Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, John Glover, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Laura Vandervoort
Synopsis: Huge Kryptonian cameos abound in this season. The first episode, understandably given the ending of season 6, features Bizarro (Welling in a dual role, of course), whilst we get our first introduction to Kal-El’s cousin Kara (Vandervoort), whom has no difficulty taking to flight. Through Kara, Clark learns more about his history, including his moth Lara (Helen Slater, whom played the title role in the film of Supergirl). Zor-El, Kara’s father also gets a look in, and Brainiac (James Marsters) returns to cause misery for Clark and his friends. Meanwhile Lana is alive, and though she gets back together with Clark, sh hides a secret agenda to get revenge on Lex. Chloe. Chloe learns to cope with he meteor power, but her relationship with Jimmy suffers. Lois is in full intrepid reporter mode now, with her own desk at the Daily planet. Finally, Lex closes in on Clark’s secret after discovering his father knew about the “Traveller” all along, having been a member of the Veritas society, which also included Dr. Virgil Swan, Oliver Queen’s parents, and the Teagues.
A glimpse at the synopsis above makes one thing very clear. Season seven of Smallville packed a lot in. The fact that the series remains fresh and enjoyable is a true feat of strength, given that this is the period in which so many other series stagnate and look for a way to wrap things up on a good note. It is especially impressive in Smallville’s case, given that the original mission statement of the show was to show Clark’s formative years. Despite playing with DC cannon, and having Clark meet Lois and the Daily Planet before becoming Superman, it works as an alternative story that is still respectful to its source material.
Perhaps the reason why this season remains so entertaining is that it fully embraces an examination of Clark’s Kryptonian history, and it takes leaps forward in creating Lex as now a true arch nemesis. Despite an apparent change of heart at the season start, he is well and truly a deluded man, whom sees anything alien as a threat to his way of life. Rosenbaum embodies this conviction very strongly, remaining on just the right side of maniacal to remain believable. Meanwhile, Lex’s actions force Clark to re-evaluate his smaller world view, such that the seeds are clearly being planted for his anticipated much more global role.
Whilst a lot of the subplots are also strong, with Chloe remaining the true heart of the series, and Lois on a constant mission to bring Lex down, Lana for me remained the most frustrating element of the show. This is nothing against Kreuk. She plays her role well in the limited field she has to operate. The simple fact is that Lana was always meant to be the girl before Lois. We all know she has to disappear, but as her character was established, she was too sweet to believably turn on Clark. I felt they had the right end for her last season, but to bring her back for another convoluted storyline to just find an excuse to get rid of her again struck me as a little unwarranted.
The other major subplot, that of the secret organisation of Veritas, was a brilliant step however. It successfully tied together many loose threads, including Lionel’s own obsession of everything alien prior to becoming Jor-El’s vessel, his connection with the Teagues, the Queens, and with Dr. Swan, and even his highly co-incidental presence in Smallville during the first media shower. Though a character of clouded motives, Glover brings a real life to the character, and there is no question as to why he was allowed to be a part of the series for so long. The final master stroke of the season however, was to use this history to push Lex truly over the edge, and make him become the Lex Luthor we have all been waiting for.
This is perhaps the strongest season yet, as it truly addresses large elements of the Superman mythos, while still leaving enough unanswered questions to have us want to come back for more. If not for Lana’s presence, I may have given it a perfect score!!
4 stars out of 5
Smallville Season 7 trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLS2ymT3Kc0]
Smallville Season 7 opening credits [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gyx0ZIZi2w]