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"Instinct" is the fourth episode in the eighth season of Smallville, and the one hundred-fifty-sixth episode overall. It aired on October 9, 2008.


Tess has tests performed on Clark's crystal which was found at the site in the Arctic, and one test causes the crystal to send a beam of light out into space. This triggers the arrival of Queen Maxima of the planet Almerac, who is searching for her soulmate and believes the light-beam was his signal. Unfortunately, Maxima's power is too great for mortal men and her kiss kills them.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 8x04


Testing the crystal.

Inside the Luthor Mansion, Dr. Edward Groll is running a series of test on the Crystal of Knowledge, attempting to unlock its secrets. Dr. Groll informs Tess that after conducting extensive research he's discovered that the crystal is of alien origin. Tess is very skeptical about this news update, based on the fact that it doesn't explain the mysterious disappearance of Lex Luthor which took place in the Arctic on Earth not in outer space.

Dr. Groll believes that perhaps the answers Tess is seeking can be found within the crystal computer hard drive using a high frequency generator device. Activating the device the crystal emits a blue high energy pulse beam into outer space almost like a beacon, startling both Dr. Groll and Tess in the process. Tess asks "What just happened?".

Maxima Arrives

Maxima arrives.

In Metropolis, a young businessman sees a purple flash of light emitting from a nearby alley. In the center of the alley a symbol appears in the ground transporting a gorgeous woman with red hair. The businessman approaches the alley to find the woman who believes him to be the Kryptonian who summoned her with his beacon. She reveals her identity as Maxima, Queen of Almerac, who's been searching for a Kryptonian man. Taken back by Maxima's appearance the businessman pretends to be her chosen one and they begin to kiss passionately. As the intensity of their kiss heats up, the man begins to bleed from his nose. Upon noticing this, Maxima realizes that he's not Kryptonian after all and as a result is dying from her kiss. Maxima vows she'll find her real Kryptonian.

The next morning on the Kent Farm, Clark Kent prepares to leave for work after giving some breakfast to Shelby. He talks to Shelby about how he still hasn't gotten used to the idea of living on the farm alone. Clark reflects for a moment after taking out a small box which contains the remains of Lana's necklace, when he's interrupted by an incoming cell call from his work partner, Lois Lane. Lois calls from the Daily Planet inquiring his whereabouts due to a very busy work day in the newsroom. Clark informs her that he's "flying into the building now" as he super speeds out the Kent kitchen, leaving Shelby behind still unfed. In a split second, Clark returns to feed Shelby, then appears in a split second behind Lois at the Daily Planet bullpen two minutes early for work.

Lois clark

Lane and Kent at work

Lois asks Clark if he can take off some of her workload due to the fact the recently happily engaged Chloe and Jimmy are living together in the apartment above the Talon with Lois and last night, Jimmy's habit of loud snoring kept Lois from sleeping peacefully, requiring her to have to double up on coffee to stay awake. Lois mentions how she's jealous of Clark's living alone on the farm, which strikes up an interesting discussion between them about his love life style which is "sweet vanilla". To which Lois suggests Clark might want to try a newer "wild cherry" style. Feeling uncomfortable with where this discussion is heading, Clark decides to focus on the priority at hand, which is work.

Lois agrees and hands him the story of the day, about a 25-year old stockbroker who not only died of a heart attack, but had abnormal levels of endorphins and adrenaline in him when he died, meaning that he was extremely sexually aroused. Lois teases Clark about sex. Clark reads on and finds that the hormone levels found in the man were higher than any human could produce.


Jimmy finds Chloe's letter.

At the Talon, Chloe unpacks the last remaining items belonging to Jimmy, discovering his favorite TV shows and music interests. Chloe warns him that his music interest in ABBA won't score him any brownie points with Lois, who is a huge Whitesnake fan. Jimmy admits that lately his relationship with Lois has been in turmoil ever since he prevented her from investigating deeper into Lex's activities in the Arctic. Chloe tries to reasure Jimmy that in time Lois will forgive him and move on, accepting him into her family. As Jimmy places his collection of Warrior Angel comics on a shelf, he finds a pink piece of paper that falls to the floor. He picks it up and begins to read it and discovers it's the letter Chloe had written to Clark years ago, which breaks Jimmy's heart, feeling that no matter how hard he tries, Clark will always be the center of Chloe's life.


Maxima goes to Tess to find the Kryptonian beacon.

Tess receives a dinner invitation and luxurious green dress from Oliver Queen to join him at the Ace of Clubs. Tess playfully declines the offer. Suddenly, Maxima appears before her, demanding to know where the owner of the crystal is, but Tess asks her who that person would be. Maxima says that the crystal's owner is a Kryptonian and Tess offers to help her find him. But Maxima instead grabs her by the neck, claiming that Tess is trying to keep him all for herself as she knows the beacon came from that room. She throws Tess into the wall, knocking her unconscious; Maxima then takes the dress and the invitation and heads for the Ace of Clubs.

Lois and Clark head to the scene of the crime in the alley where they conduct their investigation using their own unique methods. While Lois talks with the police uncovering more details, Clark uses his X-ray vision to see an alien symbol scorched into the pavement. Lois informs Clark of a trail of dead men dying the exact same way as the stockbroker, from Metropolis all the way to Smallville. Lois believes this to be the work of a meteor freak on the rampage.


Maxima seduces Jimmy.

Maxima arrives at the Ace of Clubs, surrounded by dozens of couples engaged in erotic activities, except for one man alone at the bar. She approaches the bar and starts seducing Jimmy, mistaking him for the man she's been searching for. Back at the Talon, Chloe looks over photos of herself and Jimmy as a happy couple when Clark comes in, showing her a copy of the symbol he saw in the alley. Chloe says it's the family crest from the royal family of Almerac; she must have teleported to Earth recently using a bracelet, and the trail of dead men are the result of them not being able to survive her super-endorphin kiss, as only her intended mate would be able to, narrowing down her choices to Clark being her ultimate target. Clark shows concern over Chloe's super intelligence as a result of Brainiac, believing that the side effects could be too dangerous. Clark promises he'll find a way to cure her. Chloe tells him that he can't cure her and that another victim has just been found outside the entrance to the Ace of Clubs. She urges Clark to go stop this woman. At that moment, Maxima has taken Jimmy out onto the balcony and he tells her he's in love with another woman, but Maxima tells him that one kiss will change all that. As they lock lips, a super surge of endorphins enter Jimmy's body and he starts to bleed from the nose and Maxima tells him she's sorry, but he's not the one she's looking for. As Jimmy collapses and Maxima walks away from him, Clark enters the club and super speeds through the room to catch Jimmy, but he doesn't notice that Maxima has also seen him in action. She watches as Clark rescues Jimmy; with a smile, Maxima says "Now that's more like it".

As Chloe's leaving her apartment, she is greeted by Tess, who attempts to enlist her aid in hacking into a very unique supercomputer. Chloe refuses to associate herself with anyone connected to Lex Luthor. Tess tries to threaten Chloe into her service, but Chloe shows she's learned from her past experiences with the Luthors' tactical strategy of manipulation.

At the hospital, Jimmy wakes up and Clark tells him he got him there just in time; Jimmy then tells Clark about finding Chloe's love letter, which upset Jimmy and caused him to flirt with another woman who seduced him into kissing her. Clark says that everyone has moments of error in judgment and they have to learn to move on in life. He asks Jimmy about the woman he kissed. Jimmy says he doesn't remember anything and Clark tells him he must find the woman before she strikes again. Chloe comes in the room and Clark says that Jimmy got hurt at the club and the important thing is that Chloe and Jimmy are together again.


Maxima and Clark kissing.

Clark heads back to the Daily Planet, where he goes over the security footage from the Ace of Clubs trying to determine the identity of Maxima, when the lights suddenly dim and then Maxima speeds into the room. She tells Clark her name is Maxima and she's been searching for him all her life. She pulls Clark in for a Kiss that causes him to unleash his built-up passion upon her as they go into the elevator to continue. Their passion intensifies until the elevator doors open and a shocked Lois stands before them. Lois' call to Clark breaks him free of Maxima's phenomonal entrancement. Maxima appears to be very upset that Clark has great concern for Lois and leaves Maxima's side to pursue Lois. Lois insists she doesn't care about whoever Clark wants to kiss. They turn and Maxima has disappeared. Lois storms out of the building to her parked car that she enters. An enraged Maxima appears in front of Lois' car using her super strength to lift the car, throwing it into the air, crashing upside down on top of other parked cars. Lois survives the crash, only to see Maxima in front of her intending to kill her because of the strong bond she claims to have sensed between Lois and Clark that broke her hold over Clark. As Maxima prepares to eliminate Lois, Tess’ personal security team arrives.

Clark heads over to the Isis Foundation with the photo of Maxima from the security cameras. He discovers Tess is there, having broken in. She wonders what Clark is doing there. He claims he’s writing an article on Maxima and came to ask Chloe for help. Tess glances at the photo, and tells him she had an encounter with Maxima earlier. Clark wonders why Maxima went to Tess in the first place; Tess says Maxima is looking for the owner of the crystal she found in the Arctic. She asks if Clark ever saw Lex with the crystal or whether he knows what it is, but he denies both.


Clark rejects Maxima.

Before she can pursue the matter any further, Tess gets a call from her security team that Clark overhears with his Super hearing. Clark runs to the scene as Maxima, having wiped out the whole security team, prepares to kill Lois. Clark hauls Maxima away at super speed back into the alley she arrived in. Maxima claims that Clark is the perfect mate for her, and she is the only perfect mate that he’s ever going to find. At first, it appears as though Clark has taken her words into consideration, until he activates her bracelet, forcibly sending her back to her home planet of Almerac.

The next day, Clark meets with Chloe, who tells him that Jimmy will be out of the hospital shortly. She realizes that Jimmy kissed Maxima, but understands why he did it. When Clark mentions the letter, Chloe shows it to him, explaining she wrote it when he was sick back during their sophomore year at Smallville High. She tells him that although he doesn't remember, when she had read it to him when he was dying he said "Lana." Chloe doesn't regret having the feelings and admits they helped prepare her to have the feelings for the perfect person, which she believes to be Jimmy. She asks Clark to give her away at the altar on her wedding day, to which he happily agrees. Clark reveals that he may have found a cure for her condition: since Jor-El created Brainiac, maybe he can delete Brainiac's program out of her system with a crystal located in the Fortress. Chloe thought the Fortress was destroyed, but Clark informs her it can be recreated by the Crystal of Knowledge that is currently in the possession of Tess. Chloe realizes it was the crystal Tess wants her to hack into.

Tess is sparring with her kickboxing instructor when Chloe arrives and confronts her about breaking into the Isis Foundation the night before. Chloe threatens to press charges and Tess backs down, then Chloe offers to take a look at the supercomputer. Tess informs her that the crystal was stolen and plans to find out who has it... and get it back.


Clark asks Lois about Soul Mates.

Lois goes to see Clark at his loft and tells him that it appears that Maxima has disappeared off of the face of the earth. Clark thanks her for saving his life, claiming he would have died from Maxima’s kiss if Lois hadn’t interrupted them. He talks about what Maxima said and wonders if when the time comes, he might not recognize his destined soul mate, the same way he didn’t recognize Chloe’s love for him in their high school years. Lois assures him that when the right woman comes his way, he'll know. Clark wonders if Maxima said anything to Lois; she lies and doesn't reveal anything about the special connection she has with Clark according to Maxima. Lois tells him she's off to find a new place to live on her own, and Clark offers her her old room at the farm. Lois says "Being housemates didn't work out for us the first time, Smallville. Why tempt fate?" Clark smiles as she leaves.


Tess gets a message.

Back inside the Luthor Mansion main den, Tess receives an e-mail on her laptop from an anonymous source who appears to have the crystal in their possession, based on photographic evidence, leaving behind a very cryptic message "You Are Not Ready Yet." with a red X as their signature.



Guest Starring[]




Featured Music[]

  • "The Beat Is" - Channel Two (ft. Black Shakespear)
  • "Just Like This" - EEK


  • Instinct is a powerful motivation or impulse towards a stimuli.
  • In this episode, it refers to when Maxima seduces her victims to be impulsive and devoted to her.


  • Antagonist: Maxima
  • Sam Witwer (Davis Bloome) and Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen) do not appear in this episode.
  • The spinning dual-ring frame holding the Crystal of Knowledge is the same design used to hold the imprisoned Zod, Ursa, and Non in Superman: The Movie and Superman II.
  • Maxima is Smallville's version of the DC Comics character of the same name. As in this episode, the comics version of the character plans to mate with Superman or Clark in Smallville.
  • Chloe says to Jimmy Olsen that she was 15 years old at the time she wrote her love letter to Clark. "Fever" originally aired on February 18, 2003 and, assuming that the in-show time matches the time in the real world, that would make her birth year 1988 or 1987, depending on the precise part of the year she was born, although that has always been disputed.
  • When Clark was running in super-speed to save Jimmy, Maxima was the only one able to move at the same super-speed when she turned to see Clark run past her. This is very similar to season 4 episode "Run" when Bart was moving in super-speed to save Jonathan and Clark was the only one able to turn and see the truck about to hit his father before he also took off in super-speed to attempt to save him.
  • This episode marks the fifth time that Clear kryptonite appeared on the show. It previously appeared in the episodes Visage, Hereafter, Trespass and Bizarro.

In Other Media[]

  • Maxima is the 35th DC Comics character adapted into the series.
  • As mentioned, the device used by Tess' scientist to power the Crystal of Knowledge is very similar to the device used to restrain General Zod and his lieutenants in Superman: The Movie, with two spinning angled rings.
  • Maxima says to Lois about Clark that "He never would've been able to pull away from me if he wasn't drawn by his attraction to you", which alludes to their future when they get married, which has obviously already happened in the comics and in the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.


  • Clark Kent still has the now-neutralized kryptonite necklace that former girlfriend Lana Lang once wore in "Pilot". 
  • This is the second time that Lois has walked in on Clark making out with another woman. The first occurred in "Hypnotic". Lois is noticeably more hostile in this episode.
  • The letter that Chloe wrote to Clark refers to the Season Two episode "Fever", after Clark inhaled green kryptonite dust.
  • Tess' team found the Crystal of Knowledge, which has inexplicably turned a much deeper shade of blue, after the Fortress collapsed in "Arctic". The Crystal of Knowledge itself was last seen in "Odyssey".
  • Dr. Groll was last seen in "Fallout" going into hiding after finding out that the black box could be used as a weapon.
  • Shelby was last seen in "Veritas". This is his only appearance in Season Eight
  • Maxima mentions that she received a "Kryptonian beacon". Each of the Stones of Power could emit a beacon, as could the Fortress of Solitude. This is the first time the Crystal of Knowledge itself has been seen emitting a Kryptonian beacon. 
  • This episode marks the 77th appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
  • Dr. Groll appears again in "Power".


  • The identity of "X" was never explicitly revealed on the show, although it is assumed that this is Lex.
  • Writer and producer Al Septien posted on twitter that: "As Lex ("X") recovered, his people stole it from Tess and he sent it to Clark hoping it would finish him by sending him to PZ." [1] However, it's unclear how Lex's team was able to reprogram the Crystal of Knowledge, a highly advanced piece of Kryptonian technology, to send someone into the Phantom Zone. More likely and based on season 7, Lex probably believed that the Orb would have programmed the Crystal to send Clark there.


  • Chloe makes a reference to Scooby-Doo. In the early years of the Smallville TV series, when Chloe, Clark, and Pete were investigating the bizarre events happening in Smallville, many of those episodes were like an episode of the Scooby-Doo and the Mystery, Inc. gang.  In the Pilot episode, Pete also made a reference to Scooby-Doo and the mystery machine, sarcastically referring to Chloe's statement that the meteors were responsible for a lot of the strange happenings in Smallville.
    • Additionally Scooby-Doo and the gang had several encounters with Batman several decades prior to Smallville in The New Scooby-Doo Movies. They would later crossover into the Superman franchise after Smallville in DC Comics series Scooby-Doo Team Up and the 2023 DTV movie Scooby-Doo! And Krypto Too!.
  • Lois tells Clark that he was "pulling a 9 ½ Weeks in the elevator." 9 ½ Weeks was a 1986 erotic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger.
  • Maxima being seductive woman that kills men with a kiss makes her similar to a succubus. Furthering comparison is her desire to mate with a worthy male.



Lois: I need you, Smallville -- I just got to The Planet, and I'm already having the workday from Hell. What's your E.T.A.?
Clark: I'm flying into the building right now. I'll be there in a second.

Tess: You know, Lex Luthor may have been wowed by your high-tech smoke and mirrors, Dr. Groll, but I've come to expect more hardcore evidence from boys and their toys.

Lois: You know endorphins? They're hormones that are released when the body performs a certain activity.
Clark: Like when you play a sport.
Lois: Or there's another kind of activity two people share, repetitive motion, builds to a climax.
Clark: Thank you.

Clark: Let's get back to the work... please.
Lois: Good idea. Bury your heartache in your job. Here, start with this.

Clark: Lois! Lois, wait!
Lois: (about Maxima) What!? Oh, sorry to rain on your orgy, Smallville. I think I scared off your date.
Clark: Where'd she go?
Lois: Probably to find you two a motel room.
Clark: You don't understand.
Lois: What's not to understand?! You were pulling a 9 ½ Weeks in the elevator! I mean it may not get you a membership in the mile-high club, but, hey you got to start somewhere!
Clark: Just calm down!
Lois: I am calm! I am perfectly calm! Why wouldn't I be calm?! Dial down the ego, Smallville. I don't care what you do with your love life!

Lois: I don't know who, or what you are, but you've got it all wrong lady there is nothing romantic between Lois and Clark.
Maxima: You have a deep connection to him, I felt it.
Lois: Then your radar is on the fritz, 'cause even on a good day, we're barely friends.
Maxima: He never would've been able to pull away from me if he wasn't drawn by his attraction to you.
Lois: Look, he's about as attracted to me as a Red-Sox fan to the Yankees.
Maxima: You may not know it yet, but believe me there's a bond, and I could see it on your face when you caught us together, you feel it too.

Lois: Bring it, bitch.

Lois: Give me a break. Does he really think I care who he sucks face with? Hello. That Sluttyanna wasn't even his type.

Chloe: (to Clark) Hey. Am I glad to see you. Now that Lois is riding shotgun in your Mystery Machine, your old sidekick's jonesing for a Scooby clue. Let me see that concrete crop circle.

Tess: Do you kickbox, Chloe? I find it helps me focus my anger.
Chloe: Maybe I should rush over to the dojo because I have a lot of it building up right now.

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