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Season 9 Begins with....
5 years ago
With Smallville finally returning, the fans are saved.  Of course, with an episode titled as "Savior," one would expect that.  For tonight, the action and the journey of the Man of Steel will continue once again as Clark (Tom Welling) embraces his destiny more and more.

On "Savior," Clark declares that he's ready to start his training.  However, this leads Jor-El (supposedly portrayed by Julian Sands) to send him back to Metropolis.  As part of taking his new path, he must sever ties with Lois (Erica Durance) once and for all.

Meanwhile, Lois suddenly reappears after being missing for weeks.  Chloe (Allison Mack) is surprised at her sudden arrival, and is even more shocked to hear how Lois can't remember anything.  She apparently vanished into thin air with the Legion ring a while back.  Unfortunately, she has no recollection of it.

Later, Lois starts an investigation of a monorail crash.  There she meets a new reporter at the Daily Planet named John Corben (guest star Brian Austin Green).  Things don't work out between them when she finds out how negative he feels about the Red-Blue Blur. As we expect, she takes offense at that.

As for Chloe, she ends up begging Clark to go back in time using the Legion ring in order to save Jimmy (Aaron Ashmore).  Even though the idea could work, Clark refuses to do it and damages their friendship.

Oliver (Justin Hartley), on the other hand, is still treading that dark road of depression as he ponders his existence as a superhero.  If those aren't enough stories for you, there's also the advent of a new villain in Clark's life.  We all know who that is: Zod (Callum Blue).

Smallville 2009-10
7 years ago
At the end of last season, Kara was trapped in the Phantom Zone, Lana left Smallville, Chloe was arrested for computer hacking and Lex learned Clark's secret. Believing that the Traveler (Clark) would be responsible for the destruction of the human race, Lex faced off against his former friend in the Fortress of Solitude. When Lex used the control orb, Clark lost his powers and the Fortress began crashing around them. In their final moments, Lex told Clark, "I'm sorry, but it had to end this way."
Lex will be missed, and it's devastating for the series ...
 
In the season-eight premiere, "Odyssey," four weeks have passed, and Clark and Lex are both missing. Lex's people are in the Arctic searching for him, when Tess Mercer (Freeman) arrives to take over, stating that Lex's written instructions left her in charge as the CEO of LuthorCorp in his absence. She demands to know what they've found, but the team hasn't been able to recover any sign of Lex.

Just then, the Green Arrow (Hartley) and the Justice League attack, with hopes of finding Clark. Unfortunately, the only thing they find is Clark's red jacket. Back at their headquarters, the League continues to search around the globe for Clark.

Back in Smallville, Lois Lane (Durance), believing that LuthorCorp actually has Chloe, is on a dangerous mission of her own. She breaks into Lex's mansion in the guise of a French maid. Lois manages to crack Lex's safe, where she finds a flash drive. Then Tess Mercer arrives, and after a bit of verbal jousting between the two women, she throws Lois out without realizing she has the drive.

In Montana, Chloe is being held in a facility where a researcher tests her to find her cognitive abilities surpass their fastest supercomputer. The man tells her if she doesn't cooperate with them she'll get 20 years in a federal prison for breaking into NASA's computers. Reluctantly, Chloe agrees to help them.

On the other side of the world, in Russia, a very human Clark Kent is trapped in a work camp, unable to escape or contact his friends. A sadistic Russian tells him he has a debt to pay and puts Clark to work.

Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Tess Mercer isn't about to accept that Lex might be dead, and she'll do whatever it takes to find him. To that end she's made herself quite comfortable as LuthorCorp's new CEO.

Lex will be missed
Every season, Smallville has an explosive cliffhanger that leaves most of its characters in danger. Last season was no different, but for this season's globetrotting premiere, "Odyssey," the results are a lot more explosive than in the past. As season eight opens, we learn the fate of the characters in an effective season premiere that sets a new direction for the show in what amounts to a major character and story shakeup.

It's no secret that Michael Rosenbaum, who plays Lex, will not be returning to the series, although he may be open to a guest spot at some point. The actor has gone off to do other things and, most likely, let his hair grow out. But his absence left the producers with a challenge, since the series was always about the relationship between Clark and Lex and the making of a superhero and a supervillain.

Lex will be missed, and it's devastating for the series that we'll never get to see Smallville with an eighth season that finally got to play out the epic battle that would take Clark and Lex to the next level. The writers worked so hard to craft the story and shape the characters. This was the season where the characters of Clark and Lex would have finally been fully realized. What an explosive season it could have been!

Instead, last season ended with Lex trying to fulfill what he believed his destiny was, which meant stopping the Traveler (Clark) before he can destroy the human race. In many ways, Lex leaves us as a misguided hero. Killing Lex off wouldn't do, and recasting Lex would not be possible, since Rosenbaum has owned the role for seven years. That leaves bringing in new villains in an attempt to fill Lex's shoes.

But we didn't just lose Lex last season. We lost Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), Lionel Luthor (John Glover), Kara (Laura Vandervoort) and recurring character Brainiac (James Marsters) as well. While Justin Hartley returns as a regular to play Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Smallville's characters have thinned out considerably.

New villains are being added, but they won't replace what we've lost. Tess Mercer shows promise, but we'll have to get to know her much better before she'll be villain-worthy material. And Davis Bloome, played by Sam Witwer (Battlestar Galatica), isn't introduced in this first episode. Davis will eventually turn into Doomsday, a character who killed Superman in the comics.

In many ways Smallville is a new series, and "Odyssey" sets the tone for what could end up being the show's final season, with nods to dual identifies and a new job at the Daily Planet