Season 9 Episode 21


Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 14, 2010 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
687 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While the Kandorians strike around the world and Chloe mobilizes Earth's heroes to oppose them, Zod poses as the Blur to deceive Lois into finding the Book of Rao. Meanwhile, Tess clings to life after attacking Zod, and Oliver is MIA when an unseen opponent launches their own attack.moreless

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  • It all comes down to two guys with a knife.

    As with most of their season finales, Smallville peters out when it boils down to two guys without powers having a knife fight. It was a very nicely staged knife fight, and you could feel a season of animosity released in the fight, but given the series' F/X budget, it's always wise not to expect too much.

    To paraphrase Rorschach, "This seems like more of a publicity exercise," when it comes to gathering a team of heroes (and the uncredited actors who played them :( ). Maybe they couldn't be credited for contractual reasons (Alaina concurrently working on Stargate?). It's a pity we couldn't even get one shot of Hawkman with a kryptonite mace facing down a Kandorian or two.

    But that's why the hero teams on the show don't work. You get who you can, you pay them the minimum because that's all you can afford, and they usually smile pretty and wave to the camera.

    Zod's scheme, which relies on getting Lois to find the Book, also seems kinda low-budget limited. Given Clark is carrying it, why not... have all the Kandorians gang up on him and take it? Why does he need Lois to steal it?

    Generally, though, the good outweighed the awkward, even if they went with the obvious. Lois as head reporter of the Daily Planet? Check. Clark getting a costume (and forgetting to wear it??)? Check. Nods to Virgil Swann and some other past episodes? Check. Clark doing a Christ-like swan dive, Aliens 3/Ripley-style? Check. There was nice acting all around, although Callum Blue was ultimately limited by inconsistent scripting. He's a military genius and tactician, but whispers his secret where the Kandorians can hear him. Dum-dum-dum-dum.

    And finally hints of things to come. Presumably we have Granny Goodness and Parademons lurking in the background, to tie in with the mentions of a coming Apocalypse/Apokolips earlier in the scene. Tess as a disfigured agent of Darkseid seems to ring a bell of a similar character in the comics.

    So overall, a nice finish to the season. A little anticlimactic since all we get is a vague promise that Zod will get his just desserts on New Krypton. But all the pieces ultimately came together.moreless
  • Will he take to the skies once and for all, having pedestrians in disbelief, and questioning their own eyesight – is it a bird, a plane, or Smallville finally growing a pair by having Clark fly!?moreless

    For all of Smallville's shortcomings, every now and then you get an episode that kicks the Geek-o-Meter into overdrive and reaffirms why you still watch this show -- a few months back it was the Smallville two-hour event, "Absolute Justice". The pre-title teaser for this episode, hands down, trumps almost every single nod to the Superman mythos that has come before it.

    ''Look…up in the sky!''

    Clark's flashforward to 2013 is probably the most ambitious stunt Team Smallville has ever pulled off. We're eons away from the ''No tights, no flight'' rule of thumb of earlier seasons.

    Tights: check. Flight: CHECK!

    That's right; we finally get to see Supes on a TV budget, albeit faster than a speeding bullet (and all the blurrier because of it). I loved everything about it. The lead-up, especially, had me smiling like a loon: Perry the editor of the Daily Planet; Lois calling for Olsen; Lex running for president (!!); and, of course, Superman rescuing a plane from crashing into the city. This happens mostly off-screen, but it's the kind of punch-the-air payoff long-term fans have been waiting for.

    Then, of course, Clark wakes up from his flashforward only to find a gift from Ma Kent, and we're sent into yet another geek frenzy: his official Superman costume! Now, it may just be a T-shirt, but it's a T-shirt with the correct triad of colors and that effects-shot of the S symbol reflecting off of Clark's eye was mighty impressive. And then the credits roll…

    …this is one busy episode of Smallville.

    "Salvation" is hardly flawless. There are a lot of great ideas marred by a limited budget. But the fact that the head honchos are even entertaining the idea of a global threat and a meet-up of the future Justice League has to mean something, right? It has been a long, long time since the show delivered a finale that lives up to the hype. Fingers crossed that the developments made in this episode aren't undone come next season's premiere.

    Anything could have happened and I think that's why this hour mostly succeeds. Everyone finds themselves looking down the barrel of a gun at some stage or another throughout this finale. We are left with some whopping cliff-hangers to keep us chattering away on forums until the show returns for its tenth and final season (now confirmed).

    Tess is presumed dead after taking on Zod with kryptonite brass knuckles and opting to natter on about a conscience instead of ensuring Zod is immobilized (big mistake). Zod uses his heat vision on Tess and kills her. Oliver is presumed dead after he's attacked by unseen enemies that "aren't Kandorian." Lois has finally figured out that Clark is the Blur. And Clark is left for dead after being stabbed with a blue kryptonite dagger and thrown off of a very tall building by Zod. Dun Dun Dun…


    I'm not entirely sure where I stand on Tess. Yes, she bites the dust in this episode, but there's a hooded woman (I hear rumblings that it's meant to be Granny Goodness) in the hospital corridor that enters her room once the doc leaves, which leads me to believe Ms Mercer will be back for yet another season of sloppy character development. The writers prepped us for this a few weeks back, mind you, when Chloe miraculously killed Tess and then revived her moments later.

    I'm torn with this decision.

    Y'see, I'm a massive fan of Cassidy Freeman. When Tess first appeared on Smallville, I was in the minority who felt she was an acceptable temporary replacement for Lex Luthor. Cassidy had the impossible task of adopting that fantastic Luthor dialogue and making it her own. Even with such a task, Cassidy made her character stand out, and when Lana (Kristin Kreuk) provided the necessary information for Tess to abandon her allegiances and become an independent villain, the writers failed to capitalize on this. Instead, they integrated Tess into several villainous plots, cribbing her of a unique identity; her motivations became less and less convincing and so I became less and less interested. Unless the writers reign in on Tess' motivations and give her a suitable arc capable of standing on its own, I don't see any point in bringing the character back for another year.


    It was a tad convoluted to have Zod trick Lois into thinking he was the Blur in order to retrieve the book of Rao (why not super speed on by or have his army take care of Clark?), but it does provide some meaty Clois scenes, especially later on in the episode when Lois figures out she's been had by Zod.

    In fact, that whole exchange between Lane and Zod was a lot of fun to watch. There's a nice touch of continuity as Lois realizes he's not the Blur from the way he places his hand on her shoulder. Once the jig is up, Zod breaks it down for the ''Blur's most devoted follower'' when asked ''who are you?'' with a spectacularly matter of fact retort: ''I'm someone who doesn't care whether you live or die.'' Naturally, Clark shows up to hand Zod his Kryptonian ass on a plate, but seeing Zod so menacing (remember, we just saw him help Tess work on a new tan) gave the scene some much needed gravity, and made Clark's reveal as the Blur to Lois all the more rewarding.


    Tom Welling and Erica Durance are on top form throughout. Aside from one particular scene where Clark awkwardly attempts to hide his true identity from Lois (it was awkward as a viewer to watch, mainly due to Welling's questionable performance), there are so many great Clois moments to savor, even if their relationship is still on the fritz.

    Naturally, I'm more than a little pessimistic about the resolution of Lois discovering Clark's true identity. Lois already suspected Clark of being the Blur earlier this season – she even heard his voice, and yet that storyline was scrapped before it even had time to begin. Now that the writing staff know they only have one season left, they should tackle this development with gumption, and make a few iconic Clois moments of their own for a change.

    As for the rest of the episode, it alternated between intriguing to downright brilliant! I'm curious to see what exactly attacked Oliver, and I'm glad to see Chloe is still in the land of the living. With Allison Mack only contracted to appear in a handful of episodes next season, it'll be interesting to see where they take these two lovebirds.

    While I did feel it was a bit of a cheat, I couldn't control my inner Geek when I saw Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg, Stargirl and Hawkman onscreen together. Of course, I would have preferred a proper meet up, and not some Skype conference call, but the setup allowed for Clark to take a stand and command this group of superheroes like never before; Welling embodies every bit of Superman in these few scenes.

    As for the action quota, while I am little miffed at the copout, Clark vs. Zod was SO much better than Clark's little scrap with Doomsday last season. Sure, it felt a little Matrix Revolutions-y, what with the heavy rain and ridiculous slow-mo, but it worked. The episode is so jam-packed that it doesn't even have time to give Zod a proper sendoff, and I liked that. Before he is Zipped off to another planet, Zod stabs Clark with a blue kryptonite dagger, left to fall to his death, powerless. He could have fallen a little more gracefully and a little less Jesus-y, though. I certainly could have done without the overt symbolism.

    Nevertheless, this was a truly great finale! Taking into account the show's monetary restrictions, it was spectacular. Season 10 has a lot of ground to cover in its opening episodes; I hope Team Smallville can follow through. Will Clark rip out the dagger seconds before impact, only to hover over the sidewalk? Will Martian Manhunter save him yet again? Will Hawkman save him? Or will he take to the skies once and for all, having pedestrians in disbelief, and questioning their own eyesight – is it a bird, a plane, or Smallville finally growing a pair by having Clark fly!?moreless
  • Season 9 Finale

    Smallville, you've redeemed yourself. After a mediocre season, we get an explosive finale like this one. We got multiple cliffhangers and the season 8 finale just pales compared to this one. The fight scene was instantly better with the first punch than the final showdown in season eight. Lois teaming up with Zod was strange to see, but I loved that Lois returned to form, and she wasn't as naive as she is usually this season. Lois finding out that Clark is the Blur was just a great cliffhanger and it just wrapped a bow on top of the entire season. Tess dying: another great cliffhanger, and we got an old woman siting idly by, yet another mystery. Then we have Chloe & Oliver. This isn't the best relationship, but they become more likable here, with Oliver's last words being "I love you." And Chloe exchanging those words. The things that attacked Oliver are yet another mystery.

    We all know Clark isn't going to die, but the final scene was just great, Zod heading to the sky just had me cheering in joy. Overall a superb finale of Smallville that really just redeemed this mess of a season.moreless
  • While the Kandorians strike around the world and Chloe mobilizes Earth's heroes to oppose them, Zod poses as the Blur to deceive Lois into finding the Book of Rao. Meanwhile, Tess clings to life after attacking Zod. Spoilers....moreless

    WOW one of the best finales smallvillle has ever had it had everything not like season 8's finale and season 7's finale they were bad it was like an Apocalypse and this was not shown since season 5's finale so zod always brings up an apocalypse there were so many cliff hangers like what will happen to Tess we saw her die but who was that lady who entered, are they showing us lex to assure us that he will be back next season and what will happen to oliver and Chloe oliver has been kidnapped by some1 or some organization but not the kandorians who are they and lastly Lois finally finding out that Clark is the blur and Clark is jumping down every1 knows that he will not die but how i would like to know how will the writers do it this time the battle between Clark and zod was amazing and fantastic better than doomsdays battle with Clark i hope Clark fly's soon i want to see him fly for a whole season and another thing the beginning of the episode showed us the future i hope he wears the red and blue suit next season and i dont want it to be in the final episode of smallville i hope smallville lasts forever but we all know that next season will be its last so i hope the cw will return the show to Thursdays to get the ratings up.moreless
  • Clark deals with the Kandorians once and for all, while Tess is left clinging to life after an attack by Zod. Meanwhile, Oliver goes M.I.A., and Lois discovers Zod's deception. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)moreless

    Wow, what a way to end the season! For fans disappointed in DOOMSDAY, this finale surely makes up for it; for the fans who actually enjoyed the season eight finale, this pales in comparison. :D Not only are the season's storylines wrapped up, but some are left open for the next season, like a great season finale should do. Plus, a glimpse of the notorious supersuit assures fans that Clark is *finally* taking a step in the right direction towards becoming the Man of Steel. All in all, I give this action-packed, epic feeling episode nine-and-a-half blue kryptonite knives out of ten.

    Highlights -- Clark's dream of the future; Clark finding the supersuit his mom made him; Chloe and Oliver discussing the Kandorians (and flirting a little); the JSA and JLA debating how to handle Zod and the Kandorians; Lois and Clark confessing their feelings for each other; Lois finally figuring out Zod isn't the The Blur just by him touching her shoulder; Clark punching Zod and saving Lois; Clark as The Blur planting a kiss on Lois; Kandorians getting beamed to New Krypton; Clark and Zod fighting in the rain; Clark letting himself get stabbed with the blue-k knife; and Clark falling to the ground in a Jesus pose.moreless
Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Erica Durance

Erica Durance

Lois Lane

Cassidy Freeman

Cassidy Freeman

Tess Mercer

Callum Blue

Callum Blue

Major Zod

Justin Hartley

Justin Hartley

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Evan C. Schulte

Evan C. Schulte

Lois' Assistant

Guest Star

Richard Keats

Richard Keats


Guest Star

Michael Q. Adams

Michael Q. Adams


Guest Star

Phil Morris

Phil Morris

John Jones

Recurring Role

Adrian Holmes

Adrian Holmes


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Just before Clark falls, Zod stabs him on the right side of his stomach, as he falls the knife is seen on the center of his stomach.

    • If you pause right before Tess throws her first punch at Zod in the Fortress, you can clearly see that there is already blood on Zod's left cheek.

    • Right after Zod throws Lois toward the phone booth, his hands go down. In the very next shot of him, his hands are back up.

    • When Zod throws Lois at the phone booth, and Clark saves her, the window is completely shattered out of its frame as Clark takes her in his arm. However, when he lays her down, the same pane is only partly shattered with a jagged hole in the middle.

    • When Clark awakes in the barn, he opens the box left for him by Martha Kent. Clark sees the "S" emblem. However when the camera zooms in to Clark's eye to reveal the reflection, the symbol isn't backwards as a reflection should be.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Clark: The Book of Rao is not a Bible. It was created by Jor-El to send the Kandorians to another world, a world they could call their own.
      Chloe: Well, let's fire up this intergalactic subway token and send our visitors on a fast train to Nirvana.

    • Chloe: You know, even though Watchtower's back in the game, I'm still coming up empty-handed on the Kandorian front. It's like they vanished into thin air.
      Oliver: You know, that might have something to do with the fact that they can fly.
      Chloe: Sarcasm noted.

    • Clark: Are you saying it's selfish for me to try to save people?
      Chloe: You think I want you to go? Clark, I can't imagine being in this world without you. Look, you've inspired an entire team of heroes who will be here to protect us. And maybe your true purpose is to lead your own people.

    • Zod: How did you get here?
      Tess: I flew.
      Zod: Icarus flew to where he didn't belong. And he fell to his death from the heavens.
      Tess: Icarus was on an ego trip. But I have a higher calling.

    • Clark: You want war, but it doesn't have to be like this.
      Zod: Have you taken a look around you?!? It's always like this! Might makes right! Only the strong survive! Have you learned nothing from the natural world in which you love so much?
      Clark: What I've learned is that no matter how much someone has hurt you or betrayed you or how much it seems that someone is evil, at their core, everyone is worth saving.

    • Hawkman: I've been around long enough to know the best way to win a war is to strike first.
      Oliver: No, that's the best way to win a bowling tournament, Tweety. We're dealing with superpowered soldiers here.
      Hawkman: Just as expected, Mr. Green Jeans has gone yellow.

    • Clark: This is the only peaceful way to eliminate the threat. Without a war, a war that no one will win... once the Kandorians are gone, there will be other threats to mankind. The world will need you. You'll have to work together to become the team that you were meant to be. I once believed that my destiny was here on Earth, but now you need to accept that destiny for me.
      Black Canary: Clark's right.
      Cyborg: We'll protect the world... as one.
      Clark: It's been my honor to serve alongside each and everyone of you.
      Hawkman: The honor was ours, Kal-El.

    • Chloe: Do me a favor, okay? Just keep a low profile.
      Oliver: I'm wearing green leather, so I'll do my best.

    • Zod: My only regret is that I can see your heartbreak.
      Lois: It's not broken. It's shattered.

    • Zod: I should've known better than to deceive the Blur's most devoted follower.
      Lois: Just who the hell are you?
      Zod: Unlike the Blur, I'm someone who doesn't care whether you live or die.

    • Zod: Unlike you, I will lead from a throne, not from the shadows. Every human, including the woman you love, will kneel before Zod!
      Clark: You already destroyed my first home. I won't let you take this one.

  • NOTES (5)

    • International Airdates:
      Sweden: October 1, 2010 on TV6
      UK: October 19, 2010 on E4/E4 HD
      Turkey: June 19, 2011 on CNBC-e
      Norway: July 3, 2011 on Max
      Czech Republic: October 25, 2011 on TV Nova

    • This episode marks the last appearance of Allison Mack as a series regular, leaving Tom Welling as the only original cast member left on the show.

    • Injoke: Although Chloe refers to Green Arrow as "Mole Man" in the singular, alluding to the Marvel supervillain, this also refers to Superman vs. the Mole Men (1951), which featured short bald radioactive mutants from beneath the Earth's surface.

    • The advance preview includes several clips not seen in the episodes, including a scene from the Fortress where Tess, burned by Zod's attack, is crawling and reaching out toward the camera.

    • Michael Shanks, Alaina Kalanj, Brittney Irvin, Lee Thompson Young, and Phil Morris appear but are uncredited.


    • Chloe: Zod doesn't want to play Thunderdome on a planet that is desolate.
      Referencing the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the third in a trilogy of movies featuring Mel Gibson as "Max," a former policeman who wanders a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The Thunderdome is a huge gladiatorial cage-dome where parties in a disagreement fight to the death while suspended from bungee cords.

    • Chloe: I have a feeling the War of the Worlds is coming soon to a planet near us.
      Given the "coming soon," referencing the 1953 film and subsequent remakes based on the 1898 novel by H.G. Wells. The movie transfers the 19th century setting of Wells' novel to the 1950s and moves it to the U.S. The basic plot remains the same: Martians seek to colonize Earth and wipe out all of the humans upon it.

    • Chloe: Okay, Mole Man, just think happy thoughts and keep on tunneling.
      Referencing the Marvel supervillain, the Mole Man, who first appeared in Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961), and created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. A homely dwarfish nuclear engineer, Harvey Rupert Elder, stumbled across an underground civilization of Moloids. All but blinded in an accident, he swore vengeance on the society that scorned him and launched repeated attacks on the surface world. Over the years he has mellowed somewhat and typically only attacks when he believes his subterranean realm is threatened.

    • Oliver: No, that's the best way to win a bowling tournament, Tweety.
      Referencing Tweety Pie, the small animated yellow canary created by Warner Brothers in 1942. Tweety is the nemesis of Sylvester, a black cat, and belongs to Granny. The character has starred in numerous animated shorts as a Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies character, had his own series (The Sylvester and Tweenty Mysteries), and has made cameo appearances in numerous other Warner cartoons and movies.

    • Hawkman: Just as expected, Mr. Green Jeans has gone yellow.
      References one of the primary characters in the childrens TV series Captain Kangaroo. Named for the clothing he wore in his earlier appearances, he worked as a handyman and animal handler at the Treasure House.

    • Zod: Better to rule in Hell then serve in Heaven.
      Referencing Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, which relates the Fall of Man. The first major arc describes Satan's organization of Hell. He rebelled against God for the reason stated: he preferred rulership rather than bow his knee to God.