Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman
Writer: Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders from a story by Genevieve Sparling
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Network: The CW, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: April 15, 2011
With five episodes left of the entire series run of SMALLVILLE, it looks like every episode is counting. With “Kent,” it turns out to be a particularly emotional and strong Season 10 entry that pays off the alternate universe story points we previously saw in “Luthor” where Clark Kent (Tom Welling) was raised by Lionel Luthor and became a super baddie.
Clark Luthor (or AltClark as I like to call him) is essentially the flipside of Clark Kent – someone who is ruthless, bloodthirsty and in the alternate universe one of the most hated men in that world. They even know that the Krypton meteorite can lessen his super powers.
Naturally, AltClark wants back in to Clark Kent’s world and finds a way to swap places with him again.
This time, things are a bit different. Whereas “Luthor” was Clark Kent seeing life with Lionel Luthor, “Kent” is about seeing what life is like for Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) without Clark.
It’s heart-wrenching to say the least, and it gives the real Clark a chance to reconcile with his other dad (who hates him in the alt-world) and get a few remaining moments to tell him how much he meant to him – and how the stuff he taught him has made him a better man.
Meanwhile, AltClark wants to kill Lionel and bed Tess (Cassidy Freeman) – and start over in this new world that doesn’t know him as a monster. There’s some great unresolved tension between AltClark and Tess as well.
Ultimately, the real Clark finds his way back into the world, saves Tess from being strangled by AltClark and then tries to put on his Pa Kent hat (or in this case jacket) to teach AltClark what it means to own his powers.
He takes him back to the Fortress of Solitude where he introduces him to Jor-El (something he wasn’t aware of in the other world), and at that instant AltClark is trapped back in his world where it’s left open-ended whether he learned a lesson or not.
The framework for “Kent” is also about Clark’s mom giving Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark the deed to the farm (no doubt to sell it, or perhaps not). With Clark globe-trotting nightly to make sure the world is safe and Lois working late nights in Metropolis at the Daily Planet, holding on to the farm almost seems silly. Memories are memories, but home is where the heart is, which is what Lois and Clark realize by episode’s end. And they commit to selling the farm and moving permanently to Metropolis.
There are so many wonderful moments in this episode, but seeing Jonathan Kent for what I can assume is the very last time, is absolutely a perfect full circle moment. Clark needs to realize what his adopted father taught him and that he has grown into the man he is because of him. Plus, he needs to stop holding on to memories that prevent him from becoming the hero he needs to be.
Freeman gets a chance to play a side of Tess we haven’t seen before, and to see her rattled by AltClark and to fully realize her unrequited love for the real Clark Kent. It’s really interesting. Freeman is great in these scenes and it really shades her character in a whole other light.
Durance is also really growing into the Lois we all know, love and remember from the movies. She’s even dressing a bit like Margot Kidder from the first movie (or at least echoing her style in the first scene in this episode). There’s so much subtly Durance brings to the table – especially in the scenes where she realizes Clark is really AltClark.
The writing in “Kent” by showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders from a story by Genevieve Sparling is top notch. It’s rare for an episode of a series to make every single line count, and they do that with “Kent.”
Director Jeannot Szwarc (who has helmed many episodes since the series began and was the director of the 1984 SUPERGIRL movie) brings great style to this episode. It’s effortless directing augmented by two completely differnet filmmaking styles for the warm fuzzy atmosphere of the real world and the dark, bleak bleached out look of the AltWorld.
“Kent” is by far one of the finest episodes of Season 10 to date. Expertly plotted, perfectly acted and wonderfully directed it gets to the heart of where the show needs to be come series end – and it does it with heart, emotion and reverence for everything that’s come before it.
It’s sad to see SMALLVILLE end, but I know fans are eternally grateful to the CW for allowing them an official finale season to fully wrap-up the ten year arc properly.
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CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with Erica Durance
CLICK HERE for more reviews of SMALLVILLE – Season 10
CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s interview with executive producers Brian Wayne Peterson, Kelly Souders
CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s interview with Phil Morris on being the Martian Manhunter