Chloe is drawn into an underground gambling ring at school run by foreign exchange student Mikhail Mxyzptlk and wins big on a football game despite Mxyzptlk using special powers to control all the players - including Clark. Meanwhile, Lex threatens Mxyzptlk with deportation but Mxyzptlk convinces him to make a wager. With so much riding on the championship, Chloe puts herself into harm's way by discovering Mxyzptlk's weakness.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 4x07
It is the deciding game to see who will go to the State championship and the Smallville Crows are trailing when Assistant Coach Jason Teague sends Clark Kent in. Chloe meets Mikhail Mxyzptlk in the deserted field house and bets $80 on Smallville to win and Mikhail accepts her wager. They both return to the game, where the Crows are on defense. Mikhail mutters to himself and the Crows player drops the ball. Clark saves the fumble but when Mikhail says, "Trip," he stumbles into another player and over the touchdown line. The Crows win the game but Clark is horrified to see that the player he fell into is injured.
Clark goes to see the player at the hospital. Jason tells him that his collarbone is shattered but he will recover. Clark feels guilty and Jason starts to question Clark's remarkable football skills and his ability to overpower someone who outweighs him by 100 pounds. He admits that Coach Quigley thinks Clark is on performance-enhancing drugs and tells Clark he better submit to any questioning if he wants to preserve his college football career.
Lex is meeting with Mikhail, who is a foreign-exchange student from the Balkans area that has been awarded a LuthorCorp scholarship. Lex questions why Lionel would award Mikhail such a prestigious award because he is a barely-average student. He asks what potential Lionel saw on him and Mikhail replies that it is potential that doesn't show up on a report card.
Mikhail goes to the Smallville Torch office to talk to Chloe. She reveals that her bet was part of her investigation into a high school football betting ring and she wants Mikhail to give her an exclusive. He agrees if she keeps his name out and places a large bet on the next Metropolis Sharks game.
Jonathan confronts Clark about injuring the player, saying that Clark is being irresponsible by playing. Clark tells Jonathan that football means a lot to him because it helps him forget all his burdens and Jonathan objects, saying there is more to life than championship football. Clark says something happened to him on the field that wasn't his fault because he is sure he can control his abilities. Jonathan says he's going to talk to Coach Quigley at the victory party and tell him that Clark is quitting, but Clark says it's his responsibility. At the party, everyone's spirits are high and Clark is the star of the celebration. Coach Quigley makes a rousing speech about how Clark will take them to win the championship, and Clark winds up not saying anything to him.
Mikhail is waiting for Chloe in the Torch office. She arrives with an armload of shopping bags. She talks about how exciting it was to win her bet and Mikhail suggests she not spoil the fun and stop writing the article. Chloe replies that her story is getting juicier by the minute and Mikhail pulls her close. He uses his power to force her to kiss him and tells her that she will stop the article. Chloe is left looking confused.
Clark is practicing his passes in the barn by throwing a football through a tire. He throws perfectly every time. He then takes a small shard of green kryptonite, closes it into his fist, and tries again. He misses this time and Martha comes behind him and remarks that she's never seen him miss. She asks him why he didn't talk to Coach Quigley, and Clark says he couldn't let the other players down. She notices his closed fist and he shows her the shard. She is angry, saying he can't make himself sick to play, but Clark says that others play injured. Martha isn't budging. She tells Clark that no, they have never seen him trip, and Clark should find out what happened to him on the field.
Clark is in the Torch office reviewing the plays of the game. Chloe comes in and Clark is surprised when she allows him to stay, saying she's giving him the benefit of the doubt. Clark tells her that he felt like he couldn't control his legs and Chloe tells her that Mikhail forced her to kiss him. They begin to investigate Mikhail's background, but a search of his name doesn't provide any results. However, Chloe searches his name backwards and pulls up an article about the region he is from. He is from a long line of people who have a history of being able to control luck, but the only thing that stopped them was a plague of locusts. Clark suggests they turn Mikhail over to LuthorCorp because he is running illegal bets. He tells Lex about Mikhail's gambling and Lex asks why he didn't tell Coach Teague. He says it must be hard for Clark to see Lana with Jason. Clark says he knows Lana is serious about Jason, so he is dealing with it as best he can. Lex says he should do whatever it takes to win, both on the field and off.
Lana and Jason are discussing Clark's possible drug use. Lana doesn't think Clark is using drugs. Jason doesn't either, but he confesses that he told Coach Quigley that Clark took a drug test that came back clean because he didn't want Clark to retaliate by revealing Lana and Jason's relationship. Lana says that Jason doesn't have to worry about her leaving him for Clark because she is serious about them.
Lex tells Mikhail that he is sending him back to his home country, but Mikhail uses his ability to make Lex let him stay. He says if Lex wants to know what Mikhail can do, he can make a bet with him. If the Crows lose, Mikhail will get one million dollars and citizenship, but if they win, Lex will find out about Mikhail's powers. Mikhail then visits Clark in his loft. He knows Clark turned him in and tells him that he has a lot of money riding on the game. He says, "Choke," and Clark starts gasping and coughing. As he suffocates, Mikhail tells him that he will play, he will lose the game, and he won't tell anyone else about him, or else more people will be hurt. Clark can't breathe until Mikhail tells him to as he exits.
Chloe tells Clark that the locusts might have driven Mikhail's ancestors out by blocking the signals they use to control other people, like jamming a radio frequency. They hatch a plan to jam Mikhail's frequency so he cannot influence the game, but Clark has to leave to suit up. Jonathan meets him outside the locker room, disappointed that he has chosen to play. Clark says it is his decision, but Jonathan still thinks he is making the wrong one. Clark points out that he has to make a conscious decision to fall during every game so others don't get hurt, so Jonathan can't ever understand how much responsibility he is taking on.
During the game, Chloe rewires the loudspeakers, causing Mikhail to hear a high frequency which makes him cover his ears. He tries to influence the players but it doesn't work. The Crows pull ahead and Mikhail gets up to investigate. He finds Chloe and they struggle. The Crows are one touchdown away from winning, but Mikhail appears on the field during a timeout. He shows Clark Chloe's press pass and tells Clark that if they score another touchdown he will kill her. Just as the play is about to start, Clark X-rays the wall of the field house and sees Mikhail holding a knife to Chloe's throat. Clark throws the last pass, superspeeds off the field, shoves Mikhail into a locker and cuts Chloe loose, fast enough to reappear back on the field in the same position without anybody even noticing. The pass is caught and the Crows win the State championship.
Clark gets back from the victory party after his curfew, but Jonathan and Martha let him off the hook. Jonathan acknowledges that it takes a lot of consideration for Clark to play with his abilities and they are proud of him. They tell him that Mikhail was arrested. Chloe comes to congratulate him and tells him that she got the equipment from her Uncle Sam and remarks that her bonds were miraculously untied. Clark asks her about how she got sucked into the gambling scene anyway, and she just says everyone has weaknesses.
Lex takes Mikhail to the LuthorCorp Plaza and they ride the elevator to a secure floor. Mikhail says he has lost his ability, but Lex assures him that he is taking him to a place where it can be recovered and that Mikhail will not be alone. The elevator stops on Level 33.1.
At school, Clark asks Lana where Jason is because he's won a scholarship to Metropolis University and Clark wants to thank him. Lana is short with him and informs him that Jason was fired that morning. As she stalks away, Clark realizes that Lana thinks Clark is the one who revealed Lana and Jason's relationship. He goes to confront Lex, who initially claims their relationship was inappropriate. Clark is upset because the whole town is talking about Lana and doubts Lex did it for moral purposes. He questions Lex's motivation, but Lex doesn't answer.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor (credit only)
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
- Trent Ford as Mikhail Mxyzptlk
- Kevan Kase as Danny Crozier
- Rob Freeman as Coach Wayne Quigley
- Graham Young as Crows Player
- Karina Christianson as Cheerleader
- Adam Thomas as Blues Player
- "Walk Idiot Walk" - The Hives
- "I Believe" - Shiloh
- "Fall Behind Me" - The Donnas
- "I'm All Gone" - Bosshouse
- "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" - Green Day
- "Reach for the Sky" - Social Distortion
- A jinx is a person or thing that supposedly brings bad luck.
- The title refers to Mikhail Mxyzptlk's ability to control other people's actions through words or vocal commands.
- Antagonist: Mikhail Mxyzptlk
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, X-ray vision and accerlerated vision
- Lionel Luthor does not appear in this episode.
- Mikhail Mxyzptlk is Smallville's version of Mister Mxyzptlk, a foe of Superman in several comic stories. Mister Mxyzptlk was an imp from the fifth dimension. Not being bound by our physical laws, he could do things that seemed to be magical. He is the 18th DC Comics character adapted in to the series.
- Mikhail is descended from a family that was originally surnamed Kltpzyxm before they changed it by spelling it backwards. In the comics, Kltpzyxm is the magic word Superman has to trick Mxyzptlk into saying in order to banish the imp back into the fifth dimension.
- When Clark is throwing the footballs between the tyre, he throws two balls and two are left he then goes to get the kryptonite when he comes back there is only one ball left.
- When Chloe types in Mikhail's name on the internet, this article comes up:
- This painting comes from the Piatroyer region in the Balkans, it depicts a story of the region being terrorized for centuries by a bloodline of people who have the power to "control the hand of luck". The family changed their name a century ago and fled the area to escape the stigma after the village mysteriously burned to the ground. According to the story, the only thing ever stopping the curse was a plague of locusts.
- One can read an article in the Smallville Ledger about Mxyzptlk's football season predictions here on the cover of the now-defunct Smallville Ledger website at Warnerbros.com.
- This episode was sponsored by Old Spice and contains obvious product placement, including a stick in Clark's locker and banners at the championship game.
- At the end of the episode, Jonathan says that when he played "I only had to worry about completing the next pass or whether or not I was going to get sacked", implying that he was a quarterback in high school. However in the episode Hothead, when Clark was briefly trying out the team as a freshman, he tells Jonathan that the coach gave him his starting running back position. It is possible though that Jonathan played as a dual-threat quarterback, or a trick play tailback proficient in throwing passes.
- Clark's football jersey has the number "8" on the front, which closely resembles the Kryptonian symbol for "S", which resembles the Superman "S" shield.
- The football team throws the red Smallville Crows flag over Clark's shoulders, and it resembles a cape, further foreshadowing his costume as Superman.
- Chloe's lingering anger at Clark is the result of the rude comments Lionel Luthor (in Clark's body) made to her in the previous episode Transference.
- Level 33.1 reappears on the show two years later in Static in Season Six.
- Coach Quigley was last seen in Devoted.
- The football game was filmed at the Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford, British Columbia, which was previously used in the episode Devoted.
- Chloe says she hopes to get Clark's "Dr. Jekyll" side, a reference to the classic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, about Dr. Jekyll, a scientist who used a chemical formula to split himself into an evil personality, Mr. Hyde.
- In another mention of classic literature, Lex claims he turned Jason in because he didn't want Lana to "earn a scarlet letter," a reference to The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne in which the heroine is forced to wear a red letter A on her clothing as punishment for adultery.
- Chloe refers to locusts as "Biblical plagues" referencing the Plagues of Egypt in the biblical book of Exodus, in which the eighth plague was a plague of locusts.
- Clark asks what else locusts can do besides "eating crops in a single bound", a reference to Superman's ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
- Jason: Well, I put myself on the line and said there's no way that Clark Kent would do something like that.
- Clark: I'm not on drugs!
- Chloe: Yeah, well, as much as I hate to admit it, I never bet against Clark Kent.
- Chloe: It's all right, Clark. You can stay.
- Clark: I thought you had some self-imposed restraining order against me. Does this mean you're talkin' to me again?
- Chloe: No, this just means that I'm willing to take a chance on getting your Dr. Jekyll side today.
- Chloe: Looks like Mikhail's still running from his heritage. It doesn't exactly say how to stop the kissing bandit, does it?
- Lex: I can't be the only one who's picked up on Lana's fondness for quarterbacks, even retired ones.
- Clark: Besides eating crops in a single bound, what else can they do?
- Chloe: (to Clark) I don't know what it is with you, but no matter how many times I put you in the penalty box, it never sticks!
- Mikhail Mxyzptlk: I told you, Mr. Luthor, I've lost my talent.
- Lex: Mikhail, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that anything lost can be found again.
- Mikhail Mxyzptlk: If you knew I had a special talent, then why did you bet against me?
- Lex: I didn't. I bet on Clark Kent.
- Clark: Have you ever seen me trip? Ever? (Jonathan can't respond.) Something happened out on the field. It was like I couldn't control my own legs.
- Martha: You asked your father if we'd ever seen you trip before. Never. Not without kryptonite. I was so excited to see you get a chance to be like everyone else that I guess I forgot for a moment that you aren't. I didn't think anything of it when you tripped, but you've never had mishaps like other kids.
- Mikhail Mxyzptlk: (to Chloe) Well, you know, you're a first timer, and you show up at the end of the season. I have some questions. And, uh, I don't think it is coincidence that you are also Smallville's most notorious whistle blower.
- Jonathan: There's more to life than championships, Clark.
- Clark: I bet it's easier to say that when you have one. Dad, when I put on that uniform, it's like I forget who I am. But at the same time, I've never known myself better. It's more than just a game.
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