Ok, maybe that was a bit overly dramatic, but I think it’s relevant and true for the topic I’m addressing today. After ten years of teasing, inside jokes, and epic moments, Smallville’s final episode airs next week. In this season, we’ve seen Clark go through some significant and important changes as he continues along the path to being Superman, and I just want to thank the past and present cast and crew for ten long and enjoyable years of television. Thank you all from the very bottom of my heart!
As I told some of my fellow Cinema Studies students last week, I don’t normally recommend watching Supernatural. The reasons are many and varied, but usually boil down to my viewpoint that the show’s themes aren’t terribly original. That’s changed, over the years, but I’m usually quite bored when I watch it, and the usual reason I do watch it is because it comes on right after Smallville.
Every now and then, however, they have a really well written episode, a seriously funny episode, or one that’s fortunate enough to be both. Such an episode was “Clap Your Hands If You Believe” which carried hilarious subtitle of “Fight The Fairies!” (or at least should have), and then there was last week’s episode, “The French Mistake”, the main characters were transported to an alternate reality where they were actors playing their characters. In the soon to be immortalized words of Castle from an episode a few weeks back, “it was too meta…” Jensen Ackles playing Dean Winchester discovering that Dean Winchester was a character being played by the actor Jensen Ackles… The only way to unfuck that is to realize that Ackles was ultimately playing a unsteady version of himself. Nonetheless, it was a funny and well written episode that undoubtedly made a lot of other cinephiles like myself laugh whole heartedly… Assuming I wasn’t the only one that watched it…
So, being in my usual state, I decided to watch tonight to see if they might do anything interesting. Ultimately, it wasn’t the plot that caught my attention, though it was very X-Files-ish, but it was the fact that it actually had two X-Files alumni appearing. “And Then There Were None” starred Mitch Pileggi, known to X-Files fans as Assistant Director Walter Skinner, and Steven Williams, the legendary Mr. X himself! While I always recognize Pileggi, and knew that he’d been playing the role of Samuel Winchester, the primary character’s previously deceased grandfather, Steven Williams has only appeared in 4 episodes according to IMDB, and I didn’t recognize him right off the bat. As the episode went on, his face and voice began to ring some bells, and I looked him up discovering that it was indeed Mr. X.
It took me a full hour after the show went off to make the connection and realize that everything about tonight’s episode was in essence an X-Files tribute. Mr. Kripke, you’re slowly turning me into a fan!
Although I’m a fan of many things, I have always consistently been a fan of Superman. I confess that I haven’t often picked up Superman comics, nor have I bought a lot of Superman memorabilia or spent a lot of money on my Superman interests. But I have always been a fan of Superman. Naturally, I’ve been watching Smallville since the show debuted ten years ago, despite the often tedious formulaic nature of the show. None of the negatives mattered, the show was and is great! And you couldn’t have a better villain than Lex Luthor, portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum. Eventually, Mr. Rosenbaum left the show for multiple reasons, and the producers panicked, and tried to keep Lex Luthor a part of the show without recasting the role.
I think the idea was that they would eventually convince Mr. Rosenbaum to return to the show, so they didn’t want to recast his role. Of course, he left right after filming a season finale centered around Lex Luthor’s final discovery of Clark Kent’s secrets, so they couldn’t just go on without the character either. As a result, they played games with us… Having an actor act out the role, but never showing him from the front, or always in darkness with only enough clothing visible to reveal that it’s supposed to be Lex. As they probably expected, and you certainly expect, this sucked. Badly. So after a while, they killed off Lex, which completely screws the continuity of the Superman/DC Universe. Since the death of Lex, we’ve been visited by a lot of major Superman villains, and none have had the same staying power as Lex had. I’m sure Smallville‘s ratings have suffered as a result, and they finally scheduled the end of the series with season 10.
But that’s not where the story ends. In season 9, new Lex Luthor clones sprung up, and rumors began to surface that Mr. Rosenbaum was returning for the final season. Those rumors were repeatedly squashed by both sides, but they persisted nonetheless. We eventually saw a clone of Lex that was an old man, and began to think that they finally decided to recast the part, especially since a younger clone was growing up so rapidly.
Then the news finally hit about two weeks ago (when I originally started writing this post): Michael Rosenbaum is returning to Smallville as Lex Luthor in the series finale! This past Friday, Mr. Rosenbaum had this to say via his Twitter account: @mrosenbaum711: “Guess who’s on the SMALLVILLE set right now? Good to see some familiar faces. What a day!!!!!!!!”
Indeed, welcome back Michael, and thank you very much! If I may speak for the entire Smallville fan community, WELCOME BACK!!