This is basically a reprint of comments that I made in response to Jose Antonio Rivera, when he asked me for my opinion of Smallville Season 9.
I finally got a chance to watch the finale of Smallville. I
missed the third-to-last ep, "Sacrifice," because of issues with Time Warner "upgrading" my digital cable and things that went wacky with the
tech. BOOOO!!!! And, unfortunately, I can't seem to find it online. Fromwhat I heard, though, it was really, really, good and a very strong episode.
In fact, I think that the final four episodes (trusting the opinion of my source on "Sacrifice," a man whom I will call The Red King, in order to protect his identity) were outstanding, given the uneven nature of Season 9 as a whole. I hate to admit, but I have to, that I have been disappointed with quite a few of the episodes this season, particularly in the second half. The Valentine's episode was pure fluff, and the one where Clark, Lois, Oliver, and Chloe all end up at the faux-Scottish bed & breakfast felt like they were just wasting time. And in a season where they have such a strong arc going, I don't understand why they felt they needed so many "filler" episodes.
The only answer I can come up with to the unevenness is the fact that, on a lot of the episodes (especially in the troublesome second half), there were upwards of twelve producers of various types. I think we've got too many cooks in the kitchen, and the show has suffered as a result.
I'm glad that they seem to have pulled it out of this pattern in the final four eps, and I really hope that they can keep it up for next season. I agree with [Jose], that this has been the most cliff-hangy season
finale we've seen in a long time, and the plot-seeds that they've sown for next season hold a lot of promise.
I guess what frustrates me most about the writing and producing is that
the source material they have to work with is so rich and of such depth that they shouldn't have to resort to episodes like the ones I mentioned above. That was fine in the first few seasons, when they were still establishing the characters and their relationships, as well as establishing the place of "Smallville" as a show within the Superman mythology. At this point, however, they need to focus more on expanding and grounding "Smallville"s place in that mythology.
I understand the need for an episode every now and then which is light-hearted and gives us a break from the main arc. However, this is not "Supernatural;" the story is not a constant barrage of dark,
depressing events and assaults on the characters (which can wear on the audience's emotions pretty quickly). "Smallville" should have no more than one or two of those "throw-away" episodes in an entire season, especially in a season like 9, where the arc was intricate and involved, and the audience could easily lose the threads as well as the momentum. I guess that's the word I'm looking for: Season 9 lost its momentum too many times. I'm just relieved that it got it back at the end.
I'm hoping that, in Season 10, the writers get their focus back and continue the task they started two seasons ago: building the Justice League. And I hope that some of the Legion of Producers back off and let the writers do their job.
We have known from the beginning where this story is going. The biggest compliment I had for this show from the start is that even though we all know that Clark becomes Superman, and Lex becomes the most evil man in the world, the writers still gave us hope that maybe Lex would turn out okay. And that's the mark of good writing: making us suspend our knowledge of future events in hope of a different outcome. I really, really want them to get back to that level of strong writing. And I have
hope that they will.