Smallville – S1 Ep15 – Nicodemus

We are back in Smallville with the traditional ‘freak of the week’ formula this episode. However the ‘freak’ is not only one, but three of our main characters. While on his journey home Jonathan Kent witnesses a car go off the road. The driver was in a manic state on his phone trying to reach Lionel Luthor when Jonathan pulls him to safety before the car explodes. After his heroic efforts he is sprayed with the venom of the Nicodemus flower, which we discover Dr Hamilton had stolen from his lab.

The Nicodemus flower has an obvious effect on Jonathan, and Clark and Martha quickly notice a difference on his behaviour. He is drinking beer in the afternoon and ignoring chores around the farm, certainly not the same man we have all come to know as a responsible hard worker. Then when Lex pays them a visit Jonathan doesn’t hesitate in letting him know his true feelings when he would normally keep quiet. His emotions boil over when the bank calls to say his loan has been denied. For the first time we see a somewhat violent reaction from our beloved Mr Kent as he storms down to the bank, shot gun in hand. Clark finds his Dad and during his attempts to calm him down Jonathan fires the gun directly into Clark’s chest. The realisation of what he has done causes Jonathan to collapse. At the hospital the doctor tells Clark and Martha that he is suffering from severe anaphylactic shock and the man he saved from the car is currently in a coma.

Chloe and Lana decide to investigate the location of the car accident to look for evidence. Of course it is Lana who comes across the Nicodemus flower and has a dose of the venom sprayed on her as well. The next day at school it is clear Lana is also feeling the effects, she arrives in a short skirt and we see the age old slow motion shot of the girl bursting through the doors and walking down the corridor. Whitney and the other students can only gaze on in awe. Lana proceeds to break up with Whitney as she tells him he is no fun since his Dad became sick. I don’t usually feel bad for Whitney but Lana’s words here are especially hurtful. She then sets her sights on Clark and having been smitten with Lana most of his life he gives in to his feelings accepts a kiss from her, all the while knowing something is not quite right.

On the path to discovering the truth as always, Chloe goes to see Dr Hamilton to determine what is behind the sudden change in her friends character. She tracks down his research on the Nicodemus flower and also finds the connection between Dr Hamilton and Lex. Looking for more clues she and Pete break into the lab and Pete inadvertently knocks over a test tube with a flower, then becoming the third victim.

What I love about this episode is how it handles the reactions of characters who fall victim to the Nicodemus, to me it is reminiscent of Clark on red kryptonite. All of their inhibitions are gone. Jonathan has always been stoic and strong for his family but underneath he is just a man struggling to keep his livelihood afloat. Lana has always been portrayed as the perfect student, cheerleader and niece but under the effects of the Nicodemus she is quite the rebel. In reality she keeps a lot of thoughts to herself and doesn’t trust her own feelings or know who she really is. The biggest surprise is Pete who has had relatively little to do for most of the season, only appearing in a few scenes at school with Clark and Chloe. We discover he is incredibly jealous of Clark’s friendship with Lex and in a rage he takes a gun and confronts Lex at his mansion. Just as he is about to pull the trigger Clark saves the day, then fortunately a cure is found and everyone makes a recovery.

The next day Chloe visits Dr Hamilton’s lab which has been cleared out by Lex. He got lucky on this occasion with the doctor being able to find a cure. He suggests that the doctor lay low for a while and sends him to work for Cadmus labs, protecting himself from further suspicion as well. Cadmus will become an important part of the story as the seasons go on, and for now Clark doesn’t suspect his friend. We end on a hopeful note for Clark, sitting with Lana who has no memory of what happened. Overall a fun episode with some great performances from John Schneider, Kristen Kreuk and Sam Jones.