Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Camille Mitchell, Terence Stamp, Rutger Hauer
Synopsis: Clark starts the season in hiding and high on red Kryptonite trying to escape the pain he feels over the events that ended season 2. He is dragged back to Smallville and atonement however, and to his not-to-be romance with Lana. Meanwhile, the conflict between Lionel and Lex gets more intense, with more seeds being sewn of greater tension between Lex and Clark, spurned by the secrets they both keep from each other.
Initially with this season, I will admit I was quite frustrated and had to push through the first few episodes. I have understood the need in drama for characters to go through periods of darkness, but Clark’s foray down this path I found uncomfortable to watch. It is how I feel every time an otherwise good character becomes a real dick (thoughts of Iron Man 2 spring to mind). Not saying there were not some great moments. Jonathon makes a deal with Jor-El, leading to him having powers like Clark such that he can bring him home. This deal has repercussions throughout the season, and this story arc in itself becomes quite exciting, in fact it is the lynch pin for the season finale.
There are other fantastic elements to the season. The best example is the further exploration of Lex’s relationship with his father. This season gets to the crux of the shared animosity they have for each other, as well as making their run-ins increasingly severe. The audience throughout remains firmly on Lex’s side, however Clark accurately comments on more than one occasion that Lex is becoming more like his father as time progresses. This storyline is responsible for some of the biggest jaw dropping elements of the season. Basically, those elements that have the most significance to the origin of the Superman story we know is to develop are where the series really hits its stride.
Not every element here is gold though. Once again, I am having trouble being drawn into the Lana/Clark storyline. For me it is too repetitive, and personally I cannot wait to get to the introduction of Erica Durance’s Lois Lane, as from that point we will have a relationship to observe that actually has a future, as opposed to the current angst-ridden storylines. Attempts are made to give Lana her own story arc this season, with her recovering from spinal injuries and meeting a new love interest. These never really fly though (pun not intended), and her character only gets a good showing again at the time that Clark decides he will tell her his secret. This is thwarted though when he learns how much Pete is struggling with his knowledge.
Speaking of Pete, once again he is under-utilised in this story. He has one episode that centres around his character where he goes off the rails. He is then kind of forgotten until the season’s end, which is also I believe his final appearance in the series. He puts in a powerful performance at this time, which shows there was a good actor wasted, and one can’t help but feel he was written out because the writers just did not know what to do with him. The other external characters do much better. Chloe remains a strong side-kick, and her own battle with the Luthors is a strong side story. Her performance also remains strong, and it is easy to see how she lasted with the series until its end. Clark’s parents may not get a lot of screen time, but as Clark’s moral compass, their role in the series remains influential as well as inspirational. This season also features some great cameos, including Rutger Hauer, and Christopher Reeve makes his second appearance as Virgil Swan. There is also a great episode featuring one Perry White as an out of luck reporter who manages to get a second chance, and hints at a bigger future in journalism. A drop of the name Lois Lane in this season is also tantalising.
Season three has its flaws, as has the previous season, but by the final episode some really strong stories have been pulled together. The obligatory cliffhanger showing multiple threads of story with characters all in dire situations is quite compelling, even if it does channel The Godfather given that it seems many of the strings have been pulled by Lionel Luthor himself leading us to these conclusions.
3 stars out of 5.
Season 3 trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYIK46QVDE4]