Both Superman and Lois Lane are turning 80, so we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate some of their best (and sometimes worst) moments in history. As characters with such a storied past — literally — there are plenty of different versions to choose from, as these characters and their relationship have been adapted and readapted again and again.
One such adaptation began in 2001, when Smallville hit the then-WB. The series, about a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) learning about his powers and his heritage while growing up in the titular town, lasted for 10 long years and saw the burgeoning hero grow from small-town oddity to Superman. But while the series gave us a look at the man behind the S, it also offered a unique look at the people orbiting around him, helping him grow into that eventual hero.
Lois Lane (Erica Durance) was one such character, though she wouldn’t arrive in Clark’s life (or ours) until the show’s fourth season. While the series may not have been about her, Lois was an important piece of its fabric.
For those of you who want to relive some of the best moments in Lois’ time in Smallville (and Metropolis), we assembled this handy binge guide. Now, this is not an exhaustive look at the character’s time on the show; that would take forever. Rather, it’s a guide to her most important moments.
"Crusade"/"Gone" (Season 4, Episodes 1 and 2)
Lois Lane finally arrives in Smallville after her cousin Chloe Sullivan is “murdered,” but when she arrives she instead finds a very naked, completely amnesiac Clark standing in a field. This two-parter serves as an excellent introduction to Smallville’s take on the character, as we encounter Lois before she starts at the Daily Planet and get to know her right along with Clark. Turns out, those personality traits that will one day make her an award-winning reporter were there all along.
"Devoted" (Season 4, Episode 4)
An early attempt by Lois to stretch her reporter muscles, this episode has her rubbing up against some of Smallville’s smartest mean girls. It’s also our first, very early look at the sparks between Lois and Clark.
"Recruit" (Season 4, Episode 13)
Lois has gone off to college, but she’s already getting into trouble, as she is accused of murder after a football player she’d defended herself against turns up dead. She, Chloe, and Clark have to work together to clear her name. In the process, you get to know her better than before, and this marks the episode where Erica Durance’s Lois officially joined the main cast for good.
"Lucy" (Season 4, Episode 16)
It’s been half a season since we first met the elder Ms. Lane and her father, so now it’s time to get to know her younger sister. And if you think Lois is a handful, you haven't met Lucy. We also learn a lot more about what makes Lois tick, and how she ended up the fiercely independent, headstrong woman she is.
"Aqua" (Season 5, Episode 4)
You didn’t think Superman was the first costumed hero to catch Lois’ eye, did you? Oh, no. This episode marks the beginning of Lois’ penchant for dating the heroic type, as she meets one Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman. Lois may not have known at the time, but she was destined to be part of the Justice League years before it existed.
"Exposed" (Season 5, Episode 6)
This was the first episode of Smallville I ever watched, and it definitely shaped the way I thought about the series for years after. If you’re wondering, this is the “Lois goes undercover as a stripper and nearly gets sold into sexual slavery” episode. Yes. That’s a thing that happens. It’s also another great example of Lois’ moral compass, and her willingness to go the extra mile for a story.
"Fanatic" (Season 5, Episode 10)
Lois had a lot of opportunities before she eventually became the Daily Planet’s ace reporter. A lot. Like this one, where she takes over as the campaign manager for Jonathan Kent’s bid for state senate and then is, once again, nearly framed for murder/attempted assassination. In addition to all that, it’s also a great look at her adaptability and willingness to rise to a challenge.
"Wither" (Season 6, Episode 3)
Lois is working for Martha Kent now, who took over for her late husband, and part of that involves dealing with the annoying — and annoyingly charming and attractive — Oliver Queen. This episode chronicles their meeting and the start of their relationship because, oh yes, we have our second superhero boyfriend for Lois Lane.
"Arrow" (Season 6, Episode 4)
Speaking of Oliver’s exploits, Lois is hot on his trail in the next episode as she attempts to track down the “Green Arrow Bandit” for a story, joining with Clark to recover some stolen goods. Lois is finally back on the reporter train here in this episode, and while she only does it part-time for now, she’s not looking back.
"Combat" (Season 6, Episode 17)
Big jump here as Lois, once again hot on the trail of another story, ends up accidentally walking into a meteor enhanced fight club and ends up in the ring herself. Of course, she ends up in the ring against an unexpected competitor: Clark.
"Prototype" (Season 6, Episode 21)
Lois’ past comes back to play as she faces off against one of Lex’s experiments, a super soldier named Wes. Lois, an army brat, knows Wes, or knew him, but her concern for his well-being puts her directly in his crosshairs. Even in a show with such a well-conceived version of Lois, the character has a tendency to end up in need of saving, but this time Lois is the one trying to play the hero, and it’s an interesting look at her compassionate side.
"Gemini" (Season 7, Episode 9)
Up until the Lois and Clark relationship really takes flight, Lois’ closest and most meaningful bond is with her cousin, Chloe. In this episode, Lois has to negotiate with a man who claims he’s attached a bomb to Chloe and will kill her if she doesn’t write a story about the experiments Lex has done on him. While Clark does get to play hero again — this IS his show, after all — this is a really wonderful feature for Lois as she attempts to simultaneously negotiate with the bomber, research his story, and find another way to save her cousin’s life.
"Committe" (Season 8, Episode 5)
Lois and Clark have to go undercover as an engaged couple in order to find a missing Chloe and Jimmy. Of course, they aren’t dating yet, so this poses some pretty difficult challenges. Lois already suspects that Clark might be more than he seems, but a tense question-and-answer session has her seeing the future Man of Steel in a completely different light, and forces her to admit some feelings she didn’t know she had.
"Identity" (Season 8, Episode 7)
When did Lois first start pursuing the Man of Steel? This episode right here. When she’s rescued by Clark, Jimmy manages to snap a blurry red and blue picture that sends Lois investigating the identity of her mysterious savior. She won’t be the voice of Metropolis’ greatest hero for some time, but this is the moment she starts along that journey.
"Stiletto" (Season 8, Episode 17)
After taking down some muggers, Lois is mistaken for a superhero herself and decides to use the opportunity to get close to The Blur. This is a fun and slightly strange episode that demonstrates the lengths Lois will go to in order to gain a source’s trust. The fact that she does it in front of both Clark AND his alter identity is the icing on the cake.
"Echo" (Season 9, Episode 4)
After a freak accident, Clark gains the ability to hear the thoughts of others, including one Lois Lane. Naturally, he uses this ability to attempt to ask her out, finally. Guys, don’t do this. Even though this episode does end up being a very sweet look at their burgeoning romantic relationship, and a great view of the early days of their working relationship, don’t use your ability to read minds to manipulate a woman into dating you. Just don’t.
"Crossfire" (Season 9, Episode 6)
Lois wants to take her reporting to the next level, and she needs Clark’s help to do it. What’s the next level? A morning television show, of course. When the network wants to hire them as a team, Lois and Clark have to jump through hoops in order to get the job, including doing a little online dating, which brings out the jealous sides of both of them. (First kiss alert!)
"Pandora" (Season 9, Episode 9)
After Lois goes into convulsions and ends up in a coma, Tess Mercer takes the chance to find out what happened to the reporter when she was thrown into the future at the end of Season 8. In that future, Lois finds herself in an apocalyptic version of Metropolis where Zod and the Candorians have taken over, forcing the world to submit to their fascist rule. In addition to glimpsing the terrible future of the world, Lois also gets a chance to experience the future of her relationship with Clark, even if she does forget all about it when she returns.
"Persuasion" (Season 9, Episode 13)
A brand-new form of Kryptonite accidentally gives Clark the power of suggestion. Since Clark’s biggest desire is for a normal life, he accidentally suggests to Lois that he’d rather a normal life and a normal relationship, causing Lois to quit her job to become a housewife. Oh yes, she also starts planning a wedding. It’s a shocking difference in character for Lois and one that makes Clark, and us, appreciate the woman for who she is.
"Escape" (Season 9, Episode 15)
Can superheroes ever just take a normal vacation? No, no they cannot. Especially if the heroes are Oliver Queen and Clark Kent and they happen to be dating cousins. When Clark and Lois try to get away from it all, they discover that Chloe and Oliver had the very same idea. And while things may be awkward enough as the couples navigate the tumultuous waters of past relationships and future ideas, that pales in comparison to the Silver Banshee lurking in the woods.
"Charade" (Season 9, Episode 18)
Another bit of fun as Lois and Clark attempt to save their jobs by breaking a story together. Hijinks ensue, they grow closer, and we all get a good laugh, and a pretty good episode, out of the deal. Lois’ attempts to unmask The Blur are further compromised when Zod pretends to be the mysterious hero.
"Shield" (Season 10, Episode 2)
After discovering that Clark is, in fact, The Blur, Lois runs off on an assignment in Egypt, where she runs into Connor Hall, otherwise known as Hawkman. Hall is there to keep an eye on Lois, and while he recounts the story of a young Egyptian priest and his star-crossed love, both he and Lois learn some important details about the other. Lois discovers that Hall’s story is a bit more fact than fiction, while Carter discovers that Lois knows Clark’s secret, and offers a little long and hard-won relationship advice. I could watch an entire series with these two. Oh wait — I can!
"Isis" (Season 10, Episode 5)
Perhaps poorly titled now, this episode sees Lois overcome once again by another personality, this time the Egyptian queen Isis (a new and different take of this character can be seen on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow). While Lois might not have much to do in this episode, at least not on her own, it’s an important step in her relationship with Clark.
"Ambush" (Season 10, Episode 7)
Sure, Clark has already met Lois’ family before this, but that was also before they were romantically involved. Now that they’re dating, the Lanes arrive in Smallville (at the worst time, might I add) to celebrate Thanksgiving with the happy couple. The whole ordeal forces Clark to look at Lois a little differently, as he becomes frustrated by her unwillingness to fight her father’s abuse toward him. Things are further complicated by the arrival of the Suicide Squad in Smallville.
"Fortune" (Season 10, Episode 15)
We all loved The Hangover, right? Did you think it needed more magical champagne and drunk Superman? That’s this episode. Lois and Clark head out for their bachelor/bachelorette party and things get a bit out of hand. Now, if they could only remember what happened. So. Many. Hijinks.
"Booster" (Season 10, Episode 18)
This episode largely centers around Clark and his insecurities about the lengths he has to go to to keep his identity safe. While the focus may be on the Man of Steel, however, it’s also the episode where we find out that Lois is the one who suggests using Clark Kent as the disguise, an important moment in their relationship and a really beautiful look at the way Lois has grown to love and respect Clark.
"Finale" (Season 10, Episodes 21 and 22)
Everything finally comes together in this two-part finale. You’ve got the wedding and some really emotional moments for Lois and Clark, sure, but this is also the episode that shows not only Clark coming into his final Super form but Lois reaching her full potential as a reporter. It’s what we’ve been waiting 10 years for, and it’s a really great finale, even if the ending is a little odd.