Sometimes origin stories take 10 years — Ranking the episodes of Smallville, Episodes 146-115

After the positive response to my ranked list of Lost and Office episodes, I just had to do another. Heck, even if there wasn’t a positive response for those two features, I probably would have done another one anyway because I love lists. I’ve been thinking about what series to tackle for nearly a month and finally decided on the one that I may be more familiar with that any other television series on air and one that is very difficult to organize based on the sheer number of episodes alone — Smallville.

Click here to see some insight into my process for this list.

Sorry for the delay getting to the next part of the list. Let’s do work.

146. “Dichotic” (S2): Jonathan Taylor-Thomas’ brought a fun FotW character to the series and despite making Clark out to be a super jealous idiot times two, it’s one of the better instances of that beat.

145. “Crush” (S1): Same goes for this one in reference to the Clark-as-a-stalker beat. Also, Adam Brody is the man.

144. “Exposed” (S5): Dukes of Hazard reunion! That’s about it.

143. “Gemini” (S7): Though this episode includes one of the series’ best mid-season cliffhangers, the preceding 40 minutes are stale, boring and lifeless. Mostly like all of season seven.

142. “Facade” (S4): Is this episode absolutely stupid? Yes. Do I always enjoy watching it the second time around? Yes.

141. “Void” (S5): Using drugs to get closer to your parents is a sensitive subject, especially when using Kryptonite-powered drugs, but I actually kind of like this episode. It’s nice to be reminded that Lana’s life has kind of sucked, despite the whole center-of-the-universe picture the series paints.

140. “Precipice” (S2): Lex’s half of these dueling stories of frustration and age is much, much better, but I also enjoy Clark dealing with what can happen if his anger supersedes his powers. However, point deduction for starting Lana’s fight training.

139. “Rush” (S2): The red-K powered Clark is always a hoot, but the whole set-up felt like an obvious way to put something between Clark and Lana when they should have just gotten together. Pete on the drug is one of his best moments, however.

138. “Injustice” (S8): This episode had so much potential, but wasted nearly all of it by barely integrating Tess’ team of villains into the story. The Clark and Tess stuff was good, though.

137. “Extinction” (S3): A surprisingly thrilling and action-packed episode for the usually tepid third episode of the season spot.

136. “Lockdown” (S5): Though it is an obvious step on the path to Lexana and a super obvious nod to “Panic Room,” “Lockdown” is a nice little thriller of an episode that makes the gross relationship feel not as gross.

135. “Disciple” (S9): I’m happy as anyone to dip into Ollie’s past, but the Dark Archer story falls mostly flat here. This episode is exceptionally dark in tone, spirit and energy. One of the weakest efforts of a great season nine.

134. “Toxic” (S8): Sadly, the many of the same things could be said about this episode. Oliver’s origin story is fairly standard and Tess wasn’t interesting enough at this point to save one of the lowest points of a solid season eight.

133. “Resurrection” (S3): Television series like to create false drama as a way to put characters in danger, but it’s easy to see through all that. Here, it’s obvious that Jonathan is not going to die, but the hostage situation is still entertaining to watch.

132. “Sneeze” (S6): Hey, remember when Clark used to get new powers and it was oftentimes funny in the process? Sigh.

131. “Stiletto” (S8): Lois’ attempts at getting closer to the Blur make sense, but becoming a successful hero on her own is certainly one of the more ridiculous things the series has done recently. Also sucky? Jimmy randomly becoming a bartender.

130. “Persuasion” (S9): There are two totally different and individually interesting episodes smashed together here, creating a tonal and thematic mess. It’s too bad it wasn’t split apart.

129. “Persona” (S7): Clark vs. Bizarro: Part II was pretty great, but we sure as hell didn’t need yet another male character falling in love with Lana. Puke.

128. “Lucy” (S4): I have never been a fan of this episode for some reason, but the jump is still bad-ass and credit sequence-worthy.

127. “Prototype” (S6): This episode is fine, but was the first penultimate episode in the series’ history that didn’t feel like it was really ramping up to a great conclusion (and unfortunately started the trend that would continue for two more seasons).

126. “Spirit” (S4): You have to appreciate the series’ twist on the seminal high school television series episode, but “Spirit” is perhaps too goofy for its own good.

125. “Instinct” (S8): I actually think this episode does a solid job of showing to Clark that there are other women out there aside from Lana while including some funny stuff with Lois and nicely integrating Maxima into the story.

124. “Fracture” (S7): Journeying into Lex’s mind is very, very cool, but the whole process of getting to that point is not.

123. “Hydro” (S6): For whatever reason, the series works well when dipping into more campy territory and even though this episode includes the Lexana proposal and the pregnancy reveal to Clark, all the melodramatic pieces come into place here.

122. “Accelerate” (S2): The final scene with Lionel and the clone Emily is still one of the creepiest and awesome in the series’ history. *Shudders*

121. “Prodigal” (S2): The Luthor family carried the series for seven years and even the most hackneyed of episodes can come off as solid because of them. See “Prodigal” for the confirmation of this rule.

120. “Progeny” (S6): Yes, it was nice to meet Chloe’s mom. And yes, this was a fine representation of Lex’s step towards the dark side. But after waiting six years for the former and only getting this can’t be saved by the quality of the latter.

119. “Fallout” (S6): Sorry Bow Wow, you don’t really work as a Phantom Zone Wraith. Raya should lived longer, too.

118. “Visage” (S2): A smart execution of a returning FotW and forcing Lana to deal with her Whitney issues.

117. “Promise” (S6): This episode is a major touchstone in the series’ run. That doesn’t mean that it is very good. Entertaining, but way too melodramatic.

116. “Requiem” (S8): I know that most fans really, really hate this episode and they have good reason to. The conclusion to Lana’s story completely robs Clark of a mature character beat and permanently puts Lana on a powerful pedestal that she surely doesn’t deserve. However, there are so many fantastic and emotionally charged moments in this episode — Clark and Lana’s goodbye, Oliver examining Lex’s “death-place” — that it almost rises above the nonsense.

115. “Ryan” (S2): Dipping back into the Ryan pool the second time offers diminishing returns, but it’s hard to deny the heft of his death and its effect on Clark. Tear.

Past entries


3 responses to “Sometimes origin stories take 10 years — Ranking the episodes of Smallville, Episodes 146-115”

  1. […] entries 195-185 184-169 168-147 146-115 114-80 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The List: Ranking the episodes of The […]


  2. GEMINI- This is actually some amazing acting on Tom’s part. The subtle changes he added to the character that are actually blatantly obvious when you go back a second time around are genius. Plus my favorite fake Jimmy Olsen line of all time was uttered in this episode:

    “You waste our only phone call on Clark?! What’s he gonna do? Save us with his great hair!?!?”

    PRECIPICE- In my top 30 simply because it introduced my favorite character in Smallville history. SHERIFF ADAMS! I’m not kidding about that by the way, I cried when she died. And spent the rest of the week in shock and severely pissed off.

    LOCKDOWN- Rest In Peace, Sheriff. *sniff*

    PERSUASION- I think this epsiode was and still is, by many, underappreciated. The episode is made up of two juxtaposing themes, yes. But some people fail to realize that this was done on purpose. Whether or not you’re a shipper we all know Clark Kent eventually marries Lois Lane, but before he tells her his secret he must create a secret identity. This episode is the most blatant and well done forms of demonstrating

    1) the difference between the life of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent and Superman, the world’s greatest hero
    2) how difficult it is to sometimes handle both identities

    On one hand Clark was kinda sorta trying to stop Zod from building his towers (which would eventually lead to the enslaving the human race) and on the other Clark is trying to find a cure for housewife Lois, a sillier threat but dangerous nonetheless. And he’s doing this all while influenced by the Kryptonite himself. And you thought Lana had it bad? lol.

    I also found it hilarious that although Zod was obviously a bigger threat to humanity as a whole, Clark Kent was more terrified of the idea of marrying Lois. Finally, this episode had my second and third favorite lines of the season.

    Emil: “Dude, hasn’t anyone ever told you not to inhale?
    Clark: “You took my father’s life. I’m her to collect.”

    It wasn’t as much the line itself, but the way it was delivered. Gave me chills.

    PERSONA- DUDE! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! To be totally honest with you, out of all your choices this is the one that actually pisses me off. After TRANSFERENCE this is Tom Welling’s finest performance and definitely in my top 5, HANDS DOWN!

    SPIRIT- True. The fact that Annette O’Toole actually did the scene in the kitchen where she is dancing around and singing an Ashlee Simpson song of all things earns her my eternal respect. And Clark calling Chloe a bitch was just…no words. I still can’t believe Tom actually went along with it. lol.

    FRACTURE- Clark beating Lex to a bloody pulp while the lighting in the room changes to imitate Lex being revived by Chloe is excellent cinematoraphy and that scene to this days gives me chills. No one does evil laughter like Michael Rosenbaum.

    ACCELERATE- Scariest Smallville episode EVER! Crap my pants every time I see that doll.

    REQUIEM- I completely agree with all that you said. If you feel this way I’m actually surprised it’s not in the top 100. You forgot to mention freaky Clark and Lana super-sex. *cringes*


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