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Based on how things turned out with the "Big Bads" of Seasons 9 and 10 of Smallville, perhaps they should have been switched. General Zod proved to be a very compelling and effective villain in making Clark think hard about his Kryptonian side, while providing a nemesis worthy of Superman. Darkseid was more of an inconvenience throughout the season, and as a "big bad" he and his minions were little more than afterthoughts to Clark's personal demons.
In fact, the true "big bad" of this final season is Clark's insecurities, and his inability to live up to what he thought his fathers wanted of him. As such, both Jor-El and Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) were important presences in the season. With Darkseid such a bust, we even got an alternate version of Lionel Luthor (John Glover), just to bring back all of the father-figures the show has ever had. While redemption wouldn't come for either of the Luthors by the final episode, fans could at least feel content that Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) appears to have fully embraced the light side, even standing in for Chloe in Watchtower on a regular basis as the season progresses. It was nice to see the character get some direction -- as well as a surprise revelation -- with her attempts to raise the young Luthor clone, Alexander.
Other fun guest stars for this final season include Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) and Brainiac 5 (James Marsters), the futuristic good-guy version who took us through Clark's Wonderful Life in the season's "Homecoming" episode. That 200th episode proved one of the biggest highlights of the season, helping remind viewers of the deep history of a show that lasted so long. That episode also gave us our first tease of the life Clark can and will have with Lois (Erica Durance) once he stops being The Blur and starts wearing his underwear on the outside of his tights.
Chloe (Allison Mack) took a backseat through much of the season, as did Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), pushing the emphasis on the relationship between Clark and Lois. While budget constraints seemed likely culprits in the downsizing of the cast throughout the season, this focus was just what the show needed to prepare for the emergence of Superman. Having Lois learn his secret proved a smart move, as it created the Lois and Clark team that drove so many years of his various comic series -- until the DC Comics "New 52" reboot in 2011 erased their relationship entirely in the comics.
Things were far happier in Smallville, as the couple grew closer than ever and prepared for the next big step in their lives together. At least until that tense finale where alt-Lionel proved how much he loved his true son and Michael Rosenbaum returned to firmly establish Lex Luthor as Superman's arch-nemesis. This scene was as good as fans could have hoped for, and probably left many of them wishing that it was Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum continuing the story of Superman into the movie theaters.
Unfortunately, for all the satisfaction the final season of Smallville gave to long-time fans, the DVD package seemed to miss the significance and importance of the season and the achievement of the show in making it 10 seasons. "The Son Becomes the Father" takes a very focused look back throughout the series, spotlighting the importance of fathers and sons by examining Clark's relationship with his two dads, Jonathan Kent and Jor-El, as well as Lex's relationship with his father, Lionel. "Homecoming" also gets a well-deserved special feature in "Back in the Jacket: A Smallville Homecoming," but at 20 minutes each, it seems like these should have taken more time to remember the series and commemorate such an accomplishment.
I wanted to celebrate Smallville and Clark's journey from boy to Superman with these extras, but found myself sorely disappointed. Only two episodes with commentary from the production crew and some of the cast? It was nice hearing Justin Hartly talk about the episode he directed, "Dominion," but I was surprised that Erica Durance and Tom Welling didn't provide commentary on any of the episodes, as this was very much their season. No Geoff Johns on the fanboy treat that was "Booster" and no one -- NO ONE! -- had anything to say about the series finale? No making-of featurette on that episode? Forty minutes of extras, a few deleted scenes that offer nothing new, and two episode commentaries is a colossal disappointment for long-time fans. Okay, the music video featuring Allesandro Juliani and Cassidy Freeman is fun, but with so much missing, it's a little irritating to get this. At least it looks like fans who shell out the extra bucks for the Blu-ray aren't going to get any more in the way of extras than those who stick with the DVD set. That way everyone can be equally disappointed.
Length: 1,012 min.
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Release Date: 11/29/11
Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Justin Hartley, Allison Mack
Directed by:Kevin G. Fair, Glen Winter, Mairzee Almas, Jeannot Szwarc, James Marshall, Turi Meyer, Christopher Petry, Tom Welling, Kelly Souders, Morgan Beggs, Mike Rohl, Tim Scanlan, Al Septein, Justin Hartley, Greg Beeman
Produced by: Tom Welling, James Marshall, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola
Written by: Don Whitehead, Holly Henderson, Jordan Hawley, Anne Cofell Saunders, Brian Peterson, Kelly Souders, Genevieve Sparling, Al Septien, Turi Meyer, Drew Landis, Julia Swift, John Chisholm, Bryan Q. Miller, Geoff Johns