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"Asylum" is the ninth episode in the third season of Smallville, and fifty-third episode overall. It aired on January 14, 2004.


Lex has been suffering for a month in Belle Reve, but when Lionel orders radical electroshock therapy, Clark finally decides to break him out. Unfortunately, Van, Ian, and Eric are ready to take Clark out. Meanwhile, Lana meets Adam Knight during her physical therapy.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 3x09

A month after Lex was committed at Belle Reve Sanitarium, Clark is finally allowed to visit him, having been denied previous visitation requests because the staff deemed Lex not ready for visitors. On Clark's way to Lex, he sees Van McNulty, Eric Summers, and Ian Randall in the hallways. Lex has not been taking his medication, and he has not forgotten watching Clark display super-strength when he protected Lex from Morgan Edge. He asks Clark to break him out, but he refuses. Lex lashes out and says he will never forgive him. The guards move in quickly to restrain Lex. The next morning, Lex attempts to escape. He stabs a guard in the leg with a pencil, takes his ID badge, and lets himself out. He makes it halfway up a chain link fence with barbed wire before guards use a taser to subdue him.

At the Kent Farm, Clark tells his parents about his encounter with Lex. Clark is sure he was drugged, but Martha points out that this is not Lex's first brush with mental illness. Jonathan is worried about Clark getting caught if he tries to break out Lex, and he worries about Lex knowing Clark's secret. Martha tries to encourage Clark to visit Lana at the hospital, but he is trying to respect her request to stay away since her accident.

Meanwhile, Lana is working out with her physical therapist. Her femur was broken in four places, and she has not been able to walk without crutches since. Another patient, Adam Knight, gives her a hard time for not pushing herself harder, accusing her of feeling sorry for herself.

Back at Belle Reve, Lionel visits Lex, who is now being held in restraints. Lionel knows that Lex has not been taking his medication. Lex tries to convince Lionel that he does not need them - he pretends that Lionel killing his parents was a paranoid delusion - but gives himself away when he says Lionel is only interest is to stay out of prison. Lionel goes to Dr. Foster, unhappy that his son has been in in Belle Reve for an entire month with no results from the medication. He pushes her to perform a dangerous experimental procedure despite the fact that it is successful less than 50 percent of the time and that the majority of patients are left with irreparable brain damage.

Chloe finds Clark at the The Torch office doing research to try to prove that Lex does not belong in Belle Reve. He cannot find anything conclusive, but he discovers that Lex has been recommended for radical electroshock therapy in twenty-four hours. They learn that Dr. Foster's last patient to receive the treatment is in a permanent vegetative state. They corner Dr. Foster at Metropolis General with this news and accuse her of drugging Lex to make him delusional. They warn her that she will be in great danger from Lionel if Lex becomes a vegetable and convince her not to perform electroshock therapy on Lex.


The two Ians kill Van.

Meanwhile, Ian and Eric approach Van and offer to break him out if he tells them what Clark's weakness is. The plan is for Eric to leech his powers again. Van pays a guard to smuggle in a meteor rock. When he discovers that it has arrived, Ian splits himself in two and kills Van. He approaches Lex, still in his restraints, to cut a deal. He offers to break Lex out if he helps fund their new lives on the other side. Lex refuses. He hasn't forgiven Ian for trying to kill Lana and Chloe as part of his scheme to secure the LexCorp scholarship. Ian tries to change Lex's mind by showing him that he is on the schedule for electroshock therapy.

At Smallville High, Clark tells Pete that Dr. Foster is going to sign the cancellation papers on Lex's procedure. Pete is worried that Lex knows Clark's secret and Clark says he isn't willing to let Lex suffer to protect his secret. Pete tries to explain to Clark how hard it is to keep his secret. He doesn't believe that Lex can be trusted. Chloe arrives with the news that Claire Foster has died in a car accident. Pete suspects Lionel and Clark decides to break Lex out. He tears open the chain link fence, forces the door open, and begins to remove the restraints when the two Ians arrive with the meteor rock. They take turns beating Clark and Lex until neither of them can get to their feet. They haul Clark out on a gurney knowing that the guards will be coming soon for Lex's procedure.


Lex strapped up for electroshock therapy.

The two Ians bring Clark to a part of the sanitarium with many high voltage connections. They wire up the gurney just as the guards arrive for Lex. They sedate Lex and when he regains consciousness he is strapped to a table with electrodes on his head. Lex is terrified but his father is there to assure him that this is for his own good. In the voltage room, Clark is still lying on the gurney incapacitated. Eric holds the meteor rock in Clark's hand while Ian throws the switch, sending electricity through the gurney and their two bodies. This makes it impossible for Lex's treatment to proceed.


Eric steals Clark's powers again.

Eric picks up Clark and throws him across the room. He beats him up until Ian complains that they need to leave before the guards notice they are gone. Eric is in no hurry and throws Ian across the room but Clark has found the meteor rock and attempts to take his powers back. He grabs Eric and backs him into an electrical box without letting go of him or the meteor rock. After his powers are restored, he throws a switch which cuts off power to the box, but unfortunately restores power to the machine Lex is attached to. Clark throws away the meteor rock and rushes to Lex, but he is too late. The treatment has been completed.

Meanwhile, Lana begins to do extra therapy sessions on her own when Adam comes in just in time to pick her up off the floor. She continues to make fast progress in her therapy with Adam and actually walks a few steps without crutches. Martha arrives to drive her home and tries to put in a good word for Clark. Later, Adam is in hospital for hydration therapy and Lana comes to visit with desserts from the Talon. She has graduated from crutches and can now walk only using a cane.

When Clark visits Lex at the mansion, he obviously has no memory of anything that happened there or why he was sent there. He doesn't remember seeing Clark use his powers and he doesn't remember uncovering Lionel's part in the conspiracy to kill his grandparents. Clark decides not to tell him the truth. When he tells his parents, Jonathan is happy that Clark's secret is safe, but all Clark can think about is that Lionel got away with murder. Jonathan makes it clear that he does not want Clark going after Lionel. Clark wishes that he could erase the last few months of his life, and Martha encourages him to go to Lana's welcome home party at the Talon. He goes, but when Lana sees him, she does not approach him.

Meanwhile, Lionel is reviewing tape from Clark's visit to Lex. He is dismayed to realize that Lex knew Clark's secret, but the shock therapy has made him forget.



Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "Future Proof" - Massive Attack
  • "So Far Away" - Staind


  • An asylum is a hospital specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders.
  • As of this episode, Lex has been in the Belle Reve Sanitarium for over a month.


  • Antagonists: Ian Randall, Eric Summers, Van McNulty, and Lionel Luthor
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed and multi-spectrum vision.
  • Eric uses the following abilities in this episode: Leeching, super strength, super speed, healing factor.
  • This is the first appearance of Ian Somerhalder as Adam Knight.
  • These are the last appearances of Lorena Gale as Dr. Claire Foster, Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Ian Randall, Shawn Ashmore as Eric Summers, and Jesse Metcalfe as Van McNulty.
  • One of the headlines on a newspaper on Ian's cart mentions a "Themyscirian Queen Addresses the Vatican" - a reference to DC Comics' Wonder Woman, her home of the island Themyscira, and her mother Queen Hippolyta.
  • Lex paints with the Superman colors: red, yellow, and blue. He also paints left-handed. The painting was drawn by director Greg Beeman.[1]
  • Clark once again loses his powers in this episode. After Eric stole his powers for the first time in "Leech" and the temporarily power loss due to solar flare activity in "Perry", this marks the third time that Clark has been without his powers.
  • It is shown in Volume 2 of the Chloe Chronicles that at the start of this episode, Lex has been in Belle Reve for four weeks since the events of "Shattered", contemplating all that he learned about Clark.
  • The cartoon playing while Lex is painting is Looney Tunes. This is ironic, given that he's in a mental institution. Looney Tunes is a product of Warner Brothers.
  • After Lex is electrocuted, the doctor removes the mouth guard from Lex's mouth. Yet after Clark is shown, it's back in Lex's mouth.
  • Adam is reading the novel The Midwich Cuckoos when Lana visits him at the hospital. The novel is about an alien species that reproduces by impregnating all the human women in several towns across the world, leading to half-alien children with special powers, which the humans raise for them.

In Other Media[]



  • A guard calls Lex 'Curly', alluding to the Three Stooges' bald Curly.
  • When Eric and Ian approach Van, Ian calls him "Ku Klux Van" alluding to the Ku Klux Klan, an infamous white supremacist group.
  • When Lionel Luthor is talking to Lex before the electroshock, he says that if it were gangrene, they could just amputate, a reference for Lex's cancer in his hand in the comics.


Martha: You know, you can save the whole world, Clark, but you got to take care of your own heart, too.

Adam: (to Lana) You have to learn to push through the pain. If we all sat down every time it hurt, this country never would've been built... What happened, bad pileup at cheerleading practice?

Lionel: It's sad to see a man who's lost his mind. But it's tragic when he's convinced himself that he's sane.
Lex: You son of a bitch. Aah! You did this to me. You're the one who's insane! Aah! You did this to me! Aah! Aah!

Clark: I can't let him turn Lex into a vegetable just for that.
Pete: You can't trust him.
Clark: And you've never given him a chance.
Pete: And you give him too many. You think it's easy keeping a lid on your secret? I've got to think about it every time we're around other people to make sure I don't slip. I got to remember to say "meteor rock" instead of "kryptonite," and I always got to cover your unexplained exits.

Eric: Save your strength, Clark. I'm going to need it.

Chloe: It's been really tough. She could use some moral support.
Clark: I sent her a card.
Chloe: Nothing says "I love you" more than a $1.50 piece of cardboard.

Lana: Nice guys normally have the most issues.

Clark: Someone's got to make Lionel pay for his crime.

Lex: You know, Clark, there is one thing I'll never forget: how important your friendship is to me.


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