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.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
Lionel flies to Smallville and announces to the plant, which employs most of the community, that it will be closed due to poor management from Lex. Roger Nixon blows up the Kent family truck, with Clark inside, to see what Clark is capable of. Whitney announces to Lana that he is joining the Marines and he asks her to wait for him. Roger Nixon steals the octagonal disk from Lex’s office after learning about its existence while spying on the Kents. Lex responds to his father’s actions by staging an employee-led buyout of the plant, funding most of their effort himself. A storm moves through town on the night of the Spring Formal – which also is the night Whitney leaves on a bus for basic training.
That night, Roger Nixon sneaks into the Kent storm shelter and places the disk into the space ship. He is caught in the act by Jonathan and Martha who have fled to the shelter to escape tornados. Jonathan chases Roger out of the storm shelter as the ship lights up with Martha close by. After dropping Whitney off, Lana crashes her truck on the drive back after storm debris hits her windshield. At the dance, after the emcee announces tornados touched down by the bus stop, Clark disappears to find Lana. He finds her, and they see each other, just as the tornado lifts Lana’s truck off the ground with her inside. Clark disappears into the tornado behind her. Lionel confronts Lex at his office mansion in Smalllville, but after the storm blows out a window, he is trapped beneath a heavy object, with a ceiling beam now dangerously close to falling next and killing him. Lex seems to be weighing internally whether or not he should help.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Lex waits for his father at a helipad as his father exits quickly from the chopper. Lex asks him about the nature of the remarks he will soon give to the LuthorCorp employees at the Smallville plant. Lionel tells him that it will be one of his usual motivational speeches. Lex reminds him that the plant made a profit in the last quarter for the first time in two years and says his people deserve a pat on the back. Lionel, hurrying to his destination with a growing throng of LuthorCorp higherups joining he and Lex as they walk, tells Lex that he will try not to disappoint them.
Lionel stands on an outdoor podium and addresses the cheering employees of LuthorCorp’s Smallville plant. He tells them that he knows they have all worked extremely hard, says that they should be proud of themselves, and then says that due to management failures beyond any of their control the plant will be closing effective immediately.
Lex: You just fired 2500 people and blamed it on me.
Lionel: One day you’ll thank me, Lex.
Lex lambasts his father about the people who have families and bills, as his father tells him that business is about profits and not friends. He tells his son not to let his emotions get in the way of making money. Lex shouts back at him to not give lectures about emotion and tells his father that the plant is making a profit. He accuses his father of shutting the plant down because he will not go work for him in Metropolis. Lionel does not correct him and says that while Lex may have felt he found a home here that he was mistaken. Lionel says Smallville was just a training ground and he says Lex’s training is over. Lionel gets on the helicopter, leaving Lex behind on the helipad to deal with the scores of furious employees who were just laid off. As the helicopter lifts off, he shouts to Lex that he is coming home.
♫Somebody saaaaaaavvee meeeee♫
At school, Clark is worried about his tie and cummerbund combination and asks Pete for help in deciding what to wear for the Spring Formal. Pete advises Clark to wear the traditional black and notes that this is no time to get adventurous. Lana overhears them and interjects to Clark that red always looks good on him. When Clark says “red it is” Pete says now he has to go change his order so that nobody mistakes the two of them for twins. Pete leaves and Lana notes that Clark seems excited. He admits that he is but comments on how expensive everything is. When Lana asks if that means renting a limo is out, Clark tells her that he is thinking of asking Lex if he can borrow his. He tells her that Chloe says she does not care, but he believes deep down inside that she does.
A few moments later, Chloe approaches both of them, concern on her face, and announces that the LuthorCorp plant is being closed. The kids all stare at each ohter in a stunned silence.
At home, Clark finds his parents in the kitchen, with Jonathan reading the newspaper article about the closing. Matha tells Clark that The Ledger rushed a special edition, adding that they have not done that since the meteor shower. Clark tells them that Chloe is pretty upset and Jonathan adds that he spoke to her father and he is in shock. Clark asks how this will effect their family and Martha tells him that the plant was the community’s biggest employer, so she anticipates a domino effect.
Jonathan: I can’t believe that Lex would run that thing into the ground in less than a year.
Clark asks Jonathan why he is blaming Lex, and not Lionel, and Jonathan speaks over him to say that whatever issues exist between Lex and his father have now cost half of the people in town their job. Clark suggests that his dad might be happy to have the Luthors out of their lives but Jonathan tells him that the plant closing will hurt a lot of people and he would not wish that on anyone. Clark tells his dad that Lex cares about Smallville and told him that he has big plans. Jonathan replies bitterly that the road to h*** is paved with good intentions.
Whitney takes Lana to a fancy outdoor picnic. She asks him what the occasion is and he says he wants to thank her for everything over the course of the previous year. Lana tells Whitney that they have been together a long time and that she would never abandon him when he needed her. Suddenly serious, Whitney says there is something he wants to tell her. He then reaches into a bag and pulls out a piece of paper addressed to him from the United States Marine Corps. He sheepishly tells her that he enlisted.
Whitney: I think it’s the right thing for me to do. When I found my dad’s medals I felt he was telling me which path I should take.
Lana tells him that he cannot do this for his father and he tells her that he is doing it for them. He asks her not to be mad and she asks in turn for time to process this. He then tells her that he does not have a lot of time because he is shipping off for basic training on Saturday night. She asks Whitney about graduation and he replies that the only thing he will miss about Smallville is her. He then asks if she will wait for him. We do not see her answer.
Clark visits Lex at the mansion and finds the octagonal disk on Lex’s desk. He picks it up and is looking at it when Lex enters and tells Clark that he is sorry for making him wait but adding that he has had a bad day. Clark tells Lex that he has a nice paper weight but Lex ignores that and asks if he can afford ot be seen with the town pariah. Clark says he will take his chances and asks him what happened. Lex shares that the two public theories are that he either ran the plant into the ground, due to incompetence, or that he did it deliberately so that he could return to Metropolis. Clark suggests that Lex since Lionel already offered him a job in Metropolis, he could tell people the truth and Lex replies that he does not want to be stuck with the incompetency reputation. He says he would rather be reviled. Lex abruptly tells Clark, that this is not over and when Clark asks if he has a plan, Lex says maybe. He then stares in silence for a while, leading Clark to excuse himself due to Lex having a lot of work to do.
Lex: Clark, thanks for stopping by. It means a lot.
Clark: What are friends for?
Clark later finds Chloe. She tells him that she and her father cannot do the depressed thing, together, and Clark says that if she is not up for Saturday night that he understands. She asks if he is kidding and says that Saturday night is the only thing she has to look forward to. She adds that she wants to enjoy all of Smallville’s quaint customs, while she still can, because she says her dad is talking about moving their family back to Metropolis permanently. He asks about The Torch and all her friends, and she says she is not psyched to fight her way through the high school hierarchy all over again.
Chloe: You’re gonna miss me though, right?
Clark: Do you even have to ask?
Lex gathers a group of Smallville plant managers and proposes that they execute an employee led buyout of the plant from LuthorCorp. Lex offers to cover ninety percent of the capital that they need to raise. One of the men in the room asks if he expects them to mortgage their house and Lex answers that he is offering an opportunity to take control of their own destiny.
Lex: Stand with me and we’ll win.
Clark ducks inside the door of The Talon and Lana asks him if he is out wondering the streets of Smallville. When she asks him what is wrong, Clark tells her that he just found out Chloe might be leaving for good. He says that he is not really sure that he can believe it is true. Lana responds that she knows what he means and tells him that Whitney enlisted in the Marines, that he told her he was doing it for their relationship, and that he asked if she would wait for him. Clark asks her what she said and she replies that she said nothing because she was just standing there in stunned silence.
Lana: One day he’s worried about his English paper and the next he’s putting on a uniform and saving the world.
Clark asks her when he heads out and she replies that he leaves on Saturday night. He tells her that at least she does not have to worry about her dress. Lana says aloud that she cannot believe that both Whitney and Chloe are going to be out of their lives.
In the next scene, we see Clark at the farm, driving fence posts into the ground with just his hands. After he finishes he gets into Jonathan’s truck and turns the key. The truck explodes. Clark gets out, completely unharmed, and removes his burning jacket and shirt. As he stares at the truck, we see that Roger Nixon, the reporter from the Inquisitor, is watching from not far away, holding what appears to be a detonator, and recording the incident.
Later, as Clark is getting re-dressed, he asks his dad what he thinks might have caused the explosion. Jonathan guesses it must have been a leaky fuel line and he suspects the fumes ignited the fertilizer in the truck’s bed. Jonathan apologizes to him and says he should have checked it better. Clark tells them that he is happy he was in the cab rather than one of them, causing Martha to hug him. Clark tells them that he barely even felt the heat and says the debris did not even leave bruises. Martha speculates that as Clark is getting older, his body must be getting stronger.
Lionel enters Lex’s office and asks if he is not in a hurry to pack. Lex replies that he is not leaving and tells his father that he is leading an employee buyout of the plant. Lionel jokes that Lex must be asking employees to take out a second mortgage. Lex tells him to accept the buyout and retain his dignity, adding that dignity is more than Lionel left him. His father laughs, tells him that is very gracious, and then instructs him to look at a piece of paper. Lex reads aloud that Lionel bought the Smallville Saving and Loan. Lionel laughs and tells Lex that he can lead his employee buyout, but adds that he will own their mortgages and will not hesitate to foreclose on each and every one of them if they miss payments.
Lionel: They’ll be homeless and it’ll be your fault. You ready to accept that kind of responsibility? If you’re gonna take me on, son, you’re gonna have to bring your game up to a whole different level.
At school, Clark tells Chloe that he cannot drive her to the formal, and he adds that with everything going on at the plant, he does not feel like he can ask Lex to borrow his limo. Chloe tells him that she can drive, and when he says that ruins the Prince Charming vibe, she tells him that Cinderella was never her role model anyway.
They walk past Whitney telling his friends about joining the Marines. Clark updates Chloe on the news that Whitney asked Lana to wait for him. Chloe says that long-distance relationships never work and she compares it to their own situation where Clark will forget about her in a couple of weeks. Even though she says this with a big smile, Clark is offended. She then confesses to Clark that she has a horrible nightmare that Clark will rush to the bus station after Whitney leaves, to confess his undying love for Lana, and that she will thereafter be waiting at the gym all alone. She then tells Clark that if he actually does that to her she will never speak to him again. In response to that, Clark kisses her – and Lana just happens to see that as she walks by.
Clark: I’m going to the dance with you, not by default, but because I want to.
She smiles and jokingly tells him that she feels better now.
Later, Clark is approached by Roger Nixon and is surprised the other man knows his name. Roger tells Clark that he works for the Inquisitor and says he would like to write a story about him. Clark tells him he is not interested and walks away, but Roger follows, asking why he was not hurt in the explosion. Clark tells him that he was nowhere near the truck just as Lex arrives and asks if he is missing something interesting.
Lex approaches and introduces himself to Roger, before asking when someone is going to put the paper out of its misery. Roger tells Lex that it is nice to meet him, and leaves, but as he goes he tells Clark that he is sure they will talk again soon. After Roger goes, Lex asks Clark what that was all about. Clark tells him that Roger wants to do a story about him, making him out to be some kind of hero, and when Lex warns him against getting mixed up with The Inquisitor, Clark tells him that he does not intend to. Lex tells Clark to let him know if Roger gives him any more trouble.
Clark returns home immediately and tells his parents that a journalist from The Inquisitor wants to do a story on him.
Clark: He knows I was in the truck. I don’t think it was an accident, I think he set it up to test me.
Martha: How did he know you would survive?
Clark: He must have seen me do something before.
Clark then tells both of his parents that he has been careful. Jonathan tells him that it’s not his fault. When Clark asks what he should do, his dad tells him to carry on like everything is fine, adding that if the reporter has something he is sure the man will come to them. Clark starts to walk away but then stops. Martha intuits that more is coming and asks Clark about it. He tells her that he thinks Lex has a piece of the spaceship. Jonathan asks if he is sure and Clark explains that he saw it on his desk and suggests that Lex probably found it in the field.
The camera pans out and we see Roger Nixon has bugged the barn where they are talking and is listening to them from his car outside. As Roger listens, Jonathan tells him that for now he should just live his life normally, avoid using his abilities, and he says they will wait to see what happens next.
Later at Lex’s mansion, Roger finds the octagonal disk on Lex’s desk and picks it up. He sits at Lex’s desk and waits for him to arrive. Lex does shortly after and Roger asks about Lex wanting to see him. Lex reminds Roger that he warned him to stay away from the Kents. Roger is no longer taking the threats seriously and sarcastically comments that this is when Lex reminds him of all the terrible things he could have done to him. Lex tells Roger that he is a little preoccupied at the moment and doe snot have time for his petty annoyances. Roger responds that what he has discovered is beyond Lex and his threats. Lex notes that for all of his newfound bravado, which Lex says does not suit him, Roger has not shown him anything. Roger tells him that there is a lot more to his friend Clark Kent than meets the eye. Lex then threatens him about what will happen if he finds out Roger harassed the Kents. Roger tells Lex that if he is not interested in bidding for what he has, he knows another Luthor who will be.
Lex: You are playing a very dangerous game. You better pray you’re not wrong.
On Saturday evening, Clark is getting dressed and asks for help with his bowtie from his mom. He hears someone coming and realizes it is not his mother. Lex climbs up the ladder to his loft and asks if he is alright. When Clark says he is fine, Lex points out that he seems a little tense. Lex offer to help him with the bowtie, noting that he has certainly tied more of them than she has. When Clark asks why he is here, Lex replies that he needed to clear his head, so he took a drive and ended up here. He then tells Clark that he did not mean to bother him on his big day.
Clark tells him that they have a little time as Chloe is picking him up. Lex says this is progressive and asks what happened to the truck. Clark tells Lex that it was a farming accident. Clark asks him how the buyout is going and Lex replies that it will get worse before it gets better due to the fact his dad is dead set against its success. Clark asks Lex why his father is against his own plant and Lex tells him that he and his father have a complicated relationship built on lies and deceit. Lex notes that their friendship is fortunate to be built on a better foundation than that. He then tells Clark that whatever happens over the next few days, he will remain Clark’s friend. Clark asks what Lex thinks will happen and he replies that he just has a bad feeling, like how you can smell the air change just before a storm. When Clark tells Lex that storms are a way of life in Kansas, and that the trick is not to get caught out in the open, Lex nods at him and advises him to look after himself.
Whitney and Lana are at the school, by the trophy case, and he says it is hard to believe his entire life is inside there. He comments that it all seems trivial now. Lana tells him that they need to get to the bus station. He tells her that they still have an hour and suggests they go check out the gym, first. Inside, they see it is decorated for the formal. Whitney asks where everyone is and Lana tells him that an hour before the dance the set-up committee goes home to get ready. Whitney takes the opportunity to put “Everything” by Lifehouse into the dance’s CD player and has one last dance with Lana.
While they dance, Whitney finally apologizes for not telling Lana about enlisting before he did it. She replies by telling him that he is very brave.
Outside of Clark’s house, Chloe pulls up. She gets out of the car and asks if her dress is too pink. Clark tells her that she looks beautiful. As the wind picks up, he gives her a corsage and she pins a boutonniere on his lapel. They get in the car to go and we see that Roger Nixon is spying on them from a distance. He is holding the octagonal disk from Lex’s desk having apparently stolen it earlier.
At the school, the wind is really picking up. Chloe, Clark, Pete, and his dad Erica all run into Lana and Whitney before they leave the gym. Chloe leaves with Pete and his date to take their picture, leaving Clark alone with Lana and Whitney. After Clark wishes him good luck, Whitney asks to speak with Clark alone. Lana goes outside to bring the truck around. Whitney tells Clark and they’ve had a weird year. He apologizes for how he treated him at the beginning of the year. Clark tells him he appreciates that, and then Whitney confesses to Clark that Lana is not sure how she feels about her relationship with him, right now, but he asks Clark to look after Lana until he comes back. Clark mutters that he does not know what to say, but under Whitney’s intense stare Clark finally promises to do it. Clark watches from the door to the gym as Whitney and Lana drive away. Chloe finds Clark and asks him what that was all about and he tells her that it was just guy stuff, before commenting again on how beautiful she looks tonight.
At the bus station, Lana asks Whitney if he has everything and he tells her he does, laughing about how they are only allowed one bag. She laughs in turn saying she would never make it as a Marine. Lana gives Whitney her green meteor rock necklace for luck. He promises not to lose it this time, gives her one last hug, and tells her goodbye. Just as he is about to get on the bus, she runs out of the truck and they have one more goodbye hug.
Whitney: I loved you the first moment that I saw you. I’ll still love you when I see you again.
They kiss, Whitney gets on the bus, and the bus drives away.
On the farm, Roger Nixon sneaks into the storm shelter and finds the space ship.
Roger: Oh, Roger, baby, you are going to be filthy rich.
Back at the school dance, Pete tells Clark that Chloe is having a great time and he says he is happy that Clark finally stepped up. Both of them talk about how much they like the band. Pete shouts out “Remy Zero!” When the band begins singing “Perfect Memory (I’ll Remember You)” Pete tells Clark that this is one of Chloe’s favorite songs. Clark asks Pete why he thinks he requested it and then walks over to grab Chloe for a dance.
[DustyReviews Note: Remy Zero is the band who sings the theme song of this show.]
As the song plays in the background, we switch to seeing a crying Lana driving back from the bus stop. However, her tears become fears quickly as the storm picks up. A mailbox, still attacked to a wooden stake, crashes into the windshield of her truck, causing her to loose control and fish tail, ultimately stopping in a ditch. Lana crawls out of the truck and sees three tornados coming her direction. With nowhere to go, she gets back into the cab and closes the door.
At the Kent Farm, Jonathan and Martha make a break for their storm shelter. When Martha asks about Clark, Jonathan tells her that the school is on the other side of town and that Clark will be fine. They notice that the shelter door is already open. Inside the shelter, Roger Nixon has found a void on the space ship exactly the same size as the octagonal disk in his hands. The disk pulls away from him and flies on its own toward that spot on the space ship and fills in the void. Just then Jonathan finds Roger down there and begins fighting with him as Martha begs Jonathan not to hurt him. Jonathan asks him repeatedly if Lex Luthor sent him, and when Roger replies that he does not need Lex to tell the entire world about Clark, Jonathan punches him, knocking him to the ground.
Just then, the space ship floats up into the air. Martha tells both of them to look. Roger uses this distraction to flee through the storm shelter door, out into the bad weather. Jonathan chases after him telling Martha that he knows everything and that he will not let him destroy their family. Left behind and alone in the storm shelter, Martha looks on in fear and wonder as it begins to emit light and move around.
At the dance, just as Clark and Chloe are about to kiss, the band’s performance is stopped and a school official announces that three tornados were spotted heading toward Smallville. He tells the students to remain calm and says the twisters are going to touch ground south of where they are now. He says that for everyone’s own safety, no one is allowed to leave the gym. Clark suddenly tells Chloe that the bus station is south of town and that Lana is there. She replies that Lana is probably home by now and offers to call Lana on her cell phone. She walks off to get it, but when she turns around, Clark is gone.
At the mansion, Lex has noticed his octagonal disk is stolen and he is tearing apart his office searching for it. As Lex is distraught, Lionel enters at this moment and announces that he knows Lex is using his mother’s stock to fund the employee buyout. He tells Lex that he might get the plant, but that this is suicide. He adds that he is putting his employees’ homes on the line and forfeiting his own future.
Lex: Or forging a new destiny free from you.
Lionel: [looking stricken] You’re not my enemy. You’re my son.
Lex: I never saw the distinction.
The two Luthors argue, with Lionel alluding to Alexander the Great’s dying wish that his empire be left to the strongest. When Lex retorts with “cy havoc and let loose the dogs of war” Lionel grabs him by the face.
Lionel: I’ll bury you and everyone in Smallville who takes your side.
Just then the storm destroys Lex’s stained glass window, knocking both Luthors ot the ground. Lex suffers a deep gash on his eye as Lionel is pinned under a large heavy object. Unable to move, a large jagged beam from the office’s ceiling partially collapses, with the jagged end a very short distance from the elder Luthor’s face. Lex gets to his feet, bleeding heavily on his face, and stares down at his father who is begging him for help. With the beam a short distance from killing Lionel, Lex pauses and stares without helping.
Outside of Lana’s truck, the three tornados are closer and have now merged into one super-giant tornado. She is on her cell phone unable to get a signal, and she watches helplessly as the tornado reachers her truck.
Clark moves through town at superspeed, finally finding Lana’s truck stuck in a ditch. She sees Clark in the distance through her window as the tornado picks up her truck, and she yells his name. Clark runs into the tornado as the episode ends.
This is a really good season ender for Smallville. The tension begins immediately and does not let up at all until the end.
One of the things you pick up when watching Smallville, as opposed to some other iterations of the Superman tale, is a likeable and also tragic Lex Luthor – mixed with the more standard issue bad guy traits. Michael Rosenbaum delivers a Lex who is funny, charming, warm, and at times you get this just-out-of-reach image of what he might be under better circumstances. At other times, though, his Lex is obsessive, secretive, compulsive, manipulative, and overtly dangerous. You kind of get all of that from Lex in this episode. He takes the time to help Clark with a bowtie and give advice despite being at business-war with his own father. He fights to save the Smallville plant and, frankly, the entire town. But you could also argue he stopped by to see Clark, and help with his bowtie, because he is driven by a need to know more regarding Clark’s encounters with Roger Nixon. His wants to save the Smallville plant because he wants to un-muddy his name as an incompetent. The character is well-executive because both ends of his competing motives seem to be true.
Lionel is a vicious parent. He also genuinely wants greatness for his son – and has always wanted that given Lex’s name. I think that’s what makes him interesting. Even as the more overtly evil character in the Luthor bunch, he has mixed motives. Lionel’s biggest issue is that he seems to view love as an enemy of greatness and goes out of his way to purge love from Lex’s life. He is cruel but he is so because he thinks that his cruelty is beneficial to his son. He also bizarrely expects Lex to see the good in his actions on that front. He seems genuinely hurt at the idea that Lex views him as an enemy… but of course moments later he threatens to bury Lex and everyone in the town who helps him.
You kind of see Lex doing a lot of calculus – both with his heart and his mind – as he decides whether or not to help Lionel.
Lana and Clark… both of them have a knowing look while discussing the fact that both of their significant others are just about to be gone from their lives. And yet both of them continue to play their current roles with their significant others. I’m pretty sure Clark will save her from the tornado, and that her ___th concussion will conveniently wipe her memory of how he does it. We’ll see.
I do not like the Clark and Chloe romance. None of it rings true. It came about kind of abruptly on Clark’s end. I do not think I’m supposed to like it, though. I’m supposed to be viewing Clark as a guy who is trying to fake it until he feels it, with Chloe. The show is not hiding the fact that Clark prefers Lana… so Chloe is, I guess, some kind of lesson he is learning about leading people on. Even Chloe knows that Clark would rather be with Lana. However… he did promise not to abandon her at the dance… and he just did… so maybe Clark is inviting some trouble into his life.
Whitney… I think this character had potential. It’s pretty clear he’s gone from the show altogether by the way the show sent him off here. The end product of Whitney reminds me of a lot of guys I have known over the years. In fact, I think you could probably make the case that Whitney is a lot like Jonathan Kent (emotions clouding his judgment and getting him into trouble… but ultimately a hard worker, desirous of doing good, and good to his friends and family.)
Pete continues to be hardly present at all. Nothing new there.
While I did really enjoy the character development of this episode, and the story, there were a few weak points:
- There is no chance Lex would just leave an extra-terrestrial artifact lying around on his desk where it could be stolen. That’s wildly out of character.
- I will buy the idea of Roger Nixon testing Clark physically… but a reporter blowing up a truck with Clark inside? That went too far (both that he knew how to do that and that he was willing to risk being wrong and killing a teenager.)
- Absent parents for Spring Formal (they would have been taking pictures of their dressed up babies. There’s zero chance Martha Kent is not making Clark and Chloe pose for pictures.) Whitney’s mom would also have been there when he left for the Marines… unless somehow he failed to tell her. I guess that’s both possible and in character for Whitney.
- “I found out my dad was a war hero a few days ago and I enlisted, got admitted, and will go to basic training in a few days.” The start to finish of Whitney deciding to join, and then leaving for the Marines, was about two weeks max.
- While it is completely plausible that everyone was ignoring the severe weather (plenty a young person in Tornado Alley does amateur – and absurdly dangerous – tornado chasing), it is completely implausible that nobody in this Kansas town was aware of it (tornado sirens, radio, etc.) until the last minute. Everyone would have started keeping an eye on the weather once the clouds began to look a certain way.
Complaints and nitpicks aside, this was a good close to Season 1. This episode did a great job with pacing and tension-building from the very beginning until it ended. I don’t always love cliff-hangers but I think they were done well in this instance.