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"Legacy" is the seventeenth episode in the third season of Smallville, and sixty-first episode overall. It aired on April 14, 2004.


Clark discovers that Jor-El is sending Jonathan messages through the key. Lionel makes a deal with Dr. Swann. Meanwhile, Lex continues helping the FBI investigate Lionel, and Lana gives up on a relationship with Clark.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 3x17

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Clark saves his father

Against Martha's protestations, Jonathan is on the roof of the barn trying to attach a weather vane. Suddenly, he hears a high-pitched ringing and loses his balance. Martha screams for Clark who superspeeds from the fields and catches him. He is unharmed, but shaken and explains that he heard a ringing. Clark is sure Jor-El is responsible, but Jonathan gets irritable, even calling him Kal-El. Clark and Martha are shocked as Jonathan stalks away.

Lionel is about to kill himself when he receives a phone call. He abruptly puts the pistol away and takes a helicopter to Smallville. Clark goes to the Kawatche Caves to negotiate with Jor-El. The key begins to glow in his hand, but suddenly Lionel is standing next to him. He cryptically asks Clark how Jonathan is doing and notices that the octagonal indentation has returned.

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Clark and Lana at the talon

He goes to tell Lex, and asks him to help figure out Clark's secret. It is revealed that Lex is wearing a wire and their conversation is being recorded.

Clark asks Jonathan about the key and he concedes that Jor-El is Clark's real father and admits that his brush with death has him reevaluating his choices. Clark is confused and hurt by Jonathan's words. He takes the key from Jonathan and locks it up.

Later at the Talon, Clark talks to Lana about Jonathan's behavior. She assures him that sometimes people are depressed after a health crisis.

Lex later consults with Agent Frank Loder and tells him to disregard Lionel's comments about the Kents, saying that he only agreed to help them bring Lionel down and to not interfere with the Kents. Loder is dubious at Lex's insistence that Clark is an ordinary boy.

Lionel goes to visit Dr. Virgil Swann and asks him what he knows about the language on the walls of the cave. He offers to give Dr. Swann conservancy over the caves if he tells him what he knows. Dr. Swann lies and says that he does not know the language. Lionel tells him about the octagonal keyhole and his suspicion that Clark has the

Sv317 Swann Luthor

Lionel questions Dr. Swann.

key. He asks Dr. Swann to talk with Clark. Dr. Swann correctly guesses that Lionel is dying and Lionel admits that he believes that whatever is in the caves will save his life. Dr. Swann agrees to help him.

Clark goes back to the caves to see that Lionel has set up an excavation crew to research the cave wall markings. That night, FBI agents storm the Kent Farm with a search warrant.

Clark is using the Talon phone to leave his mother a message. He tells Lana that his father took off in the middle of his farm errands. Lana listens sympathetically to Clark's problems and then Clark leans in and kisses her. He says he doesn't want to look back on his life regretting his lost opportunities. Lana tells him this is not the time for them to try to get back together and that he needs to focus on his family problems.

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Clark feels betrayed by Swann

Embarrassed, Clark leaves and finds his dad at his parents' grave. He talks wistfully about his own father and says that he feels guilty for turning his back on Clark and forcing him to run away. Clark tries to reassure him and takes him home.

Lana is at the mansion going over the monthly bills for the Talon with Lex. He notices that she is upset and encourages her to tell him what's going on. She tells him that Clark kissed her. She wants to believe that he can change, but Lex advises her that she should measure him by all her experiences with him, not just his most recent gesture.

Clark and Jonathan arrive to see the farm in shambles and Martha reports that the only thing that's missing is the key. Clark starts to panic, but Jonathan reveals that he has it.

Clark goes to Lex about the raid and Lex tells him that he will look into it. Lex goes straight to Frank Loder who explains that the FBI is not interested in the Kents. Clark follows and overhears part of the conversation and angrily accuses Lex of investigating his family. Lex comes clean about his father's attempt to pin the Metron murders on him and his decision to help the feds bring him down. He guesses that Lionel sent his own men to the farm impersonating the FBI. Lex also tells Clark that Lionel visited Dr. Swann recently.

Clark confronts Dr. Swann, but he assures Clark that he has not betrayed him. Clark is extremely upset because he thinks that Lionel is putting his family in danger. Dr. Swann says he thought Clark was ready to learn more about his origins, but his actions in the recent past have made him doubt this. They have an intense conversation about Clark's destiny. Dr. Swann shows him another message, "I am waiting" but the message is not from space and Swann believes it is for someone else.

Back at the Kent Farm, Jonathan sees the key glowing, removes it from the box and leaves the farm. Clark

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Lionel and Jonathan fight over the key.

returns home to find his father missing and tells his mom that he thinks Jor-El is trying to contact Jonathan. Jonathan arrives in the caves with his Remington 870 police magnum riot shotgun to find Lionel studying the wall markings. Jonathan orders everyone out of the caves. They all quickly comply except for Lionel. Jonathan warns him to stay away from Clark. They fight until the key begins to glow in Jonathan's pocket. Lionel pulls it out and they fight over it until it floats into the wall and disappears. Jonathan chokes Lionel and Clark arrives just in time to pull him off. Lionel looks in wonder at the cave, thinking the key is in the wall. Jonathan thinks Clark has it, but he says he doesn't have it

Lana goes to visit Clark and he says again that his feelings for her have never changed. He insists that if they both want to be together, they should be. Lana is reluctant because she believes that her focus on their relationship is making her miss out on other things in life. She leaves Clark alone with his thoughts.

Virgil Swann Legacy

Virgil Swann has the Kryptonian key.

Jonathan asks him about Lana's visit, but he doesn't tell him anything. Instead, he asks Jonathan why he went to the cave and Jonathan says he was just drawn there. Clark asks him what Jor-El is waiting for and what their deal was. Jonathan refuses to tell him. Clark is worried that Lionel will get the key out of the wall, but Jonathan simply says it isn't there. It is revealed that Dr. Swann now has possession of the key.



Special Appearance By[]

Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "Once in a Blue Moon" - Edie Brickell
  • "Love's Divine" - Seal
  • "Mona Lisa" - Grant-Lee Phillips


  • A legacy is a gift or idea that one is remembered for.
  • The title refers to the aftermath of the deal Jor-El made with Jonathan.


  • Antagonist: Lionel Luthor and Jor-El (unseen)
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super speed, X-ray vision, super hearing, and telescopic vision.
  • Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan do not appear in this episode.
  • The writing on the key when it activates is red, yellow, and blue - the colors of Superman.
  • German translation: Lex says first, "We must reduce costs" and then "Gentlemen, it's late. I'm tired. We can speak tomorrow." These lines are French in the German version of the episode.
  • The scene where Jonathan takes the key from the tool box is the exact same scene used in Exile.



  • This episode takes place immediately after Crisis.
  • Agent Frank Loder also appears in Crisis, Forsaken, and Covenant.
  • The Metron Lab murders on which Lionel is trying to blame Lex happened in the preceding episode Crisis.
  • Jonathan made the deal with Jor-El in Exile.
  • Clark's first meeting with Dr. Swann happened in Season Two's Rosetta.
  • This is the first and only onscreen meeting of Veritas members Dr. Swann and Lionel Luthor.


  • The terms of Jonathan's deal with Jor-El are revealed in Covenant.
  • Dr. Swann does not return Clark's octagonal key until Season Four's Sacred.



Lex: You know, Dad... they say mental illness is hereditary. I'm willing to accept my break with reality. Are you?

Lionel: My transgression doesn't seem to upset you. I'm glad.
Virgil Swann: I'm a scientist. I find curiosity to be a most admirable trait.

Lionel: I believe that we're put on this earth for a reason, Clark. Our task in life is to find out what that reason is. Sometimes, we can't do that alone.

Jonathan: Your grandfather was the stubbornest man I ever knew. And believe me, Clark, I wasn't nearly the son you are. My mother used to say that he and I were like watching two sides of the same coin duking it out. And I see the way you and Jor-El fight and I wonder if maybe fathers and sons were the same on Krypton.

Clark: Except he's not my father. You are.
Jonathan: Yeah... I am your father who turns his back on you when you need him the most. I am your father who forces you to run away. My father never would've done that.

Clark: Why'd you have to bring him into this, Jor-El? Whatever promises my dad made, I'll take them on... (shouting) Come on, come on, Jor-El, I'm the one you want!

Jonathan: Clark, I don't know how to protect you anymore.
Clark: It's not your job. Your job is to teach me how to protect myself. But that doesn't mean I don't need you.

Dr. Swann: I didn't betray you, Kal-El. I promised you your secret would never leave this building and it hasn't. My involvement with Lionel Luthor is in your best interest.
Clark: That man has done nothing but cause my family pain.
Dr. Swann: Was he the one who caused the explosion on the farm? Did he make you run wild in Metropolis? I opened the door to your heritage because I thought that you were ready. Your actions over the past year have proven me wrong.

Dr. Swann: Fathers often want futures that their sons reject. That struggle is as old as the human race.
Clark: Except I'm not human.
Dr. Swann: Humanity is not only about biology.

Jonathan: You want something that doesn't belong to you. I'm not gonna let you take it.
Lionel: There exist in this world some things that are too valuable to be the sole possession of any one person.
Jonathan: This is your last warning. Stay away from my son.
Lionel: If you'd raised your son the way I raised mine, maybe you wouldn't have to protect him. You know, weakness isn't something you're born with. You learn it. And Clark learned his from you.

Lana: A person isn't who they say they are in any one moment. They're who they've always been.

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