Smallville – S1 Ep8 – Jitters

Martha and Jonathan are headed to Metropolis for their anniversary and Clark uses the opportunity to throw a party at the farm house. While Clark envisaged a small gathering of friends, it seems as though the entire school hears of the party at the Kent farm, including Whitney. Things take a surprising turn for Clark when he and Whitney find Jonathan’s friend Earl Jenkins hiding in the barn.

Earl suffers from uncontrollable shaking and convulsions. He attributes his disease to an explosion that occurred when he worked at a Luthor Corp facility. Clark tries to help him but Earl makes Clark weak in the same way the meteor rocks do. When Jonathan returns home he goes to see Earl in the hospital. Earl describes to Jonathan what happened to him on Level 3 of the Luthor Corp plant. He claims they were experimenting with fertiliser to grow crops faster when he was caught in an explosion. Now he is desperate to find Lionel Luthor for some answers.

The next day Clark, Chloe and Pete take a school trip to the plant where the accident happened. A desperate Earl, who has escaped from the hospital, takes matters into his own hands and demands to be taken to Level 3. He takes the high school class hostage in an attempt to make the plant employees tell the truth about it’s existence. Lex shows up outside and denies any knowledge of Level 3, but when Lionel also arrives it is obvious that Lex has his doubts about what the truth is. The second half of the episode I found to be very well paced, with the action taking place all at the Luthor Corp facility.

The stakes are raised even higher when Earl accidentally releases methane gas while having another attack. With time running out Lex makes the brave decision to go inside to negotiate with him. Lex convinces Earl to let the hostages go in exchange for taking him to Level 3, but Lex truly has no knowledge that it actually exists. The gas levels start to rise and after the hostages are freed, Lionel does not hesitate to seal the plant knowing full well that Lex will be trapped inside. Right before the doors close Clark chooses to stay behind as well. He uses his x-ray vision to find Level 3 and get Earls attention, he also manages to lower the gas pressure. Earl drags Lex down to Level 3 which is now an empty warehouse building, all the evidence of the experiments are gone. Earl has another attack while standing on a catwalk with Lex and Clark, as it collapses Clark finds just enough strength to pull them all to safety and return to elevator before the whole thing falls down. Lex’s first question to Clark is ‘how did you pull us up?’, which Clark just brushes off as adrenaline.

After the ordeal is over Lex confronts his father, feeling betrayed by his lies. Lionel attests he never lied and that he said Level 3 was never on any plans, not that it didn’t exist. Clark and Lex are seen as heroes but Lex’s suspicions of Clark continue to grow. We end with Clark and Lex being embraced by their parents, Lex having more questions than ever.

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