Belle Reve is often depicted as a place with a dreary, depressing atmosphere.
Many Belle Reve patients will do anything to escape, and some have succeeded. The facility lacks sufficient security to prevent certain metahumans from escaping.
Lionel Luthor was able to escape using the Kryptonian powers he received as an oracle of Jor-El, and Clark has both broken in and out of Belle Reve as well. Dr. Frederick Walden escaped using energy-projection powers to shatter his window, while Tina Greer escaped by burning another patient to death; after faking her suicide, she used her shapeshifting powers to escape. Tommy Lee and the Twins also used their electrical and forcefield powers to escape from Belle Reve, with some help from Lex Luthor.
In addition to physical security breaches, both the medical and the administrative staff is corrupt enough so that inmates can be regularly smuggled out. These escaped inmates have either been experimented upon in Lex Luthor's Level 33.1 or fought for their lives in Richtor Maddox's underground fight club.
Patients can also be released for good behavior. Dr. McBride released Alicia Baker after she had been treated. A condition of her release was regular psychiatric sessions and for her to wear a lead bracelet that inhibited her teleportation powers. Tyler McKnight, a jewel thief, was also eventually let out for good behavior.
Claire Foster was a psychiatrist who was paid by Lionel Luthor to drug Lex Luthor to make it seem like he was having a psychotic break. She had him committed to Belle Reve, where she reluctantly ordered electro-shock therapy to erase Lex's short-term memory. Clark Kent talked her out of administering the procedure, but before she could sign the cancellation papers, she was killed in a car "accident".
William McBride was Alicia Baker's psychiatrist. After Alicia's release, he began to follow her and warned her to stay away from Clark, much to Alicia's dismay. Dr. McBride even attempted to shoot Clark, but Alicia teleported in front of the bullet to protect Clark's secret. Because of his obsession with Alicia, he was sent to Belle Reve for treatment.
Dr. Caselli was a physician at Belle Reve who had access to high security wings. He was paid by Lex Luthor to authorize the transfer of over a dozen patients from Belle Reve to Level 33.1. Shortly after his encounter with Chloe Sullivan, he was arrested, but Lex managed to get him released.
Richtor Maddox was an executive administrator at Belle Reve who also ran an underground metahuman fight club. In addition to using outside sources, he offered metahumans imprisoned in Belle Reve freedom in return for fighting in the fight club. The Zoner Titan killed Maddox by throwing him across the room.
PatientsTina Greer was committed to Belle Reve after she tried to kill Lana Lang by imprisoning her in a crypt. Approximately one year later, Tina escaped by burning the body of another patient, faking her suicide. She died during a fight with Clark when she accidentally impaled herself.
Frederick Walden was put into a coma after he inserted the key into the wall of the Kawatche Caves. Because the blast of energy left him catatonic, doctors transferred him to Belle Reve. Some time later, Dr. Walden awoke from his catatonic state, chanting the phrase, "The day is coming". He wrote Kryptonian symbols all over his padded room, then escaped from Belle Reve by using his energy-projection powers to shatter his window. Dr. Walden died shortly after by exploding a gas tank, burning himself to death.
Van McNulty was sent to Belle Reve after attempting to rid the world of meteor freaks. Eric Summers and Ian Randall offered him freedom in exchange for telling them what Clark's weakness is. Van paid an orderly to smuggle in a meteor rock, but as soon as Ian had his hands on the rock, he split himself in two and killed Van.
Eric Summers, a metahuman who committed violent crimes while he possessed Clark's powers, attempted to break out of Belle Reve with the help of Van McNulty and Ian Randall. He used the meteor rock to leech Clark's powers for a second time, turning on Ian. Clark was able to get his powers back with the meteor rock and an electric shock. Eric is presumably still in Belle Reve.
Ian Randall killed his shop teacher and attempted to kill Chloe and Lana before being committed to Belle Reve. A year later, he worked with Eric Summers and Van McNulty in an attempt to earn his freedom. Before his attempted escape, he killed Van and subdued Clark with a meteor rock. Once Eric had Clark's powers, he killed Ian by throwing him to his death.Lex Luthor was drugged by Lionel and later sent to Belle Reve because Lionel knew he had evidence for the murder of his parents. While in Belle Reve for four weeks, Lex had kept Clark's secret and begged Clark to break him out, but when Clark refused, Lex got very angry with him. Lionel was unhappy that the drugs had no effect on Lex, so he ordered Dr. Claire Foster to perform dangerous electro-shock therapy on Lex. When Clark learned of this, he attempted to break Lex out, but he was subdued by Ian Randall. Lex ended up getting the electro-shock therapy, causing him to forget the previous seven weeks of his life.
Alicia Baker was committed after she almost killed Lana in a jealous rage. About a year later, she was released by Dr. William McBride, who made her wear a lead bracelet that prevented her from teleporting. Alicia was later killed by Tim Westcott, who was obsessed with perfecting Smallville.Lionel Luthor was institutionalized after the Crystal of Water emitted a ray of energy which shocked Lionel into a catatonic state. Lex visited Lionel in his cell at Belle Reve, watching him wander around in a straitjacket, unresponsive. He instructed a doctor to keep an eye on Lionel at all times. When Clark was shot by Gabriel Duncan, Lionel's cataracts cleared. Now possessed by Jor-El, Lionel used his super-strength and super-speed to break out of his padded room and save Clark.
Tommy Lee, a metahuman criminal with electrical powers, was "accidentally" released from Belle Reve after a visit from Lex Luthor. Tommy used his powers to break out his accomplices, the Twins, and later forced a powerless Clark to break into LuthorCorp and steal a serum previously used to boost his powers. With Chloe's help, Clark outsmarted him, and he was sent back to Belle Reve.
The Twins broke out of Belle Reve with the help of Tommy Lee, who used his powers to deactivate their restraints. Later, the twins helped Tommy force Clark to steal a kryptonite serum from Level Three, taking Lana, Martha, and Jonathan hostage in the process. Nancy Adams arrested the twins, who were returned to Belle Reve.
Tyler McKnight was placed in Belle Reve after stealing five diamonds from a jewelry store, but he was eventually let out for good behavior. Once out of Belle Reve, he kidnapped his daughter, Maddie Van Horn, after murdering her foster mother, Naomi. Clark rescued Maddie, and Tyler was placed back in Belle Reve soon afterward.Bronson, a metahuman with the ability to move through frequencies, was taken to Belle Reve after he gained powers during the second meteor shower. He was transferred to 33.1, however, he managed to escape, trapping Lex in another frequency. When Bronson transported himself to Lex's frequency, Lex was able to stab him, killing him.
Ben Meyers was taken to Belle Reve after trying to kill both Lana and Rachel Davenport. Lex visited Ben's cell in Belle Reve, curious about who he saw catch a bullet. Despite being given very rare Warrior Angel comic books, Ben refused to tell Lex anything.
Bette Sans Souci was being transported to Bell Reve after being apprehended by Clark after she blew up a city bus, deliberately killed a person who betrayed her and tried to kill Chloe to prevent her, in her eyes, from doing the same. The transport was intercepted by Tess Mercer with an offer to join a special group.
Despite being referenced in many episodes, Belle Reve has actually appeared in only a few episodes:
- Calling - Dr. Walden wrote Kryptonian symbols in his room and escaped.
- Shattered - Lionel committed Lex.
- Captive - Lex is hoping for Clark to break him out, and how he can make use of Clark's abilities.
- Asylum - Lex received electro-shock therapy while Eric Summers, Ian Randall, and Van McNulty ganged up on Clark.
- Mortal - Lex visited Lionel while Tommy Lee and the twins escaped.
- Hidden - Lionel broke out with superpowers.
- Combat - Clark met Richtor Maddox and asked to fight Titan.
- Action - Ben Meyers got committed.
- Plastique - Bette Sans Souci got committed but also recruited by Tess Mercer for her special group.
- Pandora - Tess kidnaps Lois and holds her captive conducting the Project Intercept on her to discover what the future would be like under Zod's rule .
In the Comics
In the DC Comics universe, Belle Reve is a prison facility in Louisiana used to contain metahuman criminals. It was also once used as a base of operations for Task Force X and the Suicide Squad. Many, but not all of the staff, work both as prison employees and facilitate Suicide Squad operations. Some of the staff are friends with the more level-headed Squad members. Mechanics work on Squad vehicles. Prison doctors treat prisoners and Squad staff alike. The existence of the Squad brings the facility under attack many times.The prison has been the focus of much governmental investigations, as it would be a scandal to learn that the United States is using murderous supervillains to further its own ends. Noted reporter Lois Lane did an investigation, only partly turned away by a fake warden installed to divert attention away from Squad activities.Amanda Waller actually served time in Belle Reve when she was convicted on charges stemming from her Squad operations.
Belle Reve has been the epicenter of several sinister attacks. The New God known as Darkseid (as well as his Female Furies) invaded the prison, and it was also the target of a former government agent named Major Force. In recent years, Belle Reve was also used as a beachhead for the sorcerer known as Trygg.
- The name Belle Reve is French for "beautiful dream". The French pronunciation is [bell rev].
- The meteor freak villains that Clark Kent fights are almost always held there to treat their insanity, similar to how many of Batman's enemies end up in Arkham Asylum.
- Belle Reve is the name of the estate that Blanche and Stella DuBois come from in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. Throughout the play, Blanche gradually becomes insane. Appropriately, Smallville's Belle Reve is the name of a mental hospital.
- Chloe Sullivan was almost a patient at Belle Reve. After an apparent suicide attempt, Lex Luthor was going to have her transferred from the Smallville Medical Center but Clark Kent broke her out first.
- Clark mentioned after he defeated Desaad that Godfrey was silenced, Granny's oprhanage was shut down, and Desaad was buried underground of Belle Reve. Now we don't know exactly if he was exaggerating or not but we would presume he meant trapped in Belle Reve since Clark wouldn't do that. But as you could tell either Darkseid or Lionel working for Darkseid had broken him out and brought back Granny and Godfrey.
- A complete list of Belle Reve patients
- Smallville Medical Center
- Summerholt Institute
- Level Three