Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Smallville

Go To

Please arrange the unsorted entries according to seasons, as shown in Smallville.

Clark Kent's journey to becoming Earth's greatest superhero may have been full of awesome moments, but it hasn't always been a smooth road.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

    open/close all folders 

    General/Multiple Seasons 
  • Lex and Lionel's relationship. Just about any scene with these two has Lionel being snarky and condescending toward his son while Lex gives as good as he gets. It's clear from the jump that they don't like each other; Lex is desperately trying to be his own man while Lionel is bent on doing everything he can to control Lex and mold him into being a ruthless businessman like himself, eventually building himself into the Big Bad of Seasons 2 and 3 as he makes life pretty damn difficult for Clark, his friends, his parents, and everyone else in Smallville. Their ego-fueled rivalry with one another steadily obliterates any hope of reconciliation, and it gets worse once Lionel pulls a Heel–Face Turn and becomes an ally and father figure to Clark, going so far as to prefer Clark over his own son, while Lex plunges deeper into villainy, culminating with sending Lionel falling out of a window to his death in Season 7's "Descent," thus completing his journey to The Dark Side.
  • Any time Clark refuses to tell Lex the truth about himself. Particularly Season 1's "Leech," in which Lex pretty much has it figured out for himself and makes it very clear that he intends to keep Clark's secret. All he wants is for his best and only friend to trust him...and Clark pushes him away. He cares about you, dammit Clark!
    Lex: You're the closest I've had to a real friend my whole life. You don't have to hide anything from me.
    • In "Finale", right before he heads off to face Darkseid, Clark essentially tells Lex he's sorry for not being a better friend.
    • The In-Universe What Could Have Been if Clark had been more trusting in Lex is indeed very, very sad. Knowing who Clark is and what he could do could have given Lex the hope he needed to become the better man he might have been. Somewhere, in some Alternate Universe, Lex and Clark are the ultimate Brains/Brawn crime-fighting team...
      • That Alternate Universe has somewhat come to pass, in Supergirl (2015), where Kara Zor-El and Lena Luthor (who's similar to Lex in this series in many respects) do indeed make an excellent team.
  • Lex's development into the Arch-Enemy everyone knows and loves to hate is saddening to watch. He's second only to Anakin Skywalker in being a character who truly was once a good person but whose vices led them down very dark paths and ultimately brought them into conflict with the people they cared about. And unlike Anakin/Darth Vader, there may be no redemption for this version of Lex Luthor.

    Season One 
1x01 - Pilot

1x02 - Metamorphosis

1x03 - Hothead

1x04 - X-Ray

1x05 - Cool

1x06 - Hourglass

1x07 - Craving

1x08 - Jitters

1x09 - Rogue

1x10 - Shimmer

1x12 - Hug

1x13 - Leech

1x14 - Kinetic

1x15 - Zero

  • Chloe promises to stop looking into the Kents for a class project, only to later break her promise by keeping her notes about the Kent family.

1x16 - Nicodemus

  • In a nod to Superman: The Movie, Clark lamenting being unable to help Jonathan after he falls into a coma due to exposure to the Nicodemus flower.

1x17 - Stray

  • Ryan's backstory. His mother died, leaving him in the care of his son-of-a-bitch stepfather and his new equally-abusive wife who exploited his mind-reading abilities to rob people. When he starts crying, your heart will break for the kid.
  • Lex revealing he had a baby brother, Julian, who died when he was barely a week old. We find out in Season 3 that not only did Lex spent most of his life believing he had accidentally killed his brother, but his mother was actually responsible.
  • Lex giving Clark a foil before possibly leaving Smallville. Clark is close to tears, while Lex is putting on a brave face. It's just a great scene that perfectly illustrates the mutual respect and friendship between these two men who you know will grow up to be enemies.
    Lex: It's a foil, Clark. Every hero should have one.

1x18 - Reaper

  • Clark and Jonathan's argument about Lex after Jonathan finds out that Lex had the Kents investigated and Clark lets slip he knew about it. Jonathan gripes at Clark for not telling him earlier and rather snidely remarks that Clark is too young to understand how untrustworthy the Luthors are, prompting Clark to snap at his father to stop treating him like a kid and that the only reason he goes fishing with Jonathan every year (which he earlier admitted he had since grown tired of) is because it makes his father happy. Jonathan's stunned look and Clark's subsequent My God, What Have I Done? face is hard to watch.
  • As Martha urges Clark to mend fences with his father, she reveals that Jonathan drifted apart from his own father Hiram because they kept things from each other.
  • Jonathan's retort to Lex's Calling the Old Man Out comment.
    Jonathan: Well, so far, you haven't given me a reason to see anything else.
  • Whitney's speech to Clark, especially the part where he tells Clark that Jonathan is always going to be there for him which proves to be Harsher in Hindsight, given what happens seasons later in "Reckoning"...
  • Tyler's story, which could very well be a case study of Bad Powers, Good People. He's an average guy who tried to put his ailing mother, whom he clearly loved deeply, out of her misery, only to end up falling out a window to his death when hospital staff tries to stop him. Then, thanks to Kryptonite, he comes back to life with the ability to turn any organic matter he touches to ash. And does he use this power to wreak havoc for shits and giggles? No. He goes about putting seriously-ill people out of their misery, starting with the bedridden Mrs. Sykes. He tries to do the same to Whitney's hospitalized father George, only for Clark to tell him that his mother survived his prior Mercy Kill attempt. Realizing he's actually been purging his own grief, Tyler uses his powers on himself, and Clark can't stop him.

1x19 - Drone

1x20 - Crush

  • Chloe's anger at Clark for forgetting to sign them up for a journalism conference thanks to the latter's Single-Target Sexuality.
  • The sub-plot of Lex meeting his childhood nanny, Pamela, after she had left him many years earlier. At first, Lex is hostile and cold towards her and wants nothing to do with her, thinking she had abandoned him for money after promising she would never leave him after his mother died, even after Pamela reveals that Lionel, bastard that he is, blackmailed her into leaving by threatening to disinherit Lex.
    • Pam's deathbed reconciliation with Lex.
  • Whitney's father's death. It's sudden, but it was well built-up to.
    • The Silence Is Golden ending scene at George Fordman's funeral. Lana stands by Whitney but shares a Held Gaze with Clark before departing with her boyfriend, making it clear she wants to be with Clark but feels she has to support Whitney in his grief. Chloe notices the interaction between Clark and Lana, two of her close friends, before leaving herself. Finally, Clark is left alone.
    • Just before this scene, Lana was about to break up with Whitney after seeing Clark begin to move on with Chloe, only for a tearful Whitney to inform her that his father died. Ouch.

1x21 - Obscura

1x22 - Tempest

    Season Two 
2x01 - Vortex
  • Clark's worry over his missing father.
  • Clark and Chloe agreeing to be Just Friends, and Chloe breaking down and crying after Clark walks away.

2x02 - Heat

2x03 - Duplicity

2x04 - Red

2x05 - Nocturne

2x06 - Redux

  • Clark meets his grandfather William Clark, Martha's father. They became estranged because William has absolute contempt for his daughter marrying Jonathan, a mere farmer instead of a lawyer like him. Wanting to spend time with his grandpa, Clark tries to get William, Martha and Jonathan to make up, but fails. William never appears again.

2x07 - Lineage

  • Rachel Dunleavy, the "villain" of the episode, while deranged, is ultimately a lonely woman looking for her long-lost son whom she initially believes to be Clark and she's put at odds with Lionel Luthor with whom she had a previous relationship. When she kidnaps Lex in an attempt to get Lionel to admit that she had a child with him and hand him over in a press conference, Lionel instead issues a threat to her not to harm Lex or face the consequences. Enraged, she tries to kill Lex, only to have Clark save him as the ax breaks on his body. When she realizes that he can't be her son, she completely breaks down, and it's mentioned she was institutionalized (again). Martha, Jonathan, and even Lex take pity on her; the latter two make it a point to mention that this is exactly how Lionel ruins lives. She never even gets to reunite with her son, who's very much alive in the show.
  • After Clark finds out that Chloe is again trying to look into his past when his alleged real mother arrives, he loses it and snaps at her that, instead of trying to look into his mother, she should go find her own. This turns out to be a particularly sore spot for Chloe as her mother left her at a young age:
    Chloe: I know where she is, Clark. The difference is, she isn't interested in me!
  • When Clark asks Jonathan why he hates the Luthors so much, Jonathan reveals the story behind how he and Martha came to adopt Clark: He and Martha needed Lionel's help in getting the adoption papers to prove to the authorities that Clark is legally theirs, and Lionel agreed to help him. Afterwards, Lionel wanted Jonathan to persuade the Ross brothers (Pete's father and uncle) to sell their cream corn factory to him, but Jonathan refused, unable to betray the Rosses like that, until Lionel threatened to reveal to Child Services that Clark's adoption was faked if Jonathan doesn't comply. Clark, hearing the story of how Lionel got a hold in Smallville and how Pete's family got screwed over by him, blames himself, but Jonathan won't have it and takes full responsibility:
    Jonathan: (to Clark) You never believe that. This was my decision. This is my fault. (pauses, looks from Clark to Martha) Mine alone.

2x08 - Ryan

  • Ryan dies from a brain tumor despite Clark doing everything possible to prevent that from happening.
  • Ryan tries to warn Lex that he'll become evil if he's not careful.

2x09 - Dichotic

2x10 - Skinwalker

2x11 - Visage

  • The Reveal that the real Whitney died in combat overseas.

2x12 - Insurgence

  • Lex really gets put through the wringer in this episode; in fact, an alternate title for the episode could very reasonably be "How to Break Lex Luthor."
    • It starts with Lex finding out that Lionel had the mansion bugged with surveillance devices and when he confronts the man about it, Lionel snidely dismisses his accusations. Lex then hires a team of thugs to bug Lionel's office in retaliation, only for that to spiral completely out of control when three of the thugs take Lionel and Martha hostage.
    • Lex's Calling the Old Man Out of Jonathan always assuming the worst of him after Jonathan rudely declines Lex and Clark's efforts to help him and Martha make up.
    • Near the end, Lex watching the Kents happily walk away after Lionel coldly tells him he's moving out of the mansion.
  • Jonathan and Martha's argument after Martha is forced to accompany Lionel to LuthorCorp on their anniversary. All Clark can do is look on uncomfortably as his parents argue.
  • Jonathan acting like a Jerkass towards Lex AND Clark when they make a well-intentioned attempt to help him and Martha make up, especially his Don't You Dare Pity Me! response when Clark starts to call him out on his hostile attitude toward Lex; in the case with Clark, it damn-near counts as a Kick the Morality Pet moment.

2x13 - Suspect

  • The brief rift that opens up between Clark and Lex as the former suspects the latter of framing Jonathan for shooting Lionel.
  • Sheriff Ethan breaking down in tears after Clark busts him for shooting Lionel and framing Jonathan for the crime.

2x14 - Rush

  • Clark finally gathered the courage to ask Lana out. Then, Chloe is infected by adrenaline-stimulating parasites which makes her dangerously impulsive, and Clark is similarly affected by red kryptonite. Chloe brings them to the Talon (Lana's coffee shop), where they make out passionately—put it this way, the relevant clip received a 18+ rating on YouTube. Chloe strips Clark, the red kryptonite falls out, and he is back to normal to find Chloe pinning him onto a sofa. He tries to get away, but Chloe forces a kiss on him the moment Lana, who has been told by a waitress of their behavior, walks in...
    Clark: Lana, this is not what it looks like. (Lana stares at him, then sweeps past him)
    Chloe: Yes, it is, Lana, it is exactly what it looks like. Oh, and guess what? Clark told me everything. (Lana pauses at the door) And I mean, everything note . (Chloe walks out of the Talon)
    Clark: Lana, I Can Explain. (Lana slams the door behind her with tears streaming down her face)
    • Then later, Clark tries to apologize to Lana. Lana knows about the parasite and doesn't blame Chloe as she was not herself, but Clark sadly can't tell her about the red kryptonite.
      Lana: I could understand why she was kissing you, but why are you kissing her back?
    • Then she throws his rose away once he left.

2x15 - Prodigal

2x16 - Fever

  • When Clark falls very ill due to some kryptonite-irradiated spores, Chloe visits him when he is unconscious. It was pretty heartwarming at first... well, the Smallville wiki puts it best:
    Chloe: So yet in another classic maneuver to avoid emotional intimacy, I wrote my feelings down so that I could read them to you, thereby avoiding the embarrassing eye contact. (takes a deep breath and starts to read) "I want to let you in on a little secret, Clark. I'm not who you think I am. In fact, my disguise is so thin, I'm surprised you haven't seen right through me. I'm the girl of your dreams masquerading as your best friend. Sometimes I want to rip off this façade like I did at the Spring Formal, but I can't because you'll get scared and run away again. So I decided that it's better to live with the lie than expose my true feelings." This is so much easier when you are unconscious. (tenderly caresses Clark's hair) "My dad told me there are two types of girls: the ones you grow out of, and the ones you grow into. I really hope I'm the latter. I may not be the one you love today, but I'll let you go for now, hoping one day you'll fly back to me. Because I think you're worth the wait." (again, carefully strokes Clark's brow) Clark? (Clark smiles and stirs in his sleep)
    Clark: (groans) Lana? (A few seconds of blank shock, then a Single Tear slides down Chloe's cheek; she leaves in a hurry, with one final tearful glance from the door)
    • Seriously, Seasons 1 and 2 just seem to be one long Break the Cutie sequence for Chloe. Clark just can't stop breaking her heart to chase after Lana, unconsciously or not.
  • Jonathan's situation in this episode, which is parental worries in all its glory. His wife and generally-invulnerable son are infected with a deadly virus, they don't have much time left to live, and there's very little he can do. John Schneider gives his all in conveying Jonathan's anguish and desperation to save his family.

2x17 - Rosetta

  • After Chloe caught Lana looking at Chloe's photos with Clark at the school dance:
    Chloe: Don't look at me like that.
    Lana: Like what way?
    Chloe: Like I'm some lovesick loser who is trying to hang onto something she never had.
  • Clark finding out his origins, most of all the fact that Krypton is gone and he is most likely the only Kryptonian left in the universe (that is, until Season 7).
  • After reading Jor-El's message which suggests he was sent to conquer mankind, Clark worries about his future and whether he can escape that apparent fate, with Jonathan doing his best to assure his son that he is not bound to any destiny. The real kicker is when, as Jonathan hugs his son, we see that both of them doubt if they truly can avert Beware the Superman.

2x18 - Visitor

  • Clark believing Cyrus to be a fellow surviving Kryptonian after watching him heal a sick horse, and his reaction after Cyrus lapses into a catatonic state after he believes he missed his chance to go home.

2x19 - Precipice

2x20 - Witness

  • Clark and Chloe's argument after Clark forgets to write an article because he was busy helping Lana.
    • Clark and Chloe later ending their friendship.

2x21 - Accelerate

  • Lana confessing to Emily that she didn't save the original Emily. Whatever your opinion of Lana, your heart will break for the girl as her face absolutely crumbles during her confession.

2x22 - Calling

  • Lionel comes to Chloe and offers her a column in the Daily Planet (something she wanted for a very long time)... at the price of investigating Clark. She turns him down, saying that she would never betray her friends. Lionel wonders if Clark would be as loyal to her as she is to him. Then she sees Lana and Clark kissing in the loft and leaves crying.

2x23 - Exodus

  • Lana is preparing for Lex's wedding, and when Chloe asks, she lies and says that Clark and her are Just Friends. Chloe then confronts Clark, who barely pays her any attention.
  • Jor-El demands that Clark fulfill his Kryptonian destiny. In an attempt to resist it, Clark decides to sever his only Kryptonian link, the ship he arrived to Earth in, by putting a kryptonite key in it. The ship explodes, causing a huge shockwave. The Kent truck is overturned, and Martha loses her baby.
    Jonathan: Your actions have consequences, Clark! Didn't your mother and I ever teach you that?
    Clark: Yes, but—
    Jonathan: There's no time for excuses, Clark! It's too late! You didn't think this thing through. You had no idea what was going to happen, and now your mother is lying in a hospital bed!
  • Lana finds Clark, who is in pain and is convinced that he would only hurt everyone around him if he stayed in Smallville. He steals Chloe's red kryptonite ring, puts it on, and departs for Metropolis, leaving behind a distraught Lana.

    Season Three 
3x01 - Exile
  • Chloe tries to talk Clark into going back to Smallville and is met with violence.
    Clark: (pushing Chloe towards the door of his apartment) Chloe, get out! If you tell anyone where I am, I'll go someplace where they'll never find me!
    Chloe: I don't know who you are anymore.
    Clark: GET OUT!!!

3x02 - Phoenix

  • Jonathan makes a deal with Jor-El to bring Clark back at the cost of his health.
  • Lana breaks up with Clark.
    Chloe: I mean, let's face it, Lana. Clark has more issues than Rolling Stone. note 

3x03 - Extinction

3x04 - Slumber

3x05 - Perry

3x06 - Relic

3x07 - Magnetic

3x08 - Shattered

  • Let's face it; "Shattered" is another episode dedicated to breaking Lex. It starts with Lex, having learned from Chloe that Lionel and Morgan Edge conspired to kill the former's parents for their insurance money, getting Edge to confess so he can put his father in prison, only for Lionel to conspire with Edge to drug Lex and make it look like he's crazy, with only Clark believing Lex's claims. By the end of the episode, Lex is captured and put in Belle Reve, and the episode closes with a tearful Lionel watching his son in a straitjacket.
  • Clark being forced to choose between helping Lex or not, and deciding to help his friend despite Jonathan's protests.
  • Lana telling Clark to stay away from her after she ends up gravely injured while trying to help Lex.

3x09 - Asylum

  • Despite Clark's best efforts, Lionel succeeds in having Lex's memories erased. The best that can be said about the situation is that Lionel finds out too late that Lex knew Clark's secret.
  • Clark confiding in his parents that he wishes he could erase the past few months of his life.

3x10 - Whisper

  • Clark confronting Chloe about working for Lionel.

3x11 - Delete

3x12 - Hereafter

3x13 - Velocity

3x14 - Obsession

3x15 - Resurrection

  • An example that crosses over with heartwarming: Clark convincing a stubborn Jonathan to have open-heart surgery, telling him how important he is to him. Jonathan looks near tears himself as he finally gives in, and his son give him a big hug.

3x16 - Crisis

  • After Lionel frames him for the Metron murders, Lex goes and makes a deal with the FBI to bring his father down. If the development itself doesn't elicit sadness, then Lex's angry, bitter tears as he tells Loder he'll help bring Lionel down will.

3x17 - Legacy

3x18 - Truth

  • Chloe, who breathed in a truth gas that forces anyone she asks to tell the truth, asks Pete what is the secret. To both Chloe and Clark's surprise, instead of talking about Clark's secret (what she was asking for), he suddenly kissed her and admitted that he has had a crush on her for a long time. Shocked, Chloe forgets all about uncovering Clark; Pete is very embarrassed and runs away, pleading for Chloe (who is dying from the truth gas) to seek treatment. Later on, Clark asks why Pete never told him or Chloe; Pete replies he didn't think he ever had a chance with the gorgeous Chloe and also knows full well that she only has eyes for Clark (better than Clark himself anyway) and he is fine with them being together, even consoling Chloe when she broke up with Clark.
  • Lex admitting to Chloe that all he ever wanted from Lionel is love. Made even more poignant when Lionel, in a fit of frustration, demands, not asks, Lex what he wants from him and Lex gives his father a sad look before delivering this line:
    Lex: It doesn't matter, Dad, because I'm never going to get it.
  • Lana saying that no one wants to be around Chloe any more and she is leaving for Paris; she didn't tell Chloe because she doesn't trust her.

3x19 - Memoria

  • Hell, every single one of Lex's memories count.
  • Clark being led into a trap at Summerholt by Lionel. Watching the future Superman get weakened enough by Kryptonite to be easily overpowered by Dr. Garner's mooks, stripped down to his underwear, and strapped to a gurney completely helpless and unable to fight or escape is heart-wrenching.
  • As a result of Garner's procedure, Clark recovers his earliest memory: Lara placing baby Kal-El inside his ship as Krypton is about to explode. Lara sounds so sad when she bids her son farewell.
    • Clark coming out of the memory screaming his birth mother's name. Tom Welling's anguished cries will tear your heart out.
      • Worse, it mirrors the episode's teaser, which features Lex screaming his dead brother's name.
  • Lex reveals to Lionel what his brain treatments have caused him to remember—that his mother Lillian was responsible for his brother Julian's death, an action Lex took the blame for and arguably set the tone of Lionel and Lex's relationship. The look on Lionel's face when he realizes that all the resentment he had been holding toward his son was for nothing is heart-wrenching, as are his pitiful attempts to apologize as Lex utterly rejects the gesture and rips himself out of his father's grasp.
  • Crossing over with heartwarming: Martha revealing that Clark's first word as a child was "Lara" after Clark laments he forgot his biological mother.

3x20 - Talisman

  • Jonathan and Martha coming home to find Clark dying of a stab wound.

3x21 - Forsaken

  • Pete announcing he's moving away with his mother because he can't deal with the burden of protecting Clark's secret and saying goodbye to Clark.
  • The ending scene with Lex confronting Lionel in his office before Loder arrives to arrest Lionel. It's clear that Lex is taking no joy in having his father arrested.

3x22 - Covenant

    Season Four 
4x01 - Crusade
  • Lois, after spending much of the episode establishing herself as a Deadpan Snarker Plucky Girl, visiting Chloe's grave and trying like hell to put on a brave front.

4x02 - Gone

4x03 - Facade

4x04 - Devoted

4x05 - Run

4x06 - Transference

  • When Clark and Lionel switch bodies, you get some Moments of Awesome for Tom Welling and John Glover's acting, mostly because they can mimic each other's traits incredibly well, but also some gut-wrenching moments from Clark!Lionel when he starts to break down in jail. First, when he begs why the guards are dragging him away until he sees his face and snaps, then when he's beaten up by the thug demanding protection money, then when he finds out he's dying. It may not always click on first viewing, but remember, this is the future Superman in jail without his powers. Clark is a good person, he's tried to do nothing but good his entire life, he didn't deserve this and damn it hurts to just try to think what it's like for him.
  • Clark actually Lionel has a long flirt with Chloe, then pulls back at the last possible moment when they're about to kiss, with the cruelest of manners.
    Clark: Don't you wish... Miss Sullivan.

4x07 - Jinx

4x08 - Spell

4x09 - Bound

4x10 - Scare

4x11 - Unsafe

4x12 - Pariah

  • Clark finds that Alicia Baker has been murdered. The Big "NO!" he lets out is one of those rare moments where the moment is not Narm; it is an anguished, primal wail. It's a lot worse when you consider that a) Alicia was the first girl he loved who knew, accepted, and understood him; and b) he never even had closure with her, seeing that she died believing he didn't trust her, and he pretty much has to live with that for the rest of his life. Also note just how violent his initial reaction to her death was even if she was only a three-episode character, her brief presence had a major impact, and her death was as powerfully and painfully emotional as was her relationship with Clark.
    • Clark also blames himself for her death. Believing if he told everyone about his secret like she said, she'd still be alive.

4x13 - Recruit

4x14 - Krypto

4x15 - Sacred

4x16 - Lucy

4x17 - Onyx

4x18 - Spirit

4x19 - Blank

  • Mostly funny and heartwarming, but with two small examples of this:
    • Clark seeing Lana for the first time after he lost all his memories.
      Clark: Who is that?
      Chloe: (sadly) That... is Lana. The love of your life.
    • Clark regains all his memories at the end, but forgets what Chloe did all throughout the episode to help him.
      Clark: Chloe, I need you to be completely honest with me.
      Chloe: Honest, huh?note 
      Clark: What'd I do?
      Chloe: You trusted me.note 

4x20 - Ageless

  • Evan, the freak of the week, ages rapidly and is about to self-destruct in a huge explosion. His last words are "I wish you were my father, Clark."
    • To be more specific, Clark and Lana find a baby boy in a field and adopt him. Unfortunately, the baby, named "Evan," starts aging rapidly and, despite everyone's best efforts, dies. The worse part was the scene where Evan's biological father didn't want anything to do with him.

4x21 - Forever

  • What did you expect from the last episode of high school? Special mentions goes to Chloe sadly packing up her things at the Torch and has one good long look at the office before leaving. It is going to be sorely missed.

4x22 - Commencement

    Season Five 
5x01 - Arrival

5x02 - Mortal

5x03 - Hidden

  • Clark getting shot and later dying in the hospital. Lana, Jonathan, and Martha's reactions are gut-wrenching.
  • Jor-El resurrects Clark with his powers restored, as that's the only way he can come back, with the caveat that someone he loves will have to die in his place.

5x04 - Aqua

5x05 - Thirst

5x06 - Exposed

  • When Lex comes by the Kent farmhouse and asks to speak with Senator Jennings about the incriminating photo of him and the stripper, Jonathan openly expresses that he never really liked Lex, demonstrating just how deeply Lex has fallen in the Kents' eyes.
  • Senator Jennings's involvement in an extramarital affair is now Harsher in Hindsight in light of Tom Wopat (Jennings) being accused of sexual harassment.

5x07 - Splinter

5x08 - Solitude

  • After Martha is stricken with a fatal Kryptonian disease, Clark, believing this event to be the dreaded death of a loved one Jor-El told him about in "Hidden," plead with Jor-El to let his mother live, but Jor-El insists he isn't responsible for Martha's illness (he's right; Professor Fine/Brainiac is the true culprit) and reiterates that someone Clark loves will die to compensate for his restored life and that there is nothing he can do to stop it.
  • Jonathan's anger at Clark for withholding Jor-El's bargain from him and Martha.

5x09 - Lexmas

  • Picking up from the heartwarming part of the episode... The Dream Apocalypse unfolds as Lana starts rapidly losing blood after delivering a baby girl. Lex begs his father to let Lana get the best treatment, but Dreamworld!Lionel cruelly denies it as, in reality, Lionel orders a risky operation to be done on Lex. Lex breaks down in the dream world and wakes up in reality. Afterwards, Lex decides the only thing that can prevent him from losing the people he loves is money and power, and orders for a smear campaign against Jonathan to be initiated. The ghost of his mother shows up as a reflection in the window and weeps as her son is determined to go down the wrong path.
  • The good parts are just as tear-jerking when you think about it. The dream shows that, despite what he did or will do, Lex really wished his relationship with Clark and Chloe never soured like it did in the real world.

5x10 - Fanatic

5x11 - Lockdown

5x12 - Reckoning

  • This episode, the 100th episode, is made of TearJerkers. The first happens when Clark finally tells Lana his secret and everyone's extremely happy, to the point that you start to wonder what the big deal was with the secret. Then she dies in a violent car crash when Lex gets obsessed with finding out what Lana knows about Clark. Clark gets to the scene too late, and his reaction as his dad tries to pull him away is heart-wrenching. But then Clark goes back in time with the help of Jor-El, right after he told him that they weren't gods. Unfortunately, messing with the time stream has horrible consequences, and Jonathan dies in Lana's place. Martha's agonized screams at the time of Jonathan's passing, and the funeral afterward really turns on the waterworks.

5x13 - Vengeance

  • The entire episode deals with Clark's grief and regret over his actions in "Reckoning," and how he's been bottling up all of his emotions. It all finally comes out at the end of the episode, when he walks into his living room while his mom is watching an old home video of theirs. It shows Jonathan playing with a young Clark, and closes off with him turning to face the camera and saying a spirited "Bye-bye"; it's almost like a posthumous farewell from father to son.
    • Just the scene of Clark breaking down in his mother's arms can get to anybody. Anybody who thought that Tom Welling couldn't act before was proven very wrong with this scene.

5x14 - Tomb

  • Chloe reuniting with her mother at the end.

5x15 - Cyborg

5x16 - Hypnotic

  • Clark breaking up with Lana.
    • Even worse: Lex set the whole thing up so Lana would turn to him for comfort. And to this day, Clark and Lana may STILL not know the truth.

5x17 - Void

  • Clark's reunion with Jonathan in the afterlife after being injected with the limbo drug.

5x18 - Fragile

5x19 - Mercy

5x20 - Fade

  • Clark's reaction to walking in on Lex and Lana sharing a kiss. Poor guy looks like he's going to be sick.
  • Clark and Lana's conversation at the end.

5x21 - Oracle

5x22 - Vessel

  • Lana wondering how she ever could've loved Clark as she storms out, leaving Clark with an absolutely gutted expression on his face.

    Season Six 
6x01 - Zod

6x02 - Sneeze

6x03 - Wither

  • Clark sitting alone in the loft, bouncing a ball, at the end of the episode.

6x04 - Arrow

6x05 - Reunion

6x06 - Fallout

  • Raya's death.

6x07 - Rage

6x08 - Static

6x09 - Subterranean

6x10 - Hydro

  • Lana again asks Clark to tell her what he's been hiding all these years, but Clark, having found out that Lana is pregnant with Lex's baby, instead tells her things have changed and that he hopes Lex makes her happy.

6x11 - Justice

6x12 - Labyrinth

  • Chloe is shot in the chest by officers. She twitches a few times before dying in Clark's arms. It's All Just a Dream.
  • The whole background created by Dr. Hudson can be considered that if taken as reality: a child lost his parents. As a result, he started making up a story where he is capable of protecting everyone. Then he snapped and hurt everyone he cared about.

6x13 - Crimson

  • Clark is dosed with red kryptonite and crashes Lex and Lana's engagement party.
    Kal: (to Chloe) After all, once Lana's off the market, all those years of unrequited pining may actually pay off. Can't say I haven't thought about it.
  • Then at the end, Jimmy gets increasingly jealous of Chloe's relationship with Clark. He said Clark does all sorts of horrible things when on red kryptonite (although he doesn't know that) but is Easily Forgiven, and accuses that she would never speak to him again if he is the one being the Jerkass. He challenges her saying that she would have chosen Clark over him if she had a chance. She hesitates for a long while being denying it but the damage is done. He says their relationship should be put on hold and storms out, and Chloe looks like she's going to cry.

6x14 - Trespass

6x15 - Freak

  • Chloe, who's just found out she's a meteor freak, worrying over whether she'll develop any superpowers.

6x16 - Promise

  • Clark's reaction to seeing Lex and Lana wed.
  • Lionel confronting Lex about Dr. Langston's death. He actually slaps Lex across the face and berates him for his sloppiness, all the while backing Lex against the wall. Lionel notes that "[Lana]'s made a desperate man out of you," and he's right; Lex, in that moment, looks like a scared little kid confronted with his absolute worst fear.

6x17 - Combat

6x18 - Progeny

  • In a flashback, Moira Sullivan leaving young Chloe for her own protection because of her uncontrollable Mind Control powers.
  • Chloe find her mother fully conscious in Lex's secret facility. Clark breaks them out. Moira starts to slip back into her catatonic state and there is nothing Clark or Chloe could do. Clark could just watch helplessly as Chloe and her mother exchange final words as she becomes increasingly halting in speech before her Fate Worse than Death.
    Moira: Being with you again... it's the greatest gift I could've ever been given.
    • Another reminder of despite his godlike powers, there are always people he can't save. It is the injustice that Lex walks free (after he threatens to kill Chloe or worse if she doesn't take back her article on him), Chloe has to endure this kind of pain, and Moira barely had a chance to get to know the amazing woman her little daughter has grown up to be that gets you.
      Moira: My little cub reporter... (tenderly strokes Chloe's chin) This belongs... to you. (hands her back her necklace)
      Chloe: (desperately) No, Mom, please... please don't go, Mom... Not yet, not again! (voice breaks)
      Moira: I... love you... Chlo... Chloe... (goes completely catatonic; kneeling in front of her mother, Chloe starts to sob into her lap)

6x19 - Nemesis

  • Clark confiding in his mother that, while trapped underground with Lex who helped him since he was weakened by Kryptonite lining the walls, he saw a glimpse of the man who was once his friend, then considering the possibility that Lex turned evil because he gave up on him too soon.

6x20 - Noir

6x21 - Prototype

6x22 - Phantom

  • The death and return of Chloe Sullivan. Lois gets stabbed, and calls Chloe before passing out. Chloe arrives to find her losing blood badly. She starts to cry and a shining Single Tear falls on Lois' forehead, healing her completely, but Chloe goes unconscious instead. Clark arrives and takes them to the hospital, where they try and fail to revive Chloe. However, the scene is rather brutally butchered by Chloe Waking Up at the Morgue immediately after her death (and in a rather Narmy fashion).
  • Lana announcing to Lex that she's leaving him and Lex slapping her after she spitefully declares Clark means more to her than he ever will.
  • Clark's reaction to finding out that Lana apparently died in a car explosion. His grief quickly turns to anger toward Lex, whom he suspects is responsible.

    Season Seven 
7x01 - Bizarro
  • Chloe grieving for Lana as she watches footage of their bachelorette party.

7x02 - Kara

7x03 - Fierce

7x04 - Cure

  • Chloe walks in on Kara and Jimmy alone and they part on a bad note although Kara is oblivious. At the end of the episode, Chloe's hope of curing her meteor infection is crushed when the doctor calmly states he actually wants to cut out her heart. Jimmy and Chloe talk, but when Jimmy suggests they agree that the future just be normal, Chloe cannot promise him this. Jimmy thinks Chloe is still mad about him helping Kara despite that Chloe always rushes off the help Clark, but Chloe insists that she isn't. He says he has been very patient with Chloe and doesn't understand why she can't tell him what the problem is. When she doesn't answer, Jimmy says he can't do it anymore and leaves Chloe in tears.note 
  • When Chloe decides to go to get treatment for meteor infection, she lies but Clark sees through it at once. Chloe admits that there might be memory loss.
    Chloe: If I have to give up a little bit of my past to gain a future, then so be it.
    Clark: You're going to forget everything! You're going to forget your friends, your experiences— you're going to forget me. You're going to forget me.note .
  • Whatever Sasha Woodman did in the past, the loss of her memories and powers made her reform and left her shocked and confused about her past actions. This lends her an odd air of sympathy even before the scene where she ends up crying and begging on a Mad Scientist's dissection table.

7x05 - Action

7x06 - Lara

7x07 - Wrath

7x08 - Blue

7x09 - Gemini

7x10 - Persona

  • Julian's death at the end.

7x11 - Siren

7x12 - Fracture

7x13 - Hero

7x14 - Traveler

7x15 - Veritas

  • Clark and Chloe is convinced Lionel murdered all others in his secret society. Lionel ends up on his knees before Chloe trying to make her listen, but sadly, Poor Communication Kills.
  • Clark finally gets to see Lana and tries to get her to respond, but she is completely catatonic until she whispers, "Kal-El". Clark looks hopeful for a moment, but she continues, saying he is too late. Devastated, Clark closes Lana's eyes and begins to cry. Chloe enters the hallway with the two of them at the end, but keeps her distance as she, too, starts to cry.

7x16 - Descent

  • Lex kills his father. The fact that things between he and Lex deteriorated to the point where there was really no other way it could end was sad enough, but his message to Clark, when he acknowledges that after all those years, he's finally met someone who he admits was better than him? And, while it was always a Foregone Conclusion, Lex finally sealed his Face–Heel Turn by destroying his good part, Alexander.
  • Even though Earth-2 Lionel is evil as our Lionel used to be, deep down he truly loved his son and admits he regretted letting Earth-2 Clark kill him.

7x17 - Sleeper

7x18 - Apocalypse

  • Clark at the start of the episode. He's so depressed by everything that's happened he's gotten to the point where he's willing to perform suicide by inaction (that is, let Brainiac kill his infant self on Krypton in the past) in a misguided attempt at atoning for his supposed sins. Good thing Jor-El intervened when he did.

7x19 - Quest

7x20 - Arctic

  • For fans of Lex and Clark's friendship, the last five minutes can be considered a pretty massive Tear Jerker. Especially with Lex's final words to an injured Clark as he holds him in his arms as the Fortress of Solitude falls around them both.
    Lex: "I love you like a brother, Clark. But it has to end this way... I'm sorry."

    Season Eight 
8x01 - Odyssey

8x02 - Plastique

8x03 - Toxic

8x04 - Instinct

8x05 - Committed

8x06 - Prey

8x07 - Identity

8x08 - Bloodline

8x09 - Abyss

  • Both heartwarming and tear jerking.
    Chloe: I've forgotten almost everyone, Clark, and I'm having to fake my feelings more and more with people. Pretty soon there isn't going to be any more "I, Chloe." Just an I.Q.
  • Clark carries an unconscious Chloe to the Fortress as more and more of her memory fades.
    Clark: Chloe never would have gotten hurt if she wasn't trying to protect me.
    Jor-El: I tried to warn you the danger in sharing your true identity.
    Clark: Now that I'm taking more risks, it's even more dangerous for her. Chloe deserves a life free from the burden of my secret. When you restore her memory, I don't want her to remember anything about Krypton. Or my abilities.
    Jor-El: I know this choice is not easy for you, my son. But it will be done.
    Clark: You're the best friend and ally I could have had, Chloe. The truth is, you saved me more than I could have ever saved you. I'm sorry to go back to hiding the truth from you, but the best way that I know to protect you... is to let you go. (kisses her on her forehead)
  • After taking her back to Smallville, Clark returns.
    Clark: Jor-El. I've come here to thank you for what you've done. Chloe's a lot safer now that she doesn't remember the truth about me. I guess I'm just starting to realize how much I actually lost.
    Jor-El: You made a difficult choice. I'm proud of you, Kal-El.
    • Finally:
    Jor-El: I'm here for you as well, my son.
    Clark: Thank you... Father.
    • Note this is the only time Clark calls Jor-El "father", he is so grateful for him saving Chloe from a Fate Worse than Death.

8x10 - Bride

8x11 - Legion

8x12 - Bulletproof

8x13 - Power

8x14 - Requiem

  • Lana absorbs so much kryptonite radiation that she can no longer be anywhere near Clark. Their final, dramatic goodbye before she leaves Smallville is absolutely heartwrenching.

8x15 - Infamous

8x16 - Turbulence

  • Jimmy and Chloe had an argument over Davis, and Jimmy says he is fed up with Chloe taking sides with Clark and now Davis but not him. Just look at Chloe after Jimmy says this line. And when she is crying alone in her apartment.
    Jimmy: Marrying you... was the biggest mistake of my life.

8x17 - Hex

8x18 - Eternal

  • Davis asks Chloe to do a Mercy Kill. She can't bring herself to do it. When Clark arrives and Doomsday threatens to emerge, Chloe is forced to pull the switch that brings down a tank of liquid kryptonite on Davis. She then rushes to the cage where Davis is held, tears streaming down her face, and they press their hands together across the glass before he dies.

8x19 - Stiletto

8x20 - Beast

8x21 - Injustice

8x22 - Doomsday

  • Jimmy and Davis kill each other and Jimmy dies in Chloe's arms after a Dying Declaration of Love. Clark renounces humanity and walks out of her life.

    Season Nine 
9x01 - Savior
  • Chloe begs Clark to go back in time and save Jimmy, but he adamantly refuses.
    Chloe: There isn't really anything human left in you.
  • Chloe reveals to Emil that she had gone through so much she needs to carry a gun to fall asleep. Really, by this point Chloe is like a walking Tear Jerker, seeing how all of those in season eight directly involves her.

9x02 - Metallo

9x03 - Rabid

9x04 - Echo

9x05 - Roulette

9x06 - Crossfire

9x07 - Kandor

  • A clone of Jor-El arrives in Smallville and is surprised to learn he has a son. He and Clark spend the entire episode trying to meet, but Tess, Zod, and life keep getting in the way. They finally run into each other at the end, just in time for Jor-El to die of a mortal wound.

9x08 - Idol

9x09 - Pandora

9x10 - Disciple

9x11/12 - Absolute Justice

  • The end of Part 1: While Clark wakes up into the main room of the abandoned building, he learns by uncovering the wall portrait that the group he was investigating were a powerful team of heroes, and we see a flashback to their eventual downfall: Wildcat/Ted Grant gets arrested in his gym, we see Green Lantern/Alan Scott get taken in for aiding and abetting The (Original) Flash/Jay Garrick when he (falsely) gets taken in for fraud, Star-Spangled Kid/Sylvester Pembleton for (trumped-up changes of) embezzlement. Perhaps most painful were Hourman/Wesley Dodds', Hawkman/Carter Hall's and Atom/Al Pratt's arrests for taking part in a riot (the former filmed cradling a dying woman) and Dr. Fate/Kent Nelson being taken away to be institutionalized as his wife watches and cries.
  • Hell, anything to do with The Woobie that is Season 9's Dr. Fate.
    Dr. Fate: Carter, you have no idea how much I wish I could remember what my life was like before Dr. Fate. I had a wife. I think her name was Inza. And a family. But I can't... I can't remember. I scared them all away.
    • Of course, by contrast, Carter's response to this statement is a Heartwarming Moment:
      Carter: Not all of them, my friend.

9x13 - Warrior

9x14 - Persuasion

9x15 - Conspiracy

9x16 - Escape

9x17 - Checkmate

9x18 - Upgrade

9x19 - Charade

9x20 - Sacrifice

  • Zod chokes the life out of his lover, Faora, for betraying him. As her body lies on the ground, Zod notices her hand resting on her abdomen. He leans down over her midsection and turns on his super-hearing. To his horror, he hears a faint heartbeat fluttering and dying. Zod has just unwittingly murdered his own unborn child. Sure, what he does shortly thereafter is downright bastardly, but for a moment one's heart breaks for the man.

9x21 - Hostage

9x22 - Salvation

  • Clark announces to the Justice League via comm-link to Watchtower that he'll stop the Kryptonian attacks around the world, by using the Book of Rao to transport them to a new world where he could lead them. Chloe, who grew up with Clark mature from farmboy to the leader of his lost people, and processing the possibility of this being the last time that she ever sees him again, tries to keep her composure as he announces this, but fails, and can only utter a single, potent line that summed up her feelings:
    Chloe: I'm so proud of you, Clark. (quickly walks out of the control room of the Watchtower)

    Season Ten 
10x01 - Lazarus

10x02 - Shield

10x03 - Supergirl

10x04 - Homecoming

10x05 - Isis

10x06 - Harvest

10x07 - Ambush

10x08 - Abandoned

10x09 - Patriot

10x10 - Luthor

10x11 - Icarus

  • The death of Hawkman. Stabbed through the chest by Slade, and with his wings on fire, he still manages to fly to the rescue, saving Lois from plummeting to her death. As he dies, he talks about how he's going to be reunited with his wife, cracks a joke, and then goes. Doubles as a Dying Moment of Awesome.

10x12 - Collateral

10x13 - Beacon

10x14 - Masquerade

10x15 - Fortune

10x16 - Scion

10x17 - Kent

  • While her entire life could be considered a Tear Jerker, there's something really sad about Tess's quiet "he's my father" when Earth-2 Clark demands to know why she didn't let him kill E-2 Lionel. She has so many issues when it comes to her family, and E-2 Lionel has been absolutely horrible towards her, yet she still can't let go of the desire to just be wanted by her father.
  • Clark and Jonathan's reunion. Even though it's an alternate universe, the son telling the father everything he taught him...

10x18 - Booster

10x19 - Dominion

10x20 - Prophecy

  • Kara's departure, abrupt though it was.

10x21/22 - Finale

  • Tess' death. Sure, to an extent it was hard to miss coming, but there's something about how she spends the whole two-part finale completely separated from Clark, Lois, Oliver, and Chloe, all of whom had become her friends at this point and dies without them even aware of what she was doing or even concerned about her (admittedly with reason) is terribly tragic.
    • What makes the latter part particularly upsetting is that no one noticed that she hadn't showed up to Clark and Lois's wedding. (Which was before the apocalypse situation!)
  • Lex's return and his conversation with Clark. Clark finally sees that his former best friend is beyond any reason or morality and their fate as enemies has been sealed. When Clark says "I'm sorry I couldn't save you", You can almost see his heart breaking. The character who tried so hard to be a good man is gone forever, replaced by the spiteful, cruel man life turned him into.
  • Clark begging the spirit of Jonathan Kent that he needs his help against Darkseid. He knows full well that there's nothing his father could do even if he was alive. He's been used to being the strongest one in his household since he was a toddler, he's bent steel in his bare hands and vaporized mighty rivers with a hard glare since then, and is now himself completely outmatched. But even on the day he becomes Superman, there's still a part of him deep down inside that believes his dad can fix it all and make everything okay again, because he's his son and that's what dads are supposed to do. Instead, Jonathan makes him understand he has it in him to save the world himself.
  • Despite her Undying Loyalty to Lex when she was first introduced, Tess had always been treated fairly horribly by him, including one very disturbing betrayal. But now she knows that he did all of those things knowing the whole time that she was his half-sister.