping for a Season 10 return) and he surely went out with a bang.  The final stand-off between Clark and Lex had been brewing for years and it did not disappoint.

#4 – Season 3 “Shattered” – One of the great storylines from Season Three was Lionel poisoning Lex and making everyone think that Lex was going crazy.  Towards the end of the episode, Lex sees Clark using his power to completely demolish a car with one hand and it’s like he’s seen the light.  However, everybody already thinks he’s crazy and dismiss it as psycho talk.  In one of the most chilling moments in all of Smallville, Lex is in a padded room at the asylum looking into a two way mirror banging on the walls as Lionel coldly stands on the other side gazing in.  There’s no dialogue, just “Hurt” by Johnny Cash playing over it.  That moment alone earns this episode a spot on our list.

#3 – Season 6 “Justice” – In a way, this episode signaled the true shift of the series from teen drama to comic book inspired saga.  This was the episode where we got to see Aquaman, Kid Flash, Cyborg, Green Arrow, and Clark work together as an early version of the Justice League to take out Lex Luthor’s 33.1 research facility where Bart was being held captive.  This was one of those episodes that had people that didn’t even watch the show talking about it and of course, who could forget the iconic image of the five of them walking away from an exploding Luthorcorp building?  Pure badass-ness.

#2 – Season 5 “Reckoning” – If you were to look up the term “game changer” in the dictionary, this episode would definitely be an example.  This was the 100th episode of the series and they laid it all on the line to make it one of the most memorable.  Clark decides to tell Lana his secret on the day his dad Jonathan is about to be elected to senate.  However tragedy strikes and Lana is killed in a car accident, so Clark begs Jor El to let him start the day over and Clark decides to NOT tell Lana this time to avoid her death.  The problem is, there had to be an equal exchange, and Jonathan Kent died of a heart attack as a result.  This episode was not only devastating for Clark, but for the fans as well.  John Schneider brought such a humanity and sense of warmth to the character that to see him go left us all wondering how Clark was ever going to get past this and become the man of steel.  It was a bittersweet episode that definitely left us shocked and thinking about it long after the final credits rolled.

And our pick for the most memorable Smallville episode…

#1 – Season 2 “Rosetta” – This was the episode that took Smallville to the next level and really legitimized it to comic book fans that this was indeed first and foremost a Superman show.  Clark meets a man named Dr. Swanson (Christopher Reeve) who tells him about his true heritage as the last son of Krypton.  Even though we knew the answers to all of Clark’s questions about where he came from and who he is, watching Clark find out for himself was very emotional and I got goosebumps hearing John William’s score from Superman play over the scenes.  It was truly magical to see two generations of Superman (Christopher and Tom) sharing the screen and Christopher was phenomenal in the role.  It really felt like he was passing the Superman torch to Tom and a lot of people (myself included) believe that’s why fans were so lukewarm to Brandon Routh stepping in as the man of steel.  Every generation has their own Superman, and this episode for a lot us designated Tom Welling as OUR Superman.  Truly a great episode that’s still as poignant, still as captivating, and still as magical today.

What episodes do you think are the most memorable?

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