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"Phoenix" is the second episode in the third season of Smallville, and forty-sixth episode overall. It aired on October 8, 2003.


Lex Luthor returns from the dead and faces his father and his wife. Clark also returns to Smallville and tries to repair his relationships with Lana and Chloe. Morgan Edge follows Clark to Smallville demanding the package Clark stole for him.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 3x02

Phoenix kryptonian s

The symbol on Clark's chest begins to disappear.

Jonathan and a red kryptonite-infected Kal fall into an area of LuthorCorp below street-level and begin a brutal and destructive super-powered fight. Jonathan sees Clark's scar for the first time. Clark runs at Jonathan and pins him to the wall. Jonathan finally gets through to Clark by daring him to kill him if that is how he was raised. Instead of punching him, Clark hits the wall and the red ring shatters. Clark's scar burns away, and he is restored to his normal self. Jonathan passes out and Clark runs to help him up.


Jonathan brings Clark home.

Martha is waiting for them to arrive when Clark and Jonathan stumble through the door. Martha runs into Clark's arms as he starts apologizing for everything. Jonathan collapses onto the sofa and Clark worries that whatever Jor-El did to him was too much for his body to handle.

Lionel is in his office contemplating his stolen package when he is approached by a cloaked figure, who turns out to be Lex. Lex pulls a gun on his father, asking why he tried to have him killed, and for Helen's whereabouts. Lionel reveals to Lex that Helen is alive and well in the mansion, and tells him her version of the plane crash: the pilot bailed and left them with only one parachute, and Lex sacrificed himself by giving it to Helen. However, Lionel does not believe her story.

Lex denies that Helen is responsible and continues to blame Lionel, but Lionel points out that he would have nothing to gain from Lex's death, and that now Helen is one of the richest women in the world. Lex says Helen never cared about the money, to which Lionel suggests that Lex ask her about the vial of blood that he returned to her.

At the Kawatche Caves, Clark asks Jonathan why Jor-El helped him and guesses that they made some kind of a deal. Jonathan does not offer any details, saying the important thing is that Clark has his life back. Clark says he is not sure he wants it back because as Kal, he could do whatever he wanted. Jonathan says that if Clark stays in Smallville, his problems may not disappear, but at least they can deal with them together as a family. Clark shows Jonathan the package that Morgan Edge hired him to steal from Lionel Luthor.

Back at the barn, they open the package and realize that it is Clark's vial of blood. They speculate on why Lionel would want his blood, before Jonathan destroys the sample and tells Clark to worry about people closer to home.

Edge and Lionel are discussing their old friendship in his office. Lionel asks him about the missing vial, and it is revealed that Edge paid Helen for its location. He planned to steal the package and sell it back to Lionel at a high price. Lionel threatens to put him away for life unless he brings the package back in 24 hours. Lionel says that he has evidence of Edge's involvement in a murder.

Clark goes to the Talon and tentatively approaches Lana. He apologizes for the way he acted in Metropolis. Lana says she does not know how to respond to him, since he claims that he keeps secrets to protect her, yet he is the only thing that keeps hurting her. Clark admits that he is not even sure if he will stay in Smallville. Lana goes in a back room and starts to cry, while Clark looks at her helplessly.

Lex approaches Helen in the Luthor Mansion and she tells him another version of the story: that they had been drugged by the pilot and she could not wake Lex. She had no choice but to take the only parachute and leave her husband. Lex asks her about selling the vial to Lionel, and she explains that Lionel promised to live the two alone if she sold it to him. She tells Lex that she will comply if he wants to get the marriage annulled, but that she does love him.


Clark is angry at Morgan Edge.

Edge goes to the Kent farm and asks Clark where the package is. When Clark admits that he does not have it, Edge threatens to call the police. Clark feigns his Red K persona, threatening Edge and telling him never to come back to Smallville again. As Edge drives away, Clark looks worried.

Clark goes to the Smallville Torch office to apologize to Chloe. He thanks her for not telling anyone where he was all summer and he admits he has not decided whether to stay in Smallville. Chloe argues that he needs to stop running away and face his demons.


Clark apologizes to Chloe.

Lex finds Clark packing. Clark is happy to see that Lex is not dead. Lex explains that he had a severe case of malaria but was rescued. He offers to help with the farm, but Clark says Jonathan would probably not accept.


Clark and Lex reunite.

Later, Chloe approaches Lana and asks why she is avoiding her, and Lana admits that she is still angry that Chloe knew where Clark was all summer and did not tell anyone. Chloe is tired of fighting with her and explains the pressure Clark put on her to keep his secret. She liked being the person that Clark confided in, but she has to admit that the reason he is more comfortable talking with her than with Lana is because Clark is not in love with her.


Clark produces a sample for Edge.

At the mansion, Helen tells Lex that she is leaving for a while to give him space. Lex surprises her by asking if they can give their honeymoon a second try.

Clark finds Edge on the farm again, but this time he is holding Jonathan and Martha captive in the barn. He threatens to kill Clark's parents unless he produces the package. Clark realizes he cannot save both his parents, so he takes a meteor rock out of a lead box and uses it to slash his forearm and bleed into a mason jar. He collapses to the ground as he tells Edge that that is what was in the package. Edge takes the jar of blood to Lionel, who confirms with Dr. Lia Teng that it is identical. Edge then reveals that it is not the original sample - he got a new sample straight from the source.

Phoenixws 254

Lionel has Dr. Teng test the new sample.

Morgan calls his thugs, who tape the meteor rock to Clark's chest and drag him into the moving van just as Lana pulls up. One of them drives away with Clark while the other takes Lana into the barn. Lana quickly sizes up the situation, smashes the thug's instep with her boot and grabs a shovel. As the thug advances, Martha trips him and he falls on his face. As he levels his weapon at Martha, Lana smashes him over the head with the shovel. He drops the gun, and Lana goes for it. The thug regains his footing and lunges for the weapon, but Lana kicks him back onto a pitchfork that impales him.


Lex and Helen reunite.

On board their private jet, Lex reveals that he knows Helen tried to kill him. He has done research and discovered that the area where he was found was unreachable with the amount of fuel they took off with. He investigated every island in the area and discovered that Helen landed in St. Croix at 7:59 PM. He guesses that Helen drugged him and paid the pilot to drop her off then crash the plane with Lex inside. Now caught, Helen pulls a gun, but Lex tries to take it from her. In the struggle, they shoot the pilot. The plane starts to go down, and Lex rushes into the cockpit to take over the controls, while Helen parachutes away.

Clark finds a piece of glass in the moving van. He cuts the binding on his hands and removes the kryptonite from his chest just as he reaches the docks. Lionel approaches the truck with the driver just as Clark blasts a propane tank with his heat vision, blowing the truck up. Lionel assumes Edge set up a trap to kill him, so his guards rush him to safety and open fire on Edge. Edge falls in the water as Clark climbs out.

Lex arrives home to find Lionel at the mansion congratulating him on turning the tables on Helen. Lex admits to Lionel that all the tests he has put him through helped him survive on the island, and he says he wants to take Lionel up on his offer to run LuthorCorp together. Lionel accepts, and the two embrace. Lex seems genuinely relieved, but Lionel seems worried about this new phase in their relationship.

The Kents are continuing to pack when Clark tells them that he told the Metropolis police where the stolen money was, and that he has decided to stay in Smallville and face his problems.


Lex purchases the Kent farm, allowing the Kents to keep it.

Lex arrives and reveals that he has bought the farm, and wants to gift Jonathan the deed. Jonathan initially refuses this gift, but Lex says it is not a gift at all - the compass Jonathan gave him as a wedding present saved Lex's life when the plane went down and he needed to find his way to land. Jonathan says he will pay Lex back, but Lex says he simply wants to be considered part of the family.


Lana explains that she wants to know Clark.


Clark and Lana end their relationship (again).

Clark is hanging the Kent Farm sign when Lana rides up on horseback. She pleads with Clark to trust her. Clark says that the way he acted in Metropolis is a part of him and Lana was clearly disgusted by it. He says that he never wants her to feel that way again, and although he tried, he can never be the right guy for her. He tells her that their relationship will never work. Lana turns and leaves, saying he never had to try.



Special Guest Star[]

Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "Maybe Tomorrow" - Stereophonics
  • "In the Sky" - Ginger
  • "Salut Demeure" - Charles Gounod
  • "White Flag" - Dido


  • A phoenix is a bird in Arabian mythology that is famed for its ability to burn itself on a funeral pyre and return from its ashes as baby chick, symbolizing immortality.
  • As noted at the very beginning of this article, Lex "returns from the dead" in this episode.
  • The term also refers to a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering from a calamity.
  • In the episode, Clark returns to Smallville from his self-imposed exile, "renewed" from his Kal persona.
  • Clark also blasts a propane tank with his heat vision, blowing the truck up and yet surviving. This is similar to how a phoenix burns itself on a funeral pyre and returns from the ashes


Phoenixws 090

A suicide.

  • Lionel serves Morgan Edge a mixed drink he calls a suicide. Actually, there are many mixed drinks with this name. One of them calls for one ounce of gold rum and one ounce of grenadine in a highball glass filled with milk and shaken [1]. The drink that Lionel gives Morgan Edge has red and orange layers on the rocks, so he must be using a different recipe.
  • Chloe remarks that Clark ended "two years of Lana-lusting" pretty easily, but in fact, Clark has, by his own admission, been lusting over Lana since primary school and continues to do so.
  • The scar fades into a yellow Superman shield just before it disappears.

    Scar forming glowing crest

  • This episode marks the first official break-up of Clark and Lana.
  • Dr. Teng is the tenth DC Comics character adapted into the series, albeit with a gender change.
  • This is the third episode to follow a previous episode that had ended with "To be continued" making it and Exile an official 2-part story. Other such episodes that follow up "To be continued" episodes are Vortex, Exodus, Arrival, Vessel, Zod, Bizarro, and Lazarus.
  • Jonathan seems to have forgotten about Green kryptonite, when he thought about possible ways to get his son back, and eventually he wouldn't have died.
  • When The WB Network aired a recap of the previous episode, and aired this episode, there was an error where both the recap of the previous episode, and the beginning portion of this episode were being viewed in 4:3 aspect ratio. This error was fixed on one of the DVDs of Smallville: The Complete Third Season.


  • The scientist in Lionel's limousine who tests Clark's blood sample is revealed to be Dr. Lia Teng in Velocity.
  • Four years after the events in this episode, Clark admits to Lana in Siren that he still feels guilty for his crime spree.
  • Lex's final words to Helen about having no doubt he'll rise from the ashes again one day, despite being years into the future, foreshadows his resurrection at the end of the series.
  • Lex told Helen that if his father wanted him dead he wouldn't have failed. At the end of this season Lionel would indeed try to have Lex killed, but he would survive even that.


  • Lex mentions the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac, in which Abraham was told to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith. This is one of Lex's frequent Biblical references.
  • Chloe says that "Clark has more issues than Rolling Stone," a biweekly music and popular culture magazine founded in 1967 with over 1000 issues to date.


Jonathan: What in the hell did Jor-El do to you, Clark?
Clark: He made sure I'd never forget who my real father is.

Lionel: I had search parties scouring half the world for you.
Lex: Looks like you picked the wrong half.

Chloe: You can't keep running away, Clark. We all do things we regret. Sometimes you have to stop and face your demons.

Clark: (in shock) Lex?
Lex: Three months alone on a deserted island was almost worth it to see the look on your face right now.
Clark: Aw Lex! Aw, man! We thought you'd died! (they embrace)
Lex: I guess fate has bigger plans for me.

Clark: I guess we've all got to take a look at our dark side sooner or later.
Lex: The problem is if you stare at it long enough, it can get hard to tell the two sides apart.

Chloe: He wasn't exactly the charming flannel king we all know and love. It was like he was a--
Lana: A different person.
Chloe: Yeah. I mean, let's face it, Lana. Clark has more issues than Rolling Stone.

Lex: I haven't been able to stop thinking about the accident and there is something that's been right in front of my eyes. If my father wanted me dead, he wouldn't have failed.

Lex: Go ahead. I've become quite adept at cheating death. In fact, I have no doubt that I'll rise from the ashes again.

Lex: (In the shadows) Abraham threw Isaac on the pyre to prove his faith to God. What was your excuse dad?
(He reveals himself)
Lionel: (In amazement) Lex?
Lex: (Pulls out a gun and points it at Lionel) Disappointed I'm not basking in the fires of hell?
Lionel: Lex... I...
Lex: Sorry, I screwed up your plan.

Lex: It is our honeymoon, I would hate for you to doze off. You never know, you might wake up to find me gone.
Helen: Lex, that's not funny.
Lex: I guess you had to be there.

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ComicsThe Comic · Season 11 · Miniseries