Friday, May 6, 2011

"Smallvile" Top 10 - Number 1


"Reckoning" from Season 5

Smallville's 100th episode is not just the finest hour the show has ever produced, but is the finest hour of television ever produced. All of Season 5, we knew that someone close to Clark was going to have to die when he returned from the dead, via Jor-El. When the episode first aired, fans were teased with the death of a major character, and what this episode gave us was two deaths!

When Clark proposes to Lana and tells her his secret, everything seems as if it will be perfect for Clark, especially when his father wins the state senate race against Lex Luthor, but tragedy strikes soon after with Lana dying in a car wreck, and Clark not being fast enough to save her. With the help of Jor-El, Clark goes back in time to relive the day leading up to her death to save her, only to have Lana break up with him when Clark doesn't tell her his secret this time around, with the end resulting in Jonathan Kent winning the senate race and informed by Lionel Luthor shortly afterwards that Lionel knows Clark's secret. Jonathan fights Lionel, and his heart gives out, with Jonathan dying in Clark's arms. There are no third chances with Jor-El, and Jonathan is gone, forever....

This is such a powerful episode, on the levels of great Greek tragedy. No matter what Clark does, someone he loves will die; no matter if he corrects the fate of one person, fate will balance itself out. This is quite possibly the toughest lesson for our Superman to be to learn, and it hits him hard. Tom Welling delivers his best performance as Clark Kent out of the entire series in this one episode. When he sees Lana's lifeless body, the moment sends shivers down my spine, only to be consoled by John Schneider's Jonathan Kent, creating a sense of foreshadowing for the events later in the episode.

The Smallville staff just pulled out all of the stops for this one episode, and it shows each time I re-watch it. The story is tightly woven, each character serving a greater purpose than just showing up to throw in their token line of dialogue. There is a genuine sense that this was where this story, and these characters, needed to go, and perhaps it was because they had been building up this moment the entire season, as to why this moment ultimately did not feel as if it came out of left field and managed to have so much impact.

Whether you're a Smallville fan or not, I think if you watch "Reckoning" you will be moved by the sheer tour de force of the production as I am each time I watch it. The episode connects into the deeper human emotions of loss and grief, something that everyone can connect to.


So that's it! Tune in next Friday for Part 1 of my Overall Smallville Retrospective!

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