“The question, are they or aren’t they, is ultimately not important. What is important is Smallville’s willingness to render these two male characters as vulnerable, as well as its willingness to celebrate their close friendship without shutting down its erotic potential through masculine stereotyping. Most male characters within SF texts, we must remember, barely have a physical relationship with their wives and girlfriends, let alone with other men.
For Smallville to focus so strongly on a friendship that Lex predicts will be “the stuff of legends” is a risky move in itself, but it is a move that has paid off over four season’s worth of fascinating narrative (with a fifth season in production). While Clark remains the invulnerable man who elicits horror from audiences when his body is actually violated (as in the episode Extinction, 3.03, when Clark is hit with a Kryptonite bullet), Lex’s body is constantly being bruised, battered, and assaulted. Lex practically dies in the pilot episode, and is constantly being tied up, shot at, or placed on the receiving end of retributive violence (usually at the hands of someone whose life he inadvertently ruined). Clark is, of course, the one who routinely comes to Lex’s rescue. But not even Clark can save Lex from his father, whose attempt to erase Lex’s memory through shock-treatment in the episode Asylum (3.09) is startlingly brutal.”