Smallville Season 9 Review and Episode Guide

Smallville’s Season 9: The Season Where Stuff Actually Happens!

This year brought Clark into the role of protector and guardian over Metropolis. He led the fractured Justice League and Justice Society members into a cohesive team of superheroes, developed a rewarding romance with Lois, repaired his friendships with Chloe and Oliver and sometimes even worked as a reporter! A sleek season with buckets of action, breathtaking special effects and the most progressive character development the show has ever demonstrated, Season 9 proved Smallville to be the show we always knew it could be. Was it perfect? Uhm, no. Zod’s marble-mouthed machinations and the rest of the bland and interchangeable Kandorians grew seriously tedious over the span of 21 episodes. I’m looking forward to a Season 10 with Checkmate and potentially Darkseid as foes to Clark (more on that at the end), because I didn’t think Callum Blue’s Zod stepped up to the Arch Nemesis plate until far too late in the season. (Although he eventually did, to be sure.)

That said, I found Season 9 to be one of the most rewarding and profound seasons Smallville has ever had. And unlike the incredibly disappointing end to an otherwise outstanding Season 8, S9’s last few episodes were some of the strongest of the entire show. So let’s get to it!

9.01 “Savior” Airdate: 9.25.09 Writers: exec producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders Director: Kevin Fair Episode Grade: A-

Clark has disappeared from Metropolis in order to finally receive his training from Jor-El at the Fortress of Solitude. Chloe has buried herself in her work at Watchtower (holla!) with funding from Dr. Emil Hamilton, distracting herself from her grief for Jimmy after his death at Davis Bloome‘s hands in the S8 finale. Oliver’s also dealing with Jimmy-related issues, drinking too much, participating in a fight club and acting generally non-superheroic. Clark splits on Jor-El AGAIN in order to resolve his human feelings for Lois, who has straight up been in the future after her ill-advised fiddling with the Legion ring in the S8 finale. Clark decides to stay in Metropolis and continue his protection of the people under the mantle of The Blur. Lois is mysteriously zapped back into the present with a hot Kandorian lady-assassin on her tail. The assassin and Clark tussle without Lois’s knowledge, and he wins and zips away after leaving the El symbol so that Lois would know she was saved by The Blur.

Lois meets John Corben, a new journalist at The Daily Planet, and the typical tough-gal flirting ensues. Corben is played rather attractively by Brian Austin Green. Chloe asks Clark to use the Legion ring to resurrect Jimmy; Clark declines and Chloe pouts. Tess is ensconced in a tawdry liaison with Major Zod and all his Kryptonian minions, whom she brought to Earth using that thingy from S8 because she is highly stupid. None of the Kryptonians has any powers under the yellow sun and they blame Tess for it. Clark discovers it is his destiny to save the earth from a dismal future witnessed (and promptly forgotten) by Lois during her time travel: a future where Zod and the Kryptonians rule, Chloe’s dead and the humans are slaves. Bummer.

9.02 “Metallo” Airdate: 10.2.09 Writers: Don Whitehead and Holly Henderson Director: Mairzee Almas Episode Grade: B+

John Corben, Clark and Lois are all working at The Daily Planet. Corben hates The Blur because his sister was brutally murdered by someone The Blur saved. Corben gets smithereened by a truck after hilariously chasing down a picture of his sister, and the Kryptonians give him a Kryptonite Iron Man-style ticker to keep him alive (experimenting on humans in order to restore their own powers). Now reinvented as hot, hot, shirtless Metallo, Corben makes it his mission to kill The Blur. Understanding that Lois is involved with The Blur after he hears one of their covert conversations, Corben kidnaps her and attempts to kill her. With help from a still-frosty Chloe, Clark gets there in the nick of time and the usual shadowy conversation so Lois won’t know it’s Clark takes place.

Clark molts some iron onto Metallo’s chest and his heart is sorta accidentally ripped out, but Tess hints that he will be revived for more vague experimental purposes. Tess has been busy tracking down giant Kryptonian crop circles all over the world, including the sign of El. Chloe mostly just pouts.

9.03 “Rabid” Airdate: 10.9.09 Writer: Jordan Hawley Director: Mike Rohl Episode Grade: B-

Tess is acting all crazy-like, so she goes to a very handsome doctor who informs her that she’s totes virused. Clark, using some heretofore unacknowledged surreptitious skills, yoinks a blood sample from Tess, which Chloe and Dr. Emil reveal to be ZOMBIFIED! Yep, Smallville decided they needed a zombie episode for some reason. So the virus is rapidly coursing through Metropolis and Lois gets bitten and Clark charges Oliver with the task of keeping her awake, as the virus can only metastasize if she’s asleep or something. Oliver is still the worst superhero ever, so he totally gets trashed and tunes out and starts talking to a wall about how he still loves Lois; meanwhile she passes out and wakes up zombie.

Emil and Chloe discover that the virus is Kryptonian (uhm, duh), so Clark’s blood is used as a vaccine to cure the city. Much as his blood has been used as a vaccine to cure many, many things in the past. They really like this deus ex machina, don’t they? Anyhoo, Tess and Lois are saved, Zod discovers that one of his minions (namely, Tess’s Dr. Handsome) spread the virus without Zod’s permission and Dr. Handsome gets offed, to my great sadness. Zod also learns through the vaccine that there is a powerful Kryptonian already on Earth, and he wants to ask homeboy how he got those powers. Fortunately for Clark, Zod’s a little out of the loop and thinks it’s his old frenemy Jor-El rather than El the Younger, Kal.

9.04 “Echo” Airdate: 10.16.09 Writer: Bryan Q. Miller Director: Wayne Rose Episode Grade: B

Toyman‘s back, baby! Chris Gauthier’s Winslow Schott has returned, and he’s pissed that Oliver framed him for Lex’s murder in S8. So he plans an elaborate scheme, as is his wont, to bomb the shit out of Ollie during a rich folks banquet. Fortunately, Jor-El’s training this week includes giving Clark the power to read thoughts, so he knows something bomby’s afoot. Oliver’s still wallowing and plans to allow himself to get bombed, but Clark saves the day anyway.

Clark and Lois are supposed to go on a date (to a monster truck rally, natch), but Clark has to blow it because of the whole day-saving thing. It’s just like Season 1 up in here! Except unlike Lana, Lois is totally cool with being stood up, which makes her perfect for Clark. They make a rain check out of it, Clark’s mindreading days are over, Ollie’s still a drunken baby and Tess gives Toyman a special cell where he can tinker with Metallo’s Kryptonite heart.

9.05 “Roulette” Airdate: 10.23.09 Writer: Genevieve Sparling Director: Kevin Fair Episode Grade: C

Oof. I’m not gonna lie to you guys. This episode was not awesome. So Wallower Oliver is still, you know, wallowing, feeling all guilty for being such a shit (with the Lex murdering and the darkness and the whatnot). Even though I kinda thought the whole bomb scare episode was supposed to fix that! But it straight didn’t. So anyhoo, he’s gambling a miniscule portion of his billions away when sexy lady Victoria (Roulette) shows up to pop a random pill in his mouth, which he happily takes. He wakes up in the middle of The Game, or Saw, or that other Smallville episode that’s like Saw. A bunch of crazy shit happens that would take forever to explain so I won’t, because it turns out it’s all fake and Chloe just orchestrated the highly dangerous scenario in order to get Oliver to quit his whingeing and start being a hero again. And it works! Ollie’s back to his hot heroic self, Oliver and Chloe are besties again, Lois’s interfering ass didn’t die like she totally could have, and Clark discovers that Lois’s hot lady would-be assassin from the premiere is still alive. Clark and Chloe also discover the Kryptonian symbols all over the world. Chloe is mightily smug through it all, even though she totally almost got Lois killed.

9.06 “Crossfire” Airdate: 10.30.09 Writer: Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead Director: Mike Rohl Episode Grade: A-

Clark and Lois try their hats at morning television since print journalism is dead. (Sorry, Daddy.) Good Morning, Metropolis sets them up on blind dates and they both get super jealous. Oliver finangles his way as Lois’s date and confesses that he’s still in love with her. Lois lets him down easily but firmly, saying she wants to give this thing with Clark a shot. At first Clark wants to step aside because Oliver’s his friend, but Chloe smacks some sense into him and he heads straight to the Planet to lay a long-delayed big one on Lois. It’s pretty hot. Also they lose the TV show gig, which is good, because they were terrible at it.

Oliver has smaller fish to fry in Mia/Speedy, the prostitute/fight clubber with superhero abilities. He saves her from her asshole pimp (after some tussling and a well-timed Clark rescue) and takes her on as a disciple. Chloe, meanwhile, busies herself with trying to break through Tess’s firewalls, and encounters another computer genius named Stuart, working for Tess. Tess meanwhile is working with Zod to create a giant solar tower for vaguely nefarious reasons (to get the Kandorians’ powers back).

 Chloe tries to woo Stuart away from LuthorCorp, to seeming success. Zod instructs one of his soldiers to torture information about Jor-El out of Tess and then kill her, but then Zod opens a package to discover the soldier’s bloodstained dog tags and a cheerful Tess waving at him from across the street. Because Tess is STONE COLD AWESOME.

9.07 “Kandor” Airdate: 11.6.09 Writers: Turi Meyer and Al Septien Director: Jeannot Szwarc Episode Grade: A

Yes! Okay, we have a lot of ground to cover quickly. So it turns out the thingy that Tess used to zap the Kandorians to Earth was Jor-El’s invention, a vessel for Kryptonian knowledge and the DNA of a few Kryptonian VIPs, created to preserve their culture. After making it, Jor-El (the gorgeous Julian Sands) realized it was a super bad idea, so he refused to include his own DNA after Zod and Co. did so. We learn this during a BAD-ASS flashback sequence taking place on motherlovin’ Krypton!

So Jor-El’s refusal to insert his DNA in the thingy (dirty!) is considered treason and he goes in front of the scary, big-headed ruling council and they sentence him to death! Zod intervenes and pleads on Jor-El’s behalf, because they’re BFFs, and the ruling council agrees to let Jor-El live–as long as he includes his DNA. Jor-El does so, and then also zaps the little round thingy with a long blue thingy to make it so the Kryptonians won’t have powers when they’re resurrected on Earth and turn into big bullies. The thingies look totally inappropriate together, by the by.

Okay so then Zod asks Jor-El to include Zod’s dead son’s DNA in the thingy so he can be cloned with everyone else. Jor-El refuses because Clark didn’t get that sanctimonious bossiness from nowhere. Zod gets awfully pissed.

So back nowadays, the Justice Leaguers discover that Jor-El is on Earth when Clark and Oliver stumble on the El symbol scorched into the ground in Turkey. While they’re traveling, Jor-El finds his way to the Kent farm and Chloe brings him up to speed on everything, and then Chloe and Jor-El stupidly plan-without-a-plan to convince Zod that Jor-El is The Blur. Zod susses out the non-plan in about a second, mortally wounds Jor-El and then lets him lead Zod back to Clark. Jor-El dies in Clark’s arms touchingly (after asking him to befriend and save Zod, siiiigh), then Clark retardedly eye-burns a tombstone in full view of Zod, who realizes he’s The Blur. A lot of stupid decisions were made in this fantastic episode. OMG! Krypton!

9.08 “Idol” Airdate: 11.13.09 Writer: Anne Cofell Saunders Director: Glen Winter Episode Grade: C+

I really don’t remember this episode very well, frankly. Yay? The annoying Wonder Twins are swimfanning all over The Blur and they think it’s a good idea to stage inept rescues and leave The Blur’s symbol, giving him credit for all their stupid mistakes. Lois is in therapy dealing with her conflicting feelings for Clark and The Blur, and then Clark’s voice-masker fritzes out while he’s on the phone with Lois as The Blur and she recognizes his voice and wigs.

An evil Metropolis DA insists The Blur unmask himself after the Twins do some more dumb shit and then he kidnaps Lois for some reason (I guess cause he’s evil), and Chloe convinces the Wonder Twins to stop “helping” The Blur except for this one last time when they rescue Lois. Then Chloe calls Lois as The Blur while Lois is standing next to Clark and Lois goes back to being clueless.

Clark tells Lois he does have one secret—he’s nearsighted. He puts on the iconic glasses and Lois makes out with him very cutely. Then she passes out and has some more of those seizure-inducing memories from her trip to the future.

9.09 “Pandora” Airdate: 11.20.09 Writer: Andrew Landis and Julia Swift Director: Morgan Beggs Episode Grade: A-

Lois’s seizure from last week results in her being taken to the hospital and then promptly kidnapped by Tess and Stuart, who use Kryptotech to read her mind, which is suppressing the knowledge of what happened when she was zapped to the future by the Legion ring in the S8 finale: namely, that in one year, the Kandorians will have regained their powers, thanks to Tess and Zod’s solar tower that turned the yellow sun red. The Kandorians have taken over the planet and humans live in sad, dirty little Hoovervilles.

Clark zips into the lab to save Lois but is waylaid by the Kryptonite in the room, and he somehow sees inside Lois’s mind as Tess does, just in time to witness his entrance into the story. In one year, Clark has abandoned the other Justice Leaguers to try and fight Zod on his own (typical). Chloe is in charge of a rebel human outfit including Oliver, and they are working to shut down the solar tower in order to turn the sun yellow again. Clark and Lois make luuuuurve the night before the big fight, and then Chloe dies by the hand of the hot Kandorian assassin, Zod kills Clark and Oliver is left to fight alone.

Lois uses the Legion ring to go back in time and tell Clark to prevent this bleak future, but of course she forgets everything and never tells him. Luckily he was somehow able to read her mind in Tess’s Kryptolab. Also, Tess shoots Stuart in the face when he fails to perform his job to her satisfaction. Tess would be the worst boss!

After witnessing his death at Zod’s hands in the one-year-future, Clark wakes up and decides he needs to befriend Zod. You know, rather than straight kill him before he gets his powers back, as ANYONE ELSE WOULD. Emil wipes Lois’s mind clean of the pesky future memories, Lois and Clark start officially dating and Clark goes to the Kandorians to tell them how much he wants to be in a super fun Kryptonian clique together. Gah!

9.10 “Disciple” Airdate: 1.29.10 Writer: Jordan Hawley Director: Mairzee Almas Episode Grade: B

Someone in a leather hooded suit is shooting people with arrows, and naturally everyone assumes it’s the Green Arrow. First Lois is wounded through the shoulder and ends up back in the hospital (drink!). Then Chloe gets nicked, then Mia/Speedy is abducted. Clark and Lois worry that Oliver has flown into a jealous rage at their recent Official Couple Status. But no–it’s the Dark Archer!

Who? you might rightly ask. Apparently Vordigan was Oliver’s mentor and trainer in Green Arrow’s early days (after his self-taught years on the island, one presumes). Turns out Vordigan taught Oliver the all-important lesson of No Lovers (Lois), No Allies (Chloe), No Disciples (Mia). Which is confusing, as Oliver himself was Vordigan’s disciple. So Vordigan’s pissed that Ollie’s gone off-book and he lures him via Mia to a giant shrubbery labyrinth. He orders Oliver to kill him because he’s tired of being so crazy old(he’s like 40! *audible gasp*), but Oliver just injures him and calls the cops. Also Clark’s pissed that Zod’s been visiting Lois in the hospital for uncertain, but certainly creepy, reasons.

9.11 “Absolute Justice” Airdate: 2.5.10 Writer: DC comic writer and legend Geoff Johns! Part One Director: Tom Welling (yay!) Part Two Director: Glen Winter Episode Grade: A+

Yay! Geoff Johns wrote a 2-hour movie event for Smallville introducing the Justice Society of America! I wrote about it here and here. Someone is murdering former superheroes such as The Star-Spangled Kid and Sandman. Chloe’s on the case! She, Clark, and Oliver track down the remaining members of a disbanded society: Hawkman, Stargirl (Geoff Johns’ own comic creation!) and Dr. Fate. John Jones/Martian Manhunter (Phil Morris is back, baby!!) also returns to pitch in and solve the case of the superhero killer. The newbies discover that the oldies disbanded the JSA after they were framed and disgraced as capes, Watchmenstyle.

Hawkman and Oliver hate each other on sight and are always bickering cutely. Dr. Fate lays some serious fate bombs on Clark and Chloe, telling Clark that he will lead the heroes as Hawkman once led the JSA, that Clark’s destiny is to save the world and that Lex is still alive. Clark is all “whaaa?” Dr. Fate tells Chloe that her fate will be similar to his own, which could mean that she will go crazy, die, or just be a very useful tool to a superhero league (as she already is).

Turns out the villain is the little emo jackhole Icicle and he’s working for the far more treacherous and intimidating Amanda Waller (Pam Grier!) and Checkmate as part of the Suicide Squad, whom Lois is kept busy investigating for the duration of this episode. Waller reveals herself to be somehow involved with Tess, as well. (Who isn’t?) She refers to Tess as “Agent Mercer” which is certainly intriguing! 

So the JSA-ers and the JLA-ers all combine to overtake Icicle, Stargirl gives Chloe some lovely advice about turning Watchtower (holla!) into a real home for the heroes, and Amanda Waller reclaims Icicle from jail, shoots him in the head and name-drops Apokolips.  It’s all very! exciting!

9.12 “Warrior” Airdate: 2.12.10 Writer: Bryan Q. Miller Director: Allison Mack (yay!) Episode Grade: A-

ComicCon has come to Metropolis! Except it’s called WonderCon, but it’s the same thing and it allows for tons of hilarious easter eggs and costumes. Lois, as a Storm Trooper, is there with Clark when they run into Zatanna! Lois is understandably threatened by the fishnet-wearing trollop mad hitting on her boyfriend, so she goes home and changes into a much sexier Wonder Woman costume, after an awesome visual joke of Lois’s crazy costumes from past episodes.

Anyway, Zatanna is there to track down an old Warrior Angel comic book that her father once cursed after he was stiffed on some royalties or something. Too late! An adorable little thief already yoinked it and magically became a hot older guy with superpowers! He saves Chloe from something or other and she starts making some serious googly eyes at him.

He takes her flying with him and it’s all very sweet and romantic until Clark and Zatanna inform Chloe that her latest boytoy is, like, seriously a boy. Who still plays with toys. Chloe bums out and then advises the kid to allow Zatanna to magic him back into his normal life, and then the curse part of the curse kicks in. He turns into….DEVILICUS!

He tries to kill poor Chloe who just cannot get a break in the love department these days, but Clark saves her and Zatanna zaps the kid back into his normal kid status. Lois gets over her jealousy about Zatanna and she and Clark are extra cute. And Oliver finds himself comforting Chloe with his sexy chiseled hero arms, and Marla squees her heart out because she’s been rooting for a Chloe/Oliver romance since S5!!

9.13 “Persuasion” Airdate: 2.19.10 Writer: Anne Cofell Saunders Director: Christopher Petry Episode Grade: B+

Aww, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a totally implausible Smallville episode! Clark and Lois are on a date when some jackass blows a bunch of magic dust in Clark’s face for no apparent reason. For some other no apparent reason, this gives Clark the ability (drink!) to persuade people to do his bidding. Except it’s not really his bidding, just the most literal version of whatever he happens to say or think at the moment, thus radically inconvenient.

Clark makes the mistake of telling Lois he wishes they had a more traditional relationship (mostly to keep her from investigating Tess and Zod’s solar tower), and Lois turns into Donna Reed, trying on wedding dresses, baking pies, weeping over Clark’s high school letter jacket and essentially just acting in the most hilarious way possible. Erica Durance is so damned funny!

Clark somehow inadvertently convinces Chloe to hate Lois, and she bitches her out and then tries to blow up the Planet, or something. Clark convinces Zod to tell him the truth about Jor-El’s death, and Zod tells him Tess killed him (which isn’t true, but Zod didn’t know it). So Clark somehow persuades HIMSELF to kill Tess, but Chloe manages to stop him with a well-timed piece of Kryptonite. Then it turns out that the hot Kandorian assassin (to whom I should really give a name by now–Alia–but she’s about to die so what’s the point?) actually killed Jor-El, so Zod kills her. And Clark finally gets some sense and eye-splodes the solar towers, thinking that will prevent the scary red sun future. Well, it’s a step. Also KILLING ZOD might prevent it, too. Just a hunch.

The plot was really dumb for this episode but it was a worthy frame for some very humorous acting on Durance’s part, so I liked it!

 9.14 “Conspiracy” Airdate: 2.26.10 Writers: Al Septien and Turi Meyer Director: Turi Meyer Episode Grade: A-

Man, it does not pay to be Clark’s girlfriend on this show, does it? Lois gets kidnapped again, this time by a conspiracy theorist who wants to convince her there are aliens on the planet so she’ll write an article about it. Lois isn’t convinced even though this guy has some compelling evidence–the Kandorians have been experimenting on him (much like on John Corben), and so he’s kidnapped a bunch of Kandorians (including Vala, the sister of Zod’s wife Faora who’s a lot nicer now than she was last season) to torture them and find out their secrets. Clark and Zod whoosh into the guy’s lab to save Lois and Vala respectively, and Zod gets shot and dies. Instead of letting him stay dead and thus SOLVING ALL OF HIS PROBLEMS, Clark drips some of his own healing blood into Zod’s wound and saves his life (Lois sees none of this). Also they take care of the bad guy somehow; I forget how.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Oliver are still being incredibly gorgeous, snarky and blonde together. Ollie discovers that Chloe’s been siphoning off some of his billions and he confronts her. Chloe is unapologetic and shows Oliver what she’s spent the funds on: a stock of Kryptonite weapons intended to fight the Kandorians if the grim future Lois saw is to come to pass. Oliver agrees, and they also agree not to tell Clark, seeing as how a Kryptonite weapon would totally kill his ass, so he’s kinda touchy about it. Plus as he just proved, he is INCAPABLE OF KILLING BAD GUYS. Or even just letting them die without interfering.

Clark and Zod have a friendaissance on the roof of the Daily Planet and Zod speaks his earnest gratitude for Clark’s saving his life. But then Clark leaves and Zod up-up-and-aways, having apparently regained his powers with Clark’s blood and is now able to fly, even though that blood has been inside of Clark for 23 years and he still can’t fly.

 9.15 “Escape” Airdate: 4.2.10 Writer: Genevieve Sparling Director: Kevin Fair Episode Grade: A

Such a fun episode! Everyone gets nookie! Clark takes Lois on a vacation to a small bed & breakfast outside the city after he found a pamphlet for the joint at her apartment. There, they run into Chloe and Oliver, discovering their relationship for the first time in a hella awkward scenario. Turns out, it was Chloe‘s B&B pamphlet and Clark just assumed it was Lois’s because he thinks of Chloe as a dried up old maid who never takes sexy vacations. Lois is thrilled for Oliver and Chloe, as she should be. Clark is concerned Oliver will hurt Chloe, as he probably should be, too.

Lois is typically klutzy and accidentally releases the spirit of the Silver Banshee in a convoluted manner. The Silver Banshee first possesses Chloe who then gets stark naked and walks in the shower, trying to seduce Clark. SO AWKWARD AND HOT AND NAKED.

Clark is aghast, Lois walks in on the two and is further aghast, and she runs into the woods and gets possessed by the Banshee in turn, releasing Chloe. Then Lois tries to seduce and kill Oliver, and it’s all very Smallville meets Three’s Company. Chloe solves everything eventually, as she tends to do, and Clark and Lois are back to being cute, and Chloe and Oliver have an incredibly mature conversation about her former feelings for Clark, his former feelings for Lois, and their budding romance. It’s really sweet and charming.

On the far less sweet and charming end of the spectrum, Zod uses his newfound powers to beat the shit out of Tess, and then she zaps him with Kryptonite, and then they have sex and I VOMIT REPEATEDLY. Oh, and Clark reveals to Chloe that Jor-El has trained him to have sex with a mortal without blowing a load like a shotgun right through her back. Chloe doesn’t venture to exclaim “OVERSHARE!” so I will do it for her. Finally, Zod uses a voice modifier to call Lois as The Blur and ask her to dig up dirt on Tess.

 9.16 “Checkmate” Airdate: 4.9.10 Writer: John Chisolm Director: Tim Scanlan Episode Grade: A+

One hell of an episode! Genuinely one of the greatest episodes Smallville has ever had. Where to begin with the amazingness? “Agent Mercer,” as Checkmate head Amanda Waller called Tess in “Absolute Justice,” has been re-activated. The ep begins with Tess donning a wig and staging an elaborate and incredible action sequence where she can “get in trouble” so Green Arrow can “save her.” This is a ruse to trap Green Arrow, and she brings him (without discovering Oliver’s identity) to Waller. Tess may be STONE COLD AWESOME, but she didn’t properly secure the detainee and Oliver escapes with a handy lock-pick he keeps somewhere in those green leather tights.

Checkmate is still able to secure their real target; namely, Chloe. Waller is mandatorily “recruiting” superheroes to build a team against the alien invasion, and she needs Watchtower’s (holla!) intel. Oliver and Tess have another one of their verbal sparring matches and make simultaneous discoveries: Oliver realizes that Tess works for Checkmate and is the person who abducted him, and Tess realizes that Oliver is Green Arrow. Clark scares the shit out of Tess and she tells him everything, including that someone named “Watchtower” is the real target. Clark finds Checkmate’s gorgeous headquarters and confronts Waller as John Jones turns off the power grid, enabling Clark to rescue Chloe in the absolute, hands down coolest sequence in Smallville history. I recommend watching the entire clip, but if you’re short on time, skip forward to the 3min35sec mark. IT IS AMAZING.

Clark and Chloe make up and Clark agrees that it’s best to work with the group instead of going off all half-cocked like he always does. Tess feels serious regret for her role in Checkmate and every other mistake she’s ever made. Oliver isn’t interested, but she tells him she’s going underground to escape from Checkmate. John Jones steals Waller’s alien evidence and wipes her mind of Chloe’s, Clark’s and Oliver’s identities. But he’s also apparently working for someone other than the Justice League; the same person who infiltrates Checkmate’s headquarters and leaves an ominous calling card: the RED QUEEN! (dun dun DUUUUN!)

9.17 “Upgrade” Airdate: 4.16.10 Writers: Andrew Landis and Julia Swift Director: Mike Rohl Episode Grade: B+

Metallo’s back! Tess is working on giving him a red Kryptonite heart to spiff him up after his previous breakdown. Lois is still following orders from Zod disguising his voice as The Blur, and she finds her way to the lab where Tess is experimenting on John Corben. She gets knocked around and Corben saves the day. Clark finds his way there because he thinks Lois is keeping something from him (GLASS HOUSES, DOUBLE IDENTITY DUDE), and he inhales some of the red K and turns back into the mean-spirited, inhibitions-free, slightly sexier Clark we all know and love/hate. He finds out about Chloe’s Kryptonite arsenal and kicks her ass; he re-befriends Zod and gets into general superhero hijinks. Including, idiotically, bringing Zod to the Fortress so Zod can know ALL of Clark’s most important secrets and vulnerabilities.

Tess and Chloe reluctantly work together to send Metallo to the Fortress to stop Clark from further ruinous errors, and Metallo manages to zap the red K out of Clark with some green K. Clark apologizes to Chloe for the ass-whoopin’ and she apologizes for keeping the Kryptonite arsenal from him. Tess tells Zod that Clark has been trying to get the regular Kandorians jobs so they can integrate into society, and Zod loses it because he wants his aliens to be MEAN, dammit! So he doses his closest soldiers with his empowered blood so they all regain their powers, as well. John Corben hits on Lois but she gently tells him she’s happy with Clark.

9.18 “Charade” 4.23.10 Writers: Don Whitehead and Holly Henderson Director: exec producer Brian Peterson Episode Grade: B

The Evil DA from “Idol” is back–he was released from prison and Clark and Lois’s new editor, Franklin Stern (the wonderful Blu Mankuma from Tinman) tells them that whichever one gets the story gets to keep his or her job. Lois and Clark are already having issues about secrets and whether or not to say the l-word; the story competition does not help. They each infiltrate the Evil DA’s Welcome Back From Jail party; Clark in a tux (yum); Lois in a bunny suit, jumping out of a cake (naturally).

Clark discovers that Zod has been disguising his voice and speaking to Lois as The Blur, and he tries to warn Lois not to trust the person she’s been speaking to on the phone. Lois thinks he’s just jealous and wants to expose The Blur. They get into a highly conspicuous fight at the DA’s party and their editor sacks them both! Turns out Evil DA is working for Checkmate operative Maxwell Lord (Gil Bellows) who is trying to discover The Blur’s identity.

Lois gets kidnapped AGAIN, but Clark saves the day as per yuuzh. Also Maxwell Lord is picked up by The Red Queen and we see some nice stems and hot red shoes. Maxwell Lord seems disconcerted. Clark calls Lois as The Blur and tells her they must not speak or work together anymore as it’s too dangerous (because she’s been kidnapped 50 times this season alone) and because he can’t risk someone else impersonating him. He tells her they won’t speak again and if someone calls saying he’s The Blur, she should know it’s not. Lois is devastated because she feels that helping The Blur has given her life meaning. Also she’s in love with him. Yep, it’s the iconic love triangle of two between Lois, Clark and Superman!

9.19 “Sacrifice” Airdate: 4.30.10 Writers: Justin Hartley (yay!), Walter Wong and Brian Q. Miller  Director: Kevin Fair Episode Grade: A-

Just as Tess sneaks into Chloe’s Watchtower (holla!) with Chloe there, Amanda Waller and recent Checkmate agent Stuart (now with one eye after Tess shot him in “Pandora”) break into Watchtower’s firewalls. Watchtower goes into emergency shutdown, and Chloe and Tess are stuck inside with rapidly decreasing oxygen. They bond a little over their respective Oliver crushes and eventually manage to escape by seriously damaging Watchtower (boo!). Checkmate is still tracking them through a honing device in Tess’s shoulder that can only be turned off by her death. Chloe takes her to the hospital and Tess allows her to kill her and then revive her with the paddles. Chloe almost doesn’t revive her but then relents. They are then free of Waller and Stuart.

Meanwhile, the no-powers Kandorians are being led by Faora, Zod’s wife whom he now considers a traitor for being nice to Clark and trying to live a normal life on Earth. Oliver is tracking Zod, and Zod returns the favor by branding his Z symbol on Oliver’s sexy, sexy, waxed chest. Hopefully his billions can pay for some elaborate plastic surgery because his poor, pretty chest! Checkmate tries to kidnap Faora but Clark stops them. Zod manages to grab Faora and kills her for her “treason,” even though she has done literally NOTHING this entire season. After killing her, Zod realizes she was pregnant with his child and he regrets it massively. He pins Faora’s death on Clark and the humans, and all of the remaining Kandorians turn against Clark. Zod destroys the Checkmate offices and headquarters and the Kandorians zip off into the sky.

9.20 “Hostage” Airdate: 5.7.10 Writers: Jordan Hawley and Anne Cofell Saunders Director: Glen Winter Episode Grade: A-

Yes! Mama Kent (Annette O’Toole) is back for a visit, and she’s brought her new boyfriend, Perry White (Michael McKean, O’Toole’s real-life husband). Clark is needless to say surprised that his old drunken tormentor/friend is now dating his mom, but he’s got bigger fish to fry. He’s stressed about the upcoming alien war and Lois is busy freaking out since they lost their jobs and The Blur no longer requires her help. She’s feeling lost and purposeless and Clark’s distraction causes her to break up with him right before Martha and Perry arrive. They pretend during an awkward family dinner to still be dating AND working together until Lois spills the beans on both counts. She and Perry (iconic twosome!) team up to work on a story about the Red Queen and the Kandorian Book of Rao.

Maxwell Lord is still working for the Red Queen, brainwashing Tess into thinking she’s held hostage in the Luthor mansion with Oliver. Tess shakes off his brainplay, but still leads Lord to the Book of Rao, which was the Red Queen’s goal all along.

Clark and Chloe are working together to find the Kandorians, but with little success since Watchtower’s (holla!) destruction last week in “Sacrifice.” Chloe reveals that she’s got Watchtower back online, but she’s tired of playing Big Sister. Now that she has Ollie (squee!), she wants to live a real life, you know, OUTSIDE of Watchtower. Clark understands, but tells her he needs her for this battle. Chloe cowgirls up and she and Clark realize that the Red Queen is someone who is trying to protect Clark. Namely: Mama Kent! (dun dun DUUUUN!)

Yes, that bad-ass lady with a bad-ass drink named after her has been taking some pretty serious risks in the name of her beloved son! She comes clean with Clark and explains that she wanted to procure the Book of Rao for him so he can defeat the Kandorians. Unfortunately, she’s discovered that the Book will send ALL Kryptonians to a different dimension. Even Clark. hmmm…

Oh and also! Perry speaks to Franklin Stern and gets Clark and Lois their jobs back. Clark seems less than enthused, to Lois’s consternation, but it’s just because he’s so stressed about the upcoming Kandorian war. Lois gets a note from “The Blur” (read: Zod) that tells her it’s time for them to finally meet. She totally ignores the thing about how the real Blur told her not to trust anyone claiming to be him, because she’s just omg! too excited!

 9.21 “Salvation” Airdate: 5.14.10 Writer: Turi Meyer and Al Septien Director: Greg Beeman Episode Grade: A+ 

(I’m too thrilled with this episode to contain my glee to a short summary!)

 The final episode of the season opens with a flashforward to the year 2013. Lois works under publisher Perry White at the Daily Planet, across the desk from mild-mannered Clark Kent. Lex Luthor is running for president and it’s front page news. As it should be, as only 3 years ago everyone assumed he was dead. A plane is about to crash into the building. Lois glances at Clark’s desk where his empty chair is spinning and a pair of nerdy black glasses are haphazardly tossed on the desk. Lois yells for Jimmy Olsen the Younger (sigh) to grab his camera as she rushes to the window, a knowing smile on her face as a blur of red, blue and yellow whooshes across the Daily Planet globe and…Clark wakes up in his barn, back in his civvies. But what’s this? A box from Mama Kent with a note that says “In case you decide to stay.” Clark opens the box and a gorgeous, rousing score plays as the legendary Superman shield is reflected in his baby blues. Mama Kent provides him with his suit! Marla is struck literally speechless for the length of the credits and commercial break due to the intense geeksqueeing that is happening in her brain. 

 Lois heads to Clark’s crow’s nest as the note left by “The Blur” instructed. She is dismayed to find Zod waiting for her. He convinces her that he is The Blur and that Clark is trying to expose him. She doesn’t believe Clark could be involved (heh), but he tells her to use her journalistic instincts to discover the truth for herself.

Clark, Chloe and Oliver are working together to set up JSA/JLA sentries around the world to prepare for the Kandorian war. Clark tells Chloe that the Book of Rao can prevent the war by sending all Kryptonians, including himself, to another dimension. Chloe tells him this may be the only way, although it would break her heart to lose Clark forever. Clark believes his destiny is on earth, to protect humans.

Tess surprises Zod in the Fortress of Solitude. She tells him she is there to atone for her sins; egomaniac Zod assumes she means by giving him the Book of Rao and asking for his forgiveness. Tess knocks the shit out of him with some Kryptonite knuckles (YES!), but stupidly allows Zod to get far enough away that he can regain his powers. He eye-burns her face off. Seriously. It’s messed up.

Clark zips into the Fortress to ask Jor-El what to do; he discovers that Zod has crushed his crystal console, the only means to communicate with Jor-El and to use the Book of Rao to send the Kandorians away. Zod smirks some; Clark babbles on about how even the most evil person can be saved, despite all of his evidence to the contrary. Clark discovers what Zod has done to Tess and whooshes her to the hospital, where she urges him with her near-dying breath to use the Book of Rao at the new console she hid at his crow’s nest to zap the Kryptonians off of earth. She tells him it’s the only way to save the planet and her last chance to redeem herself. All the while, an old lady whose face is hidden by a hood knits in the hall ominously.

The Kandorians are stationed around the world, eye-sploding things and eye-burning Zod’s symbol into significant global monuments like the pyramids, Great Wall of China and Washington Monument. Apparently the government thinks it’s a “hoax” so they’re not getting involved yet. Well, that’s lucky! Clark arrives at Watchtower where Chloe has virtually assembled all of the JSA and JLA (I even see a “flash” of red and yellow in the corner, although Kyle Gallner was probably off doing press for Nightmare on Elm Street.) Clark announces to the crew that he intends to use the Book of Rao to send all Kryptonians, including himself, to a peaceful plane of existence. He informs the remaining superheroes that it is up to them to protect the humans after he has left Earth. The JSA and JLA are distressed but eventually agree, holding their fists to their chests in a touching tribute after Clark’s inspirational speech. Chloe is proud of Clark but runs from the room in tears. Oliver tells Clark he needs to say goodbye to Lois; Clark agrees, but doesn’t want to tell her the truth about himself and then leave her forever.

Lois has taken Zod’s advice and started digging around on Clark. She finds some Blur files and a photo of Zod on Clark’s work computer (super covert, Clark. Not even password-protected?!) and then heads to the Kent farm where she finds Virgil Swann’s journal, including a picture of the Book of Rao. She is devastated by Clark’s betrayal, and when he arrives to tell her how much he cares about her but refuses to admit that he is keeping anything from her, she tells him she has been offered a job at the Kenya desk by Perry White and leaves in tears.

Chloe is wigging out at Watchtower (holla!) because all of her monitors are down and she can’t assist the JSA/JLA. Oliver tells her in THE HOTTEST WAY POSSIBLE that he bought Chloe her own satellite as a present. Man, I’ve gotta get one of those billionaires one day. Chloe geeks out, Oliver heads out to set up the satellite link and they kiss sweetly before he leaves. squee!

Tess is in critical condition at the hospital and the old lady just keeps on knitting. Tess eventually flatlines and the doctor calls her time of death. The old lady waits until the ER workers have left and then enters Tess’s room stealthily.

 Chloe and Oliver are on walkie talkies as she guides him through the satellite station to turn on the link. He does so and she realizes that the motion detectors have picked up several other people in the station ducts with Oliver, quickly closing in on him. He realizes they’ll be able to track Chloe if he stays online with her, so he has to let her go. Oliver cries out, “I love you!” and Chloe urgently returns the sentiment. SQUEEE! His last transmission informs Chloe that the intruders aren’t Kandorian. Checkmate?

Lois has procured the Book of Rao for Zod, but she still has her doubts. They meet on the Metropolis streets and she lies to him that she hid the Book of Rao at the place where she confessed to The Blur that he was the most important person in her life. Zod realizes she’s on to him,  tosses her through a flower stand and zips off. Clark blurs in, saves Lois and whooshes to the shadows before she can see his face. Lois apologizes tearfully for thinking Zod was The Blur and hands the Book of Rao behind her.

Clark reaches out from the shadows, takes the Book, and pulls Lois to him for a long, passionate kiss, zipping off before she can see him. But Lois would know those luscious Kent lips anywhere, and a dazed smile crosses her face as she whispers “Clark!” after him. SQUEE!

Clark meets Zod and the rest of the Kandorians at his crow’s nest. They prepare to fight Clark, and he tells them all that Zod killed Faora when she was pregnant with his unborn child. Zod idiotically whispers to Clark that Faora deserved it and he never wanted to murder his own son, somehow forgetting that all of the Kandorians have superhearing. They turn against Zod and allow Clark to use the Book of Rao to take them all to a peaceful existence somewhere other than Earth. Clark inserts the Book of Rao into the console and one by one, the Kandorians are transported through a beam of yellow light into Someplace That is Else. Zod has other plans, however, unsheathing a blue Kryptonite dagger to temporarily strip him of his powers so the Book of Rao won’t recognize him as a Kryptonian and ship him off.  Clark steps toward Zod, now also powerless, for an utterly EPIC, rain-drenched battle. This fight scene is absolutely stunning and beautifully choreographed.

Zod tells Clark he would rather reign in hell (Earth) than serve in heaven (the other dimension), and that he will rule Earth from a throne. Clark decides to sacrifice himself to save his home and allows Zod to stab him with the blue K dagger. Clark leaps backwards from the building into the rain, taking the blue K with him and allowing Zod to be drawn into the other dimension, thereby defeating both Zod and himself. As Clark falls through the rain into the streets below, rendered powerless by the dagger, the episode ends.

Season 9 Overall Grade:

What a spectacular season, my friends! It started out fairly strong, faltered just a bit mid-season and then finished in an incredible triumph! So what do you think this means for next season? My Season 10 Predictions (most of which are totally cobbled from all over the internet, so don’t give me too much credit here) are as follows.

Season 10 Predictions:

We know that Allison Mack will not be a series regular next year. As we discovered in episode 9.20 “Hostage,” Chloe is tired of living her life through Watchtower (holla!). I believe Chloe will take a far more active role in the Justice League, traveling around the world to assist the superheroes as more than a techie and returning for significant JLA milestones. You know, like sweeps and the finale. Oh and also she and Ollie are gonna get married and have like 10 million beautiful blonde babies OMG squeee!

We also know that Cassidy Freeman will be returning in Season 10. Tom Welling confirmed that the old lady from the finale is Granny Goodness, meaning that Tess will most likely be resurrected next season as a supervillain, recruited by Granny Goodness to work for Darkseid. Remember that in episode 9.16 “Checkmate,” Amanda Waller hints that Apokolips is on the horizon, and obviously Checkmate must return as we haven’t received a resolution since Zod blew up their headquarters. Now THAT will be a worthy adversary. Sorry, CallumBlueAsZod, but your wacky marble-mouthed line delivery and humdrum Kandorian Soldiers of Bore just never did it for me this season.

Speaking of worthy adversaries, it’s clear that Tom Welling wants Michael Rosenbaum to return as Lex for the final season. It’s clear from the “Lex Luthor Runs for President” 2013 headline glimpsed in the finale that the producers want him back, as well. Rosenbaum has stated that he will not return. Can the producers and Welling convince him to return for a finale cameo? I’m sure they’ll throw lots of money at him, and he and Welling are friends. However, Rosenbaum may be busy working on his Sy Fy show, which sounds awesome, by the way. I’m sure the writers can work around it, managing to have Lex “return” to Smallville without inconveniencing Rosenbaum, but it would be great to have the real thing back, just for one final episode—probably with amnesia so he won’t know anything about his old friend Clark. Welling also wants Kristin Kreuk to return to Smallville as Lana Lang, and I imagine she’ll be easier to convince, as she was recently dropped from her sitcom pilot, poor thing. 

 How will Clark survive his fall? Maybe John Jones will intervene again as he did in the phenomenal S8 premiere “Odyssey.” Will we see Clark wear the suit his mother sent him in “Salvation?” Will Lois still know that Clark is The Blur, or will the writers concoct some half-assed way around that? I predict that, this being the final season, Lois will know that Clark and The Blur are one and the same. We’ve already moved past the love triangle from the comics, done in its own special Smallville way. I believe we’ll watch Clark receive his final training from Jor-El (from the new console Tess constructed on the crow’s nest?), learn to fly, and wear his suit as he soars into the air in the series finale. Just like I predicted here.

And I will be here every week to gleefully rehash every detail with you! Yep, next season I’ll give thorough weekly recaps of each episode, as well as news and theories. I am so eager to experience the final season of a show that has meant so much to me for so long. In the meantime, watch those reruns, play the drinking game, and check back here often for scoop, spoilers and even some scholarly critiques!

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12 Responses to Smallville Season 9 Review and Episode Guide

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  12. Bill of Evergreen says:

    I’d thought I’d found a great reviewer for Smallville, but your A+ for S09 E16 doesn’t even mention what a bogus casting choice the made for Waller, She takes me right out of the story and into a soundstage of bogusness. Bummer. Director did a lousy job with her. Ruined the episode. Had hoped you’d be a guide for other seasons but you haven’t left room in your grading for exemplary when you give A+ to episodes with gaping holes in the casting and directing. Otherwise, I really appreciate the site you’ve created. Thanks just the same.

    Bill, Evergreen, Colorado

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