Pete Ross was a fan-favorite character in Smallville’s first three seasons. Unfortunately, the show ruined his return to the series in season 7.
Smallville season 7 ruined the long-awaited of Pete Ross. Played by Sam Jones III, Pete was Clark’s best friend in high school and a series regular across the show’s first three seasons. When Smallville started, Clark’s two closest friends were Chloe (Allison Mack) and Pete, who he worked with on Smallville High’s newspaper, the Torch.
In Smallville season 1, Clark developed a brotherly relationship with Lex (Michael Rosenbaum), but continued to consider Pete as his best friend. Their bond was tested at the beginning of season 2 when Pete became the first main character to discover Clark’s secret. Though initially angry and distrustful, Pete remained loyal to Clark and often provided him help when it was needed throughout seasons 2 and 3. In the penultimate episode of season 3, Pete left the series when his mother took a job outside of Smallville. According to Pete, he wanted to leave because the pressure of keeping Clark’s secret was too much for him.
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Pete didn’t return to the show until the season 7 episode, “Hero”, which saw Clark reunite with his best friend for the first time since the end of their junior year. After chewing on a piece of kryptonite-laced gum, Pete developed stretching abilities akin to the powers of Elongated Man and Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic. This resulted in Lex trying to use him to steal Supergirl’s bracelet from Lionel (John Glover). The episode provided a long-awaited reunion between Clark and Pete and a conversation that addressed the stress that Clark’s alien heritage put on him, but overall, it proved to be a disappointment.
Being someone who had a key role in Clark’s life for three years, Pete’s return could have been saved for something bigger than a relatively simple, one-off story. One major point of criticism was that the episode felt like a big advertisement, as it was sloppily filled with product placements for Stride Gum. What further hurt Pete’s return was that it was based on a weak, silly premise of a character getting powers from a piece of chewing gum.
Pete’s guest appearance in Smallville season 7 should been a much more meaningful and emotional story. Admittedly, Pete never had the presence on the show that he could have had, but he stood out in seasons 2 and 3 as the person Clark trusted in ways that he didn’t with anyone else. Because Pete was both his friend and a person who knew all his secrets, Clark was able to turn to him with problems that he was even unwilling to tell his parents about.
Pete’s absence left a void in season 4, as at that time there was really no one outside of Jonathan (John Schneider) and Martha (Annette O’Toole) that Clark could confide in. As Pete was a character that fans deeply missed for years, there were high expectations when it was revealed that he would be coming back to the series, and those expectations were not met by the underwhelming “Hero”. It’s a shame that this was the last fans saw of Pete Ross.
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