Gabriel, a former Smallville High student, hacks into missile codes and prepares to eliminate krypto-mutants in Smallville once and for all. A powerless Clark confronts him and is shot, and only Jor-El can save him.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 5x03
Gabriel Duncan strong-arms his way into a missile launch facility and forces the guards to turn over their keys. He then shoots the two guards and sets the launch for one hour. Gabriel then places a call to Chloe, who is packing to move to Metropolis University. She is happy to hear from Gabriel, who did computer work on the Torch, until he warns her to get out of Smallville before it is destroyed.
At the Kent Farm, Clark and Lana wake up in Clark's bed together. When the couple realizes what time it is, Clark tries to sneak Lana out, only to be surprised by Clark's parents in the kitchen. As the situation becomes uncomfortable, Lana leaves, and Chloe (who has just arrived) tells the Kents of the phone call she received from Gabriel.
Jonathan finds Sheriff Adams, who is conducting some sort of military operation. She tells Jonathan that it is simply a drill, but it is actually a covert raid on the Hampstead Farm missile silo, where they think Gabriel is. Unfortunately, Gabriel figured out how to divert dummy signals to multiple silos to throw the military off of his trail.
Chloe and Clark break into Gabriel's house, and learn Gabriel's father, Colonel Duncan, was the "lighthouse keeper" for the local nuclear missiles. They find a room completely filled with articles about meteor freaks. Further exploration reveals Gabriel's father dead on the floor. Clark and Chloe formulate a plan to draw Gabriel out: Chloe calls Gabriel and says that her car is stuck and she can't get out of town. When Gabriel comes to help, Clark confronts him and Gabriel shoots him in the abdomen. Gabriel then forces Chloe to go with him and leaves Clark bleeding to death in the middle of the road.
At the missile silo, Chloe unsuccessfully tries to talk Gabriel out of destroying Smallville. Gabriel tells Chloe that the article collection belonged to his father, and that he begged Gabriel to kill him because the last meteor shower turned him into a meteor freak.
At Warehouse 15, Lex is frustrated with his scientists' failure to open the Black Ship. When he notices a strange symbol that was not there before, Lex heads to Belle Reve to visit Lionel, who is still in a trance. Lionel has drawn symbols all over his padded room. Lex demands that Lionel tell him what the symbols mean and how to open the spaceship, but Lionel just says that only "he" can open it.
Clark is rushed to the hospital. When he is stabilized, Lana enters and talks tearfully about how Clark is always trying to be the hero. Clark regains consciousness for a moment and smiles at Lana, but then he flat-lines. Dr. Harden and a crash team attempt to revive Clark. At the same time, Lionel's cataracts clear as he snaps out of his trance and uses sudden super strength to punch through the glass of his cell and super-speeds out of Belle Reve. After failing to revive Clark, Dr. Harden pronounces him dead. Lana, in tears, is forced to leave the room. At her distraught appearance, Jonathan and Martha realize that Clark is dead, but they find Clark's body gone.
At the silo, Chloe gets free and knocks out Gabriel, but with a minute left, she can't stop the launch sequence. Gabriel recovers consciousness and the two of them fight over the gun. Gabriel ends up getting shot. The missile launches as Chloe can only look on in horror.
Clark suddenly wakes up at the Fortress of Solitude. He sees Lionel, who has been inhabited by Jor-El, who explains that, when Lionel's body was activated by the Crystal of Water, Lionel became a vessel for Jor-El to use should Clark need his assistance. Jor-El then says that he resurrected Clark and returned his powers because his destiny is too important to sacrifice. However, he warns Clark that he cannot change fate; for Clark to return, someone else's life must be exchanged. Clark protests, saying Jor-El should just let him die, but Jor-El explains that Clark had already made the decision when he chose to disobey him. Jor-El embraces Clark and says that he will always love him.
Super-powered once again, Clark super-speeds back to Smallville just in time to jump onto the missile. He rides it into the sky and disables it before it harmlessly crashes back to Earth.
Exhausted and disheveled, Clark returns home and bitterly tells his parents that he is no longer "human." He is guilt-ridden and subdued, and when Jonathan asks if Jor-El wanted something in return, Clark lies and says "no." A grief-stricken Lana comes in and sees Clark standing there. They simply embrace wordlessly.
Later, Lana storms into Lex's office at the Luthor Mansion and hands him Clark's medical record, telling him that all of Clark's tests were normal. Lex counters that Lana can believe Clark's lies, but normal people don't rise from the dead. After she leaves, Lionel shows up. He is out of his trance, but denies remembering anything that has happened the last few weeks. Lex is bewildered that Lionel seems perfectly healthy with no recollection of carving symbols into the floor, but Lionel is nonchalant. Lex soon decides to look toward the satisfying fact that his father is back to normal now, and that it's almost a cause for a celebration.
Chloe finds Clark in his loft and correctly guesses that he got his powers back and saved Smallville again. Clark, quiet and sad, tells Chloe everything that happened and shows her where he is completely healed from the gunshot. Chloe reasons that Clark can't have a relationship with Lana without telling her the truth, but Clark says he can't expect her to react the same way that Chloe did. He is unwilling to face life without her and does not want to lose her. Full of guilt and fear, Clark admits that he made a terrible mistake by giving up his powers in the first place.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane (credit only)
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor and Jor-El
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
- Nathaniel Deveaux as Commander
- Rekha Sharma as Dr. Harden
- Brad Turner as Soldier
- Steve Lawlor as Lieutenant Taylor
- Stacee Copeland as Nurse
- Kurt Evans as EMT
- Chad Hershler as Head LuthorCorp Scientist
- "Breathe (2 AM)" - Anna Nalick
- "Collide" - Dishwalla
- "Disappearing World" - David Gray
- "Supernatural" - Wild Whirled
- Hidden means "concealed from view."
- In this episode, Sheriff Adams, Clark, and Chloe are all looking for Gabriel Duncan, who is hiding in an old missile silo.
- The aforementioned missile silos are "hidden" from all.
- Lana is also looking for the Black Ship, which Lex has hidden in Warehouse 15.
- It is a constant theme of the series that Clark's true nature is hidden from everyone, including Lana and Lex.
- Antagonist: Gabriel Duncan
- Originally, Martha's line in regards to Clark and Lana ("Please tell me you were at least safe") was supposed to be spoken by Jonathan, but John Schneider objected to the scene as he felt that Jonathan would have been a lot harder on Clark. His reaction on-screen was the compromise between him and the producers.
- After regaining his powers, Clark uses the following abilities in this episode:, super strength, super speed, super leaping, and Super breathing.
- Lois Lane does not appear in this episode.
- Clark's time of death is 7:18 AM.
- When Clark died, he was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans. Then, at the hospital, he was wearing hospital pants. Then when Jor-El took him to the Fortress, he was wearing his classic blue shirt/red jacket combination.
- In the missile launch control room, the screen displayed DEFCON 1; this refers to maximum readiness for the United States Armed Forces. It is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on U.S. military forces or U.S. territory by a foreign military power. DEFCON 1 represents expectation of actual imminent attack, and is not known to have ever been declared. During the Cold War, DEFCON 1 was feared because it would most likely precede an all-out nuclear war.
- The house used as Gabriel and Colonel Duncan's home is the same house used as Rachel Dunleavy's home in Season Two's Lineage.
In Other Media
- When Jor-El appears in the body of Lionel, his pose is similar to the one employed by Jor-El in Superman the Movie (1978).
- Clark dying and his body suddenly disappearing after he is pronounced dead resembles a scene of the same nature in the film Superman Returns.
- The way Clark climbs the missile midair is reminiscent of how Superman mounts the Boeing 747 in the novelization of Superman Returns.
- Dr. Harden appears in six other episodes: Stray, Vortex, Crusade, Exodus, Onyx, and Reunion.
- Lionel says the last thing he remembers is arguing with Lex in the library, which occurred in Commencement.
- While Lionel is possessed by Jor-El, he has a British accent similar to Jor-El's.
- Shelby was last seen in Arrival.
- This episode marks the 26th appearance of Clark's red jacket and blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- Jor-El's warning to Clark about exchanging a life force for his comes true in Reckoning.
- This episode marks the first time out of four that Clark dies on Smallville. The others are Void, Odyssey, and Salvation.
- Lana: Mr. and Mrs. Kent!
- Clark: I can explain!
- Lana: Clark and I made this decision together, so... if... you're angry... you should be angry at both of us.
- Martha: W-we're not mad. It- um, but this is, uh... you're both... in new territory.
- Chloe: Knock, knock. Hey, I just saw Lana flying out of here. What would she be doing here at 6:30 in the morning?
- (Clark tries to get up, but Jonathan holds him down)
- Chloe: Oh...
- Clark: It's locked.
- Chloe: (holds up a credit card) Call it plan B. It's for those of us who can't crush metal with our bare hands. (Chloe uses the credit card to unlock the door. They enter.)
- Chloe: I know how much you've dreamt of having a bland, mundane, generic life, but being normal is highly overrated. Besides, it makes my whole sidekick role a lot easier if you can bring super-duper strength to the table.
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: Hello, Kal-El.
- Clark: How do you know how to call me that?
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: You're my son.
- Clark: Jor-El?
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: And I hope the time is coming when... you will call me "father."
- Clark: I was... I was just at the hospital. How did you get me here?
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: The portal in the cave. When this body was activated by the crystal, it became an oracle of Kryptonian knowledge -- a vessel for me to inhabit if ever you should need me. That time was now.
- Clark: ...Am I dead?
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: Your mortal journey is over, yes. But your eminent destiny is too important to be sacrificed. You will return, with all your natural gifts. Unfortunately, this rectification does not come without a price. ...The life of someone close to you will be exchanged for yours.
- Clark: ... No. No, I could not ask for that.
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: You already did, when you decided to relinquish your powers and disobey me. It was your choice.
- Clark: Then just don't bring me back!
- Lionel-as-Jor-El: It's too late. For everything in nature, there is a balance. The life force that has been returned to you will soon be taken from... from someone you love. You are about to face your darkest hour, my son. But remember, the lessons that we learn from pain are the ones that make us the strongest. (hugs Clark and gives him power) Always know that I love you.
- Jonathan: It's not easy to sacrifice the things you want most to save other people. We're so proud of you, Clark.
- Lionel: Aren't you going to give your old dad a hug?
- Lex: I was told you were missing from Belle Reve. Man, I don't understand. You've been nearly catatonic for weeks.
- Lana: (smiles) Hi.
- Clark: Hi.
- Lana: That was the best night's sleep I have had in weeks.
- Radio Announcer: Thanks for listening this morning. It's six-thirty on a--
- Clark: (eyes widen) Oh, God!
- Lana: (gets up hurriedly) Oh my God!
- Clark: (get out of bed) How did we fall asleep?
- Lana: I told you we should've gone to the Talon!
- Clark: Geez, but-- (he hits his foot) Ow! Ow! Ow, how can that hurt so much? Alright, look, okay, my dad isn't going to be up for about fifteen minutes and we gotta get outta here... Well, you gotta get outta here.
- Lana: (jokes) You sure? 'Cause sticking around for breakfast sounds like fun.
- Clark: (pauses) What?!
- Lana: Pass me my shoe. "We won't fall asleep. I promise." What else are we going to do at two o'clock in the morning?
- Clark: Look, you aren't mad, are you?
- Lana: I'm furious. (kisses him)
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