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"Insurgence" is the twelfth episode in the second season of Smallville, and thirty-third episode overall. It aired on January 21, 2003.


After Lex discovers that Lionel installed cameras in the mansion, he hires some thugs to bug Lionel's office, but things get out of control when Lionel and Martha surprise the thugs and are taken hostage. Clark must figure out a way to save his mother without exposing his powers and sees his chance on an adjacent tall building - if only he could make the leap in a single bound.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 2x12

At the Luthor Mansion, Lex is berating one of his lawyers for leaking information which has lost him a 150-million dollar contract to Lionel. The next day, Clark arrives to find Lex tearing his place apart looking for high tech listening devices. Clark helps him find a tiny video camera in the stereo.

Insurgence 354

Lionel and Martha are taken hostage.

Jonathan Kent is preparing a picnic for his wife, but Martha has to go to work in Metropolis. Clark looks uneasy as his parents argue.

When Lex confronts his father about the listening devices, Lionel denies everything. When Lionel leaves, Lex places a call to a team he has hired to place bugs in LuthorCorp Headquarters.

Lana Lang arrives at the loft to talk with Clark just before her big date with Jennifer Small, Henry Small's wife. She's very nervous and excited about it, but Clark confides that even with a family, not every day is a picnic. He confides that his parents aren't getting along right now because they disagree on Martha's job with Lionel. Clark goes to the mansion to ask Lex for help putting together a romantic evening for his parents in Metropolis. When Lex realizes that Lionel and Martha are at headquarters, he calls his team to call off the operation, but unknown to Lex, the team has decided to become burglars.

Insurgence 433

Jennifer and Henry Small meet with Lana at the Talon.

Lionel and Martha are working in another office at LuthorCorp Plaza. Lionel gives Martha a beautiful watch and tells her that she has been promoted and she has her own office here in Metropolis. Martha is flattered, but admits that her job is already putting too much strain on her family. Before she can properly turn down the promotion, a member of the team enters the room with a gun.

Back in Smallville, Clark and Lex have arrived at the Kent Farm with a helicopter to take Jonathan to Metropolis to have dinner with Martha, but he is offended at the intrusion. When they hear the news report that Lionel and Martha being held hostage in Metropolis, they drive to the city. Clark encourages Jonathan to ask Lex for the helicopter ride, which he does, with great difficulty. In Metropolis, the team discovers that Lionel has already called the police with a panic button. They argue a good deal and Pyne shoots and kills Kern. Lex talks on the phone with Pyne, but he isn't taking orders from Lex.

At the Talon, Jennifer Small tells Lana that she doesn't want her to spend a lot of time with Henry Small. Lana assumes she is jealous and doesn't want to share her husband with another daughter, but Jennifer explains that Henry loses interest in things easily and she doesn't want Lana to get hurt when he loses interest in her.

Insurgence 606

Clark takes a flying leap.

When Clark arrives in Metropolis, his efforts to enter the building are thwarted by the Lt. Maggie Sawyer. Lionel and Martha talk about how each of them shared harsh words with the their loved ones the last time they saw them. When Jonathan arrives in Metropolis, Clark tells him he has a plan to enter Luthor Tower by jumping from the roof of the Daily Planet building.

Insurgence 528

Kryptonite bars in Lionel's vault.

When the burglars finally get the vault open, they find a pallet stacked with bricks of kryptonite, files on Clark, and the key. The burglars are very disappointed, but Martha is appalled. Pyne gets on the phone with Lex and tells him what he found in the vault. Lex offers him a million dollars for the contents of the vault, but Lionel offers him two million dollars. Clark comes crashing through the window and reaches the room where his mother and Lionel are being held, he is then weakened by the kryptonite in the room. Martha pushes the kryptonite into the vault and closes the door. Clark burns up the files, and Martha pockets the key.

When the police arrive, Lt. Sawyer is not happy to see that Clark has been playing hero. Lex tries to assure his father that he did everything he could to help him, but Lionel has already guessed that it was Lex that sent the team in there in the first place.

The next day, Martha has prepared her letter of resignation, but Jonathan suggests that if it weren't for Martha's job, they never would have known about the contents of Lionel's vault. It might be a good idea for her to stick with him a while more. After Jonathan and Clark leave the room, Martha puts the key in a can of flour and then hides the can under the sink.



Guest Starring[]


Featured Music[]

  • "Invisible Man" - Theory of a Deadman
  • "Bittersweetheart" - Ed Harcourt
  • "Tomorrow" - SR-71


  • Insurgence is the state or condition of being in revolt or insurrection, or an uprising.
  • In this episode, a team of thieves breaks into the LuthorCorp Plaza and revolt against Lex's orders.


  • Antagonist: Insurgence team
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, X-ray vision (off-screen), heat vision, and super leaping.
  • Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan do not appear in this episode. This is the first episode to not feature Chloe.
  • This episode marks the first time the Daily Planet building has made a prominent appearance.
  • This episode mentions Clark has a fear of heights.
  • In this episode, Clark makes a super leap away from a building (the Daily Planet). This is probably a reference to the famous line about Superman, "leaps tall buildings in a single bound."
  • The opening scene in which Lex tears his office apart looking for bugs is a possible homage to the final scene of the 1974 film The Conversation, in which the character Harry Caul—played by Gene Hackman, who later played Lex Luthor in the first, second, and fourth Superman films—tears up his apartment in a fit of paranoia searching for listening devices.
  • This is the second episode where Lex is envious of Clark's family after a kidnapping. It happens before in "Jitters".
  • On the leather sofa, where Lionel and Martha whisper to one another as they are held hostage, Martha calls Lionel "Lion," both in the heat of drama as well as a reference to the meaning of Lionel's name.
  • This is the first and only episode in the series that gives Martha the most screentime.

In Other Media[]


  • The Luthor Mansion was bugged when Lionel came to spend some time with Lex in the mansion and moved the furniture around because of his "condition". ("Red")
  • Jonathan references the time when Clark had a party on the Kent Farm and trashed the house a year prior in "Jitters".
  • Metropolis Police lieutenant Maggie Sawyer also appears in "Exile", "Exposed", and "Descent".
  • Henry Small was last seen in "Skinwalker".
  • This episode marks the 4th appearance of Clark's Red jacket/Blue shirt outfit, which he will wear more frequently throughout the series until it becomes identified as his Red-Blue Blur attire in Season Eight. He previously wore this outfit in "Vortex", "Nocturne", and "Visage".


  • Kevin Gage also played the Chinese officer in the episode "Sacred". He also played Wesley in the 2003 Catwoman movie.
  • Byron Mann went on to play Yao Fei Gulong on the CW television series Arrow.
  • The Theory of a Deadman song "Invisible Man" previously appeared on the soundtrack to the 2002 Marvel superhero film Spider-Man.


  • Martha's strange decision to hide the key from Jonathan and Clark is later explained in "Fever".
  • The deep voice that Lex Luthor uses when he is on the phone is similar to the one he has in "Requiem".
  • The novel Shadows would later confirm that Martha did delay her exit from Lionel's employ, continuing to serve under him for some time prior to the events of the following episode Suspect.
  • In this episode, Lionel is able to shoot and kill one of the crooks despite supposedly being blind. We learn just three episodes later in "Prodigal", that Lionel had regained his sight in that episode, but was still pretending to be blind until its end. This makes it likely that Lionel has regained his sight by this episode, hence his ability to fire a fatal shot.



Jonathan: Clark! I don't suppose you have any idea why there's a helicopter parked in our front yard, do you?

Jonathan: Look, I don't know how things work in your house, but around here, we think it's important to respect other people's privacy.
Clark: Dad...
Lex: It's all right, Clark... Mr. Kent, ever since the day I moved to Smallville, I've done nothing but try to be a friend to you. And in return, you do nothing but lecture me with sanctimonious platitudes. I'm done listening to them.

Lex: Mr. Kent, whatever I'm doing is in the best interests of your wife and my father, believe me.
Jonathan: If I find out you had anything to do with what's going on out there, you will pray to God that you never set foot in Smallville, you believe me.

Clark: Lex, what's going on?
Lex: (puts his finger to his lips; goes over to the stereo and turns it up) Big brother is listening, or should I say "Big Daddy".

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