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"Jitters" is the eighth episode in the first season of Smallville, and eighth episode overall. It aired on December 11, 2001.


Earl Jenkins is suffering from seizures. He blames his condition on mineral poisoning he received at LuthorCorp. In an attempt to get Lionel Luthor's attention and some information that might help his doctors treat his condition, he takes hostages inside the plant. Lex Luthor successfully bargains for the release of the hostages by bravely becoming a hostage himself. Clark uses his powers to find the mysterious Level Three, but there are no answers there.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 1x08

Jonathan and Martha Kent are on their way to Metropolis for a few days to celebrate their anniversary.

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Earl has accidentally kills Will.

In an apartment building in Metropolis, Belinda Jenkins puts her baby to bed. While the infant looks up at the ceiling, a shadowy figure enters the room. It's his father, Earl Jenkins, who has come to say good night. He tries to pick up his son to hold him, but he begins to tremble. He steps back away from the crib as his jitters get worse. It's almost like a seizure except that everything in the room begins to shake as if there were an earthquake. Belinda reenters the room as if she has heard something, but only the baby is there. Down at street level, the Kents drive by LuthorCorp just as Earl, out in the rain, is trying to take his prescription medication. He is trembling so badly that he drops the bottle. The pills spill and are ruined in the pouring rain. He runs up to the building and calls to Will, the maintenance man, to let him in to see Lionel Luthor. He claims that something happened to him at the plant in Smallville. Will won't let him in. Earl gets a case of the jitters and trembles so badly that he shatters the glass door and falls to the floor. Will runs up and helps him to his feet. He wants to take Earl to the doctor, but Earl gets another case of the jitters while he's still got ahold of Will. When it passes, Will is dead. Having had his arms around him, Earl accidentally broke Will's neck. Horrified, he runs off into the night.

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Clark finds a hundred people at his house.

Walking to school in the morning, Clark tells Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross that he's planning to have a party while his parents are out of town for a few days. He emphasizes that he wants it to be a small gathering, but that night there are at least a hundred people at his house, half of whom he doesn't recognize. He uses his super speed to save the flooring from a sick guest. Lana Lang shows up without Whitney Fordman, and the fireworks begin (literally). Lex Luthor arrives to take credit for the fireworks. He also admits that the police will not be any trouble. He wanted to make sure Clark's first party was a success, to ensure his reputation.

Back in Metropolis, at a restaurant, Martha fails to reach Clark by phone. Jonathan asks if Martha misses living in Metropolis. She admits that she does miss it, but she doesn't regret moving to Smallville.

Whitney arrives at the Kent Farm looking for Lana. They go outside to talk. Whitney is a little upset that she came to the party without him, and Lana is a little upset that he's smothering her. Just then the barn starts to shake. Lana runs off to get Clark, and Whitney grabs a pitchfork. When Clark gets out to the barn, they find Earl huddled under a canvas tarp. Clark recognizes him. Earl says that he's come to see Jonathan, but Jonathan is out of town. Just then Earl begins to seize. Clark reaches out to him, but it's like reaching out to meteor rocks. Clark's hand hurts and his veins turn green. He pulls away and calls an ambulance.

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Earl can't control the jitters.

At the hospital, Clark tells Chloe that Earl worked at the Kent farm twelve hours a day for six seasons until he took a job at the Luthor plant. When Deputy Miller arrives there's a ruckus in Earl's room. Earl is standing but shaking so badly that anyone who approaches is thrown across the room, even Clark. When the fit ends, Earl collapses to the floor.

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Clark uses his super speed to clean up after the party.

The next morning, Clark returns home to find a huge mess in the house from the party the night before. He uses his super speed to clean it all up. He seems pretty satisfied with himself, but then discovers that his parents were upstairs as Jonathan claps sarcastically. They had already seen the mess. They returned home early when they couldn't reach him by phone all night. Clark tells him that Earl is at the hospital, and is wanted for murder. Jonathan can't believe it. Clark also tells them that he couldn’t get close to him because it made him sick the same way meteor fragments do.

Jonathan and Clark go to the hospital to check on Earl. The doctor explains that he is suffering from some kind of mineral poisoning. Tiny bits of the mineral have implanted under his skin. His body is trying to push them out. He claims it all started after an explosion at the LuthorCorp plant six months ago. There is no record of any explosion.

When Jonathan enters Earl's room, Earl explains that the explosion occurred when he was cleaning Level Three. They were conducting experiments with a new fertilizer that would help corn grow twice as fast. It was unstable, and when it exploded, it embedded itself in his skin. They shut down the whole level and transferred Earl to Metropolis. Four months later, the jitters started. Earl asks Jonathan to help him get back into the plant, so he can figure out what was in that fertilizer. Jonathan can't help him, police from Metropolis are on their way to take him back, but Clark has a field trip to LuthorCorp Smallville Fertilizer Plant No. 3.

Gabe Sullivan, Chloe's father, is the plant manager, and he is conducting the tour. Earl has escaped police custody, and he is in the plant at the same time the field trip is being conducted. When he tries to find Level 3, he finds a wall where the hall to the elevator used to be. Clark leaves the others and slips through a door marked authorized personnel only. The rest of the tour goes on to the control room. Earl bursts in and takes the plant manager and the students hostage, at gunpoint, demanding to be taken to Level 3.


Chloe and Pete are taken hostage.

The plant is evacuated. A mob of worried parents gathers outside the plant. Lex Luthor arrives and grants special access to Jonathan and Martha Kent. Meanwhile, Clark brings Earl some blue prints in an attempt to prove to him that there is no Level 3.


Clark finds the blueprints.

Of course, Earl is unconvinced. Lionel Luthor arrives by helicopter. He tries to talk with Earl. Earl has another episode and grabs a valve to steady himself. It comes off in his hands and hits Clark across the face. Clark is fine, but the pipe is leaking methane gas. Whitney wants Clark to help him take Earl out. Clark can't help, so Whitney tries to do it himself. He fails.

Lex decides its time for some bold action and goes inside the plant His father protests, but is obviously proud of his son's boldness. Lex promises to be Earl's hostage if he lets the others leave the plant. He also promises to take Earl to Level 3, although Lex believes it to be in Earl's imagination. As the student's leave the plant, the gas reaches dangerous levels. The fire doors are ordered to be sealed. Clark manages to stay behind as everyone is evacuated. He finds the same closet that Earl described as the location of the elevator. He uses his X-ray vision to see that the elevator is still there, on the other side of the wall. Clark uses the intercom system to tell Earl that he has found the elevator. When Earl leaves the control room, Clark enters and uses his super strength to turn the valve (without the handle) and shut off the methane leak. Earl drags Lex down to the closet.


Earl finds the hidden elevator to Level 3

They find that Clark has broken a hole through the wall, and they can see the elevator. Lex is honestly surprised, but when they enter the elevator, there are only two buttons for Levels 1 and 2. Earl touches the blank space where a third button might have been, and it lights up under his finger. Lex is truly astonished. They walk out on a catwalk. Earl says there used to be an enormous cornfield down below, and every night they sprayed it with a green mist, but it's all gone. Clark arrives just as Earl is having another fit. He grabs the handrail and the catwalk begins shaking violently. It gives way, and Earl and Lex end up dangling 30 feet above a concrete floor.


Earl and Lex end up dangling 30 feet above a concrete floor.

Clark tries to help but he becomes sick as he approaches. He pushes through his sickness and pulls Earl back up to the catwalk. He sends him to the elevator, and then pulls up Lex. As they head to the elevator, Earl starts to have another seizure. The two race along the catwalk before he can shake it free again. They all tumble into the elevator just as the catwalk crashes to the floor.

When the three of them emerge from the plant, Earl is taken away in an ambulance. His parents greet Clark, and Lex confronts his father. Lionel addresses the press referring to Level 3 as a redundant storage area. During the interview, Lex pledges the best possible health care for Earl. Lionel pulls Lex away and mock embraces him as Lex stares in envy at the true love that the Kents have for each other.



Special Guest Star[]

Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

Song Artist/Band Scene
"Pacific Coast Party" Smash Mouth Played at the beginning, when Martha and Jonathan leave for Metropolis.
"The People That We Love" Bush Played when Earl Jenkins accidentally kills the janitor at the Luthorcorp office.
"My Bridges Burn" The Cult Played during Clark's party as the first song heard.
"Bad Idea" Bad Ronald Played when Lana arrives at Clark's party.
"Tie Me Up" Handsome Devil Played at Clark's party when Whitney arrives.


  • A Jitter is a rapid variation in the ampltitude of a wave, although the adjective 'jittery' is often used in English for unwarranted or inexplicable nervousness and its concomitant awkwardness and maladroitness.
  • The title refers to the rapid shaking Earl Jenkins does as a result of his body's attempts to get rid of the meteor rocks trapped under his skin.



  • When Lionel comes to visit the plant after the hostage situation, Lex introduces Lionel to Jonathan. Lionel offers to shake his hand, saying "It's been a long time, but I never forget a face." This is a reference to when they met during the 1989 meteor shower which is shown in flashback in Lineage.
  • Ethan Miller was last seen in Hourglass.




Girl: Sorry I took so long. Someone overflowed the bathroom.
Clark: I'm officially dead.

Clark: He even tried to teach me how to play guitar. Said it was a good way to impress women.
Chloe: Yeah, we're all a sucker for a guy with a six-string. How come I've never heard you play?
Clark: Kept snapping the guitar strings. I think Earl got sick of replacing them.

Chloe: You know, just because you spend a lot of time with someone doesn't mean you know their darkest secrets.

Jonathan: Clark, where have you been?
Clark: The hospital.
Martha: That's it. I'm never leaving home again.

Martha: You have to open the doors.
Lionel: They're safety locked and can't be opened until the gas levels have gone down.
Martha: My son is still in there!
Lionel: So is mine.

Gabe: Welcome to LuthorCorp. Where we give a crap.
Chloe: (to Clark) Okay, somebody kill me now.
Gabe: A little fertilizer humor there. Before we go inside I need you to remove all your cellphones, pagers, jewelery. Anything that jangles, dangles or rings can go in these plastic trays right here. All right? Any other questions?
Clark: I heard there was a third level to the plant, is that true?
Gabe: Yeah, that's where we do the alien autopsies.
Chloe: (to Clark) Don't encourage him.

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ComicsThe Comic · Season 11 · Miniseries