Clark is transported to the North Pole after he unites the Stones of Power in the Kawatche Caves and uses the Crystal of Knowledge to form the Fortress of Solitude where he is greeted by Jor-El. The Disciples of Zod arrive in the Black Ship to locate Clark to release General Zod, which Lana witnesses. Lois helps the Kents after their home is badly damaged by the second meteor shower.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 5x01
Clark throws the newly formed Crystal of Knowledge into the snow, creating the Fortress of Solitude. When Clark enters, he is greeted by the voice of Jor-El. Jor-El tells him that the Fortress is a replication of Krypton's geography so that he can begin his training in order to save the world. However, Chloe was also transported to the Arctic, and followed Clark into the Fortress. As she comes near the simulation Clark is in, a localized blizzard attacks her. Unable to withstand the extreme cold, she calls for Clark's help as she collapses.
Jor-El insists that he must continue his training, but Clark refuses to let Chloe die. He makes a deal with Jor-El. He is allowed to save Chloe, but he must return before the sun sets or there will be grave consequences. Shivering heavily and nearly incoherent, Chloe stammers that she knows he is faster than a speeding bullet and he carries her off in super speed.
Lana sees two Kryptonians come out of the spaceship. They blast all the police cars around them with heat vision. Lex wakes up in the cave and finds the key in the Inner Chamber of the Caves. The Disciples super-speed into the cave and take the key from Lex, saying they are searching for Kal-El. When they determine that he is not Kal-El as Lex bleeds, they leave abruptly. Speeding back into town in his car, Lex almost hits Lana, who is wandering around dazed in the middle of the road. She tells Lex that she saw a spaceship and he tells her that she is delusional, and she faints. He sends Lana back to the Luthor mansion, locates the ship, and stores it in Warehouse 15.
Clark takes Chloe to a hospital in the Yukon, where she reveals that she's known about his powers since last year, but was waiting for him to tell her himself. Clark tells her that he's from another planet and Chloe promises that she will never tell his secret. While watching a news broadcast, Clark realizes his parents did not evacuate. Chloe says they need him more than she does and he rushes back to Smallville to help them.
At the mansion, Lana awakens to see Lionel Luthor carving a Kryptonian symbol into the hardwood floor. He tells her that green kryptonite is the Kryptonians' only weakness.
Lois goes back to the Kent house and finds it badly damaged. She helps Jonathan locate Martha under the rubble and takes the Kents to the hospital. When Aethyr and Nam-Ek show up at the hospital looking for Kal-El, Lois confronts them, and they choke her and throw Jonathan across a room. Lana appears and lures the Kryptonians to the mansion, saying she knows where Kal-El is. She tries to trick them into entering Lex's vault full of kryptonite-rock artifacts, but Nam-Ek manages to stagger away from the vault and regain his strength, long enough to replace the lead-lined door. The two recover and throw Lana across the room.
Clark arrives at the Mansion and they ask him to join them. When he refuses, Aethyr throws a wrist ring off her arm to form the Phantom Zone vortex to trap Clark in it. However, Clark strongly resists; they fight briefly and Clark manages to trap them instead. The vortex forms into a giant shard of crystal and flies out of the window and into space. As the sun sets, Clark has the choice of taking Lana to the hospital or returning to the Fortress as he promised. He stays with Lana and his abilities are instantly lost.
Lex shows up at the hospital in the Yukon to take Chloe back to Smallville, but also to find out what happened in the caves. She first thinks it is Clark, raising Lex's suspicions.
Clark goes to visit Lana in the hospital. She is reading a newspaper article detailing the "accidental deaths" of Jason Teague and his mother. Attached is a note from Lex stating that she "owes him". Clark asks her if she meant it when she said she loved him. She says yes and they decide to renew their past relationship. Clark tells his parents that he is fine with losing his powers and will enjoy being a 'human', but Martha and Jonathan are skeptical.
Lex checks on the progress of the investigation of the ship in the warehouse. A black ooze drips out of the ship, taking the form of Milton Fine.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Special Guest Star
- "Precious" - Depeche Mode
- To Arrive at something means to reach or achieve it.
- In this case, it refers both to the arrival of the Black Ship and Brainiac but also to the achievement of Clark Kent's season-long goal to unite the Stones of Power and create the Fortress of Solitude.
- Antagonist: Disciples of Zod
- Although Jason Teague was in the Kent farmhouse when it was hit by a meteor in the previous episode, Jason's body was apparently not found when Clark searched the ruins of the house. Curiously, the Kents do not tell Clark about their horrific encounter with Jason, and he is never mentioned by anybody else during this episode.The only reference to him is in a newspaper story that Lana is later seen reading, reporting that Jason and his mother Genevieve Teague both died in the meteor shower. This could be due to the fact that Jor-El took Clark's abilities, rendering him mortal, which is kind of overwhelming for Martha and Jonathan because Clark is vulnerable now, and they didn´t even think about Jason anymore.
- Before losing them, Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, invulnerability and super hearing. The Kryptonians use super strength, super speed, invulnerability, heat vision, telekinesis, and X-ray vision.
- This is the sixth time that Clark has lost his powers but the first time that it has happened in a season premiere. Previous losses occurred in Leech (stolen by Eric Summers), Perry (due to solar flare activity), Asylum (again stolen by Eric Summers), Transference (while inhabiting Lionel's body), Spell (stripped of them by Margaret Isobel Thoreaux), and now by disobedience.
- This is the last season premiere in which Jonathan is a main character.
- Lex Luthor and Lois Lane hear the name "Kal-El" for the first time in this episode, whom they only know to be a man the invading aliens are looking for at this point. Lana also hears the full name for the first time, though she'd previously heard Clark going by "Kal", apparently not putting the two together.
- Arrival is also the name of the novelization of the pilot episode of the series, for Smallville's series of Young Adult Novels.
- Chloe states that the Fortress of Solitude is at the North Pole but in the establishing shots it's surrounded by mountains. There are not mountains (or any land at all) at the North Pole. The closest major land mass in the North American direction is about 500 miles away.
- Clark promises to resume his training before sunset in return for Chloe's life, and apparently fails to do so. Although this promise is made at the North Pole, where sunrises and sundowns are six months apart, it obviously refers to the sunset at Clark's destination, Smallville.
In Other Media
- The Fortress of Solitude appears for the first time, located at what Chloe said was the North Pole. It has had varying locations in the comics and other media adaptations of Superman. In appearance it is very similar to how it appears in the films, which also put the Fortress in the north pole, not to mention both are created by throwing a kryptonian crystal in the arctic.
- Both versions also use localized blizzards as a defensive mechanism. However, it is non-lethal in the films and is more of a warning.
- Chloe says, "I know you run faster than a speeding bullet." This is an allusion to the famous opening of the Superman series "Faster than a speeding bullet"
- At least five brief snippets of footage from Superman: The Movie are used during the Jor-El projected "training sequence." Glimpses can be seen of 1) an overhead shot of the Kryptonian city, 2) the red sun flaring, 3) Kryptonians highlighted in red fleeing the destruction, 4) the ship lifting off from Krypton and 5) the Kryptonians falling into the planet's core.
- Brainiac, Aethyr, and Nam-Ek make 21, 22, and 23 DC Comics characters adapted into the series.
- The opening attack with the Kryptonians is reminiscent of the scene in Superman II, when Zod, Non, and Ursa attack the small town.
- This episode won the 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series.
- The original broadcast of this episode was viewed by 5.9 million viewers.
- This is the 2nd season that begins following a previous season's finale that ended with the credit "To be continued", making this episode and Commencement an official 2-part story. The other episodes that followed episodes with a "To be continued" credit are Vortex, Exodus, Phoenix, Vessel, Zod, Bizarro, and Lazarus.
- Although James Marsters is credited at the beginning, he only appears in the last few seconds of the episode and has no dialogue.
- Both James Marsters and Leonard Roberts appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- At the end, there is a "In Memory of" to Sam Loeb (1988-2005) – "A True Superboy." Sam, son of series writer and consulting producer Jeph Loeb, passed away on June 16, 2005, after a battle with cancer.
- At the end of the talk between Clark and Chloe in the hospital, visible in her bedside table is a teddy bear wearing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform. As most viewers will know, Smallville is shot in Canada and so is the Yukon.
- This episode marks the beginning of the new opening credits, with "Smallville" in red instead of orange, additional footage primarily from Season Four, Season Three, Season Two, and Season One and with each of the stars' hair blowing in the wind sans Michael Rosenbaum who doesn't have any hair. In addition, these are the first set of opening credits with Erica Durance as a regular cast member and Kristin Kreuk's name was misspelled as "Kristen" in the original broadcast but this was corrected for subsequent reruns.
- The two unnamed Kryptonians are referred to in the script as Nam-Ek and Aethyr. In the comics, these are the names of two Phantom Zone prisoners from the Silver Age Superman era. They are seen again in Zod where their names are finally mentioned.
- The only officer to survive the shootout with the Kryptonians is Officer Greg Flynn, who appears in Lockdown.
- Chloe informs Clark that she's known about his powers since she saw him "catch a car like it was a beach ball", which occurred in Pariah.
- Although the first appearance of Brainiac was the episode Commencement, this is the first appearance of James Marsters as Brainiac.
- Clark will restart his training in the Season Nine premiere Savior.
- This episode marks the 2nd appearance of Clark's Red jacket/Blue shirt outfit in a season premiere since Vortex.
- This episode marks the 25th appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- Jor-El: Kal-El, you have traveled far. One journey has ended. A new journey is about to begin. Welcome home, my son.
- Chloe: (shivering) Hey. I think it's time you switch into Super Clark mode now.
- Clark: Super Clark?
- Chloe: I know you can run faster than a speeding bullet, Clark... Take me along for the ride.
- Clark: How long have you known?
- Chloe: I guess I've always had my suspicions. The quick exits, the miraculous recoveries, the lame excuses, but when I saw you catch a car like it was a beach ball... that kind of confirmed everything.
- Clark: The meteor rocks... they didn't make me who I am.
- Chloe: So you're saying you were born this way?
- Clark: I wasn't born anywhere near Smallville. In fact, I wasn't born anywhere near this galaxy.
- Chloe: Okay... okay so that would make you like an...
- Clark: Yeah.
- Chloe: Uh... but you look so...
- Clark: Human? I'm still the same person.
- Chloe: Clark, I... I think you're so amazing. You save peoples' lives and take zero credit. To me, you're more than just a hero-- you're a superhero.
- Clark: Chloe...
- Chloe: No, I'm serious, Clark. If more humans were like you, the world would be a better place.
- Lionel: The disciples of Zod! They must be stopped!
- Lana: You are referring to the people from the spaceship?
- Lionel: Their home is their only poison.
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