For five seasons now, John Schneider has portrayed Jonathan Kent, father of the future Superman, on the WB's "Smallville" with a vim and vigor that make him seem only a hare beyond his youthful days as the precocious Bo Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard." How he adds in that strong measure of dignity to this current fatherly role, we'll never know (and believe you-me, we could drone on and on about the talents of John Schneider ... meow ... but we won't! promise!).
Anyway, speculation is buzzing about the future of Jonathan Kent, as the WB has been teasing viewers for weeks about the death of a major character -- a character "close" to Clark Kent. Jonathan would, of course, be a likely suspect for that slaughter, as he was killed off in the regular Superman comics continuum and in the well-known 1970s motion picture starring Christopher Reeve.
So ... will he or won't he get killed???? "Smallville" fans -- and John Schneider fans -- want to know!
Before last night's episode, which really did a "psyche!" on the viewers with its implication that Jonathan would bite the dust by either a sniper's bullet or a heart attack, Schneider posted a note to his home page, http://www.johnschneider.tv, reproaching fans for speculating on Jonathan's demise. "I have read several scripts with Jonathan Kent in them," Schneider said, "and have no evidence of his demise."
"But that could just mean episode flashbacks!" one viewer close to BRBTV said. Yes, indeed ... But BRBTV would really love to believe that Jonathan Kent does, indeed, survive the Great Fifth-Season Hyped Killing. We really would. And we're going to, gosh-dang-it!
So in that spirit, BRBTV offers these other suspects -- and maybe requests ... WB, are you listening? -- for the killing that will happen in two weeks, in the special 100th episode of "Smallville," titled "Reckoning," on Thursday, January 26:
- Chloe Sullivan
Chloe is a character created for the "Smallville" series, a sort of Lois-Lane-like reporter-type teen who has added that necessary journalistic touch to the show's premise of Clark's youthful years. Because she's not part of the regular Superman lore, she's expendable. Plus, she knows Clark's secret, which makes her a bit of a liability. If the more-recently introduced Lois is going to step up and take a larger role in "Smallville," which she certainly has in the past season or two, then maybe the similar character of Chloe (who's Lois' cousin, actually) is just adding some confusion to the mix. She's a very likely suspect for the killing.
- Lana Lang
Some Superman fans would argue that Lana's accomplished what she's needed to accomplish on the show, to serve the greater Superman lore: She's been Clark's high-school sweetheart. Now she can go home, so to speak. She does appear in Clark's adult years in the comics world, and she certainly appeared in the Superman movies. But she's much more expendable, in the Superman story, than the crucial Lois Lane, for instance. PLUS ... she really became suspect in the final few minutes of last night's episode. She told Clark just how much she's investigating the two Smallville meteor showers and the idea that perhaps a ship landed in the first shower, years ago (the shower, that of course, brought Clark to Earth!). Yikes! She's gettin' way too close ... way too close for her own good ... better kill that chick off ...
- Lana Lang's unborn child
Sorry, but we're a soap opera fan at heart -- we've just gotta see an overused soap-opera cliche around every corner! What if Lana became pregnant during the one "encounter" of Clark and Lana, while he had lost his superpowers, and that child is the one that's sacrificed on the altar of the ratings grab? It would be someone who's "close" to Clark, and it would save the need to kill off a major character that fans would actually miss! My, how convenient! The preview for the 100th episode seems to indicate something happens to Lana, which would make either this theory or the one above it fit nicely!
- Lionel Luthor
Lionel's completely expendable, in accordance with Superman lore. We've loved having him on the show, and John Glover is magnificent beyond words in that role. But he's completely expendable. He's made his substantial contributions to son Lex's formative years, for the show's purposes; he's corrupted him enough to explain why Lex becomes so nasty. So he can go now.
- Pete Ross
This one is a "dark horse" theory submitted by a fan BRBTV knows ... What if Clark's good buddy Pete pops back onto the scene, after a couple seasons away, just in time to die and fulfill the purpose of this "necessary" fifth-season killing? He certainly wouldn't be missed, since he was away for so long! Pete is part of the regular Superman lore, having a "thing" going on with Lana in the post-high-school years. But he also knows Clark's secret, so his killing would be one less person out there knowing Clark's secret!
So we wait ... "with bait on our breath," as BRB's old Detroit News pal Ralph would say ... until January 26 ... John, we're prayin' for you -- but hey, there'll always be a seat in the General Lee for ya, buddy, if you're kicked off the Kent Farm ...
(And if you want to see even more speculation and musings, check out the message boards at http://www.kryptonsite.com, a nicely designed and comprehensive web tribute to "Smallville" and the Superman story.)