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Smallville (TV Series) Episode: Pilot

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October, 1989

Quote1Sweetheart, we can't keep him. What are we going to tell people - we found him out in a field?Quote2: Jonathan Kent

Quote1We didn't find him. He found us.Quote2: Martha Kent

Appearing in "Pilot"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




Synopsis for "Pilot"

October, 1989
In the town of Smallville, Kansas, Jonathan and Martha Kent stop at Nell Potter's flower shop to purchase some tulips. As they leave, Jonathan notices a large parade in the streets and cites that Smallville High School's football team, the Smallville Crows, has won their big homecoming game.

Elsewhere, billionaire corporate mogul Lionel Luthor arrives at one of his fertilizer plants with his young son, Lex. While Lionel conducts business with the plant managers, Lex wanders into the nearby corn field. He hears a mysterious voice calling out, "Help me". He finds a teenage boy tied to a wooden post like a scarecrow, wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a spray-painted "S" on his chest.

Suddenly, a violent meteor shower strikes the town of Smallville. One of the meteors rips through the corn field, and young Lex is caught up in its wake. He is found later, unconscious in the field with no hair. Lionel Luthor finds his son, but is visibly repulsed at what he finds. More meteors strike the main thoroughfare of the town. Three-year-old Lana Lang watches in horror as her parents are killed by one of the flaming meteors. Jonathan and Martha are in their truck, driving down a road when a dust cloud of debris obscures Jonathan's vision. He tries to brake, but the truck skids along the road, eventually overturning.

Moments later, Jonathan awakens and sees a naked toddler standing in the scorched Earth where one of the meteors fell. Martha and he emerge from the truck and scoop the child up into their arms. They inspect the area and find the charred remains of a space-craft. Jonathan doesn't know what to make of this, but Martha has already decided that she wants to adopt the child.

October, 2001
Clark Kent is fifteen-years-old and a freshman at Smallville High School. He wants to try out for the high school football team, but his father refuses to sign the permission slip. He is afraid that Clark's strange gifts might not only give him an unfair advantage against the other students, but that he also might hurt one of them. Frustrated, Clark leaves to go to school.

He misses the bus, so he has to rely on "other means" to get to school on time. He demonstrates the ability to run at super-speed and cuts through a corn field. He arrives in school just as his friends Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan are getting off the bus. Chloe is perplexed that Clark managed to get to school so quickly.

Clark sees fellow student Lana Lang, who is not only Clark's neighbor, but also the object of his affection. He approaches her, but trips and falls to the ground. Lana helps him with his books, and Clark sees that she is wearing a necklace made from a piece of green meteor rock. Whenever he gets near the meteor rock, he begins to lose his strength. Lana's boyfriend is High School quarterback Whitney Fordman. Whitney meets up with Lana and the two walk off, leaving Clark to pick up his scattered books.

Elsewhere, Lex Luthor, now an adult, has taken control of his father's business interests in Smallville. He pulls up in front of Luthor Corp Fertilizer plant #3 in his Porsche. Looking about, he sarcastically remarks to himself, "Thanks, Dad".

Soon after, Lex is driving down the road in his Porsche. He gets distracted by a telephone call and doesn't see an obstruction in the middle of the road. Striking the object, Lex's car caroms off Loeb Bridge striking Clark Kent. Both Kent and the car crash into the lake. Clark tears open the roof of the car and pulls Lex to safety. He brings him ashore and administers mouth-to-mouth. Lex awakens and asks Clark if he hit him. Clark responds, "If you did... I'd be dead." Paramedics arrive and Jonathan Kent shows up to look after Clark. Lex introduces himself to Jonathan and tells him that he has an extraordinary boy. Jonathan is less than impressed with Lex Luthor and advises him to drive slower.

That evening, Whitney Fordman visits Lana at her Aunt Nell's home. The two share a moment of intimacy, and Whitney says that he is in talks with a scout for the Metropolis Sharks. Lana tells him that Lex Luthor owns the football team, and that Clark saved his life earlier that day. Lana asks Whitney to wear her meteor necklace to the big game on Saturday as a good luck charm. She says that the meteor storm brought so much bad luck to Smallville, that the only kind of luck left is good luck. From across the street, Clark Kent is in his private loft in the barn, looking at Lana's house through a telescope. He wishes that he was the object of Lana's affection rather than Whitney.

Meanwhile, a boy named Jeremy Creek has been making sporadic appearances in Smallville. Jeremy is the boy who was strapped to the scarecrow pole during the meteor shower in 1989. He looks no older than he did twelve years ago. In addition to his halted aging, Jeremy also possesses the ability to generate bolts of electricity from his body. Jeremy wants revenge against the jocks responsible for tying him up. He goes to an auto garage and finds one of the old football players. The man recognizes Jeremy immediately, but doesn't make the connection that Jeremy should be much older than he appears. The mechanic tries pushing Jeremy around, but when he touches him, a giant electrical discharge spits out from Jeremy's body electrocuting the man.

The following day, Clark returns home from an outing and finds a brand new truck sitting in his driveway. The truck is a gift from Lex Luthor for saving his life. Jonathan won't let him keep it though. His prejudice against the Luthor family comes to light, and he tells Clark how Lex's father Lionel has a history of swindling good people out of their property just to expand his own empire. Clark says that he shouldn't judge Lex based upon his father's actions, but Jonathan wants him to realize where the money that paid for the truck really came from. Clark is visibly frustrated, but Jonathan reassures him that such a reaction is normal. Clark explodes with anger. He shoves his hand into a wood chipper and pulls it out without injury, citing that he would give anything to be "normal". Jonathan decides that it is now time to tell Clark the truth about his origins.

He brings him down into the storage shed and shows him the space ship that brought him to Earth. Clark always knew that he had special powers, but he had no idea that he was actually an alien from another world. Jonathan tells him about the day they found him, but Clark cannot cope with such a bizarre story. Shouting "You should have told me!", he rushes off.

He goes to the cemetery to clear his head and finds Lana Lang. Lana is visiting the grave of her parents. The two chat for a while, and Lana tells Clark about a dreams where her parents are still alive. Clark walks her home and asks if she is going to the homecoming dance. She tells him that she is going with Whitney but promises to save a dance just for him. She kisses him on the cheek and walks up to the house. Whitney is on the front porch waiting for her. He doesn't like what he sees.

The following morning, Clark visits Lex at Luthor Mansion. He tells Lex that he's not allowed to keep the truck. Lex knows that Jonathan is the reason why Clark won't keep the truck. Lex tells him that he's used to people misjudging him. He asks Clark if he believes a man can fly. He tells him that when he was unconscious, he imagined himself flying over Smallville. He feels the accident represents a new beginning for him. He regards Clark as a close friend now, and won't let anything stand in the way of that friendship.

At school, several students gather outside as a medical team loads a body into the back of an ambulance. The victim is a former Smallville football player. This is the third such attack within the past week. Chloe sees a strange looking boy in the crowd and snaps his picture. She researches the boy and learns that he is Jeremy Creek, a former student. She tells Pete and Clark what she discovered, and theorizes that Jeremy might be behind the series of attacks against former jocks. Clark disbelieves her theory, citing that Jeremy would be twenty-six by now. Chloe takes him into her private room at the school newspaper. Inside is a bulletin board containing photographs and newspaper clippings of every strange occurrence that has taken place in Smallville since the meteor storm. She calls it her "Wall of Weird". She believes that Jeremy might have gained special abilities as a result of exposure to radiation from the meteors. Looking at the Wall, Clark is horrified. He whispers to himself "It's all my fault".

Later that day, Whitney finds Clark outside the school yard. He's angry at him for his persistent flirtations with Lana. He begins pushing him around and Clark tries to fight back, but Whitney is wearing Lana's necklace. He is too weak to to do anything. Whitney pushes him down and tells him that he is now the Homecoming scarecrow.

Whitney and his friends take Clark out to the corn field. They strip him down to his boxers and tie him to the pole. As per tradition, they also spray paint the letter "S" across his chest. Whitney hangs Lana's necklace around Clark's neck. Later that evening, Jeremy Creek appears in the corn field in front of Clark. Clark asks for help, but Jeremy is listless. He thought that if he punished the people who once tormented him, the scarecrow tradition would come to an end.

Suddenly, Lex Luthor's car pulls up. Lex was on his way to the adjacent plant when he noticed something in the field. Lex instantly recognizes Jeremy and recalls the day the meteors landed. Jeremy disappears and Lex cuts Clark down from the scarecrow pole. The meteor rock necklace falls to the ground. With his strength quickly returning to him, Clark grabs his clothes and dashes off, leaving Lex alone in the field. Lex picks up the discarded necklace.

Clark races back to the school where the Homecoming dance is well under way. He finds Jeremy uncoiling a fire hose. He intends on using the water from the hose and his electrokinetic powers to kill everyone in the school. Clark tries to sympathize with Jeremy's anguish, but tells him that he cannot allow him to commit mass murder. Jeremy tries to electrocute Clark, but it doesn't work. He then gets into his truck and rams into Clark at high speed. The truck smashes through the wall of the school and into a water main. Water pours into the vehicle, and a burst of electricity sends Clark reeling. The power surge pours back into Jeremy's body, stunning him. When he revives, he has no memory of anything that had taken place. Clark goes to the school auditorium just as Whitney and Lana are crowned king and queen of the homecoming dance. Still mad at Whitney for tormenting him, he decides to take revenge against him by stacking all of the pickup trucks belonging to the football players into a large vertical tower.

Later, Clark returns home. He goes up to his loft and has a short conversation with his father. Jonathan tells him that Clark's telescope once belonged to his grandfather. After Jonathan leaves, Clark looks through his telescope across the street. He sees Lana returning home from the dance. Clark whispers to himself, "Thanks for the dance, Lana". Lana turns her head, as if somehow hearing Clark's words carried on the wind.


  • This episode originally aired on October 16th, 2001.
  • The ages of two of the main characters, Lana and Lex, are established in this episode. The ages of the other characters can be approximated based upon their relative age to one another. Future episodes establish that Lana, Chloe and Pete are all the same age at the time of Season One (15-years-old). Clark, by Earth-gravity standards, is also fifteen. This episode states that Lana was three years old at the time of the meteor shower, and Lex was nine.
  • Clark's Kryptonian rocket has a different appearance in this episode than it does in later episodes.
  • Nell Potter appears particularly catty to Martha Kent in the 1989 flashback. No reason for this apparent behavior is ever provided, though it may be because she dated Jonathan in high school.
  • Though never stated outright, this episode intimates that Martha Kent is infertile. This fact is confirmed in later episodes.
  • LuthorCorp is known by several spelling variations throughout the series. In this episode, it is identified as two separate words "Luthor Corp". Later episodes identify the name as a combined word "Luthorcorp", also spelled LuthorCorp (with a capital C).
  • This episode indicates that Martha takes night classes, though this is never addressed later.


  • In October of 1989, the population of Smallville is 25,001. In October of 2001, the population is 45,001.
  • Originally, Smallville was known as the "Creamed Corn Capital of the World". Later, it is referred to as the "Meteor Capital of the World".
  • An Internet web-site includes an article about a record breaking teen who becomes the "Fastest Man Alive". The boy in the article is identified as Scott Higgs. Higg's reputation as the Fastest Man Alive will be challenged in later episodes when Clark meets young Bart Allen in "Run".
  • There is evidence to support the theory that Lex Luthor may have gained accelerated healing as a result of his exposure to meteor radiation when he was nine. In the 1989 flashback, Lex is shown using an asthma inhaler. However, as an adult, he harbors no symptoms of having a respiratory condition and does not use an inhaler. There are numerous instances throughout the series that demonstrate Lex recovering from injuries or illness at an alarming rate of speed. In the Season Three season finale "Covenant", Lex Luthor consumes a fatal amount of poison after sipping a glass of brandy. He survives, but spends the next three months enduring blood purification treatments every seventy-two hours. Despite the protracted treatments, his physician Gabrielle Vaughn confirms that Lex should have died after consuming such a concentrated dosage of poison. [1]

= Allusions =

This series is peppered with references to material from both the various comic book titles as well as the Superman movies.

  • Clark Kent is first seen as a toddler in this episode, peering into the window of Jonathan and Martha's upturned truck. This scene is reminiscent of Clark's first appearance on Earth as seen in the 1978 Superman movie.
  • In the early scenes with Clark, he is wearing a jacket similar to the one worn by young Clark in the first Superman movie. In future appearances, his clothing is always an alternating combination of red and blue. In the scene following his first interaction with Lex, Clark is seen wearing a red emergency shock blanket - an obvious nod to Superman's cape. In act three when Clark is propped up as a scarecrow in the corn field, the letter "S" is spray-painted across his chest. In the context of the series, the "S" stands for the High School football team, the Smallville Crows, but it is also a reference to Superman's famous "S"-shield.
  • In the opening scene with Lionel Luthor, he is reading a copy of the Daily Planet, which includes the headline "Queen Industries CEO Missing, Presumed Dead". Originally, this was an allusion to Oliver Queen, the future Green Arrow. Later episodes, retroactively establish that the headline actually refers to Oliver's father, Robert. Oliver Queen makes his first actual appearance in "Sneeze".
  • Actress Annette O'Toole who plays the part of Martha Kent also played the part of Lana Lang in Superman III.
  • One of Clark's text books is the Portable Nietzche, a book relating to the works of renowned German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzche introduced the concept of the Übermensch which, roughly translated, means Superman. Lana Lang poses the question to Clark, "So what are you? Man or Superman?"
  • Clark behaves clumsily and trips over his feet whenever he gets near Lana Lang. This is because of the green meteor rock necklace that Lana wears around her neck. In the Superman movies, Clark deliberately acted clumsy for the sake of maintaining his secret identity.

See Also


Character Actor
Clark KentTom Welling
Jonathan KentJohn Schneider
Martha KentAnnette O'Toole
Lana LangKristin Kreuk
Pete RossSam Jones III
Chloe SullivanAllison Mack
Lex LuthorMichael Rosenbaum
Whitney FordmanEric Johnson
Lionel LuthorJohn Glover
Nell PotterSara-Jane Redmond

Recommended Media

  • None.

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