Why Tess Mercer Was the Worst Character on Smallville

It’s amazing to think how many times the Superman story has been told and how many characters have been created for it since when one looks back and really takes count there are quite a few. Smallville was only one representation among the many, and to be honest it was one that a lot of people loved since they wanted to see what Superman was like when he was younger. While the common argument was that none of the characters looked as young as they were supposed to be, people didn’t generally care since they grew attached to the characters they liked. Some might have even appreciated and liked Tess Mercer but in terms of being the worst or the best she definitely fell into the worst category largely because it feels like she was brought on as more of a gimmick than anything and not a good one at that. The future feud between Lex Luthor and Superman that was already building didn’t need a lot of extra story to it, but Smallville continued to build the drama in ways that the movies did not.

Tess, Lex’s younger half-sister, and former protege would have been better off if she were just as twisted and evil as Lex, but the thing is that she saw Superman as a hero and even thought others of his species would be like him. She was more than a little naive when it came to releasing General Zod and it’s fair to say that despite her intelligence and capability when it came to stymying Lex, she was still someone that felt a little too extra, meaning she didn’t really need to go to all the lengths that she did. Her whole story is something that might have been better served as something that was a brief flare that might come back later, rather than a prolonged appearance.

People might want to fight or come at me for this, but Tess was kind of an irrelevant character that was written in to be someone important. This same argument could be used for a lot of characters in a lot of shows since no one’s really important until the writers make them that way and the fans validate it. It is a little frustrating to think of why fans adore one character and vilify another, but the fact is that part of this is in the hands of the actors as well since they make the case for the character after being given the script, and sometimes the actors don’t really live up to the part as they’re expected to. If anyone’s going to cite that this is personal opinion then they won’t be surprised to learn that of course, it is, as it’s the personal opinion of many people that Tess was kind of not needed for this role and would have been better off being a character that lasted for a few episodes and no more. Giving the villain a sibling that a lot of people had no knowledge of before she appeared on the show was kind of hard to swallow for a bit, but people did get used to her.

Even with that, however, Tess still wasn’t the kind of addition that would likely be presented in the movies that quickly unless someone decided to make a huge stink about it. That could happen since that kind of thing has happened before, but it’s a big hope that it doesn’t happen since it could be something that might rile the fans up even more if another Superman movie comes out with Tess instead of Lex Luthor. One of the many things to learn about fans is that they do like their stories and they do appreciate change a lot of times, but there are times when it’s not wise to simply drop any of their favorite characters in favor of a character that many people know next to nothing about. Remember Terminator: Dark Fate? Yeah, that didn’t go over too well since the promise of bringing back John Connor was dashed like he’d become an afterthought, and people absolutely hated it. Bringing in Tess in the same way to replace her brother wouldn’t make for a wise decision in a movie.

While she was the worst character in terms of what she did and would do in order to get her way, Tess was someone that should have been kept on the shelf for the sole reason that she wasn’t quite as useful or as adept as Lex, no matter that she was supposed to be a little smarter than he was in some ways. There are times when messing around with a classic formula might be wise, but this wasn’t one of them. If nothing else, she should have been an extremely temporary character.


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