Coach Walt Arnold is obsessed with winning. Meteor rocks in his sauna have given him the power to cause objects to burst into flames. Clark Kent defies his father and joins the football team. Lana Lang defies expectations, quits cheer-leading, and waits tables. Lex Luthor defies his father in a business plan that saves several people their jobs. The coach attacks the principal, a player, and a journalist before Clark stops him.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 1x03
Coach Walt Arnold is hard on his team, but he's a winning coach. Next Friday's game will be the last of the season and Coach Walt's 200th win. After a game, Coach Arnold retires to enjoy his private sauna which was given to him five years ago, in recognition of twenty years of dedicated service by the alumni association. The steam coming off the lava rocks has a green tinge.
Principal Kwan arrives to discuss a problem. He has discovered that seven of the football players cheated on their mathematics midterm, so they are ineligible to play in next Friday's game. Coach Arnold asks Principal Kwan to keep it quiet for a few weeks and deal with it in the off-season and when Kwan refuses, Coach Arnold loses his temper. Kwan doesn't back down and exits. Coach Arnold hits the top of his desk in frustration and rage and it bursts into flames.
On Monday, Chloe's new article appears in the Smallville Torch describing the football coach as abusive. Lana is upset that football players were cheating. Coach Arnold tries to recruit Clark. He pushes pretty hard and finally Clark agrees to join the team even though he knows that his father will not give his permission. Back home, Clark argues with his father about playing football and Martha tries to play peace-keeper. Jonathan attends Clark's first practice. Clark is not able to control himself on the field and leaps over the linemen and scores a touchdown. Although no one is hurt, Clark's father leaves the stadium, obviously disappointed. At home, they argue again about him being on the team.
At the Luthor Mansion, Lex argues with the business managers that Lionel Luthor sent to make sure Lex runs LuthorCorp his way. The company is performing twenty percent below projections, so Lionel wants Lex to cut the work force, but Lex plans to increase it in a bold move aimed to put his competitors on the run.
Lana explains to her Aunt Nell that she has quit the cheer-leading squad and wants to get a part-time job, so she can have money to travel during the summer. Nell offers her a job at her flower shop, but Lana is determined to find something on her own.
Coach Arnold is reviewing film from that day's practice when Principal Kwan comes to his office to let him know that one of the football players confessed that it was the coach that gave him an advanced copy of the math test. Principal Kwan tried to have the coach suspended, but too many members of the school board are friends with the coach. Principal Kwan plans to get other students to come forward to force the board to suspend Coach Arnold. The coach loses his temper and throws the remote control down on the desk. The television bursts into flames.
Coach Arnold watches as Principal Kwan walks to his car. When he turns the key in the ignition, Coach closes his eyes and the car's interior bursts into flames. Clark rescues the principal just before the car explodes.
Chloe, Clark, and Pete go out for coffee at the Beanery and meet Lana waiting tables. Lana is having a hard time. Chloe notices when the seven suspended football players all leave the coffee shop together and she decides to follow them. She finds them talking with the coach on the football field. The coach is trying to figure out which of them ratted him out. Trevor Chapell gives himself away. The coach loses his temper and hits the boy across the jaw with his fist. When he does, the sprinklers become flamethrowers. Chloe photographs the whole incident. At the pep rally, Chloe tries to get Trevor to give a statement to the school paper. The coach attacks him and burns his arm with his bare hand. Trevor tells the coach that Chloe has a picture of them from the football field the night before. The coach goes inside the school and finds Chloe working on tomorrow's edition of the paper. Without entering the room, he closes his eyes and her computer bursts into flames. The fire grows and engulfs the entire room. Chloe is nearly overcome, when Clark shows up and the coach backs off. Chloe explains to Clark her theory that the coach is responsible for the cheating and the pyrotechnics, but she doesn't have any proof, so they decide to visit Trevor.
Clark looks for Trevor at the Beanery and finds Lex Luthor. Clark, Lex, and Lana all talk about their parents' expectations. Lex notes that the two of them stood their ground and that they have inspired him to do the same. Clark finds Trevor the next day holed up in his garage surrounded by fire extinguishers. He confesses to Clark that the coach gave him the math test. He shows Clark the hand-shaped burn on his arm. Clark goes looking for the coach and finds him in his sauna. Clark accuses the coach of hurting Trevor and threatens to keep him from coaching. The meteor rocks in the sauna makes Clark sick, and the coach easily overpowers him and locks him in the sauna. Chloe and Clark's parents wonder where Clark is and go looking for him. Clark tries to escape the sauna by throwing the rocks through the small window. Jonathan finds him, breaks down the door, and drags him out of the sauna. He recovers just in time to do battle with the coach who becomes so enraged, he burns himself up.
Later, Clark reconciles with his father when he quits the football team. He finds Lana on the football field, thinking. She admits that she got fired, but she is tired of being a cheerleader. They talk about how they want to be something more than what they are. And since they are alone, Lana offers Clark the chance for both of them to let out of their chests all the frustration and stress by screaming.
Lionel Luthor arrives in Smallville to give Lex a hard time about his decision to increase his workforce rather than decreasing it. Since they can't seem to come to an agreement, Lionel suggests that they fence for it. Lex loses and is ordered to reduce his workforce. Instead, Lex finds a way to cut the operating budget without reducing his workforce, infuriating Lionel.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Eric Johnson as Whitney Fordman
- Sam Jones III as Pete Ross
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Special Guest Star
- Jason Connery as Dominic Sanatori
- Sarah-Jane Redmond as Nell Potter
- Hiro Kanagawa as Principal James Kwan
- David Paetkau as Trevor Chapell
- Dan Lauria as Coach Walt Arnold
- Allan Franz as Football Player
- Jada Stark as Beanery Manager
|"Renegade Fighter"||Zed||Played during the opening Football game.|
|"Clint Eastwood"||Gorillaz||Played when Clark, Chloe, and Pete arrive at school.|
|"Motivation"||Sum 41||Played when Jonathan watches Clark playing football with the team.|
|"Bad Day"||Fuel||Played when Chloe tells Clark and Pete that "cars don't spontaneously combust".|
|"What I Want To Give You"||Speed||Played when Chloe works on her computer at the Torch.|
|"Never Let You Go"||Third Eye Blind||Played when Lex talks to Lana in the beanery.|
|"So Much For Love (acoustic)"||The Contes||Played when Clark tells Lex that Jonathan does not approve of him playing football.|
|"You"||Binocular||Played when Clark and Lana talk on the football field.|
- "Hothead" refers to a temperamental or choleric person.
- This title also refers to the metahuman Walt Arnold who has the ability to control Pyrokinesis which is the form of controlling fire which is obviously hot.
- Antagonist: Walt Arnold
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, super dexterity, and Invulnerability
- This is the first time Hiro Kanagawa is seen as Principal Kwan. His scenes were cut from the Pilot.
- This is the first episode of the series featuring Lionel Luthor other than flashbacks from Pilot.
- When Coach Walt sets the Torch on fire, he is standing by the fire exit doors, which goes with his abilities to set things on fire.
- Seven players were suspended for cheating, yet there are clearly 8 players on the field when they meet with Coach Arnold.
- The number on Clark's Jersey is 89. This is also the year, according to the pilot, that he crashed to Earth from Krypton. 
- According to an interview with Annette O'Toole, most of the cast was filming this episode when 9/11 happened. She had to have her husband Michael McKean drive to and from Vancouver because planes were grounded. During the car journey they wrote the songs for the movie A Mighty Wind, for which they were nominated for the Academy Awards of Best Music, Original Song.
- The second time Dan Lauria has played an Arnold character. In a television comedy-drama The Wonder Years, he was the head of the Arnold family.
- This is the first episode of the series to be directed by Greg Beeman. He would go on to direct every season premiere and finale until the fourth season as well as the final episode of Smallville, Finale, Part 2
- This is the first time Clark has been on a football team. He would play again his senior year, leading his team to an undefeated season and a state championship. He also was recruited to play football at Metropolis University by Geoff Johns in Recruit.
- This episode begins a recurring element of this season, with Lionel Luthor's insistence of downsizing the Smallville Fertilizer Plant, and its eventual closure in the episode Tempest.
- In Season Eight's Bulletproof, David Paetkau also plays Dan Turpin.
- Lex: My father sent me to Smallville because he'd rather surround himself with drones than people who challenge his archaic business practices.
- Chloe: (To Pete, after Clark catches a ball aimed at her face) One of your teammates attempted to assassinate me and all you can say is "nice catch"?
- Chloe: Clark Kent is a football player and Lana Lang is a waitress.
- Pete: What's the matter with that?
- Chloe: Nothing, I just want to click my heels and get back to reality.
- Lionel: You get one.
- Lex: One what?
- Lionel: One chance to defy me.
- Lex: I can't figure out what you hate more -- the fact that my plan works, or that you didn't come up with it first.
- Lionel: Just remember -- empires aren't built on clever bookkeeping.
- Lex: Dad, you have no idea what I'm capable of.
- Jonathan: (about Clark) How did he get to be so stubborn?
- Martha: Gee, I don't know.
- Jonathan: Hey, wait a minute. I was not like that when I was his age.
- Martha: (sarcastically) No, you were the obedient son who always obeyed his father and didn't run away one summer and try out for the Metropolis Sharks.
- Lionel: You know perfectly well how I feel about you.
- Lex: Hence, I'm at a crap factory in Smallville.
- Clark: I guess we're all in the same boat.
- Lex: No, no. You both stood your ground and are doing what you want. And I caved. You two have inspired me.
- Clark: Oh, yeah -- joining the football team and pouring some coffee. We're a couple of real rebels.
- Lana: Long live the revolution.
- Lex: (sees Lana in the apron) Lana, what happened? Did Nell put you out on the street?
- Lana: I decided to join the work-force.
- Lex: Good for you, I'm sure you'll be employee of the month in no time.
- Lana: Right now, I hold the record for most dishes broken in a single day.
- Lex: You better bring my cappuccino in a Styrofoam cup then. (grins)
- Lex: (sips the drink)
- Lana: (worried) How is it?
- Lex: (wipes lip) It's perfect.
- Lana: (relieved) Okay. (walks away)
- Clark: Is that what you ordered?
- Lex: (looks at the cup) Not even close.
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