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For the eponymous character Metallo, see John Corben.

"Metallo" is the second episode in the ninth season of Smallville, and the one hundred-seventy-sixth episode overall. It aired on October 2, 2009.


After being struck by a truck, John Corben wakes up alone in an abandoned apartment as a man-machine with a kryptonite heart. Corben realizes he now has superhuman strength and sets out to exact revenge on the Red-Blue Blur, who he perceives to be an irresponsible vigilante. Against Clark's wishes, Lois involves herself in the Red-Blue Blur's investigation, and winds up getting kidnapped by Corben.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 9x02


John Corben after the accident.

Lois knocks on the back door of the Kent Farm house, looking for Clark. She finds the place a little neglected, with dust on the counter; however, someone has been feeding Shelby. Lois gets a call on her cell phone from her new Daily Planet co-worker, John Corben, who is still out looking for a story. After asking Lois out twice and being rejected both times, he begins to question Lois's flawless impression of the Blur, who has once again performed his vigilante duties and left his mark. John is convinced that the Blur has a dark side and vows to expose it as he stares at a wallet-sized photograph. As he ends his conversation with Lois, a gust of wind blows the picture into the street.


John in the hospital.

As John goes to retrieve it, he steps out between two parked cars and is hit by a large truck. As he bleeds out heavily onto the street, he still attempts to reach for the photograph. He sees a flash of light before waking up on an operating table, in a lot of pain. John removes the bandage around his upper arm to find it now half-comprised of metal, with a tube of kryptonite inserted into his arm. Surrounded by bloody curtains and LuthorCorp crates, he shouts "Hello?" with no answer. He walks over to a mirror and removes the blood-soaked gauze on his chest to reveal an artificial kryptonite heart surgically implanted into his chest, glowing green. It begins pulsing faster and faster as he begins to panic.

Clark Watch

Clark watches over Metropolis.

Clark stands on the ledge near the top of the Daily Planet building as he listens for trouble. He overhears people preparing for the day and a marriage proposal, before super speeding off to answer a police scanner call.

Asleep in Chloe's apartment at the Talon, Lois has another strange dream (a shorter version of the one in Savior). Shelby wakes her and Chloe comes home, surprised that Lois brought the dog home with her. Chloe reveals she's been taking care of Shelby in Clark's absence. As the conversation changes to the Blur, Lois nonchalantly reveals she's been communicating with the Blur exclusively. Chloe is noticeably bothered by this.


Chloe finds out that the Blur's been talking to Lois.

Chloe returns Shelby to the Kent Farm and confronts Clark when he returns to feed the dog. She points out that, although she covered for him this time, he needs to be more careful, because if it had been Lois instead of Chloe there, she'd have seen his Blur costume, with the House of El mark on his shirt, and known his identity. Chloe asks why Clark is still contacting Lois when he is supposed to be abandoning his 'human attachments', and says he should recognize the sacrifices already made by the two of them and finish the training he's set out to accomplish.

John Corben admits himself into the hospital, and is evaluated by Dr. Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton informs John that the bionic additions surgically implanted in him cannot be removed, since whoever performed the surgery on him has removed his heart and the kryptonite matrix is the only thing keeping him alive. When the hospital personnel try to sedate him, John throws an orderly and Dr. Hamilton across the room, showing that the modifications to his body have given him super strength.

Lois visits Tess Mercer at the Luthor Mansion, and they recall the fight they had prior to Lois's disappearance. Tess had fired Lois from her position at the Daily Planet, but Lois 'persuades' Tess to give her back her job by threatening to run a story on the Luthors in the Metropolis Inquisitor. Lois turns and leaves, and Tess says nothing. Then Stuart, an employee of Tess's, enters and shows Tess that he's pinpointed the locations of the missing Kryptonians.


The picture of Rebecca Corben.

Meanwhile, Clark super speeds to the hospital after hearing about the hospital incident over a police scanner. Dr. Hamilton briefs him and says that while the kryptonite in John's body is significantly affecting his abilities, it is also boosting his adrenaline and therefore intensifying his emotions.

Meanwhile, John wanders around downtown Metropolis, while the conversation he had with Lois before his accident replays in his head. John finds the photograph which had gotten him knocked down, and, again seeing the Blur's mark, decides that the accident and surgery were gifts that have given him the ability to kill the Blur.

Clark finds a Daily Planet keychain John left behind at the hospital, which shows he works there, so, as the Blur, he contacts Lois from the hospital and asks her to find out who in the office has lost their keys, but he warns her that the man is a dangerous super-human cyborg. They agree to meet at the usual phone booth later that night.

Chloe visits Lois at work to invite her to lunch, but sees she's not at her desk, so Chloe takes the opportunity to scan Lois's hard drive and finds some spyware installed. Then Lois returns and declines Chloe's lunch request, saying she's too busy helping the Blur.

Tess and Stuart investigate the room in which John awoke earlier, and wonder if Corben was a guinea-pig for the people who performed the surgery and who might still be monitoring his condition. Tess concludes that Zod and his people are one step closer to getting their powers.


Lois is kidnapped from the phone booth while talking to the Blur.

Lois and John are back at the office late that evening. John seems more frustrated than practical about not being able to locate some records. Since they're in the process of being moved, Lois suggests that he will find their hard-copy counterparts in the archive room and asks what it is he's looking for. He says he's looking for records on the Blur, but when Lois tells him that he'll need his keys, John asks to use hers because he's left his somewhere. Remembering what the Blur had told her, Lois gives her keys to him, and excuses herself and leaves.

Lois quickly jogs to the phone booth and gets there just as the Blur calls. She is able to tell him about John Corben's identity, but is then immediately kidnapped by John.

Clark meets Chloe at the Watchtower, where they are able to uncover a video John had recorded for his sister Rebecca while he was overseas. She had been murdered three months prior, before John had returned to the United States. Upon his return, he bought the building in which Rebecca was killed. Clark and Chloe decide that John must be holding Lois there. Clark tells Chloe of his plan for tackling Corben with his kryptonite heart: he's obtained an EMP bomb which will disable all electronics within 50 feet. He plans to use it in order to get close enough to John to defeat him.


John is affected by the EMP grenade.

John asks Lois who the Blur is, and promises her freedom if she tells him. Lois attempts to hit him with a wrench, but he throws her into some pipes and she is knocked unconscious. Clark shows up and begins to approach John, but John's kryptonite heart forces Clark to keep his distance. John explains the grudge he holds against the Blur: a prison bus had crashed, and in the confusion, an inmate escaped who went on to murder Rebecca. In John's mind, this made the Blur responsible for her death. Clark tries to convince him that his thoughts are being influenced by the kryptonite, but when this fails he uses the EMP bomb which temporarily neutralizes the kryptonite matrix powering John, and Clark is able to get to Lois. He attempts to wake her, but before he is able to do so, John recovers and throws Clark to the opposite end of the room. John tells Clark that he's going to show him what it feels like to lose somebody Clark loves, and moves toward Lois. Clark finds a lead plate which he softens with his heat vision, then super speeds at John and molds it to his chest. When John removes it, he also removes the kryptonite heart which is stuck to it and collapses dead. Lois awakens to see the Blur standing in the shadows and asks to see his face. After taking a step forward, Clark hesitates and then super-speeds away.

Clark returns to the Watchtower and apologizes to Chloe for not being there for her when she needed him after Jimmy's death. He confesses that he has his doubts, but can't let go of the human life he's been trying to leave behind. Chloe reveals that the spyware she found on Lois's work computer was loaded by Tess; she believes Tess gave Lois her job back to find out where she was when she disappeared for three weeks. Chloe then insists that Clark ensure that Tess doesn't get to Lois's memories before he does, since Tess already knows too much about him.


Lois is overjoyed that Clark has returned.

Clark finally returns to the Daily Planet, and Lois is ecstatic that he's back, rushing to hug him warmly. But when he says "Must have really missed me", she gets flustered and claims she wouldn't have noticed his absence if it weren't for the fact his replacement was a psychopath. When Clark asks if he missed anything while away, Lois brags that she helped the Blur and sits on his desk to tell him the whole story, much to his amusement.


The man in the House of El crest.

At the Luthor Mansion, Tess examines the kryptonite heart that served as John's life support, in awe of the power it was able to provide despite its size. Stuart enters to show Tess pictures he has found of Kryptonian symbols that appeared around the world when Zod arrived. He explains that, while their definitive translations aren't known, the designs showed similarities to the Kryptonian words for 'blood', 'nobility' and 'family'. He says hundreds of these symbols have shown up around the world, proving there are many more of Zod's people out there. Stuart shows her that one symbol is the mark of the House of El, and when he zooms in to a close-up, there is a man lying inside the mark on the ground.



Special Guest Star[]

Guest Starring[]






  • Antagonist: John Corben
  • Clark uses the following powers in this episode: super strength, super speed, invulnerability, heat vision, telescopic vision and super hearing (while monitoring Metropolis).
  • Zod and Oliver Queen do not appear in this episode.
  • This episode follows the format of a classic freak of the week episode: a human gains kryptonite-based powers, becomes psychotic, and then Clark Kent defeats him in battle.
  • Lois tells Chloe that she is hunting down a real-life Terminator (Corben). Coincidentally, Brian Austin Green, who plays John Corben, also played in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as Derek Reese, a member of the future resistance against Terminators, and the uncle of John Connor.
    • In Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future, a four-part crossover comic book series published in the year 2000, Superman encounters the Terminators.
  • Not once in this episode is John Corben called "Metallo".
  • Lois's pajamas have red, yellow and blue helicopters, the same colors as Superman's costume. There is a memorable scene in Superman: The Movie where Lois falls from a helicopter and Superman saves her.
  • When John Corben is sitting down on a street, there are two newspaper vending boxes behind him. One of the boxes is for the Smallville Ledger. The newspaper in the box features a photograph of Shawn Ashmore as Eric Summers, a character appearing in the Season One episode Leech and the Season Three episode Asylum. Shawn is the twin brother of Aaron Ashmore, who played Henry James "Jimmy" Olsen on Smallville. Interestingly, in this episode, there is also a photograph of Aaron as Jimmy Olsen at Watchtower.
  • Corben is turned into a cyborg by the Kandorians. In the comics, Corben usually is turned into a cyborg by a human scientist named Emmet Vale. However, in Superboy #49 (June, 1956), a teenage Clark Kent/Superboy encounter a Metallo (a benevolent robot) created by Kryptonians.


  • John Corben first appeared in Savior.
  • Clark mentions Lex's projects involving cyborgs that occurred in Cyborg.
  • Shelby was last seen in Instinct.
  • Lois refers to Shelby as a female again. She first made this mistake in Stiletto.
  • Tess and Lois referencing their fight, which happened in Doomsday.
  • Clark returns to work at the Daily Planet in this episode.
  • Lois mentions Martha as "Mrs. K" twice in this episode. She was last mentioned (by Clark) in Infamous.
  • Jimmy Olsen is seen via a picture on Chloe's desk at the Watchtower. He was last seen in Doomsday.
  • Randall was last seen in Stiletto.



  • John Corben makes an appeal to the Biblical historic figure of the Mighty Goliath that "could be taken down by a simple stone", when he witnesses Clark's weakness.



Lois: (to Shelby) Smallville isn't the same without Smallville.

Lois: Well, it looks like the night shift finally clocked in. What happened, try to shave in your sleep?
John: Why do the electronic records in this place only go back a year?
Lois: Hello. Lois. Banter, banter, banter. What happened, did your snappy patter set with the sun?

Chloe: Lois stopped by and found Shelby here alone with a dish full of food. Now, don't worry, I covered for you. But you should know that you are now on her radar.
Clark: Thanks. I'll be more careful next time.
Chloe: Dressed like that? Clark, what if I was Lois? She would take one look at you and realize Clark Kent is the Blur.
Clark: I told you, there is no Clark Kent.
Chloe: No disrespect to your Kryptonian calling, but coming back to feed the dog is about as human as it gets.

Lois: (referring to John Corben) Heartless bastard.

Lois: Clark Kent, you're back! I was beginning to think your family lived on some distant planet.
Clark: Must have really missed me.
Lois: Uh, only because the guy who sat in your desk was a certifiable psychopath. Otherwise, I've been so busy, I didn't even notice you were gone.
Clark: Missed you, too, Lois.

John: (to Clark) What... gives you the right... to interfere with our lives, and to change our fate?!

John: (to Clark) What's the matter, Blur? A little meteor rock got you down? Who knew the mighty Goliath could be taken down with a simple stone?

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ComicsThe Comic · Season 11 · Miniseries