Smallville: Skippable Episode Guide

Awhile back I offered to make someone on the Smallville subreddit an abridged guide to Smallville that skipped all unncessary episodes. My offer was ignored, but another user recently found my post and asked me if I would still be willing to make the guide. So here it is! The following is my skippable episodes guide to Smallville.

Please note that I created this guide to cater specifically to that reddit user’s request, who was only interested in the main storyline. This creates some problems because typically when you make a skippable episode guide you only include the best episodes (in addition to ones that follow the main plot) and Smallville‘s main storyline episodes aren’t the best episodes. For example, the Season Four episode “Sacred” is a terrible episode. But in that episode we learn about an important set of stones that are integral to the season. Following the main storyline also skips over a lot of great episodes, like the Ryan episode in the first season (which I snuck in anyway) and the Alicia episodes in the third and fourth seasons (which I also snuck in anyway).

Smallville is also unusual in that it continuously reinvents its history. At first we learn about how Clark fits in with the Native American legend of Naman. Later we learn about how Clark is also known among the Veritas group as The Traveler. By the time we’re learning about The Traveler, the Native American legend is hardly referenced again. So is the Native American legend really part of the main storyline? What I decided was that each season focused on a particular story or villain and I tried to include the episodes that developed that story.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d consider reworking this in order to make the best possible list for the most number of people. For example, if you think the will-they-won’t-they, on-again-off-again Lana storyline is essential, I’m willing to hear that argument. Or if you would just prefer a list of the most pleasant Smallville episodes, let me know.

Final note: If you’re a first time viewer watching the show, I’ve separated the article into two parts: The first part is spoiler-free list of the episodes you need to watch, the second part is spoiler-heavy description for fans to explain why I cut what I cut.

Here is the abridged guide to Smallville that let’s you know what episodes you can skip.

Season 1

  • S01E01 – Pilot
  • S01E16 – Stray
  • S01E20 – Obscura
  • S01E21 – Tempest

In some ways I enjoy Season One the most. It appeals to the part of me that wants mindless fluff and Clark saving the day in every single episode. Unfortuantely, the formulaic aspect of Season One means you don’t really have to watch most of it. There’s also no overarching story to Season One; in most episodes meteor rocks create a bad guy or a bad situation and Clark and his friends must investigate their way out of it. Kind of like Scooby-Doo.

You could make an argument that the main story of Season One is Lana and Clark’s relationship. Season One largely revolves around what it feels like to be in High School and Lana and Clark’s relationship is a big part of that. But throughout the series (not just Season One) their relationship perpetually flip flops so much that eventually people can’t stand Lana at all.

I’d also like to point out that if you stick to a pure, main storyline you don’t need to watch that Ryan episode “Stray.” But I can’t help myself. It represents the tone and spirit of the first season and is (in my opinion) the best of what Season One has to offer. So you’re welcome.


Season 2

  • S02E01 – Vortex
  • S02E02 – Duplicity
  • S02E04 – Red
  • S02E07 – Lineage
  • S02E10 – Skinwalker
  • S02E17 – Rosetta
  • S02E22 – Calling
  • S02E23 – Exodus

The main focus of Season Two is the discovery of the cave with Native American paintings that foretell of Clark’s arrival. Half the episodes are dedicated to that. The other episodes are included for a variety of reasons.

There’s a consistent theme to Smallville in that the first and last episodes of a season resolve the previous storyline and start the new one. So if we’re following the main storyline these are going to be present in every episode. Some of my work on the list is just to make sure that these episodes make sense.

Sometimes I also include episodes so other events make sense in later seasons, like Pete finding out Clark’s secret, or the first red krypotonite episode. I don’t think either of these episodes are particularly great, but red kryptonite comes up a lot so it’s important to know how it works (even if they explain it again later).

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel it was necessary to include episodes that explained every subplot. So a few things are just going to show up and you’re going to have to roll with it, like the fact that Martha starts working for Lionel and the whole Helen and Lex relationship. I’m hoping that the episodes that do feature these subplots you’ll be able to piece it together.


Season 3

  • S03E01 – Exile
  • S03E02 – Phoenix
  • S03E14 – Obsession
  • S03E17 – Legacy
  • S03E19 – Memoria
  • S03E20 – Talisman
  • S03E21 – Forsaken
  • S03E22 – Covenant

Season Three has more Jor-El story and more cave story. As always, the episode guide includes the resolution of the past season (in this case Clark living in Metropolis wearing a red kryptonite ring and Lex surviving the plane crash and going a little crazy on a desert island). I skip over the Lex insanity stuff in this season. That will make some of “Memoria” confusing, but the other option was to exclude “Memoria” all together and I think there’s some good Lex history in there.

Also the Adam character will be a little confusing because I don’t include any particular episode that explains who he is and why he’s there. If you are re-watching the series and need some explanation, he’s just a suspicious guy that moves into The Talon apartment for awhile. Everyone investigates him and warns Lana about him and then he goes away. Boom. Done.

I also included the first Alicia episode here, “Obsession.” You don’t need this episode for the main storyline. I could make an argument that the episodes in the next season when Alicia comes back are important because it is there where Chloe finds out about Clark’s secret, but that would dishonest. I really included the Alicia episodes because I love Alica and you should too.


Season 4

  • S04E01 – Crusade
  • S04E02 – Gone
  • S04E05 – Run
  • S04E11 – Unsafe
  • S04E12 – Pariah
  • S04E15 – Sacred
  • S04E22 – Commencement

If you felt compelled to watch a full season of Smallville, this would be the one. Season Four finds its comedic feet and its heart. The first three seasons of Smallville are like the awkward teenage years where the show is trying to figure itself out. Season Four starts to show the kind of confidence and humour you only get from experience. This is the season where we meet Lois Lane and another young hero from the DC Universe (Flash). It’s also the season with the most Alicia episodes (just sayin’).

But in terms of overall story, Season Four merely digs a little deeper into Clark’s Kryptonian history as well as his dealings with Jor-El, which means a lot of it can be skipped. A real shame. This leaves out some decent episodes like the episode where Lionel and Clark switch bodies.


Season 5

  • S05E01 – Arrival
  • S05E03 – Hidden
  • S05E04 – Aqua
  • S05E08 – Solitude
  • S05E12 – Reckoning
  • S05E13 – Vengeance
  • S05E15 – Cyborg
  • S05E22 – Vessel

Season Five might not be about anything other than transitioning into a story without Clark’s parents. Sure, Kryptonian stuff happens, but that’s true for every season. Mostly the episodes here are resolving the previous season, getting into the next, adding more DC Universe heroes to the show, and Jonathan’s death, which I dedicate two episodes to because it deserves it.

As with previous seasons in this guide, there are a few bits in Season Five that will catch you off guard. I don’t believe I dedicated a specific episode to Jonathan campaigning, so all of a sudden he will be running for office. That’s less important, though. What really matters is that you know going into Season Five that Jonathan has had health problems and the guide shows that. Whatever else happens in Season Five Jonathan and Clark’s relationship is the most important part because Clark is deeply influenced by his Fathers.

Season 6

  • S06E01 – Zod
  • S06E04 – Arrow
  • S06E06 – Fallout
  • S06E08 – Static
  • S06E11 – Justice
  • S06E15 – Freak
  • S06E17 – Combat
  • S06E21 – Prototype
  • S06E22 – Phantom

Once Season Six starts it becomes difficult to pick out episodes, even if you’re just focusing on the main storylines. For example, in this season Clark returns from the Phantom Zone and unleashes some phantoms which he spends the season pursuing. So I included the episodes where he’s fighting them because that’s basically what the season is all about. Unfortunately that adds a lot of episodes in a pretty dreary season.

There’s good bits though, like Green Arrow who humanizes heroes in a way we haven’t seen with anyone else other than Clark. We also get our first Justice League episode, which is cool and establishes a group that we will see again. I also made sure to include the bit where Chloe finds out she may have powers because that’s a big issue throughout the rest of the series.


Season 7

  • S07E01 – Bizarro
  • S07E02 – Kara
  • S07E11 – Siren
  • S07E14 – Traveler
  • S07E16 – Descent
  • S07E20 – Arctic

Season Seven is actually better than Season Six, but there are fewer episodes that matter to the story moving forward. From here on out, Smallville transitions away from the town of Smallville and deals more and more with Metropolis. So Season Seven is more about transition than it is about a specific story. As such, there aren’t a lot of episodes you need to see here. We meet Kara (the real one), and learn about Lionel’s secret Veritas society that is all about finding The Traveler (Clark). And we see Lionel’s death, which I almost didn’t include, but I guess Lionel is a big deal to the series.

I also included just one episode for Lois and Clark relationship development because that’s about to become a reliable cornerstone of the show in a way the Lana relationship never could, because in the Superman mythology he ends up with Lois.


Season 8

  • S08E01 – Odyssey
  • S08E03 – Toxic
  • S08E05 – Committed
  • S08E09 – Abyss
  • S08E11 – Legion
  • S08E22 – Doomsday

Ah, Season Eight. I’m pretty cavalier with this season. I don’t include a lot to explain Tess Mercer and I don’t include a lot to explain Doomsday. I think Tess Mercer’s character’s motivations change so much over the series that it doesn’t really matter what episodes I include. I don’t think the writers knew what to do with her. But I did include an episode here to humanize her a bit and show her relationship with Oliver so that at least when she shows up you care about her just a little bit.

I removed the Injustice group from the season (because there’s only two episodes dedicated to them anyway), and I skipped right on through Doomsday because it’s weird and drones on with very little payoff. You could actually remove episode 9 and 22 and remove Doomsday from the season all together. But maybe that’s wrong.

I was a little on the fence about including the episode “Legion,” but the Legion rings show up throughout the series so here’s the foundation for it. You’ll also notice I skipped Lana’s return and goodbye. Because she’s the worst.


(And there’s one episode where Lois admits she loves Clark, because it’s good to hear it).

Season 9

  • S09E01 – Savior
  • S09E06 – Crossfire
  • S09E07 – Kandor
  • S09E11 – Absolute Justice
  • S09E19 – Sacrifice
  • S09E20 – Hostage
  • S09E21 – Salvation

I wish there was more I could skip of Season Nine. In this season a bunch of clones of Kryptonians (I think?) are on Earth, including Zod. I wouldn’t say they are important to the show, but they are what this season is about, unfortunately. So I show you the bare minimum of Kandorian stuff, giving you a little background with the episode “Kandor” then showing you when the army rises to power before showing its defeat.

I also included two Lois and Clark episodes, one with the first kiss and one with just some relationship building stuff (that also tells us where Martha has been).

Finally, I reluctantly included the “Absolute Justice” two-parter because these characters show up in Season Ten and DC fans will think the episode is cool. (Just note that depending on where you watch the series this may be broken up into two episodes: “Society” and “Legends.”)

Season 10

  • S10E01 – Lazarus
  • S10E04 – Homecoming
  • S10E09 – Patriot
  • S10E11 – Icarus
  • S10E20 – Prophecy
  • S10E21 – Finale

Season Ten is about the Vigilante Registration Act, Darkseid, and love. I give each a little attention. One of the things about Season Ten is it references a lot of the previous seasons, so if you were going to watch Season Ten, you’ll need to have seen some of the previous seasons for it all to make sense. Don’t worry, I got you.

Season Ten does something very interesting with the “main” villain. Darkseid isn’t so much a visible presence, but instead a threat in all of us. So effectively, the villain this season is our doubts and fears. Which is a smart villain for a boy who is not yet a man.

Overall though, Season Ten is all about that final episode when we see Clark put on the suit and fly. There isn’t anything innovative about the final episode. A wedding, an ultimate evil, a reminder of the show’s past, a couple of montages, and a final step off that rooftop and into the sky, and MY GOD, it works.

  1. Reply Alexandre Costa November 24, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I don’t even know if you will ever see it, but thanks for it, man. I love comic book characters, but Super was never one of my favorites. I’m learning to like him recently and I have friends that like this series, but who are always saying that it is hard to watch. Maybe this list will help me through. 🙂

    • Reply Movie Lists Man November 24, 2017 at 5:59 am

      Thanks very much for the comment! I hope it does help out 🙂

  2. Reply hadoukendave December 16, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Wait am I skipping these episodes or watching them bc I feel like i’m missing stuff

    • Reply Movie Lists Man December 17, 2017 at 4:25 am

      If the episode is listed, you watch it. If it isn’t, you don’t. And yea, you’re definitely missing stuff. I don’t think a watch-through like this is for everybody, but what I’m suggesting is that if you just want main-plot-specific episodes then these are the ones to watch.

  3. Reply M January 2, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Thanks for this – I never watch the first few seasons but I’m rewatching with someone who needs a foundation so we used your guide for seasons 1-3… Starting at season 4 we are just going to watch all the way through. It starts to get interesting for me around season 4. Probably because they finally introduced Lois. I can’t stand Lana.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man January 3, 2018 at 2:50 am

      Thanks for the comment! I hope the guide worked for you guys Seasons 1-3. Season 4 is really where the show found its stride and wasn’t afraid to have fun. It represents the best of the show along with parts of Season 7. As for Lana, you said it

  4. Reply thrillseeker February 26, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this list this really comes in handy.
    I used to follow this on tv however, I got busy and skipped a few season.
    I’m interested in those episodes that are great yet isn’t essential too.
    If you still have it mind to share it?

  5. Reply Jessy March 8, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this!
    I’m also interested in those episodes that are great yet isn’t essential too. I hope you can still make one.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man March 9, 2018 at 7:20 am

      I’m definitely working on it. Just may take a little time 🙂

  6. Reply Jon-zee March 10, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Many thanks MLM, I did watch the first five seasons way back when they were on in the UK. Trailed off after season 5 and always wanted to watch the mythology episodes. Thanks for this helpful guide. Appreciated.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man March 11, 2018 at 9:37 am

      You’re most welcome! Thank you for the comment.

  7. Reply DCletsgo March 16, 2018 at 2:41 am

    Thank you so much for this!

  8. Reply Smallvillenthusiast March 31, 2018 at 5:20 am

    Nice guide. Too bad most of the descriptions include heavy spoilers.

    It would have been better if you flagged them with a “spoiler” tag.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man April 2, 2018 at 5:00 am

      Final note: If you’re a first time viewer watching the show, I’ve separated the article into two parts: The first part is spoiler-free list of the episodes you need to watch, the second part is spoiler-heavy description for fans to explain why I cut what I cut.

  9. Reply T April 7, 2018 at 11:59 am


    I know it’s been a while since this guide was posted, but I really appreciate you creating it!
    I used to watch Smallville all the time when it was on TV until about the 3rd season. Then it fell off my radar. Now all 10 seasons seems way too daunting to tackle! I will definitely be using this guide.

    I am also interested in those non-essential but really good episodes as well!

    • Reply Movie Lists Man April 9, 2018 at 6:56 am

      Thanks so much for the comment! I’m definitely still working on the good episode guide. It will just take a little time.

  10. Reply T-Bone April 12, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Good call including Stray. If that is an indication of what your good episode guide will include it will be great. Thanks for making this list. You nailed it.

  11. Reply Er1090 April 17, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Thank you so much for this list. It really helped along the way. Before this show, I was never really a fan of Superman but this show humanized him so effectively and this list you’ve created really helped me look forward to certain episodes so I could finish this series without skipping the not-so-important-ones-but-still-worth-it episodes.

  12. Reply Heinous JNess April 23, 2018 at 4:40 am

    The names of the episodes and their order don’t seem to match up – so I’m not sure which ones you intended to share? I’m not seeing the same info on IMDB or Hulu?

    I’d forgotten all about Smallville – until Chloe’s recent brush with the Dark Nxivm brought me back. I somehow always knew Lana would get her into trouble! 😉

    Thanks very much for the list! No way I could get through all 10 seasons to catch up these days.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man April 28, 2018 at 2:13 am

      You’re the first person to notice the episode numbers were off. Thank you for catching that! I guess I must have been careless. I’ve gone over them all, they should be good now and match up with the Smallville wiki

  13. Reply Pebbles October 22, 2018 at 1:30 am

    I would really like an episode(all seasons) list that exclude all Lana heavy episodes. I really didn’t like her character and she’s the only reason I don’t rewatch Smallville more often. Please let me know if you can do this 😀

    • Reply Movie Lists Man October 28, 2018 at 12:07 am

      That’s a very specific request that I completely understand 🙂 I’ll see what I can do.

  14. Reply Juan January 1, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Hi. I began watchIng the series in season 3 finale and loved it. Then I saw it from then on and the first 3 on morning reruns. But I was really dissapointed after season 5. And I hated the finale. After it was cancelled I thought: couldn’t it be like edited in a 30 episodes format? You did a lot of fantástic work with this list, but it still is 70 episodes, because I understand that you wanted to tell the basics of every season. But as a whole, as a story about the origins of Superman (and Lex), could the list be even shorter???

    • Reply Movie Lists Man January 2, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Heck yes it could have been shorter. I am currently, slowly, working on a “best episode list.” But that cuts out the story entirely. But if you’re just focusing on Superman origins and Lex, and you choose to perhaps ignore some of the histories that the show itself drops (like the Native American Legends) then yea, for sure. Way shorter.

      • Reply Tectash January 7, 2019 at 11:48 pm

        Hey there man I would just like to say this is something I had in mind for a while. It to me is like Dragon Ball Z vs Dragon Ball Z Kai. With Kai you get a much better paced show than the original Dragon Ball Z. Anyway I am a big Smallville fan and watched every episode when it aired. When Smallville is great it truly shines but boy when it has filler it can be tedious to sit through.

        I love that even if the episode is bad you are like well if it is integral to the story it has to be kept. Well there are some slight modifications to your list I would make. By the way kudos for loving Alicia I did as well. Aside from how stunningly gorgeous Sarah Carter was as Alicia their chemistry and romance was actually new and exciting. It was a nice break from Lana. Anyway enough ranting here are my suggestions.

        Season 1: I think you need to include Episode 04 X-Ray. The reason being is this helps the viewer understand Lex and Roger’s tie and would make the finale have more of an impact. It also gives a glimpse of Lex’s manipulative nature that becomes much darker in the future. I would include episode 12 Leech as well. Now that one is a bit more shaky because I know one of the Ashmore twins plays in that episode so it almost cheapens Jimmy’s character in season 6 or could even confuse the viewer I however think the Lex and Clark angle here gives good foreshadowing into their future relationship.

        Season 2:I honestly think you nailed this one bud good job. I honestly would have to think but I think you nailed it.

        Season 3: I think you need Episode 08 Shattered 09 Asylum and episode 18 Truth. I think Michael Rosenbaum’s performance in Shattered is just a work of art. It really makes you cement how ruthless Lionel is and how much Lex is a damaged soul. Truth I feel showcases more of the conflict between Chloe and the Luthors which is a big aspect of season 3.

        Season 4: I think you need episode 06 Transference. In my book some of the best acting you will see from Tom Welling. Also it does play into the story later of what Lionel becomes and the fact that he gets cured. Episode 17 Onyx. You gotta have this one man. It is the first true glimpse of the Lex Luthor we know he will end up being. Rosenbaum plays dark well but hammy well as well. And the end scene is just the scene of legends man. I would include episode 21 Forever as well. It leads so well into the finale.

        Season 5: Episode 02 Mortal. It was nice to see Clark use his mind and smarts as opposed to relying on strength. One of the things the show should have done more often. Episode 07 Splinter this is a fun episode to show off the effects of silver kryptonite. Episode 21 Oracle again leads into finale nicely.

        Season 6: I think you need episode 12 Labryinth this one is filler but boy is it a ton of fun. Martian Manhunter would make more sense also. episode 13 Crimson. The best Red K episode ever! A nice glimpse of Lois and Clark also. Episode 16 promise the true display of the depths Lex will sink to. Episode 18 Progeny. A shocking opening which leads to a solid conclusion.

        Season 7: Pretty much perfect.

        Season 8: I might include Instinct while silly it delves into the jealousy Lois starts to develop and her feelings towards Clark. Thank you for cutting Lana from this season. Oh my goodness was her arc in this season a giant slap in the face!

        Season 9: Good job no complaints.

        Season 10: I would include episode 10 Luthor. The return of Lionel wouldn’t be so head scratching. Otherwise perfect.

        Just my two cents.

        • Reply Movie Lists Man January 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm

          I really like your in-depth analysis on the breakdown here. I think everyone should read your comment and consider for themselves whether or not to include those episodes. You should publish your own list, I’d love to see it!

          • Tectash January 16, 2019 at 8:24 am

            Funny thing is I actually am working on my own fan edit.

            The thing that would be so frustrating about Smallville is there were episodes that were just total filler, but sometimes they would have a small segment or scene in the episode that was actually good or played out later on.

            The prime example I can think of is Season 6 Episode 09 Subterranean. That whole episode was a waste of time with the exception of the final scene with Lex. Everyone knows the 33.1 walk to afi’s prelude.

            So in my edit I remove filler episodes but if it has a scene I like, I try and combine it within a good episode. At times I combine a few episodes and try to make it about an hour each. Give or take sometimes it is below or above that.

            I actually finished Season 1 and I spliced it into 5 episodes. I spliced a lot of things from the filler episodes of the good scenes to fit them in. The episodes like the finale or the one prior to it are left in tact. Also in some cases I edit some scenes and place them in a different order to make it flow better.

            Season 1 was so short because it is filled with freak of the week and no strong overarching story. Season 2 will be much longer since the overarching story is much stronger.

            Smallville is one of my favorite shows. Thing is I can not lie the filler and pointless episodes hurt it. When it shines it truly can be something special, however when it is bad man it can be insufferable. I say that and I love this show beyond all belief. It is what got me into Superman, also Michael Rosenbuam’s Lex Luthor is what made me really love acting and cinema. I think his Lex Luthor as well as John Glover’s Lionel are simply outstanding.

            I am glad you like my insight. I will publish my own list someday.

  15. Reply Orochimaru January 2, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    What about S07E08 ? Is one the best episode from season 07 it’s an important episode from Kal-El family and Kara

    • Reply Movie Lists Man January 7, 2019 at 11:05 pm

      That’s interesting. I guess I looked at it as an overall season storyline, rather than an overall storyline for Clark or the El family. It did seem a little one-offish, though, if you know what I mean. For example, does the show ever talk about Zor-El again?

  16. Reply Juan January 3, 2019 at 3:57 am

    Yeah. How many of your list would you cut enterily? Or would you include some? I was thinking in, for example, Lexmas.

    • Reply Movie Lists Man January 7, 2019 at 10:53 pm

      I would cut out quite a bit. I mean you don’t really need Doomsday or the Phantom Zone stuff. Smallville is an interesting show to whittle down. The story stuff you would NEED to make a kind of Superman Origins arc wouldn’t even be the best episodes. You don’t NEED the Alicia episodes, or even the Ryan episode for that matter. But take them out and it’s just not worth it.

      But if you wanted a list in 30 episodes, I think it would be possible. Smaller, even, but the smaller the number is the more jarring it gets. I made a Deep Space Nine list for my friend that just mostly the action episodes. And that meant I cut a lot. He loved the season, but from time to time characters would have temporary, but fundamental changes, and he would ask, “what the hell is going on?”

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