Clark discovers that Kara sent messages from Krypton in the past which indicate that Brainiac wants to kill baby Kal-El so Clark will not exist in the future. Clark is torn because he thinks the world would be better off if he had never arrived in Smallville, so Jor-El arranges for Clark to see what life would have been like if he hadn't existed. Clark is attacked by Brainiac in the fortress.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 7x18
Clark is in the barn reading a new message that has appeared in Swann's journal and also looking at a picture of Lana. Chloe then enters remarking that she must have sped through every speed trap to get there. Clark tells her that he has received a new message from Kara and that Brainiac is getting closer. She tells him that he must find a way to get to Krypton and he says he can, through the key. She then gets the book where the key is stored and hands it to Clark. He tells her that he isn't going and that the world will be better off if he never existed. She says that she will not let him make this choice and forcefully places the key in his hand. Clark yells at Chloe saying that the world would be better off without him. Suddenly, a bright light then surrounds him and he disappears.
At the Daily Planet, Clark tells Jimmy that he is a fan of his photos. Clark asks Jimmy to let him use the Planet's archives to search for Lana Lang and see where she is. It turns out she is living in Paris and is happily married with two children. Jimmy tells Clark he is sorry, but Clark says it is the best news he has ever heard. He then turns to walk out and bumps into Lois, almost knocking her over but catching her, and Lois is smitten. She gives Jimmy a letter for him to courier for her and offers Clark a drink after she finishes work. Several Department of Domestic Security guards arrive and call out Lois' name. One of them is Kara, who arrests Lois and hauls her off. Clark asks Jimmy what is going on and he says that if "Linda Danvers", the head of the DDS, is involved, then Lois is in trouble. Jimmy shows Clark a newspaper that says Lex is the President of the United States.
Clark wonders how Lex could be the president as Jimmy talks about the meteor shower that still happened. Clark is surprised and says that Lex is dangerous. He wants to help Lois, but Jimmy tells him to be careful and says he won't have anything to do with it. Just as Jimmy is about to shred the letter that Lois gave him, Clark steals it. Clark starts to question Jimmy, but Jimmy puts his guard up. Clark pushes Jimmy up against the wall and Jimmy starts to talk. The letter was meant for the Ace of Clubs.
Clark enters the Ace of Clubs and sees Sheriff Adams. She says that she hasn't been called that in a long time and wonders who Clark is. He says he is from Smallville and she says she is done with that town. She asks him what's wrong and he gives her the letter. She frowns because it is open, and shows him her government badge. He tells her that Lois Lane was arrested, and she is shocked. Clark tells her what happened and accuses her of being the one to give Lois something that belonged to the government. She tells him to keep his mouth shut and says no one can help Lois. He tells her to let him try. As she turns around to leave he appears in front of her and orders her to tell him where Lois is. Meanwhile, the DDS takes Lois to a building where Kara orders her to be taken in and locked up. As Lois is being taken into the building, a blur comes and knocks out one of the men. He then knocks out the other one, grabs Lois and runs.
Lois and Clark come into a building and Lois says it's nice to have a meteor freak on her side. Clark starts to protest saying he isn't a meteor freak, but Lois dismisses him. Clark asks if Lois minds telling him why she is public enemy number 1. Lois tells him that she has a highly classified document that proves Lex is putting the country in jeopardy. Clark and Lois watch a video where Lex talks about a nuclear threat that they should take care of. Lois says the threat is phony and Clark says it's not a surprise that Lex would lie. Clark asks why and Lois explains she overheard an agent say they were "taking the eagle to the mountaintop".
Lois says it means they're taking Lex to a bunker for one reason only: nuclear war. Lois wants to paste the news all over the planet, but doesn't understand why Lex would want to destroy America. Clark notices Milton Fine and says that he is the reason. Clark explains that he's not human and that's why he doesn't care. Clark starts talking in circles about how he thought the world would be better and Lois is confused. Lois accuses Clark of being a machine and Clark doesn't deny it, but doesn't say he is either. They form a plan, but first Clark has to change clothes. Lois gives him a suit and a press badge so he will blend in.
Clark attends the press conference wearing the suit and glasses as a disguise. He uses his super hearing to listen in on Lex and Kara/"Linda". Lex accuses Kara of letting Lois go and she says he is like her brother. Kara tells Lex his true enemy is Milton Fine. Kara talks about how she's already seen one planet destroyed, and shows him how the enemy missiles are fake. Lex burns the proof and says Fine was following his orders. He reminds her that his father found her, loved her, and died protecting her. Lex tells her to be loyal, to which she agrees. Fine enters and tells Lex to hurry up. Lex and Fine leave through one door and Kara exits through another. She finds Clark in the hall and he calls her Kara. She asks how he knows her and he quickly explains how they are cousins. She tells him she was sent here to kill him and throws a punch. He moves out of the way and she breaks the wall. She tries to elbow him, but he stops her and she says she searched the globe, but couldn't find him. Clark says he can't explain but that he needs the briefcase with the nuclear codes. Clark says that Milton Fine is Brainiac and Kara is surprised that he's on Earth. Clark says together they can stop him. Lex is in his office swirling a globe when Kara and Clark come in. Kara tells him that Clark is from Krypton and Clark tries to get Lex to change his mind about the bombs. Lex says the best way to fix something is to start over and says that America's best and brightest people have been taken to bunkers all across the country. Lex shoots Clark in the stomach. Clark is bleeding, but he still tries to make Lex stop.
Lex shoots another bullet and it becomes clear that the bullets are kryptonite. This one hits Clark in the shoulder and he falls to the floor. Lex tells Kara the gun was so he could protect himself from her and shoots her too. Fine comes in with the briefcase and sees Clark and Kara on the floor. Fine instructs two men to handcuff Kara with Kryptonite handcuffs and seek medical attention. Fine begins to open the briefcase and Clark calls from the floor for Lex to change his mind. Lex doesn't listen and launches America's nuclear arsenal. Lex leaves and Fine is left to "take care of Clark". Clark realizes that General Zod is still alive and Fine says he is trapped in the Phantom Zone. Fine says he will use Kara and her Fortress to release Zod into Lex, who is still the vessel. Fine shoots Clark...and he wakes up with blue light surrounding him and in one of Jor-El's pocket dimensions.
Jor-El tells Clark that he cannot change his destiny. He has to stop Brainiac and this time, he won't get a second chance. The blue light disappears and Clark is in the barn with Chloe, who is utterly confused. She runs to hug him and says that it was only a millisecond. Clark says he has to make everything right and go to Krypton.
On Krypton, everything is exploding. A baby is crying and Brainiac tells him to hush. Brainiac takes a piece of crystal and holds it above the baby, Kal-El. Kara appears and grabs the piece that Brainiac is holding in his hands. Brainiac hits Kara away from him and tells her she will die along with Kal El. Clark shows up and Brainiac is at first confused, then defensive and tells Clark that he can't stop him. Kara tells Clark that he has to get the baby, but Brainiac starts choking him. Brainiac says there is no yellow sun to help him and throws Clark to the ground. Suddenly, a piece of crystal appears through Brainiac's chest and he falls to the ground, showing Kara behind him. Clark rushes to put the baby in the ship and takes a moment to look at his younger self. Clark puts the baby in the ship and Kara tells him that they have to leave. Kara says that Brainiac is destroyed and they leave as Krypton and its Red sun blows up behind them with baby Kal-El's ship flying away safely to Earth.
Back at the Kent farm, Clark is talking on the phone to the nurse who is taking care of Lana. Kara says she knows that Brainiac was destroyed and Clark is at a loss what to do. Kara says they should go back and save their home. Clark says they don't know if that would make things worse. Kara tells Clark she will be there for him forever.
In the barn, Clark finds Lex waiting for him. Lex says he wants to help Lana. He says that his doctors say her condition is almost alien and that her state is irreversible. Lex asks Clark to remember what happened that could have triggered it, but Clark says he doesn't know. Lex leaves Clark alone in the loft.
At the Daily Planet, Clark is on Lois' computer, looking at the Planet's database. Lois arrives and sees that Clark is researching Lana's condition. She tells Clark she's sorry she can't do anything and reminds him that he was there for her when she needed him. Clark tells Lois that she's a good friend and, after an awkward moment, she gives him an affectionate punch on the shoulder and tells him she'll buy him a drink. Lois puts her arm around him as they walk out together.
In the Kent house, Kara goes downstairs for a drink. As she starts to drink from the bottle of milk, she clutches her head and drops the bottle. She falls to the ground in pain.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang (credit only)
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen
- Laura Vandervoort as Kara Kent
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor (credit only)
Special Guest Star
- "Fetish" - Redana & M1
- Apocalypse, in the terminology of early Jewish and Christian literature, refers to a revelation of hidden things revealed by God to a chosen prophet or apostle. In this episode, Jor-El discloses a vision to Clark Kent of what Earth would be like if Clark hadn't successfully made the trip from Krypton.
- In modern times, apocalypse has come to mean "great or total devastation; doom: the apocalypse of nuclear war". The title is a reference to the fact that in a world without Clark Kent, there will be a nuclear apocalypse due to Lex and Brainiac destroying most of the planet. Also, the climactic fight of the episode takes place on Krypton, a planet about to have its own apocalypse.
- Antagonists: Brainiac and President Lex Luthor
- Clark’s Abilities: Super-Strength, Super-Speed, Super-Hearing
- Kara’s Abilities: Super-Strength, Super-Speed
- Brainiac’s Abilities: Super-Strength, Super-Speed, Weapon Manifestation
- This is the sixth story to feature an alternate reality of Smallville, the others being "Slumber", "Lexmas", "Reckoning", "Labyrinth" and "Noir".
- Brainiac says that Kara Kent and Lex Luthor (as a vessel for General Zod) will "repopulate the planet, and Krypton will rise again." This is very similar to Season Three's "Covenant", where Kara from Krypton tells Clark that he and Lindsay Harrison (as a vessel for Jor-El's version of Kara) are "the only ones who can preserve the Kryptonian race."
- Lana Lang and Lionel Luthor do not appear in this episode. However, Lana is depicted in a picture. Jimmy Olsen only appears in the alternate universe.
- Footage of Lex's vision from "Scare" was used for the beginning of his nuclear war.
- In the alternate universe, Lois says that she's "had more heroes exit stage left then a Greek tragedy." In the main timeline, Lois has had two love interests leave Smallville and eventually join a team of superheroes: Green Arrow and Aquaman.
- This episode is the 150th episode of the series marking Smallville's third milestone in episodes (each 50 episodes is a milestone). This is the first such episode in which Lana, Jonathan and Martha do not appear.
- Brainiac mentions that he'll use Kara and "her Fortress" to release General Zod from the Phantom Zone. This suggests that in the alternate reality, Kara fulfilled the prophecy of the Traveler: she was able to unite the Stones of Power, form the Crystal of Knowledge, and create the Fortress of Solitude.
- In the alternate reality, Lex Luthor is President of the United States. The Constitution requires that the President be at least 35 years old; since Lex was born circa 1980, then unless the Constitution has been suspended or amended, the alternate reality must be set in at least 2015. This is further corroborated by Lana being married with two children, and Lois having won a Pulitzer prize.
- In this alternate universe, Lana is married with two children while Lois is single and appears more as her traditional self, Pulitzer and all.
- Lois actually appears to hit on Clark after she first meets him by inviting him to meet her after work for a drink.
- The name of Lana Lang's husband (Pierre Rousseau) in this alternate universe is the French version of the name Pete Ross, who is Lana's husband in the comics.
- This is the second time that nuclear weapons have been launched in the series, and the first time they've successfully detonated. The first time a nuclear weapon was launched was in Season Five's "Hidden". On that occasion, Clark was able to defuse that nuclear bomb using a combination of super strength, super speed, and invulnerability.
- The apartment that was supposed to be Jimmy's where Lois and Clark went to look up the information on the computer and Clark changed clothes was actually the Isis Foundation Office 're-dressed'. 
- Clark's pain tolerance for kryptonite bullets has dramatically increased since he was first shot in Season Three's "Extinction" to the point where he can take two direct bullets to the chest and abdomen and remain coherent and not writhe in agony.
- It's never established how Lex, Lana and Chloe could still be alive in the alternative universe. All three had near-death experiences, in the pilot episode, which were all prevented by Clark's presence. Clark pulled Lex out of the car, after it drove off Loeb Bridge and he stopped Jeremy Creek from killing the Smallville High School students (including Lana, Chloe, Pete and Whitney). Furthermore, all of Smallville would have been destroyed in "Hidden", had it not been for Clark's intervention.
In Other Media
- The storyline in this episode is very similar to the Superman universe in various ways. In this alternate reality Lex Luthor is shown as president of the United States which also happens in the Modern Age of the comic books. In this alternate universe Clark meets Lois at the Daily Planet, and she is already a famous journalist. That's how Clark Kent usually meets Lois Lane in the comics. Also, Lois became instantly attracted to Clark, much like in the comics. And Clark's super rescue of Lois is the traditional way Lois would meet Superman.
- This episode marks the second time in a Clark Kent/Superman TV series continuity where a present day Clark Kent goes back in time and with his own hands puts his infant self inside his ship and launches him toward his family. The first was in the episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, "Tempus Fugitive". The main villain of that episode later attempted to destroy Earth by becoming the president and starting a nuclear war while hiding in a bunker, similar to the plot here.
- The footage of Krypton used was from Superman: The Movie and the footage of Earth's apocalypse was from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. This is the second time this footage was reused, as it first appeared in "Scare".
- The episode "Hourglass" has shown that Clark does not have a predetermined destiny. As such, it would make sense his presence is the only way the holocaust seen by Cassandra could be prevented from happening.
- Lois pronounces "Pulitzer" "P-yule-itzer", the same way that Clark Kent pronounces it in Superman Returns.
- There is a scene in the alternate universe where Jimmy is focusing his camera on different objects and people, starting with the Daily Planet logo. This scene may be mirroring a scene in Superman: The Movie where Jimmy Olsen is focusing his camera in a similar manner, starting with a Daily Planet heading.
- This episode's plot is similar to the film, It's a Wonderful Life, in which a man is shown what life would be like if he had never existed, he is shown that he did a lot of good and concludes that it is a Wonderful Life.
- It also bears a striking similarity to the imaginary story JLA: The Nail, which also depicts a world where Superman never existed and is threatened by the legacy of Krypton.
- Kara is referred to as "Linda Danvers" in the alternate reality, the adoptive name of the Silver Age Supergirl, and the name of the second post-Crisis Supergirl.
- Brainiac quotes the classic "(Insert subject here, You, We, ect)'re not in Kansas anymore." The statement was used in many movies, the most popular being The Wizard of Oz.
- Clark poses as a journalist named "Louis Lane". Two characters by that name appeared in Superman #349. One was a gender-reversed Lois Lane, created by Mr. Mxyzptlk. The other was Lois Lane's cousin.
- The actor Carlo Marks who plays Chloe's Fiancé also plays Stephen Swift, Alec Abrams's older self, in Season Nine's "Warrior".
- This is the 150th episode of the series.
- Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum are the only actors to appear in all of the first 150 episodes.
- This is the third episode directed by Tom Welling. His others are Season Five's "Fragile" and Season Six's "Hydro".
- Erica Durance makes her 50th appearance as Lois Lane in this episode.
- This is the third time Clark is shown wearing eyeglasses; the first was in "Whisper" and second in "Noir". After this, he will go on to wear glasses in "Idol" claiming he's nearsighted.
- This is the third time Clark has been portrayed as a professional reporter (or pretended to be one). This also occurred in Lex's dream in "Lexmas", and "Noir". Clark officially becomes a reporter for the Daily Planet in Season Eight.
- Lex is depicted as wearing a white suit and a black glove in the alternate reality, which was also seen in "Hourglass", "Scare" and "Fracture".
- This is the third time Lex has been shown as the president of the United States. This was also shown in "Hourglass" and "Scare". All three times ended in a nuclear war.
- This is the first time in a while that Jor-El has spoken. Chloe visited the Fortress in "Traveler" and Clark visited the Fortress in "Sleeper", but Jor-El remained silent. He was last heard in "Persona".
- This is the first appearance of Camille Mitchell as Nancy Adams since her death in Season Five's "Lockdown".
- This is the 22nd and final appearance of Nancy Adams. She's the second most frequently seen recurring character in the series after Jor-El. She also appeared in more episodes than series regulars Whitney Fordman, Jason Teague, Kara Kent, Major Zod, and Davis Bloome.
- Clark's ship is seen in this episode. Also Clark's yellow baby blanket is seen again; it has been previously shown in Clark's earliest memory in "Memoria" and when the Kents were leaving their home in "Commencement".
- This is the second time kryptonite bullets have been used after Season Three's "Extinction".
- Lois remarks that Clark gave her a shoulder to cry on, a reference to her tearful goodbye to Oliver Queen, which occurred in "Siren". She later returns the favor in "Arctic" when Lana breaks up with Clark.
- This is the second appearance of the "Ace of Clubs"; the last one was in "Sleeper". In the comics, the Ace of Clubs was a Metropolis pub owned by Bibbo Bibbowski. Bibbo's pub was also briefly seen in the film Superman Returns.
- In many earlier episodes, Clark asks himself if it was his fault that Lex became the evil man he became. In this alternate universe, it is shown that Lex became evil without Clark affecting him in any way. Even though Brainiac may have been the reason in this universe, it was not Clark's fault.
- This episode marks the 73rd appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- In this episode, Clark uses the classic black-framed glasses for the second time. The first one was in the Season Six's "Noir".
- This is the fourth time that Lois learns Clark's secret after "Spell", "Blank" and "Crimson".
- In the episode, Chloe and Clark mention that Brainiac and Kara have traveled back in time to Krypton 1989. There would be no Krypton 1989; just bits of rock left as Krypton was destroyed in 1986. Clark knows this as Virgil Swann told him this in "Rosetta".
- Kara and Clark managed to escape Krypton's destruction via a portal, although, according to Zor-El, the Kryptonian council intended to close or destroy all portals at some point in 1986. Also, Kal El's ship has been shown to escape the shock wave of the exploding planet Krypton, but Kara's ship, directly following the trajectory of Kal El's, couldn't be seen anywhere ("Lara").
- Kara's collapse in the final scene is never explained later, but it is revealed in "Arctic" that, at this time, "Kara" was really Brainiac impersonating her, and that he had returned from Krypton with Clark, apparently having somehow gotten the better of Kara in their fight, and trapped her in the Phantom Zone. Another explanation, however, is that Brainiac inconspicuously infiltrated Kara's person during their battle, or anytime after he forced Kara to go with him in "Veritas", without her knowledge (as he later does to Chloe), Kara unwittingly 'brought' him back to present-day Earth with them, and Brainiac waited until this final scene to resurface, afterward sending Kara to the Phantom Zone.
- Clark: Ever since I arrived, all I brought is death and suffering, meteor freaks, phantoms. And Brainiac.
- Chloe: Clark, you've done so much good. You can't blame yourself for all the bad in the world.
- Clark: It's not blame, Chloe. I'm taking responsibility for all the lives that I've ruined... including Lana's.
- Chloe: Clark, this is not the time to be stubborn, okay? Don't do this. We need you! I need you!
- Clark: This planet will be better off if I never existed.
- Clark: Where were you taking it?
- Jimmy: Oh, I guess you didn't get the memo that says, "Why should I tell you?"
- (Clark picks him up and slams him into the shelves)
- Jimmy: Oh... that's a good answer.
- Jimmy: (to Clark, referring to Lana) I guess things turned out pretty good for her without you around.
- Lois: I know all about unrequited love. I have had more heroes exit stage left than a Greek tragedy.
- Jimmy: (referring to Kara) That was Linda Danvers. She was appointed last month.
- Clark: Who would appoint her?
- Jimmy: The only person who can. (holds up a Daily Planet featuring Lex) The President of the United States.
- Lois: Pretty handy, having a meteor freak on my side.
- Clark: (holding a broken doorknob) I'm not a meteor freak.
- Lois: (scoffs) Right.
- Lois: (to Clark) Even if you white-tornado your way in there, you're still gonna stick out like a red-and-blue thumb. You need to blend in.
- Lois: (rummaging through a closet) Olsen's roommate's about the right size —
- Clark: Lois, we don't have time for this.
- Lois: Then stop standing around. Strip!
- (Clark averts his gaze, looking uncomfortable)
- Lois: Kent, this is no time to be modest. Armageddon's minutes away.
- Lois: Here. Put this on.
- Clark: (reading the press badge) "Lois Lane"?
- Lois: If anyone asks, it's a typo. Your name's Louis.
- Lex: You disappoint me, Kara. With everything my family's done for you, to question my judgment.
- Kara: It's only because I care about you.
- Lex: Since the day my father found your ship submerged in the Reeves Dam, he loved you like you were his own daughter. He died guarding your secret from the world.
- Kara: I know, and I owe my life to the both of you, but this country...
- Lex: What do you know about protecting this country? You are an alien. I'm the President of the United States of America. By striking the enemy first, I am ensuring our survival. We will prevail. And through it all, I expect you to — look at me! — I expect you to stand by my side.
- Kara: Of course, Mr. President.
- Milton Fine: (referring to Kara) It didn't look like she had much fight left in her. But she'll heal. She's healthy. So is Lex Luthor... the vessel. Together, they will repopulate the planet, and Krypton will rise again.
- Clark: Kara, listen to me.
- Kara: How do you know that name?
- Clark: Because I'm from Krypton. I'm your cousin. I'm Kal-El.
- Kara: I was sent here to kill you.
- Lex: Sometimes things go so horribly wrong that the only way to fix them is by starting over.
- Lex: When the dust settles, we'll rebuild, and I'll lead the survivors into a new world.
- Jor-El's voice through Brainiac: You cannot change the course of history... Kal-El.
- Jor-El: You disappoint me, my son. You cannot question your destiny on this planet.
- Clark: It was you! You wanted to show me what the world would be like if I wasn't here.
- Jor-El: The disc in your hand revealed your misguided intentions. I was forced to show you the error of your ways. I sent you to Earth for a purpose, Kal-El, one that cannot be taken lightly.
- Clark: Send me back!
- Jor-El: You must stop the Brain InterActive Construct from altering history and taking your life. You cannot fail. This time, there will be no second chances.
- Brainiac: You can't stop me, Kal-El. There's no yellow sun to charge you here. You're not in Kansas anymore.
- Kara: If we just find the right point in time, we can fix everything.
- Clark: But how do we know we won't make it worse?
- (Kara stays silent)
- Clark: We can't change the past, Kara. We can only affect the future.
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