Smallville is the superhero drama that started all superhero dramas. Alongside Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, the show helped usher superheroes into mainstream popular culture. Smallville showed that superhero shows were just as capable of creating compelling drama as other series in the TV medium. And as countless superhero shows grace networks and streaming services across the world, many agree.
But. As great as Smallville is, it had its fair share of bad episodes. Of course, this isn’t surprising – given that the writing staff of any network show has 22 episodes to crank out a season, it’s a wonder we get any good television at all. But Smallville was good television while having a few bad spots in its 10-year history – the likes of which we will cover right here with the top 10 worst Smallville episodes.
10) Spell (Season 4, Episode 8)
The Witches and Stones plot of Season 4 was bonkers as is, but ‘Spell’ really took the cake. Here, Lana, Lois, and Chloe are possessed by 13th-century witches. This, of course, prompts them to dress in ridiculous fancy-dress witch garb and talk like living clichés. Cue some of the worst performances from Kristen Kreuk, Erica Durance, and Alison Mack on Smallville.
Spell is a good representation of everything wrong with Season 4’s plot and showed us that Smallville could often take its silliness way too far. Best to skip this one altogether.
9) Sleeper (Season 7, Episode 17)
Jimmy Olsen becomes James Bond! It sounds ridiculous in theory, and it’s just as ridiculous in practice. “Sleeper” finds him approached by the Department of Domestic Security to help them arrest Chloe for hacking into government computers.
What follows is an episode that pushes Clark’s search for Brainiac aside in favor of a terrible low-budget Die Hard/James Bond hybrid plot. It also puts emphasis on Jimmy and Chloe’s relationship, which, let’s be frank, is boring and tedious. Not to mention, it has one of the worst fight scenes ever committed to film.
8) Noir (Season 6, Episode 20)
In a show about a young Superman, did the writers really think audiences would want to see the characters re-depicted as 1930’s film noir stereotypes? The problem with Noir is that not only is it a terribly boring episode; it also ignores the plot of Season 6, which is a million times more interesting.
Noir was loved by its cast for allowing them to do something different outside their usual roles. Good for them, but as a viewer, it’s painful to watch characters we’ve only just met and don’t care about. Luckily, in the days of online binge-watching we live in, this one is easily skippable.
While the episode does show off Erica Durance’s singing talents and does try something new, it’s ultimately a forgettable 42 minutes that get in the way of the show we really want to watch. Noir ranks among the worst Smallville episodes have to offer.
7) Krypto (Season 4, Episode 14)
Filler episodes in TV Shows aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves. However, if there will be filler episodes, you’d better make sure they’re entertaining. This isn’t the case with Smallville Season 4’s “Krypto.”
Even Clark and Lois’s endearing banter can’t save the central plot, which has Clark and co. try to save a Kryptonite-powered dog from abduction. The episode is further marred by a pair of boring villains, a pair of rogue Veterinarian Technicians. While one of the brothers is a straight-up bad guy, his sibling shows remorse over their actions, but his character never gets the pay-off he deserves and is quickly forgotten about.
6) Craving (Season 1, Episode 7)
It’s amazing to see how Amy Adam’s career has blown up since her guest appearance in Smallville. In Craving, she plays one of the most awkward villains in the show’s history. Yet, in 2013, she played Lois freaking Lane in the DECU Superman movies opposite Henry Cavill. Who would’ve thought?
The thought was probably as unthinkable as an extreme dieting-centered episode being in a Superman show. But that’s what happened when Amy Adams played Jodi Melville, an insecure teenager who drinks a Kryptonite-enhanced shake that makes her skinnier while making her crave more food. This leads her to devour the whole deer – and eventually, human beings.
There’s admittedly some charm in this episode’s performances, but it still ranks among Smallville‘s worst episodes because of the silly plot. Luckily, Amy Adams went on to bigger and better things.
5) Subterranean (Season 6, Episode 9)
The idea of Subterranean isn’t bad at all. Clark Kent saving migrant workers from exploitation is good in theory. Just a tad groan-inducing in its execution.
The problem with Subterranean is that it’s a filler episode that attempts to cover serious subject matter in 42 minutes. The interactions between Clark and young immigrant Javier Ramirez are far too rushed to allow us to warm to their bond, and the topic is explored through a bland script and subpar acting that barely touches the heartstrings.
The Villain of the Week, an exploitative farmer with the power to tunnel through the Earth, is also one of the most boring foes Clark’s had to fight. The fact the episode is filler in a season with far more interesting things going on (the Phantom Zoners, Green Arrow) makes it even worse contextually.
4) Requiem (Season 8, Episode 13)
Season eight is the first season where Kristen Kreuk’s Lana Lang is not a series regular. For many Smallville fans, this proved positive rather than negative. This meant writers couldn’t lean on Clark and Lana’s tiresome series-long romance as a crutch. Yet, Kristen Kreuk was still set to guest-star in five last episodes to finish Lana’s story.
“Power” did so, however, in a terrible way. Here, Lana gains Kryptonian-like superhuman powers, much like Clark’s. But here’s the catch – when Lana nears Kryptonite, she isn’t weakened by it – she absorbs it. And after an unbelievably pedantic scheme concocted by Lex Luthor absorbs so much Kryptonite, she can no longer be in Clark’s presence without weakening him, forcing her to leave for good.
Using this storyline as a way of separating the pair was terrible. Instead of having them both break it off as grown adults, the episode does so through a convoluted scheme and a needlessly angsty break-up that forgets Clark’s development over the first half of Season 8.
3) Thirst (Season 5, Episode 5)
Carrie Fisher guest-stars as a Daily Planet editor in Season 5’s Thirst. Apart from that, Thirst offers nothing but cringe. Even Kristen Kreuk herself has bad memories of this episode.
Here, Lana enrolls in Metropolis University. However, she finds she has no place to live – and finds she must join a sorority to obtain last-minute housing. But lo and behold – it turns out to be a vampire sorority! It’s not long before Lana becomes a vampire herself, making her hammier than ever.
Kristen Kreuk’s Vampire Lana belongs more in a child’s pantomime than a syndicated sci-fi TV show. And despite some cheeky nods to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Thirst” remains one of Smallville‘s worst episodes ever. Give this one a skip.
2) Hero (Season 7, Episode 13)
Advertising a product through television is not the worst thing in the world. However, there are both good and bad ways in which to do it. In the case of Smallville Season 7’s “Hero,” the marketing is done so clumsily, it’s insulting to the viewer.
Here, Clark’s old school buddy, Pete Ross, returns for a guest appearance, this time gaining stretch powers reminiscent of Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic. And how exactly does Pete obtain his new abilities? Why, through Kryptonite-infected Stride Gum, of course!
What ensues is an episode that downright cringes. Why on Earth is OneRepublic, of all bands, doing a gig at a Stride Gum factory? Why does Pete look so silly with his powers? And why isn’t the fact that Pete Ross has given more focus given his three-season absence? Neither question is answered in one of Smallville’s worst episodes ever.
1) Ageless (Season 4, Episode 20)
Season 4 was always a little controversial due to its bland overarching plot featuring witches and magic stones, but it did have some decent episodes here and there. The season’s penultimate episode, Ageless, is not one of these – in fact, it ranks among Smallville‘s very worst.
The plot revolves around Clark and Lana raising a baby together. But there’s a twist – you see, the baby is Kryptonite-infected, causing it to grow at an exponential rate! This means it isn’t long before the baby, Evan, quickly morphs into adolescence, miraculously possessing perfect English and motor-functioning skills to boot.
Just as silly as Evan’s magic growth spurts are the speed at which Clark and Lana develop a parental bond with him. Despite the Director’s best efforts, the dramatic scenes are laughable, and we don’t feel sorry for Evan at all once he finally perishes. Clark and Lana immediately forget Evan by the next episode, but as viewers, it’s hard to forget how astonishingly cringey “Ageless” really is.
And that’s our picks for the 10 worst Smallville episodes of the entire series. Do you agree with our picks? Which episode do you think is the absolute worst? Let us know in the comments below!