|Just re-name the show, you dopes|
So, Season 9 of Smallville, which has absolutely no business being called "Smallville" anymore as it takes place 88% in Metropolis, does feel quite a bit like when the show grew up to be the show they thought or wished they were making in Season 7.
It's not the best TV you'll see, but it feels like they finally got pieces in place, logistics and characterwise, that were less awkward and like they were keeping one foot in teen-soap. It's gone full serious super-drama, and is en route to being Superman.
Episodes We Watched
Savior - Despite clear instructions that the Legion ring was set to send Doomsday to the 31st Century, Lois returns from the future which is 1 year from when she left (but she has no memory of this for some reason?). Clark decides he needs to give up being human at the worst possible time when his best friend is in crisis, making Clark the world's least considerate friend and reminding us he's both dumb and self-centered AF. We also meet our Zod of the season, who is absolutely acting to the back of the theater in every scene.
Metallo - A reminder that Brian Austin Green is actually a really solid actor and should have been a main actor/ villain on this show for a season. He's better than the guy they got for Zod, and his character's arc seemed way, way, way cut short.
Kandor - Julian Sands arrives as "Young Jor-El Clone" to basically cause a lot of trouble for everyone involved. This whole thing makes Jor-El seem like (even more of) an inconsistent boob. Sands is good, but the episode feels like a swing and a miss, like they forgot the impact that we may have had if he and Clark spent any time together.
Pandora - This is the episode where we find out this universe has an off-the-shelf technology that will allow you to see into someone's memories with a stick 'em pad. It's AMAZING and never mentioned or used again. We also see Lois in the future, and Clark shares her memories of them boning, which means Clark experienced what it's like to be fucked by himself. Which is how we should all be feeling by this point in the series' run.
Absolute Justice Parts 1 and 2 - Geoff Johns takes on writing chores and shoves in every single JSA trope he can, plus Stargirl, and everyone new to show is acting at an 11. Like, really, really hamming it up in a way that feels weird and incongruous to the overall tone of the show. It also introduces Pam Grier as Amanda Waller, head of Checkmate. It's very clear the actor playing Dr. Fate does not know what to do with his hands while in costume. The girl playing Stargirl should have joined the overall cast, though.
Warrior - A cursed comic book (we've all got a couple in our collection. Mine was Lady Death #1, and thereby hangs a tale) enables a street kid to become a superhero and in no way is this a riff on Shazam. Chloe absolutely tries to rawdog a 12 year old, while Clark is faced with the challenge of throwing over Zatanna who is bodily forcing herself on him in favor of Lois in a Spirit Halloween "Amazon Warrior Princess" costume. Shut the fuck up, Clark.
Escape - On a show that keeps ratcheting up the horniness, Clark and Lois go to an out of the way inn so they may bone for the first time, I guess? Meanwhile, Green Arrow and Chloe also go to same inn to bone. It desperately wants to be a sex-farce episode but is distracted by the appearance of Silver Banshee, low-key one of my favorite villain designs. Lois also appears in negligee. No notes. A+.
Checkmate - All I want to know is what the meetings were like with the interior design firm asked to outfit a castle for a supposedly super-secret clandestine government organization when they were like "make this motherfucker look like a chess board, and spare no expense." All in all, this is a competently told story, and has bearing and weight that make sense. I was not cracking wise to Jamie throughout.
Sacrifice - Tess invades the watchtower, trapping she and Chloe inside where things get very sweaty, but not in a Cinemax latenight way. Really my take-way is that Chloe's capture system (a) does not employ the way-overengineered HVAC system of the Watchtower, but (b) we learn that Watchtower has the world's most expensive and unnecessary HVAC system and the controls are right there, as well as the nuclear freon or whatever.
Salvation - After not watching most of the Kryptonian episodes this season and trying to remember them from my prior viewing, I think I'm pretty right in assuming this storyline was dumb as it looks, that the guy playing Zod needed to take it down about 8 notches, and Kryptonians seem dumb as hell for an advanced race. The few good bits are undercut with stuff like the main trickster villain saying out loud "Yes, I did the one thing everyone here would find unforgivable and abhorrent." Also, the stupid pilfering of "The Book of Rao". But the fight choreography was pretty solid.