Tess learns that General Slade was found unconscious on a street corner, proof that someone has gained access to the Phantom Zone's escape portal and sent him back. Clark decides to return to the exiled land to make sure other phantoms are not fleeing and is furious when Oliver tricks him into taking him (Oliver) along. With Clark's powers gone, the two are immediately captured by the Zoners who take them to their new leader Zod, who is thirsting for revenge on Clark for banishing him to this Kryptonian jail. Meanwhile, Lois learns Clark trusted Tess with a secret, but didn't tell her (Lois).
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 10x19
Lois and Clark are moving into their new apartment. Clark comes in with boxes, including one with Lois' Whitesnake throwing pillow. She tells him that she made it in the 8th grade, and that loving her means loving her love of heavy metal. She tells him that she talked to Chloe and that she and Oliver are doing fine in Star City. Clark suggests unpacking at super-speed, but Lois stops him, telling him that they need to take the time to find the perfect spot for everything. Just then, Tess calls them from Watchtower and informs them that Slade Wilson was found on a street corner unconscious. Clark wonders how Slade could be back in this world, when only a member of the House of El could open the portal from the Phantom Zone.
Back at Watchtower, Clark and Tess prepare the Crystal of El to send him into the Phantom Zone. Oliver walks in and tells him that he is going with him. Clark realizes that Tess told Oliver that he was planning to go. Tess explains to Clark that Oliver has more experience fighting without powers, and that Clark will need him in there. Clark disagrees, telling them that he needs to do this alone. Tess gives him a communication wristwatch that will allow them to communicate through the dimensions. Tess activates the crystal and tells Clark to be careful. When Clark turns to leave, Oliver jumps on his back just as he enters the portal.
Clark and Oliver arrive at the Phantom Zone, and Clark berates Oliver for not listening and coming along. They explore the cave and find mounted skulls with the Omega symbol branded on them. Clark contacts Tess just as he hears the other Zoners nearby. They get to the altar, only to find that the crystal that opens the portal has gone missing, meaning that they have no way of getting back to Earth. Clark and Oliver prepare to fight the incoming Zoners.
Back at Watchtower, Lois arrives just as Tess hastily turns off the equipment so Lois won’t hear Clark and Oliver being pummeled. Just then, the crystal’s signal cuts off. Tess is unable to re-establish contact, and realizes that the communication device must have been destroyed. Lois wonders what to do next. Tess tells her that there is no alternate plan and Clark and Oliver are on their own now.
The Zoners take Oliver away while Zod and Clark talk. Zod explains that when he arrived at the Zone, he met up with the original Zod's phantom and the two merged, giving him the knowledge of two lives. Zod asks him what Jor-El would think of Clark for having sent Slade to the Zone without a trial or jury. Clark realizes that it was Zod who sent Slade back to earth through the portal as a way to lure Clark to the Zone to get his revenge. Clark asks Zod how he was able to open the portal. Zod explains that he still has some of Clark’s blood from when Clark healed him back on Earth. Clark insists that he saved him because it was the right thing to do, but other than that they have no connection. Just then, Clark notices the crystal from the console hanging around Zod's neck. Zod reminds him that as Kryptonians, they were meant to be leaders and recounts the story of Cain and Abel. Clark states that he would never murder Zod. Zod hits him and tells him that he will find out what it means to live under Zod's rule.
The Zoners escort Clark to an arena where two men are fighting and Oliver is in a cage. He tells Clark that they want him to fight to the death. One of the gladiators kills his opponent and then attacks Clark, who grabs a shield to defend himself until it breaks. Oliver then tosses him a helmet, which Clark uses to beat the other gladiator to the ground. As Clark is about to deal the final blow, he stops as the crowd around him yells for him to kill, but Clark drops the helmet, refusing to kill. Zod steps down and tells him that in the arena, they answer failure with death. Zod draws his sword and heads towards Clark, but kills the fallen gladiator. Zod turns and tells Clark that it’s "kill or be killed" in his world and that next time, he’ll kill him.
Back at Watchtower, Tess checks her watch repeatedly as Lois grows more and more impatient and worried. Tess tells her that she is working as hard as she can, but Lois tells her to work harder in trying to find them. Lois tells Tess to check the crystal. As Tess goes to do so, Lois takes the opportunity to check the computers only to find that Tess plans to blow up the gate in two hours.
Back in the Zone, Clark is locked in a cage next to Oliver. Clark explains that he set a plan into motion with Tess that if he didn’t return by a set time she would set the crystal to self-destruct and destroy the gate to keep any phantoms from making it back to Earth. He admits that Lois has no idea about the plan, and that he has read everything that Jor-El has ever written about the Phantom Zone and knows how Zod thinks.
Tess tells Lois that the crystal is fine and that the problem has to be on their end. She turns to find that Lois had discovered their plan. Lois accuses her of betraying her friends, but Tess explains that she is following Clark’s orders. Lois doesn’t believe her and draws a gun at Tess, insisting that they have a responsibility and that she can’t risk the world for selfish reasons. Lois refuses to let Tess sacrifice Clark. Tess tells her that being a hero means accepting that hero’s sacrifice, but Lois counters that being a hero’s wife means never accepting defeat.
Zod has Oliver brought to him and taunts him, saying that it must be hard working with someone who has the power of a god. He explains that Darkseid came to him and promised him dominion of the Zone if he helped him get rid of Clark. Oliver insists that they defeated Darkseid and his prophets already, but Zod warns him that there are millions under Darkseid’s control, including Oliver. He points out that Oliver is filled with anger and a desire for revenge and asks him what would Clark think if he found out that Oliver was marked. Oliver insists that Clark would stand by him. Zod doesn’t believe it and tells him that Clark would turn his back on Oliver just like he did with him. He offers Oliver a chance to rule with him as a brother as he and Clark have nothing in common. Zod removes Oliver’s manacles, telling him that Clark will never embrace his dark side and for that, he will die.
Oliver is given a sword and led back into the arena, where he discovers that he will be fighting Clark. Oliver brutally attacks Clark, who after hesitating, finally fights back. He lunges at Oliver, who stabs him once more; as he prepares to deliver the final blow, Zod stops him. Zod steps down, welcomes Oliver as his brother-in-arms and draws his sword. He tells Oliver that he, Zod, will be the one to kill Clark, as he raises his sword. Oliver stops him while Clark grabs the crystal from Zod. This opens the portal back to Earth, where the yellow sun heals his wounds. Clark tells Zod that he has no more second chances. Clark enters the portal with Oliver and destroys the crystal, trapping Zod and his minions once and for all.
Back at Watchtower, Tess tends to Oliver’s wounds while Clark explains that the fight was all part of their plan all along and he knew he could trust Oliver to play his part. Once Tess leaves to call Emil, Oliver warns that the darkness is everywhere and wonders what would happen if it comes back. Clark says that they will fight it. Oliver asks him what would happen if one of them were to get infected. Clark tells him that they’d have to quarantine the victim because he doesn’t believe there is a cure. Clark tells him that Zod knows how to play on people’s insecurities, and that he shouldn’t listen to him. After Oliver tells him to go and see Lois, Clark speeds away.
When Clark gets to their apartment, Clark notices that everything is unpacked; Lois runs to him and embraces him. He asks her how she managed to unpack everything in just a couple of hours. Lois explains that he and Oliver were gone for three weeks while Clark only experienced a few hours. She tells him that she and Tess took turns trying to reestablish contact with them, after bringing Tess to seeing things her way. She wishes that Clark would have had a little more faith in her. Clark tells her that he was trying to protect her from making that kind of decision. Lois insists that she is a part of him now and that in the future, he should warn her about the risks because she would rather be in hell with him than not knowing if she would ever see him again. Clark admits that sometimes his Kryptonian side tends to take over, and he is sorry. Lois tells him that there are two days before the wedding and that she couldn’t bring herself to postpone it. Clark assures her that there is nothing that would stop him from walking down the aisle with her.
Oliver meets Tess, who has information on the Bow of Orion from the Veritas journals. She gives Oliver the coordinates to find the Bow, which was used once to defeat Darkseid. Tess tells him that it is not his quest, but Oliver tells her he has to do it. Tess agrees not to ask any more questions.
Oliver goes to a church and goes through Carter’s journal while remembering the violence he’s committed. After hesitating for a moment, he leaves and walks by a statue of an angel, which weeps blood as he leaves.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer
- Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen
Special Guest Star
- John DeSantis as Male Zoner
- Aliyah O'Brien as Kamira
- Recard Dufresne as Phantom Zone Gladiator
- A Dominion is a self-governing colony or autonomous state within an empire.
- General Zod has established a "dominion" over the Phantom Zone prisoners.
- The Phantom Zone could lie underneath the category of the word "Dominion"
- Antagonist: Zod
- Erica Durance makes her 100th appearance as Lois Lane in this episode.
- This is the first episode that Oliver Queen appears in since Fortune.
- This episode marks Justin Hartley's directorial debut on the show, and his only Smallville episode he directed. Justin joins the ranks of Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider and Allison Mack as a list of starring actors who've had a chance to direct certain episodes over the course of the series run.
- This is the third time that Clark Kent returned to the Phantom Zone (after Season Six's Zod and Season Eight's Bloodline) and is also the first time Clark will volunteer to return to the Kryptonian prison while he was forced to go there the previous times.
- This is the third episode (after Zod and Bloodline) to show the inside of the Phantom Zone.
- This is the fourth time in the final season (after Lazarus, Harvest and Collateral) that Clark loses his powers as he has no powers in the Phantom Zone.
- Oliver is the third human to go the Phantom Zone, after Lois in Bloodline and Slade Wilson in Icarus.
- Aside from being the third human to go to the Phantom Zone, Oliver is also the second friend of Clark's (after Lois in Bloodline) to join him in the Phantom Zone.
- Zod is shown with facial hair like his comic book and Superman: The Movie counterparts. This was also so in Zod just when Zod's phantom was sucked out of Lex Luthor's body his face is seen briefly and it had a full beard. Since this was before he took over his younger clone's body he was also depicted as having a receding hair line and a widow's peak.
- This episode is Zod's 17th and final appearance and Callum Blue's 13th episode as the character.
- The episode contains some references to history-based films - a shield with a capital lambda (as seen in the film 300), a soldier's helmet and a gladiator's helmet (which looks like the one worn by Russell Crowe in Gladiator) are visible in the Phantom Zone.
- The lighting and special effects of the arena fight scenes including the super slow motion work that focuses the effects of blows on the fighters and the splattering of blood from wounds onto the audience's POV are very much like those seen in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and its prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
- Zod and his two Zoner companions being trapped in a Phantom Zone "glass" is the fourth time Kryptonians were trapped in th Phantom Zone after Disciples of Zod in Season Five's Arrival, Clark Kent in Season Five's Vessel and Kara Kent in Season Seven's Arctic.
- Zod's two Zoners are a direct nod to Ursa and Non from the first and second Superman feature films.
- Lois refers to the team as The "League".
- It's two days away from Clark and Lois' wedding.
- Clark wears a red cape when dressed as a gladiator.
- During the fight between Clark and Oliver, Clark attempts a final blow using the attack known as the 'Superman punch'.
- Oliver wears a shoulder armor, similar to DC heroine Power Girl.
- Callum Blue is billed as a "Special Guest Star".
- Although not his original body, General Zod's phantom finally found his clone to be a perfect body to inhabit. This, essentially, reunites Zod with himself.
- When Clark and Oliver are trying to figure out ways to escape the Phantom Zone, Oliver mentions that Clark can't superspeed them back in time. This line pays homage to the scene in Superman: The Movie as that is how Superman saved Lois Lane.
- This episode marks the fourth time an episode has no scenes set in the town of Smallville.
- The original Zod was last seen in Season Six's Zod.
- Zod's clone was last seen in Season Nine's Salvation.
- General Slade Wilson was last seen in Icarus.
- The inside of the Phantom Zone was last seen in Bloodline, the outside was last seen in Icarus but was last mentioned in Beacon.
- Clark and Lois's apartment was last seen in Kent
- Ella Lane's blue crystallized bird "Old Blue" makes another appearance which was last seen in Abandoned.
- Clark wears a red cape in this episode, this is a reference to the Superman costume, currently held in the Fortress.
- Bart Allen and John Jones are both mentioned by Clark.
- Oliver mentions the Veritas journal which was last referenced in Kent and Carter Hall's journal was last seen at the end of Collateral.
- Chloe Sullivan was mentioned by Lois.
- Oliver was revealed (to the audience) to be marked by Darkseid at the end of Masquerade, but he only found out about it in this episode.
- Zod mentions the time Clark healed him with his blood, which occurred in Season Nine's Conspiracy.
- Booster Gold was mentioned by Tess.
- Zod and Oliver meet again in this episode. They previously met in Sacrifice.
Homages to Previous Seasons
- Clark helping Lois moving into their Metropolis apartment with a Whitesnake item is very reminiscent to Season Five's Exposed, when Clark helped Lois move into the Talon apartment.
- Clark mentions his previous experiences in the Phantom Zone, in Season Five's Vessel, Season Six's Zod, and Season Eight's Bloodline.
- Lois wearing one of Clark's Flannel t-shirt has occurred in Season Four's Gone, Season Eight's Committed, Season Nine's Echo and Season Ten's Kent.
- Clark and Oliver's stage fight in the Phantom Zone is quite similar to the stage fight that occurred in Season Eight's Odyssey.
- During the battle between Clark and Oliver, Clark leaps through the air while punching towards Oliver. This is similar to an attack he attempted on Bizarro during their first fight in Season Seven's Bizarro. Just like in that episode, the attack is extremely unsuccessful—Bizarro sent him flying and Oliver stabbed him. Although in this case, Clark is deliberately trying to fail, getting Oliver to stab Clark so that Clark can take the crystal from Zod while he's bleeding.
- Lois having gone three weeks with Clark missing in the Phantom Zone, is a reversal of when Clark had gone three weeks with Lois missing in Doomsday. She had been in the future. When she returned in Savior, three weeks had passed.
- Clark: Hey, Lois. Where can I put this box?
- Lois: Well, I don't think that requires any super-sleuthing. It does say "living room."
- Clark: No, I can decipher your scrawl. I'm just thinking it was mislabeled.
- Lois: If you're talking about my Whitesnake throw pillow, loving everything about me includes the sentimental. I made this from my 8th grade concert t-shirt. And I talked to Oliver, and he told me how smoothly he and Chloe fused their hero green and geek chic.
- Clark: Don't worry. My "for better or worse" will include your love of hair metal.
- Lois: Part of us merging our lives together is taking the time to find the right spot for everything.
- Clark: All I know is my perfect spot is here with you.
- Oliver: If I'd known about the long drop in, I would have brought some rappelling equipment.
- Clark: If I'd have known you'd ignore my warning to come here, I would have told you to bring it! I know what I'm doing! You should have trusted me.
- Oliver: You should have more faith in your friends, Clark. I came here to help you. Wherever the hell this is.
- Oliver: Listen, about this Zone, Clark -- You know, when you said Jor-El built a prison, I kind of pictured something more confined than a national park.
- Clark: He built this place so Krypton's worst criminals could have some kind of life.
- Oliver: Sounds like a real sweetheart.
- Zod: I know, it's a terrible feeling. So powerless when you know you've got such strength inside of you, with no way of unleashing it.
- Clark: Even without the yellow sun, I will find a way to defeat you.
- Zod: You'll have to work twice as hard. Because when I arrived here, I met a very special acquaintance, someone you know, and someone that I'm very, very...fond of.
- Clark: Who?
- Zod: Me.
- Clark: The original Zod's phantom.
- Zod: Finally back in the body that you stripped me of. Now I have the full knowledge of two lives, and you...you are my enemy in both.
- Clark: I defeated you in both.
- Zod: Which is why it will give double the satisfaction to see you kneel...and serve...until you die.
- Clark: You have the console crystal. How?
- Zod: We're blood brothers, Kal-El. Have you forgotten how you healed me with your blood on Earth?
- Clark: We're not brothers. I saved you because it was the right thing to do. We have nothing in common.
- Zod: We're from the same world. Do you really think that having powers is the only thing that makes you Kryptonian? It's not. We share the same instincts. We're decisive...single-minded, headstrong. We were meant to be leaders.
- Clark: Leaders? You're a tyrant who believes only in himself.
- Zod: Who else should I put my faith in? We both know that trusting others is a calculated risk, one a Kryptonian is not willing to take. Oh, we can easily fool those closest to us, can't we? But we can lean on no one. Do you remember that most famous story about two brothers from your adopted planet? You've got Cain and Abel. Which brother are you, Kal-El?
- Clark: Well, I'd never murder you. I saved you.
- Zod: You exiled me. I'm in charge here. And you're about to find out what that means, brother.
- Tess: Lois, I don't want to give up on Clark either. I don't, but we have a responsibility. To not put the world at risk for selfish reasons, which is what you're doing by wanting to see him again.
- Lois: I will not let you sacrifice him.
- Tess: Being with a hero means accepting that hero's sacrifices.
- Lois: That's where you're wrong. Being a hero's wife means never accepting defeat.
- Zod: At least here, you're on equal footing with Kal-El. Having to work alongside with someone with the powers of a god must be so demoralizing.
- Oliver: My ego's firmly intact, thank you very much.
- Oliver: I know exactly what you're doing.
- Zod: Yeah. But you know it's true, don't you? And it goes way back. After your parents were murdered, that anger, that desire for revenge, ah, you can feel it now, can't you? That darkness bubbling under the surface. Terrifies you.
- Zod: I've seen what Darkseid is capable of.
- Oliver: What do you know?
- Zod: After the Kandorians sent me here, a very powerful entity came looking for me. Darkseid promised me lordship of this dominion if I solved one problem for him.
- Oliver: Clark.
- Zod: Darkseid has certain ambitions for your planet.
- Oliver: The thing is, we took care of that. We blocked him. Took out three of his three little minions, too.
- Zod: Kal-El might delude himself as usual, that's how he's won, but there are millions -- millions on Earth just waiting to surrender to the will of Darkseid, and you friend, are one of them.
- Clark: Whatever happened to take the time to merge our lives together? Finding the right place for everything?
- Lois: Oh, well, you know me. Waiting isn't exactly my strong suit. So I guess nervous energy equals power unpacking.
- Clark: What'd you do? Enlist John Jones and Bart?
- Lois: I wish you could've had a little faith in me, too.
- Clark: Lois, I didn't want you to have to make that kind of choice. I was trying to...
- Lois: Protect me? I know. But you're part of me now, Clark. Half of a whole. So in the future, if there's even a chance that the mission might claim my better half, sign me up. Because I'd rather be in some sand-blown purgatory then in the hell of not knowing I'll ever see you again.
- Tess: Your hunch was right. The constellation in the Veritas journal cross-translates with Carter's notes as the Bow of Orion and as associated with these coordinates in the Celtic Coast. Since we're going Dutch on supersonic jet fuel, do you mind telling me why you're suddenly interested in this treasure hunt?
- Oliver: It's not a treasure. It's, uh... It's Hawkman's quest. He saw this guy Orion use it the last time he used it to kick Darkseid's ass across the universe. But he never was able to locate the weapon that the hunter used to defeat him. My family's Veritas journals were the missing piece that Hawkman never had. Now we know where to look for the weapon, so... It's my job to go find it.
- Tess: Oliver. Fighting Darkseid isn't your own personal quest. We're all in this together.
- Oliver: I just need you to trust me on this one, okay?
- Tess: There's enough water under our collective bridge that if you need me not to ask questions... I can do that.
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