It’s football season! Episode 3 kicks off on the field as we are introduced to Smallville High’s overly ambitious football coach – Walt Arnold. He immediately displays a somewhat passive aggressive approach to coaching high school football and his anger gets out of control when the principle informs him of his players cheating on their term papers. In the opening scene we also learn the coach has a meteor power which allows him to control fire.
The next day coach Walt notices Clark’s throwing arm and offers him a position on the team. While it is obvious Clark would love the chance to play, partly to impress Lana, he is reluctant to do so knowing his dad wouldn’t approve. Jonathan’s main concern is Clark losing control of his powers out on the football field and potentially hurting someone or revealing his powers. The whole set up for me is reminiscent of the scene in Richard Donner’s Superman movie. In the movie we see a young Clark collecting all the equipment at the end of a game and can do nothing but watch as cheerleader Lana heads off with the quarterback Brad. So to see Smallville incorporate a similar theme is always welcomed.
Back to the episode, as it happens Clark chooses to defy his dad and try out for the team. As his luck would have it, he finds Lana has just quit being a cheerleader to become a waitress as she did not approve of some members of the team cheating on their tests. Jonathan goes along to see the try outs to support Clark but still has his reservations.
The school principle confronts coach Walt again about his players cheating, this time the coach decides to use his power to set fire to the principles car with him inside. Fortunately Clark is close by to save him. Back at the farm Martha and Jonathan share their worries about Clark and how they wish he wouldn’t use his powers. Here Jonathan is over-protective but Martha becomes the voice of reason saying it is only fair Clark be allowed to have the life of normal high school student, and that Jonathan’s restrictions and dis trust could eventually drive him away.
Elsewhere in the episode we see Clark, Lex and Lana bonding over their mutual issues with their parents as Lex is trying to navigate his way through Lionel’s demands.
Chloe is perusing her passion of reporting and stumbles across a late night meeting between the coach and his players. Coach Walt doesn’t take kindly to Chloe’s snooping and torches ‘The Torch’ newspaper destroying Chloe’s evidence– dramatic irony as Clark puts it. Chloe asks Clark to track down team mate Trevor in an attempt to find proof of the coach’s wrong doing. Clark confronts coach Walt in the sauna after seeing the burns on Trevor’s arm. Unbeknownst to Clark there is meteor rock in the sauna which gives the coach the upper hand as he leaves Clark locked inside with Kryptonite. Jonathan comes to Clarks rescue and the coach goes down in the fire in another piece of ‘dramatic irony’.
The episode ends with Jonathan admitting his fears as a parent to Clark and reassuring him that he has faith in him and trusts him. But is Clark’s football dream over for good?