Superhero origin stories are all the rage on screen now, but they were still a relative novelty 20 years ago, when Smallville began the tale of a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) growing up on a farm outside Metropolis and coming to terms with his Kryptonian powers.
The WB-turned-CW series turns 20 years old on October 16, and we’re celebrating the “no tights, no flights” superhero show with a roundup of the best and worst episodes, as identified by IMDb votes cataloged by RatinGraph.
THE FIVE BEST
No. 5: Season 10, Episode 21: “Finale”
In Smallville’s epic two-part series finale — rated 9.3 from 2,338 votes — Clark saves the world from the invading planet Apokolips, walks down the aisle with Lois and embraces his role as Superman.
No. 4: Season 6, Episode 11: “Justice”
To investigate Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) and his 33.1 project, Oliver and Clark team up with a Justice League of three other superheroes — Bart Allen, aka Impulse (Kyle Gallner), Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman (Alan Ritchson), and Victor Stone, aka Cyborg (Lee Thompson Young). This episode boasts a rating of 9.4 from 1,775 votes.
No. 3: Season 9, Episode 21: “Salvation”
With a rating of 9.4 from 1,105 votes, the Season 9 finale has Clark revealing to Lois that he’s the Blur, Zod (Callum Blue) releasing his Kandorian army upon the world, and Tess (Cassidy Freeman) and Oliver — aka Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) — in mortal peril.
No. 2: Season 5, Episode 12: “Reckoning”
Coincidentally or not, the 100th episode comes in at second-best, with a rating of 9.5 from 1,758 votes. During this hour, Clark reveals his secret to Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and then turns back time to save her life, only to doom his father, Jonathan (John Schneider) in the process.
No. 1: Season 10, Episode 4: “Homecoming”
Smallville’s 200th episode gets the highest marks from IMDb users, with a rating of 9.5 from 1,553 votes. In this installment, Clark and Lois (Erica Durance) attend their five-year high school reunion and Braniac (James Marsters) returns to tour Clark through what will be Superman’s past, present and future.
THE FIVE WORST
No. 5: Season 1, Episode 17: “Reaper”
IMDb voters’ pick for the fifth-worst Smallville episode — with a rating of 7.4 from 1,099 votes — is this installment in which a man becomes a meta-human with the ability to turn people to ash.
No. 4: Season 2, Episode 6: “Redux”
This episode — with a rating of 7.4 from 1,018 votes — features a Smallville High student who sucks the youth out of her classmates. Meanwhile, Lana finds new clues about her biological father, while Martha (Annette O’Toole) reaches out to her estranged dad.
No. 3: Season 1, Episode 18: “Drone”
Clark runs for class president and goes up against a classmate who uses her control of a bee swarm to take down her opponents. This one earned a 7.4 from 1,105 votes.
No. 2: Season 6, Episode 9: “Subterranean”
Clark discovers the immigrant laborers a neighbor is keeping captive on his farm through powers of “geokinesis.” This episode gets a rating of 7.3 from 935 votes.
No. 1: Season 5, Episode 5: “Thirst”
Lana’s decision to join a Metropolis University sorority nearly turns fatal when she unwittingly joins a sisterhood of vampires. This episode is the lowest-rated Smallville hour, getting a 7.0 from 1,037 votes.