Clark Kent lives in Smallville, but in many ways he is out of this world, and so is this spectacular series that provides a fascinating spin on Superman lore. Season 3 is marked by Clark's inability to overpower destiny and its pressing call for his return home. Clark, who has left Smallville for Metropolis, returns to Smallville to help his parents, who are desperately trying to save their cash-strapped farm and is happily surprised to find that Lex Luthor has survived a deadly jet crash. Lex and Clark's ill-fated camaraderie is strengthened by this miracle but causes tension in the close-knit Kent family, as Jonathan fears that Lex will emulate Lionel and his unscrupulous ways, even while Lex has tried to establish his own identity.
Truth, identity, and responsibility are the cornerstones of Smallville's exceptional third season. When viewers left Clark (Tom Welling) at the end of season 2, he was feeling his oats in Metropolis with the help of a red Kryptonite ring, but by the opening of season 3, he must return to Smallville to not only help his parents save their farm, but seek some resolution in his relationships with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Lex (Michael Rosenbaum), who's returned from his abandonment at the conclusion of the previous season. Lex himself must deal with some shocking revelations regarding his relationship with his sinister father Lionel (John Glover, magnetic as always), and Lana becomes involved with a new figure in town, the mysterious Adam Knight (Lost's Ian Somerholder), who may or may not be a certain caped crusader. And speaking of heroes in disguise, the season's finale introduces Kara, a young woman with powers similar to Clark's--could she in fact be his sister, known best to comic book fans as Supergirl? Season 3 is chock full of such intriguing moments, including an appearance by future Daily Planet editor Perry White (Michael McKean, the real-life husband of series star Annette O'Toole) in "Perry," helmed by Supergirl film director Jeannot Szwarc; the return of villains Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Shawn Ashmore, and Jesse Metcalfe from seasons 1 and 2 (in "Asylum"); the departure of series regular Samuel L. Jones; and a intrigue-fraught final turn by Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann ("Legacy").
The boxed set matches the high quality of the season with some terrific extras, including commentary on three episodes by series creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, along with Rosenbaum, Allison Mack (Chloe), and Glover. Gough and Millar also contribute commentary to a battery of deleted scenes, and Mack's "Chloe Chronicles" returns for another go-round. The supplemental features are rounded out by a behind-the-scenes featurette, an amusing gag reel, and an Easter egg with Rosenbaum conducting some offbeat interviews. --Paul Gaita