Season 7 Episode 18


Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 01, 2008 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
714 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Clark wonders if the world would be better off if he never came to Smallville, Jor-El shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

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  • It's a Wonderful Life, Superman

    There's a lot that I like about this episode in terms of classic Superman. On one hand, when everyone didn't know Clark, they presented their meeting him closer to what you'd expect from a classic superman story. Lois didn't know Clark, no one knew his secret, he wore glasses purely as a disguise. There was a part of me that wanted them to keep it that way for the rest of the series. The other part of me said no, they built too much to throw it all away, still a very intriguing episode. I was satisfied. I mean, the Krypton stuff could have been stretched out over a whole episode and done a bit better, but for what it was it was cool.moreless
  • It's A Wonderful Smallville

    Apocalypse-When Clark wonders if the world would be better off if he never came to Smallville, Jor-El shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

    Most series don't even make it to a 100th episode, let alone a 150th episode! But thanks to strong fanbase and Superman longevity, Smallville hits another milestone in it's now 7 year run. But I wish the episode leaved up to higher expectations. While there are moments of excellence, the flaws that have Smallville all season drag the episode down a couple of notchs. "Apocalypse" promised us something epic and truly remarkable hour of telvesion, yet it feels more like a decent filler thanks some strong acting from the regulars and nice anvils from the Superman mythology. "Apocalypse" may seem like one hell of a ride at first, but after watching, the more you realize it wasn't nearly as good as you'd hoped.

    First off, Tom Welling is becoming such an exceptional director (he should really consider it as an alternative career!) The scenes througout the episode look quite stunning and more polished than how Smallville usually looks. The best sequence of Tom's directing is when Clark wakes up in the alternate reality and the scenery around him lights up one at a time. It looked so skillfully done and Tom impressed me. Yet at the same time, I felt his acting suffered for it. Not that Tom was awful, he just didn't have that same intensity in his performance that he had in "Descent". But who can blame him when the writers keep shoving horrid lines about Lana down his throat! One of the reason why the episode suffers is because Clark is focused on saving the world at one point then the next his obsessed with Lana wtf?

    The whole cast does a fine job in their alternative roles, especially Micheal Rosenbaum! Seeing Lex as the cruel President he was prophecized be all the way back in Season 1 was great, too. Erica Durance finally gets to ACTUALLY play the Lois Lane we all know and love. She looked and played first class ace reporter so well that is almost makes when to hit the writers for developing Lois in an alternate reality then rather develop her in real time. It shows how the lazy the writers are as they know how the characters should be portrayed yet they rather play around with them, arrgh! Tom and Erica worked so well in their scene together. The dynamic between them was electrifying as we get a taste of how Clark and Lois will interact in the future. The scenes of Clark rescuing Lois and Lois creating Clark's mild mannered reporter persona were priceless. Even Jimmy was the Jimmy Olsen of the comics, bow tie and all! Also, I loved how happy Chloe was in her alternate life and that Clark was happy for her. The only less convincing alternate character was Kara, who is like Lex's special agent. While Laura looked gorgerous in her suit, her alternate backstory and reasons for her actions had plotholes in it. Like if Lionel found Kara's ship, then wouldn't she be much older and why would Kara be sent to kill Kal-El if he never even existed on Earth? Maybe Jor-El had a little animosity against Kara while creating his "It's A Wonderful Life" senario.

    The alternate storyline is quite good and felt well paced. James Masters is always great as Brainiac and Lex shooting Clark then Kara with kyrptonite bullets was pretty bad-ass(Even though we have already been introduced to the concept of kryptonite bullets in "Extinction"!) Brainiac's mater plan in the alternate reality was reasonable yet slightly predictable. Releasing Zod again? But impregnanting Kara, so she can re-populate the world to make a new Krypton sounds a little sketchy, I see a lot of inbreeding and Kara's poor hips, lol. From there the episode falls to pieces as after Jor-El makes Clark understand why he brought him to Earth, Clark quickly gets the key, goes to Krypton, fights Brainiac, Kara kills Brainiac, Clark saves his baby self, puts himself on the ship, sends him off to Earth and both cousins escape from Krypton as it explodes! What could have made for an amazing follow-up episode is rapped up in 5 damn mintues! Why is it when the writers create superb storyines with tons of potential, they rap them up an episode later!? That's pretty much has been Season 7's biggest flaw, the writers have been creating great storyines yet they are rapped up way too soon! Why couldn't the writers have made an episode called "Krypton" where Clark goes to Krypton, is over-whelmed and amazed to see his home world for the first time, maybe see both his parents alive and see that Jor-El was a cool dad after all, maybe help his parents save himself, then stop Brainiac and escape with Kara...something! I mean Clark is finally on Krypton, moments away from it's destruction, where his real parents are from, where his cousin is fighting for her life to protect him, and all Clark can say is, "Your gonna fix what you've done to Lana"! Are you f*@#!^$ kidding me? Also, there's a really awkward scene between lex and Clark in the barn that feels out of place, especailly after "Descent". Why is Lex still concerned with Lana? What about Veritas? At least we got a great Clois scene and a shocking twist that Brainiac maybe (or possibly inside) of Kara at the end. All and All, "Apocalypse" is disappointing as it could have been incredible, but it's an average effort with some stunning directing, good acting, yet a poor conclusion. Let's hope with the last 2 episodes being very plot heavy, this season can go out with a bang!moreless
  • A good episode, but a bit annoying. There was not much of a storyline, but it is definitely worth watching if you are a Smallville fan.

    This seems to be a filler episode because it doesn't really stand out or even have much adventure in it. Indeed, most of the episode is about Clark wandering around Smallville and seeing how different his friends would have been without him in their lives, which is a fascinating subject for the writers to tackle but a bit dull. And then Jor-El brings him back to the present and none of it meant anything. It's a little like a typical "And then he woke up and it had all been a dream" scenario - rather fustrating. I think that the writers weren't sure what to do for this episode (it has a great title to live up to) so they just decided to hurl some "What If?" stuff our way. Which is a change, but not necessarily a good one.

    In general, a good eepisode but a little boring. Definitely not a landmark episode. I am an extrmely avid fan of Smallville, so I will watch anything and everything it features, but a slight disappointment in all. Watch it though! It's Smallville after all!moreless
  • Love the scenes with Lois and Clark

    This episode was very good and it dealt with the mythology of Superman. Finally we got to see more intimate scenes with Lois and Clark, slowly they are becoming more than just friends. Clark realizes that without him being sent to earth, earth would have been destroyed just like krypton. I love the scene where Lois told Clark to strip, then Lois saw that Clark wanted her to get out so she did. But she wanted to see him get undressed, but he was too fast for her to see anything. I like that Clark wasn't afraid to show Lois in the alternate universe his powers and be more opened with her. I like how Lois is trying to make Clark feel better about Lana being in a coma by taking him out. The only thing I didn't like was that Clark was still in la la land over Lana in the alternate universe, but at least he wasn't upset where he found out that she was married. And he almost hurt Jimmy to find out where the government took Lois. It shows that feelings are starting to grow between them.moreless
  • A world without Clark Kent.

    You can't really say that this episode was about a world without Superman simply because this Clark Kent isn't Superman yet.There were times in the early part of the episode when you wondered how this Clark can become Superman.He was too passive and sorry for himself for my liking.With that said,the episode started really kicking into gear once we were in the alternate reality.Initially,Clark's regrets about the suffering his existance brought to others were justified.However as the dream sequence went on,he realized how much he means to the world.Looking back at this episode 7 months later,i have to say that it was somewhat pivotal.Not only was it that 150th episode but it also put some events into motion that would carry on to season 8 and gove it a fresh look.One of those changes was that Clark's doubt's about his importance were put to rest.Another change was that,even through a dream,he started seeing Lois in a different light.It was another development that needed to happen and which has continued very affectively in season 8.The episode itself had brilliant effects and Tom Welling's best directing job so far.I would also like to give props to the producers for using footage from the Superman movie in the Krypton scenes.Overall it was a great episode worthy of being the 150th one.moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Alexander ('Lex') Joseph Luthor

Laura Vandervoort

Laura Vandervoort


Erica Durance

Erica Durance

Lois Lane

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Aaron Ashmore

Aaron Ashmore

Jimmy Olsen

Brett Dier

Brett Dier

Clark Kent

Guest Star

Carlo Marks

Carlo Marks

Chloe's Fiance

Guest Star

James Marsters

James Marsters


Recurring Role

Camille Mitchell

Camille Mitchell

Sheriff Nancy Adams

Recurring Role

Terence Stamp

Terence Stamp

Voice of Jor-El

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • It is stated but never clarified why Brainiac needs Kara to travel back to Krypton's past. It has been previously established that he has all of a Kryptonian's powers. It also never explained why he allowed Kara to add to Jor-El's transmissions once he did take her back into the past with him.

    • Jor-El and Lara are nowhere to be seen, despite the fact that it's established that Lara placed baby Kal-El in the spaceship before its departure.

    • For some reason, with the destruction of Krypton imminent, Brainiac doesn't kill baby Kal-El immediately. Instead he picks the baby up, places him on a pedestal, looks around for a crystal dagger, and then finally gets around to killing him. It would be simpler and faster to simply crush in his skull or strangle him.

    • Despite the fact Kara has been on Krypton for some time (long enough to send several journal entries, over a period equal to her absence in the present), she still has enough super-strength to lift a heavy boulder over her head and smash Brainiac with it.

    • In the Kent family photo that Clark picks up the alternate reality Clark is too tall. In the episode we can clearly see that Brett Dier is shorter than Tom Welling, but in the picture he's taller than Jonathan Kent. The photo had been digitally enhanced with Dier's face superimposed over Welling's.

    • Even before he has his epiphany near the end, Clark tells Adams that "he never gives up." But the beginning of the episode begins with Clark... giving up. If he never gave up, then the entire situation wouldn't have happened.

    • The timeframe of the altered timeline is unclear: Lex is President and Lois has presumably won a Pulitzer. The implication is we're seeing a point further in the future rather than Clark's present. But none of the future versions of Clark's friends and family look any older, and the "new" Clark appears to be the same age as Clark.

    • It's a common problem seen in many shows involving time travel, but... they talk as if Clark could disappear any second once Brainiac kills his past-self. But from Clark's current-day perspective, Brainiac has already killed Clark, 19 years ago. Ditto for Kara leaving him messages: there's no reason for them to "suddenly" appear, they should have been there during the past 19 years.

    • While it makes sense that Clark may have underestimated Lex's gun, allowing himself to be shot with a Kryptonite bullet, and afterwards be too weak to dodge the second shot, it makes no sense that Kara, after seeing Clark shot twice, would have just stood there waiting to get shot herself.

    • At the end of the episode, when Kara drops the milk bottle, she drops it right in front of her. However, when Kara drops to the floor, and twists to her left, the milk puddle is in front of her. The milk should have been by her legs behind her on screen left if she dropped it the way she did.

    • As Lois is taken away, and Clark and Kara talk about what Lois has done, the closed captioning continues to display what Lois is saying even though she can't be heard on-screen.

    • Current U.S. Law states that a person must be over the age of 35 to be President. Lex isn't over 35. Also, Lois claims to have already won a Pulitzer, yet she is only in her early 20s. That is some accomplishment.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Jor-El: You disappoint me, my son. You cannot question your destiny on this planet.
      Clark: It was you! You wanted to show me what the world would be like if I wasn't here.
      Jor-El: The disc in your hand revealed your misguided intentions. I was forced to show you the error of your ways. I sent you to Earth for a purpose, Kal-El, one that cannot be taken lightly.
      Clark: Send me back!
      Jor-El: You must stop the Brain InterActive Construct from altering history and taking your life. You cannot fail. This time, there will be no second chances.

    • Clark: I'm not in this picture. You're their son.
      "Clark": Yeah. And lucky for you, my dad didn't find you in the barn, 'cause he'd be pulling out his 12-gauge right about now.

    • Clark: Nice bowtie.
      Jimmy: Oh, thanks, yeah, it's a present from an old girlfriend. She might have taken my heart away but she left me a sense of style.

    • Lois: I know all about unrequited love. I have had more heroes exit stage left than a Greek tragedy.

    • Clark: Where were you taking it?
      Jimmy: Oh, I guess you didn't get the memo that says "Why should I tell you?" (Clark slams him into shelves) That's a good answer.

    • Lex: Great leaders are defined by the difficult decisions that they make.

    • Brainiac: (to baby Kal-El) Hush, Kal-El. It's time to sleep. Not every boy grows up to be a hero.

    • Lex: You disappoint me, Kara. With everything my family's done for you, to question my judgment.
      Kara: It's only because I care about you.
      Lex: Since the day my father found your ship submerged in the Reeve's Dam, he loved you like you were his own daughter. He died guarding your secret from the world.
      Kara: I know, and I owe my life to the both of you, but this country...
      Lex: What do you know about protecting this country? You are an alien. I'm the President of the United States. By striking the enemy first, I am ensuring our survival. We will prevail. And through it all, I expect you to -- look at me. I expect you to stand by my side.
      Kara: Of course, Mr. President.

    • Clark: Kara, listen to me.
      Kara: How do you know that name?
      Clark: Because I'm from Krypton. I'm your cousin. I'm Kal-El.
      Kara: I was sent here to kill you.

    • Brainiac: You will not keep me from the task I was programmed for.
      Clark: Zod is still alive.
      Brainiac: And the Phantom Zone. With the humans gone, I will use Kara to release him through her Fortress.
      Clark: She'll never go along with it.
      Brainiac: It didn't look like she had much fight left in her. But she'll heal. She's healthy. So is Lex Luthor...the vessel. Together, they will repopulate the planet, and Krypton will rise again.

    • Lois: (back to the real world, after seeing Clark at her desk on the Daily Planet) This is a new side to Clark Kent... mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper.

    • Lois: (as Clark superspeeds with her in his arms) Talk about sweeping a girl off her feet...

    • Government Agent: Lois Lane?
      Lois: That's what it says on my Pulitzer.

    • Brainiac: There's no yellow sun to charge you here. You're not in Kansas anymore, Kal-El.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Music: Fetish (REDANA and M1)

    • International Airdates:
      Norway: Monday, May 12, 2008 10.50 pm on TVNorge
      Denmark: Monday, June 16, 2008 on TV3
      Australia: Thursday, July 31, 2008 on TEN HD
      Israel: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 on Yes Stars 2
      UK: Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 10.00pm on E4
      Sweden: Friday, September 26, 2008 on TV6
      Greece: November 16, 2008 on Star
      New Zealand: May 29, 2009 on TV2
      Czech Republic: March 10, 2010 on TV Nova
      Slovakia: August 26, 2010 on Markiza

    • Photos of Kristin Kreuk, Annette O'Toole, and John Schneider are seen although they don't actually appear in the episode.

    • James Marsters and Terence Stamp are billed as Special Guest Stars.

    • In-joke: When Lois Lane dresses Clark up to look like a reporter she declares something isn't right, and adds glasses to his disguise. The grey suit and thick black-framed glasses he wears are almost identical to the outfit Christopher Reeve wore in his depiction of Superman in the movie series. In an additional nod to Reeve, as his glasses start to slide down his nose, Tom Welling slides them back up by the bridge, using his middle finger. This is an exact copy of the motion Reeve would make as Clark Kent throughout all of his movie appearances.

    • Kristin Kreuk and John Glover are credited but don't appear.

    • Injoke: In the comics, Lana ends up marrying Pete Ross. In this episode's alternate history, Lana marries a "Pierre Rousseau": a French-like version of "Pete Ross."

    • Injoke: In the alternate reality, Kara as a DDS agent goes by the alias of Linda Danvers, which is the alias she used in the comics.

    • Injoke: The Jimmy POV shots through his camera as he takes pictures of Lois is a reference to both Superman: The Movie and Superman Returns when he does the same thing.


    • Brainiac: You're not in Kansas anymore.
      Referencing the famous book series, The Wizard Of Oz, created by Frank L. Baum. In the 1939 movie, Judy Garland, who plays Dorothy, is famous for delivering the lines "I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

    • Chloe: Clark, if they made the quantum leap, there must be a way you can too.
      This is a reference to the TV show Quantum Leap. Quantum Leap involves scientist Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) leaping to various points in time, and into the life of a different person, usually constrained within the period of his own lifetime.

    • Lois: Even if you White Tornado your way in there...
      Referencing the Ajax Cleanser commercials which showed a white tornado sweeping into housewives' homes and cleaning for them.

    • Jimmy: He just found out his old flame is doing the Last Tango in Paris with a French philanthropist.
      Referencing the 1973 movie (originally Ultimo Tango a Parigi), starring Marlon Brando (later to play Jor-El in Superman: The Movie) and Maria Schneider as a widower and a bride-to-be, respectively, having a torrid affair.

    • Jimmy: And I got to clean house before Big Brother comes knocking.
      Referencing the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Big Brother is the ubiquitous dictator and father figure of Oceania, where everyone is under constant surveillance and subject to political indoctrination. The term has become synonymous with a dictatorial government.

    • Lois He might come across a little stiff on Larry King, but you're saying he's an android?
      Referencing the CNN program Larry King Live, hosted by Larry King. The long-running program has King interviewing topical figures of the day.

    • Lois: You know, with all my years of watching Dr. Phil, you'd think I could come up with the perfect thing to say, but I'm drawing a blank.
      Referencing the TV talk show hosted by Phil McGraw, spun off from a successful segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show. McGraw provides advice and counseling to guests with a wide range of problems.