Smallville (Season 1, Ep 11): Hug

Welcome to Smallville. I am doing an episode-by-episode watch, recap, and reaction and blogging about it here. There will be no spoilers for the series beyond the current episode. You can find my prior recaps HERE.

For those of you that don’t want to read the long plot recap, I provide a quick episode summary here at the top. You can read that and just scroll down to the “REACTION” heading below.


Bob Rickman, a wealthy local agrobusinessman, has a meteor rock enhanced ability to persuade when shaking someone’s hand. He convinces Jonathan to sell the Kent Farm using this ability. Clark seeks out Lex and Chloe for help. Chloe learns that Rickman and his former partner Kyle – now a local hermit – became sudden successes after the meteor shower. Kyle left the business while Rickman continued on growing an empire. When Clark seeks out Kyle, he learns that Kyle and Rickman both obtained a persuasion power and that the power derives from shaking someone’s hands.

Unfortunately, Rickman convinces Lex to try to kill Clark and Kyle. Lex fails in his first attempt after Clark and Kyle escape from a burning car before it explodes. Lex also shoots Clark but the bullets only bruise him. Clark knocks Lex out after the shooting. When Lex wakes up, he does not remember any of it. While Lex was shooting at Clark, Kyle and Rickman locked hands around a pistol. Kyle’s persuasion powers prove stronger than Rickman’s. As a result, Rickman turns his gun on himself.


High up in an office tower, in Metropolis, a man named Rickman enters a room to speak with the Center for Environmental Protection. The C.E.P. official asks Rickman what his intentions are in Smallville and Rickman replies that his intentions are to build a new plant. Abruptly the C.E.P. official slams a bottle of brown liquid onto the table. Rickman asks what it is and is then told it is ground water from the last place where he built a plant.

Rickman asks the man if he can call him Paul and is told no. “Paul” continues saying that tomorrow he will have a restraining order issued against Rickman Industries, preventing them from being a new plant in Smallville until every case against them is settled. Rickman sighs and says it’s too bad as he really had his mind set on building in Smallville. When Rickman says aloud that he supposes there is no way to change Paul’s mind, Paul replies that he is afraid he is not as easy to buy off as his colleagues. At this point Rickman leans over the desk and says angrily that he has never bought off a soul in his life. He says that people listen to him because they know he is right. He adds hat they end up better off for listening to him, too. Paul suggests that he tell that to the 96 cases of pesticide poison he has tied to his other plants to date.

Rickman walks around the desk and says that he guesses there is nothing else to do. He wishes Paul luck and extends a hand. When Paul takes it to shake it, something green emits from their handshake. Paul suddenly seems mentally foggy. Rickman begins telling Paul that he is devoting his life to causes that nobody cares about. Paul drifts toward agreement. He walks Paul over to the window and asks him if any part of the world out there is his. Paul shakes his head ‘no’ as Rickman tells him there is only one way to make his pain stop. They both stares out the window, faces next to the glass.

Rickman leaves the office and gets on the elevator going down. As he arrives in the lobby, looking through the clear glass doors, we see Paul land on the top of a taxi parked on the street outside. Rickman smiles and calls for someone to bring his car around as they are going to Smallville.

♫Somebody saaaaaaavvee meeeee♫

Clark, Lana, and Chloe are on horseback and Chloe is struggling mightily. Lana les Clark know that Whitney’s father is still in the hospital and that Whitney is working extra shifts at his father’s store. When she says she thinks Whitney secretly hopes his father will sell the business, so that he is not saddled with it, Clark tells her that he does not blame Whitney and that he does not see himself as a farmer when he grows up.

Lana: What do you want to do?
Clark: I’m not sure as long as it doesn’t involve putting on a suit and doing a lot of flying.

Chloe finally catches up with them to say she dropped her camera. When Clark asks her why she brought it, she says that the woods they are riding through are like the Bermuda Triangle of Smallville. She insists that dozens of people have come into the woods over the last ten years and left not remembering a thing. As Lana rides back to find Chloe’s camera, Chloe tells Clark that a week ago a surveyor from Rickman Industries came screaming out of these woods and could not remember what happened.

Clark asks Chloe if she has theories and she tells him that she thinks Kyle Tippet, a local Smallville sculptor who lives alone in these woods is the likely culprit. She asks him if he thinks it’s weird to live alone in the woods.

Clark: Thoreau did.
Chloe: Yeah, Clark, so did the Unabomber.

They hear Lana scream from a distance. Clark dismounts, hands Chloe the reigns to his horse, and tells her to stay with the animals. He waits to be certain her back is turned before super-speeding away. When Chloe turns her head and sees him completely gone from view, she seems surprised.

Clark finds Lana lying on the ground with an older man kneeling over her. Clark yells for the man to get away from her. He looks away and the man vanishes. Clark helps Lana up and picks up Chloe’s camcorder as well.

Later, Jonathan and Clark watch the video, which recorded the footage of Lana on the ground, and Clark says it does not look like the man was trying to hurt Lana. Martha joins them in watching the video while she gets off the phone. She tells Clark that Lana has a mild concussion but that she is otherwise fine.

The Kent parents ask Clark their impressions of Kyle Tippet, the man who was found kneeling over Lana. He tells his parents that Kyle did not seem dangerous, he seemed scared. Clark tells his parents what Chloe told him, that some surveyors were spooked last week in those same woods, and he wonders if there is a connection. Martha tells Jonathan that he should go talk to Kyle as they know each other. When Jonathan gets up to go, Clark says that he wants to go. Clark tells his dad that he understands what it is like to be hidden from the world, as Kyle is. He also points out that if Kyle is dangerous he cannot hurt him.

Jonathan: Alright, well, you know where Kyle lives?
Clark: Follow the trail of bad sculptures.

Rickman finds Victoria Hardwicke at some sort of corporate event in Smallville. He tells her he is surprised to see her in this town and she replies that it grows on you after a while. Lex arrives and remarks that he was just saying Smallville needs more pesticides in the water. Rickman says that surely Lex does not mind sharing his sandbox and tries to shake his hand. Lex turns his back on the man instead. The two men talk and Lex learns that Rickman plans to buy the Kent Farm and convert it into his plant. Lex tells him that not even he can convince the Kents to sell that farm.

Clark finds Kyle and asks if he makes a habit of scaring people in the woods. Kyle tells Clark that if wanted to explain himself to people, he would get a job. Clark asks him why he is so unfriendly and tells him that everyone needs a friend. Kyle says friends always betray you in the end.

At the local coffee shop, The Beanery, Clark finds Lana and asks how she is feeling. She says she is better. Lana asks him whether he talked to the police and Clark tells her that he went to talk to Kyle, first. Whitney arrives and asks Clark if he really talked to ‘that psycho’ and Clark says yes. Clark tells them that Kyle said he was just trying to make sure Lana was okay and when Lana asks Clark if he believed him, Clark says that he did. Clark asks Lana if she remembers anything and she says no so he excuses himself to go home.

Walking away from their table toward the cash register, Clark runs into Lex, who comments about how uncomfortable that conversation looked. Lex asks if Bob Rickman has been by the farm yet and tells Clark that he wants to buy their land. Clark laughs and asks Lex if he has ever met his father. When he asks Lex why he is even worried, Lex says that he has seen Rickman talk people out of house and home and that he tears through communities betraying everyone who ever trusted him. Lex wants Clark to warn his dad to be careful.

Elsewhere Rickman and Kyle meet. Kyle reminds him that they had an agreement that Rickman would leave Smallville alone. Kyle suggests that it might be time for the world to learn the truth about Bob Rickman. Rickman says he has been out in the world while Kyle has been afraid and in hiding. Kyle extends his hands and asks Rickman to take it to find out how afraid he is. Rickman declines and Kyle leaves noting that Rickman has now been warned.

Whitney leaves The Beanery and sees Clark running into Kyle across the street. As Clark asks him what he is doing here, and as Kyle says he registered a complaint about Rickman, Whitney marches across the street toward both of them. Whitney tells Kyle that if he touches Lana again that he will take care of him, himself. Clark offers Kyle a ride home as Whitney watches on in disbelief.

In the tangle of people watching each other, Rickman emerges from a doorway and calls out to Whitney. He asks Whitney if he is having a problem with Kyle and the quarterback says that Kyle attacked his girlfriend. They shake hands as Rickman suggests that maybe he can help. Whitney suddenly looks as though he is in a trance.

Clark drops off Kyle who thanks him for the ride. Kyle asks Clark why he was going to visit Rickman and Clark says he has heard a rumor the man is trying to buy his family’s farm. Kyle warns him to satay away from him. Clark asks him, as he exits the truck, if he ever misses having a normal life and Kyle tells him that some people were not meant for that.

As Clark goes, Whitney sneaks up behind Kyle and begins swinging a baseball bat at him. Clark sees Whitney’s truck parked down the road and returns to Kyle’s house in time to stop them from hurting each other in a fight. In fact, as Clark arrives, Kyle swings a baseball bat at Whitney and it shatters as it hits Clark instead. Clark throws Kyle hard enough that he dents the door to the trailer he lives in. He then checks on Whitney who is bent over and coughing.

Later, as Kyle is being arrested for assault, Jonathan asks Clark and Whitney what happened. Whitney says that he saw Kyle in town and came out here to talk because he had a feeling the other man was going to attack Lana again. Whitney says that the next thing he knew, Kyle was attacking him with a bat. Clark says that all he saw after arriving was Kyle swinging a bat at Whitney. He tells his dad though that Kyle says Whitney swung it at him first. Whitey asks why he would do that and says that it’s crazy. Clark answers that none of this makes any sense but Whitney says it does because Kyle is dangerous and needs to be locked up.

Whitney: You saw it with your own eyes, that freak tried to kill me, and now you’re saying it’s my fault?

Later in the officers of The Torch, Chloe says that Kyle has not broken hermit status in years but is suddenly one of Smallville’s most wanted. Pete suggests that something made him snap and Clark replies that he thinks something is Bob Rickman. Chloe asks what he would have against Rickman and Clark says he doesn’t know before asking Chloe to do some digging to find a connection. She says that she will. Just then Lana enters the offices, angry, and asks Chloe and Pete to give her and Clark a minute. After they go, she tells Clark that Whitney told her Clark accused him of attacking Kyle. Clark says he made no accusations but did have some questions. Clark says he wanted to know why Whitney was there at all. Lana says they both know Whitney can be overzealous but she says his heart is in the right place. Clark diplomatically replies that he does not think Kyle would do something like that.

Clark: He doesn’t seem like a violent person.
Lana: And you can tell that from knowing him for two days?

Lana: Whitney wouldn’t attack anybody.
Clark: He strung me up in a field.

[YES! CONTINUITY! I am always irritated by how everyone ignores that Whitney nearly murdered Clark in this show’s pilot episode.]

Lana asks Clark if that attempt on his life is what this is really about. He tells her that he just thinks something else is gong on here. She tells Clark that there is something else going on here – he is lookin for an excuse to knock Whitney.


Lana then complains to Clark that he knows what Whitney is going through with his dad and she says he should not pretend to be Whitney’s friend if he isn’t.

Rickman arrives at the Kent Farm while Jonathan is mucking the horse stalls. Jonathan shovels muck onto his shoes before seeing him. After seeing him, he tells the other man that shoes like that don’t belong in a barn. They shake hands. Rickman says that Jonathan must know why he is here. Jonathan says that he hears Rickman is intersted in the farm and that he has heard Rickman has a reputation of being a very persuasive fellow.

Poppa Kent tells Rickman that he is never going to sell the farm and adds that if he was interested in money he would not be a farmer. Jonathan asks Rickman to excuse him while he works. Rickman nods. He sees that Jonathan takes off his work gloves and then feigns an injury. Jonathan turns back to him and asks if he is alright. Rickman laughs and says he twisted his ankle before adding that Jonathan was right about his shoes. He asks Jonathan to give him a hand up. As they grip hands, Rickman uses his powers on Jonathan. He asks Jonathan if he is sure he cannot convince him to change his mind.

Sometime later Jonathan has signed a deed to his property over to Rickman. Staring at the paperwork, Martha asks him how he could do this without telling her. Clark walks in on this and asks how it happened. His father says that he does not know. He says that one minute he is telling Rickman that he does not have a chance and then the next minute he has a signed contract in his hands. Martha tells them that she called their lawyer and he told her that “the devil made me do it” would not hold up in court as a legal argument. As Jonathan mutters that he cannot believe he did this, Clark asks him for specifics of what happened. Jonathan said that he made his case and shook his hand and that was it. When Clark says it cannot be that easy, his dad asks how else he can explain it. Clark says he knows someone who can help them and Jonathan states that he does not want to owe Lex Luthor anything.

Martha: Right now you don’t have anything to owe.

Clark meets with Lex at The Beanery. Lex observes Lana and Whitney giving him in the cold shoulder and asks what that is about. Clark explains that he is on the outs with them because he will not cave as to his opinion of Kyle Tibbett.

Lex: So you’re Atticus?
Clark: Huh?
Lex: Atticus Finch, “To Kill A Mockingbird?”
Clark: Never read it.
Lex: You should. You two have a lot in common. Small town heroes, believe in the truth, not willing to back down.

Clark asks how the story end but Lex tells him it’s not about the ending, it’s about the journey. Clark tells Lex that it kills him knowing that he is right but wishing he could get them to see it. Lex tells him that feeling is the key to leadership. Lex tells Clark that if he can learn to know he is right and to convince everyone else the world will be his oyster. Clark tells him that right now he’d settle for getting his farm back. Lex explains to Clark that the contract is ironclad but he offers an army of lawyers to help out. Clark notes that for once he thinks his parents will appreciate the offer of help. Lex asks how Rickman managed to convince Jonathan while pointing out that he has given better offers in the past. Lex asks Clark if he thinks Rickman did more than just provide a sales pitch. Something seems to occur to Clark so he stands and says he is going to visit the jail.

Rickman is in his office when the Sheriff’s Deputy stops by. As they shake hands, Rickman tells him that he needs the deputy to take care of an old friend.

Kyle gets to his feet inside his jail cell. The jailer tells him that he has a visitor. When Kyle steps outside of the jail, he grabs the jailer’s hand, and we see a tell-tale green glow from their grip.

Outside the jail, Clark sees Kyle in a police uniform. As he shouts Kyle’s name, a Sheriff’s deputy fires a gun at Kyle from farther down the street. Clark pushes Kyle out of the way. As the deputy unloads his clip and round the corner to see the place behind the car where the two men should be, he finds that they are gone. There appears to be some blood on the road where they had been.

Clark has taken Kyle to the Luthor mansion where Lex has someone on-call who is able to treat the man. Lex asks Clark why he thought he would be willing to harbor a fugitive. Clark tells him that he thought his parents would freak and he also thought that the hospital would take him back to jail after treating him.

Clark: You’re the only one I could trust.

Lex just nods at this as his discreet doctor finishes sewing up Kyle’s wound. The doctor leaves and then Lex tells Clark he should leave also. He reminds Clark to change his shirt as there is blood all over it now. When Clark gets home, he goes up to his loft and finds Lana there. After noting that she is the last person he expected to see, she says that she heard Kyle Tippett escaped and that says that she is freaked out. Clark tells her not to worry because he is not coming after anybody. SHe asks how he knows and he says he just does.

Lana is annoyed by Clark’s tone and says she is sorry she bothered him. As she leaves, Clark asks why she walked over here instead of calling. She says she does not know and that she had hoped he might have changed his opinions. Clark tells her that if she wants an apology she is out of luck. This reply angers Lana. She tells Clark that Kyle escaped from jail and even he has to admit that it looks pretty bad. He tells her that she does not know the whole story though he admits that does not either. She tells him that she wanted to cler the air and preserve their friendship.

Lana: But now I don’t even know why I bothered.

At The Beanery, Rickman runs into Lex. He extends his hand and Lex refuses to shake it. Rickman says that this Art of War stuff is for amateurs. Lex says it is not that, it is just that he does not like him. Rickman asks Lex why LuthorCorp attorneys are challenging his purchase of the Kent Farm. He replies that they are his friends and Smallville is his home. Rickman gets up to leave and as he is going Lex says that he heard Rickman’s old friend Kyle Tippett escaped from jail.

Rickman asks why he assumes that they are old friends and Lex tells him it is just a rumor. Rickman asks Lex if he has seen him. Lex lies as says he has never met the man but that he will be sure to pass on Rickman’s regards when he does. Rickman next runs into Clark on his way out. Clark asks him how he managed to get his dad’s signature and Rickman replies that it was just good business. He extends his hand to indicate no hard feelings. As they shake hands, Rickman seems surprised that nothing happens with Clark. Further, Clark grips his hand so tightly that we hear what sounds like bones breaking. Finally Rickman pulls his hand away in agony.

Clark and Chloe sit down with Lex. Chloe shares that she has learned Rickman and Kyle were partners in an agriculture equipment business during the mid 1980s. She tells Lex that they were salesmen of the year in ’89, ’90, and ’91. Rickman, she says, started his own company a year later and Kyle “went Walden.” Chloe tells both of them that her guess is that whatever is going on started on the day of the meteor shower. Lex says that they should go ask Kyle. She expresses surprise that Lex knows where he is and Lex merely smirks.

When they arrive at Lex’s mansion, Kyle is gone and the nurse assigned to him does not remember who he is. Clark tells the room that he thinks he knows where Kyle went. Clark and Chloe arrive at Kyle’s trailer in time to see him packing to leave and move away. They ask him what happened on the day of the meteor shower and Chloe tells him that the two of them are not the only two who were effected. Kyle stops and tells them that prior to the meteor shower, they were the worst sales people to ever hold a catalogue, but after they could get people to do whatever they want with a single handshake.

Chloe asks how long it lasts and Kyle says it lasts until the person does whatever they were told to do. Chloe asks Kyle to prove it so he extends his hand to her. When she grabs it, he tells her to show Clark her real feelings for him. After he lets go of her hand Chloe turns and kisses Clark. After she does it, she turns back to Kyle and tells him to tell her something to do. She has no memory of what just happened. Suddenly Chloe realizes her mouth is minty and the realization of what just happened dawns on her. Clark tells her it was fine as she looks horrified. Kyle tells them that it is now time to go.

At the Luthor mansion, Rickman enters and tells Lex he can call off his lawyers because he is dropping the Kent Farm as proposed site for his plant. Lex asks if he is losing his touch and Rickman replies that he just knows where he is not wanted and that Smallville is not worth the hassle. Rickman offers Lex a handshake since he won.

Later Clark calls Lex from a payphone. He tells Lex that he is with Kyle and that Kyle know enough to bring Rickman down. Lex tells them to stay where they are and says he is coming to pick them up. After picking them up, Lex tells them that he will take them to Metropolis for Kyle to share what he knows with his friends at the Inquisitor. They stop for gas. Lex locks them inside the car as he pours gasoline all over the car. Kyle yells that Rickman has got to him. Lex sets the car on fire. Clark hurriedly kicks open his door and then rips the door off which holds Kyle in. They run as the car explodes. Lex sees them get away and says to Clark that he has some explaining to do.

A moment later Rickman pulls up asking what happened. Lex says he has his suspicions but that failing is not something he does. Rickman gives him a gun and Lex sets out to find the two of them. He enters a warehouse looking for Clark and Kyle. He finds Kyle first.

Lex: Clark! You know that guy you’re trying to protect? I’m gonna shoot him now.

Clark comes out from his hiding place. Lex smiles and lets Kyle go. Clark tells Lex that they are friends. Lex opines about how everyone in town looks at him and then tells Clark that friendship is a fairytale with respect and fear the best you can hope for. He opens fire on Clark. Several rounds hit Clark as he dives out of the way. When Lex walks over to Clark, lying on the ground, Clark throws him across the room. Lex crashes into a steel shelf with its contents subsequently falling on him.

Outside, Kyle sneaks up on Rickman as he exits his own car holding a handgun. Their hands touch. Rickman’s gun slowly turns on himself. Inside as Clark checks on Lex, they both hear a gun shot. Clark runs outside and finds Kyle who then tells Clark that he was always the better salesman of the two. Kyle tells Clark that he saw him get shot. Clark tells him not to worry and Kyle advises Clark not to hide in the woods the way that he has done. He tells Clark that he has a gift and that he should use it to do great things. He adds that he will try to do the same with his gift now.

Later, Martha comments on a shirtless Clark that she cannot believe each of those bruises was a bullet. Jonathan notes that he guesses that answers a question. Lana knocks and enters. She says that she is not certain what happened with Kyle but she has decided it one argument is not as important as their friendship. Clark says that he feels the same way. Suddenly Lana asks if Chloe really kissed him and Clark just shrugs.

Lex finds Clark in his barn loft. He shares that he has spoken with his lawyers and because of Rickman’s untimely demise, his company is not expanding. Clark thanks him. Lex tells him that this is what friends are for. Clark asks how he is feeling and Lex replies that he des not remember what happened. Lex asks Clark if he is certain he did not hurt him and Clark pats his own chest as if to say he is fine. Lex wonders where Kyle is now. As both Clark and Lex stare out his barn loft balcony, Clark says that it is strange Rickman and Kyle were once best friends.

Clark: Think we’ll ever end up like that?
Lex: Trust me, Clark. Our friendship is gonna be the stuff of legend.


Agrobusiness in Kansas remains cutthroat.

I want to be annoyed with the dialogue about their friendship being the stuff of legend but I’m not. I really enjoyed it.

I think Kyle is the second “meteor freak” who is not a sociopath. Cassandra the blind lady who sees the future was also a good person. I struggle with the rules as t seems some people are corrupted by these powers but a few are not. Perhaps peole handle meteor powers the way that they handle actual power. The meteor powers also seem to be imbued in the way that a Greek god might dole out an ability (with the individual person’s character, situation, or interests in mind and with a view toward the power ultimately being their doom.)

This is the episode where I got officially annoyed by Lana. I knew it was coming but this episode is where it happens. It’s one thing for everyone to just pretend Whitney did not string Clark up in a field on a cold night in his underwear (something that might have killed a regular human, or even Clark given the meteor rock around his neck.) I understand Lana hedging to Whitney’s side of that argument given his current life circumstances and not wanting to pile stress onto his life. But to privately seek out Clark and then downplay the fact her boyfriend almost murdered him? To act as if that incident might not reflect well on Whitney’s standing as a reliable narrator of events? To hold it against Clark that he has attempted to put it in the past and move on?

What brings Lana back around? The fear that she might lose Clark to Chloe. That’s it. I let it go that Lana didn’t break up with Whitney when he attempted to murder Clark. I was not completely sure how well she understood what happened. But my hope for “Clana” ends here. She clearly understands what happened and is okay with dating an occasional psychopath. Let’s begin the long wait for Lois now.

This episode is also where Clark declares that Lex is his *best* friend. Sorry, Pete. I mean, I understand that you hardly have any lines on this show anyway but your best friend has decided some dude half a decade out of high school is his best friend instead of you. Not weird at all.

Do I think Lex is at least somewhat aware of the fact that he shot Clark? Yes, yes I do. That will fuel further obsession. It was also fun to see the glee on his face when shooting at Clark. There’s something very wrong with Lex beneath the surface and we seldom see the monster beneath out in the open. That said, do I also think Lex genuinely believes he and Clark might be friends who conquer the world together? Absolutely. He seems to intuitively know that there is something more than a little special about Clark. He views Clark as a rarely found peer. He seems to view it as fated that they met at all. I suspect at this point in his arc that he hopes Clark will help him conquer the world and to do so on the side of the good.

2 thoughts on “Smallville (Season 1, Ep 11): Hug

  1. yeah, a VERY long wait for Lois. I was SO happy when she turned up later in the show. It really felt like the writers didn’t know what a genuine relationship was like and so had no idea of how to write the ups and downs between Clark and Lana.

    And poor Pete! It is evident by this time too that the writers don’t know how to use a Best Friend. It seems like all they understand is lust and attraction between the genders. And enemies. Anything else is jus shades of that 🙁
    Pete had such a good strong start that I had high hopes for him too.

    1. Yeah. The weaknesses in writing relationships, which were presented throughout Smallville, transfered to the Arrowverse later.

      I really think that Smallville wrote itself into a hole by making Whitney go fully bad in the pilot. It makes a lot of the subsequent story-telling worse. Genuine contrition from Whitney might have helped. But the writing team didn’t see the need for that.

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