Smallville: Kent

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  April 21, 2011 @ 1:38am

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

Smallville bets the farm and resurrects Jonathan Kent from the back forty one last time. Bad rural jokes aside John Schneider returns for, what looks like, his last Smallville appearance as the always strong, honest and heroic father of Clark; Jonathan Kent. Its getting closer to end for Smallville as the last few original cast members start to return for their final goodbyes.

In "Kent" the alternate Clark (or Clark Luthor), from that parallel dimension explored in the "Luthor" episode, uses his mirror box to return to Clark Kent's dimension after him and his weakness were outted to the public in his world. Of course with no plans to share C.K.'s universe with him Clark Luthor sends Clark on a one way trip back to the darker reality, trapping him there as public enemy number one. There, with Oliver dead and the world against him, Clark seeks refuge at the Kent farm with an unlikely individual: his father (alternate one). Meanwhile, as Lois and Emil are try to salvage the broken mirror box to return Clark Kent, Clark Luthor pressures Tess into tracking down Lionel or else.

The episode starts out with Lois and Clark receiving an early wedding gift in the mail from Martha, being the deed to the Kent family farm. "Kent" toys with the notion of the farm possibly being sold in the near future as Lois and Clark would start their new married life in the big city of Metropolis. With the large Luthor mansion set having already been destroyed, as well as a few minor set pieces, it obvious that Smallville is slowly downsizing in preparation of the series coming to an end. I get it. Out with the old and in with the new. But I hope Smallville's producers and show runners realize that the show isn't over just yet. Being a fan of this show for many years, to me, no scene or setting symbolizes Smallville more than the Kent farm set. The thought of Tom Welling not having any final moments as Clark in the barn's loft for the series finale is too hard to grasp. So many defining character moments for Clark, and other major characters, have happened in or around the Kent home and Kent barn. To have perhaps the biggest defining moment of the series for Clark [him becoming Superman] and not have that set as part of the whole experience is incomprehensible. Losing the Luthor mansion set before Michael Rosenbaum could return for the big finale is regretful enough, so fingers crossed that this iconic Vancouver set piece stays standing till the last frame airs.

Most of "Kent" takes place in the regular Smallville universe with Welling doing another outstanding job in his Clark Luthor persona. Episode like this are both fun for the audience at home watching and, from the looks of things, fun for Welling himself as an actor when he is able to give a refreshingly different performance. Most actors will probably say they enjoy playing the good guy but love to play the villain when they have the chance. Even though Welling only has a few short 'Multiplicity'-type scenes, playing off himself, he really makes you believe there are two very different characters. Clark Luthor's scenes with Tess actually turn out to be interesting to watch, but when it comes down to it I don't see much of a point in involving Cassidy Freeman's character in as much as they have been doing when it comes to the culmination of the main story.

Looking back on season 10 here so far the best story-lines have been from these alternate reality concepts. It is an ingenious plot device to bring back past cast members and still keep the series fresh and exciting. As a fan I've never been worried when hearing a former cast member like John Schneider or John Glover were returning to the show after their characters had been killed off. Even with there being some poor quality episodes in the last couple of seasons I have always been more excited than worried when news of past characters were somehow coming back. Though "Kent" didn't have another appearance by Glover with this plot device, the best part of the episode was it enabled Clark and Jonathan to have one last father son talk. In one simple two minute scene Welling and Schneider are able to condenses the series' core foundation of family, and its importance it had for Clark's ultimate destiny, without having to switch to some montage of old season 1-to-5 moments. But was this last Clark and Jonathan moment as emotional as the John Schneider exit in season five? No, and for good reason. In Smallville's 101st episode, "Vengeance", when Clark walks into the Kent farm home to see and hear his father say goodbye one last time (or so it would seem back then) in an old home movie that was the pinnacle of the series' emotionally moving moments; hands down. I'll admit it, watching that scene and seeing the indestructible Clark Kent breakdown and cry made a grown man like me even blubber a bit back then. Since then, including this episode, Welling and Schneider have had another three goes at them having another father son good-bye over the years but the writers have been smart not to attempt to duplicate that truly defining farewell.

The redemption and second chances Jonathan and Martha raised Clark to give to others was the most fitting end to the alternate Clark Luthor story-line. Choosing not to fight Clark Luthor, or simply send him to the phantom zone, proves that Clark Kent is becoming more like the man his father (Jonathan) would have wanted him to be and also becoming more prepared for Jor-El's warning. The episode also talks of this new gold coloured kryptonite that will be able to permanently remove Clark's abilities. All-in-all it looks like when Clark finally is confronted by that 'darkness'/Darkseid foe he will be as ready as he'll ever be. But if he is not ready, and the introduction of a new colour of kryptonite would suggest otherwise, Watchtower will have a back-up plan encase Clark really goes dark side.

Tags: Smallville, Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, John Schneider, John Glover, Michael Rosenbaum, Superman

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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