Pilot3 051
Series 1x01
Episode 1
Writer Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Director David Nutter
Broadcast Date October 16, 2001
Production Code 475165
Previous Episode: None

Next Episode: Metamorphosis

"Pilot" is the series premiere, and first episode of the first season of Smallville. It aired on October 16, 2001.


The first (and pilot) episode of SMALLVILLE tells the story of the 1989 meteor shower in Smallville, Kansas and it's meteor rock effects on the small town. Clark Kent is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent after they discover him as a young boy in Riley Corn Field. Years later, while already understanding he is different than others, Smallville High student Clark Kent begins his journey towards his destiny. He begins discovering new abilities and strengths, which he uses to save the life of billionaire, Lex Luthor. The pilot introduces the first of many meteor infected victims, Jeremy Creek, who had been tied to a post in Riley Corn field as the traditional Smallville Scarecrow during the 1989 meteor shower.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 1x01

On October 7, 1989, young Smallville couple Jonathan and Martha Kent take a trip into town, visiting florist shop owner and friend Nell Potter and her three-year old niece Lana Lang.

Smallville pilot01

A tiny spaceship heads towards Earth.

Meanwhile, rich businessman Lionel Luthor and his son are flying in their helicopter to a factory in Smallville. Nine-year-old Lex Luthor is scolded by his father for expressing his fear during the flight, later finding relief when they land. While Lionel Luthor makes an unknown business deal, young Lex Luthor wanders off into Riley Corn Field.  After hearing someone whisper "help me", he runs in a panic, stumbling to the ground where he is called upon by fourteen-year-old Jeremy Creek who is without clothing and tied to a cross with an "S" painted on his chest.


The first meteor shower devastates the town.

As meteors begin to befall the town, Lana Lang witnesses a fatal meteor fall on her parents, Lewis and Laura Lang.  A collision in the cornfield creates a shockwave, bringing with it the debris that seemingly swallows Jeremy Creek and Lex Luthor. Lionel later finds Lex laying in the cornfield, with only a small patch of red hair remaining on his head. On a dirt road outside of the cornfield, Jonathan and Martha Kent are overturned in their pickup truck by a meteor. While hanging upside down in their vehicle, they are approached by a young boy without clothes or parents. Near by, a black spaceship lays in the wreckage, making certain the young Clark Kent was not of this planet. 

Smallville s01e01 115

The Kents find a little boy and take him home.

12 Years later, 2001, in Smallville, "The Meteor Capital of the World, population 45,001" teenage Clark Kent tries to convince his parents to allow him to play high school football. Overly cautious of his known abilities, Jonathan Kent disappoints Clark and refuses to sign the permission slip. Leaving the Kent farm a moment too late, Clark misses his bus to Smallville High, having to use his super speed through a corn field short cut. His best friends Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan discuss going to the school dance. Pete suggests that Chloe should go with Clark Kent and she insists she does not have a crush on him. Pete explains that he and Clark want to join the football team in order to avoid becoming the "Scarecrow". Every year the Smallville High football team chooses a freshman male who they leave in his underwear tied to a cross in a cornfield, like a scarecrow. Clark has a crush on Lana Lang, but becomes physically ill whenever he approaches her. Lana wears a necklace made from the meteor that killed her parents.

Smallville pilotlana

Clark has a crush on Lana Lang.

At football tryouts, Clark watches Lana practicing with the other cheerleaders. He daydreams about being the star quarterback and winning the game. Then he walks home at normal speed to think and mope. Jeremy Creek (looking exactly as he did twelve years ago) is skulking around the school. He gazes at the football trophy case, then breaks it and takes a picture of three smiling football players. At Frank's auto shop, Jeremy Creek electrocutes Frank, one of the former football players that put him out in the cornfield twelve years ago. Twenty-one year old Lex Luthor arrives in Smallville to assume management of the Smallville branch of his father's company, a fertilizer plant. Lex is driving quickly when his cell phone rings. Distracted, he doesn't notice something blocking the road ahead. He swerves and sees Clark moments before the car hits him. Both, Clark and Lex in his car go over the Loeb Bridge into Elbow River. The impact knocks Lex unconscious, but Clark swims towards him, rips the top off of his car, and pulls him out. He resuscitates Lex, who is sure he actually hit Clark, but Clark brushes him off. When Clark's father arrives at the scene, he is very unhappy with Lex.

Clark and Lex

Clark pulls Lex out of the river and revives him.

Later that night, Clark is in the

loft of his parents' barn. He spies on his neighbor, Lana. She is talking to her boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, a senior and quarterback of the football team. Lana gives him her necklace for good luck in the homecoming game. The next day, Clark receives a brand new truck as a gift from Lex for saving his life, but his father won't let him keep it. Jonathan's animosity towards the Luthors is revealed when he tells Clark that LuthorCorp evicted their neighbors to make the money that bought that truck. When Jonathan says that it's normal for Clark to be upset, Clark turns on the wood chipper and sticks his hand inside to demonstrate that he is not "normal", leaving Jonathan stunned.


Clark stands in front of a statue angel, symbolizing his character

Smallville s01e01 311

Jonathan explains to Clark how they found him.

Trying to explain Clark's origins, he shows him the spaceship, which they have hidden in the

storm cellar. He tells Clark that he arrived in it during the meteor shower. Clark is angry and says he should've been told before. He runs away to think and meets Lana in Smallville Cemetery. She confesses that she goes there to talk to her late parents. She and Clark have their first real conversation. Clark walks Lana home and she asks if he's going to the dance. He says that he is going to sit it out. She says if he changes his mind, she'll save him a dance, and then kisses him on the cheek. Whitney watches from the shadows. Clark goes to Lex's

mansion and explains to Lex that he can't keep the truck. Lex realizes it's because Clark's father doesn't like him. Lex says he doesn't want anything to stand in the way of their friendship. Pete and Chloe are at the scene of a crime. Another former football player has been found in a coma. They see

Clark, Chloe and Pete investigate for the paper.

Jeremy Creek and snap his picture. Chloe is editor of the school newspaper, the Smallville Torch and, with Pete and Clark's help, the three report on school events, but Chloe is keenly interested on abnormal events. They take Jeremy's photo to the office of the Torch and find him in a twelve-year-old yearbook. They realize he has been in a coma since the meteor shower and hasn't aged a day because he was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance. He escaped from the hospital during an electrical storm and is now prowling around Smallville electrocuting jocks for revenge. Chloe shows Clark her "Wall of Weird" - a collection of articles about the strange goings-on in Smallville since the meteor shower. Clark is upset by the mural because he believes that he is to blame.


Clark becomes that year's "Scarecrow".

As Clark is leaving the school, Whitney picks him to be the next scarecrow. Clark tries to fight back but Whitney is wearing Lana's necklace. When Clark notices the necklace, Whitney puts it on Clark which renders him helpless. Whitney and his fellow football players throw him in the back of a pickup truck and string him up in a

field on a cross with an "S" painted on his chest. Jeremy finds him but refuses to help, telling Clark that he'll be safer where he is. Jeremy then goes to the homecoming dance to electrocute everyone there. Lex drives by as Jeremy jumps the fence. Lex recognizes Jeremy from twelve years ago and gets out of the car to investigate. Jeremy slips away but Lex finds Clark and frees him. Lana's necklace falls off and as Clark runs away, Lex picks up the necklace.

SMpilot Jeremy Creek

Jeremy finds Clark in the cornfield.

At the dance, Jeremy is about to set off the sprinkler system when Clark shows up. They fight and Jeremy tries to run Clark down with a car when he crashes into a water main. As the cab fills with water, he short-circuits himself. His powers are gone. He has

no memory of Clark and just wants to go home.

Pilot 620

Clark stacks three pickup trucks.

Clark watches Lana and Whitney dance and leaves in frustration. When he sees Whitney's truck, he pauses. After the dance, the students are astonished to see three trucks belonging to the football players stacked one on top of the other. Jonathan comes to the loft to talk to Clark. Clark is no longer angry and says he is glad the Kents are the ones that found him. Jonathan says it was Clark who found them. Clark daydreams that Lana stops by and gives him the dance she promised him. As they dance, she asks him if everything is alright, and he responds that it's perfect. The sound of a car horn jolts him back to reality, as he watches Lana being dropped off by classmates. He gazes at her and whispers, "Thanks for the dance, Lana." She turns, almost as if she heard him, then smiles to herself, and walks into her house. Clark remains looking out the window.



Special Guest Star

Guest Starring


  • Adrian McMorran as Jeremy Creek/The Electric Scarecrow
  • Jade Unterman as Young Lana Lang
  • Malkom Alburquenque as Young Clark Kent
  • Matthew Munn as Young Lex Luthor
  • Dee Jay Jackson as Bill Ross
  • Alvin Sanders as Dale Ross
  • Steve Bacic as Frank/Garage Worker/Former Jock #1
  • Justin Chatwin as Teen Jostled by Whitney
  • Wendy Chmelauskas as Laura Lang
  • Ben Odberg as Lewis Lang
  • Jay Kirby
  • Amy Esterle as Heike


Featured Music

Song Artist/Band Scene
"The Way It Is" Bruce Hornsby Played when Jonathan and Martha Kent stop by Nell's flower shop in 1989.
"Long Way Around" Eagle Eye Cherry Played when introduced to the Kent farm in present-day Smallville.
"Eight Half Letters" Stereoblis Played when Chloe, Pete, and Clark arrive at school.
"Unstoppable" The Calling Played when Lex Luthor is driving down the road about to hit Clark and drive off of the bridge.
"Wonder" Embrace Played when Clark looks at Lana and Whitney through his telescope.
"Inside The Memories" Fear The Clown Played when Jeremy Creek attacks the mechanic in the auto repair shop.
"Let's Go" Capitol Eye Played when Whitney picks Clark as the Scarecrow and the jocks throw him into the truck.
"Maybe" Stereophonics Played at the Homecoming dance, when Pete and Chloe, Lana and Whitney are dancing.
"Everything I Own" Jude Played at the homecoming dance, when Clark looks in and sees Lana and Whitney dancing.
"Woodstock Alice" Paul Trudeau Played when Lana and Whitney exit the dance to see trucks stacked in a pile.
"Everything" Lifehouse Played when Clark arrives home after the homecoming dance and imagines dancing with Lana.


  • Technically, this episode is unnamed. The term "pilot" is traditionally used in the entertainment industry to identify the first episode of a television series.
  • The word "pilot" could mean about the term they call an aircraft employee who flies any vehicle relating to aircraft. This could refer to Clark's ability to fly, which was observed later in the future episodes and seasons.


  • This episode takes place on October 3–7, 2001. The novelization specifically states it is October. The novelization also states that the start of the present day section of the episode is a Tuesday which is actually incorrect as the homecoming dance is stated to be Saturday (twice) during both the novel and the episode itself. Since the episode takes place over three days this would mean the episode actually starts on a Thursday or more likely Wednesday is simply not shown during the episode which would push the episode out over four days. Also, Chloe says "...twelve years ago today, they chose Jeremy Creek as the Smallville High scarecrow." The Oliver Queen Chronicles states that the meteor shower occurred October 16, 1989. However, the Oliver Queen Chronicles is now considered non-canon while a canon source (the Smallville Torch Vol. 50, Issue 45) states the shower as occurring on October 25. Both of these sources have since been replaced by an episode of the series itself, Hero which states the date is October 7 and then we can backtrack the Tuesday to October 3 thus dating the episode. Oddly enough, the 7th was actually a Sunday (not a Saturday) in real life which is probably due to the writers not having pinned down the exact date of the meteor shower when writing the episode (as it is simply said to be October 1989 in the pilot episode itself).


  • Antagonist: Jeremy Creek and Whitney Fordman 
    Superman cape

    The red towel that Clark wore was a reference to the Superman cape.

  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, invulnerability, speed reading, super leaps (only in imagination) and super speed.
  • The name of the Smallville High School paper, the Smallville Torch, was also the name of the school paper where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman's creators, worked in high school.
  • Jeremy Creek is the first known meteor freak and villain of the show.
  • The episode contains a few subtle references to Superman. Lex asks Clark, "Do you believe a man can fly?" similar to the tag-line from the first Superman movie - "You'll believe a man can fly." When Clark is hung up as the Scarecrow, the red "S" on his chest is an allusion to the S on Superman's costume. When Jonathan puts his jacket around Clark and they walk away from Lex and the accident, the red blanket around Clark hangs off his shoulders like a classic Superman cape. Additionally, Clark bumps into Lana in this episode and as they talk she asks him, "So what are you, man or superman?" referring to his future as Superman. Also, when Jeremy says to Clark that he has a destiny, Clark reveals to have one too.
  • The first two episodes of the series, the Pilot and Metamorphosis, are sometimes combined into a movie-length 2 hour presentation, which was the case when the series first premiered in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • When first premiered as a 2-hour move in Canada the following scene is extended.
    • When Lex is resuscitated, Clark sees the broken guardrail and looks weak. Lex asks, "Kid, are you feeling alright?" Clark says "Yeah, I'm fine", then faints, falling flat on his face.
  • Scenes deleted from the Pilot include:
    • When Young Lex is first introduced in the helicopter, he's father Lionel tells him he won't tell the pilot to land the copter until Lex looks out of the window, which he does only to start panicking and uses his inhaler. There's also a scene in which Pete Ross's father, Bill Ross, and uncle, Dale Ross, have debate on Lionel's intention for buying the factory from them as they don't know why the "pesticide king of Metropolis" would be interested in a creamed corn plant.
    • After they arrive at school, Clark, Pete, and Chloe watch as Whitney and the rest of the jocks park their trucks (the same ones that Clark piles up at the end of the episode), Chloe refers to them as the "3 ass-kateers".
    • Principle Kwan seeing Jeremy Creek break into the trophy case. When Kwan, who mistakes Jeremy for a current student at the school, orders him into his office, Jeremy throws Kwan into a display case behind him.
    • Gabe Sullivan (not played by Robert Wisden, but by Eric Keenleyside) tells some factory works to be on the look out for Lex referring to him as "Daddy's little boy" unaware that Lex is behind him. Gabe starts to worry, because the plant isn't returning much profit, but Lex assures him that he isn't going to fire any employees at the fertilizer plant.
    • Pete and Chloe are waiting for Clark to show up at the dance. They decide to dance together, but only as friends (even though it's obvious in the scene that Chloe likes Clark and Pete likes Chloe).
  • Clark reads an article entitled "3-year-old Korean boy lifts truck off injured father" which is an obvious allusion to Superman: The Movie where a 6-year-old Kal-El lifts a truck off a shocked Jonathan Kent.
  • Lionel Luthor is the very first character to appear on-screen in the series.
  • In the first scene, the front page of Lionel's newspaper states that Queen Industries' CEO is missing and presumed dead. The new Queen Industries CEO, their son Oliver Queen, joined Smallville as a recurring guest in Season Six, before being promoted to regular in Season Eight. This headline also appears in Season Seven's Veritas.
    Pilot red blue meteor rock

    The unusual meteor.

  • The 'Queen Industries' headline would be deepened later as part of the Veritas story arc.
  • During the very first scene showing the meteors approaching Earth, one with red and blue strains can be spotted among them.
  • The DEFCON system is referred to incorrectly; DEFCON 5 is the least severe state. Ironically, it will be used correctly by Chloe over nine years later.
  • Martha mentions that she is taking night classes. This is never mentioned again on the series.
  • When Clark was chosen as Scarecrow by Whitney and almost fought him, he was very close to overpowering Whitney with his strength, as he grasped Whitney by his shirt tightly, until Clark opened up his shirt by accident showing the necklace that Lana gave Whitney, giving Whitney the advantage.

In Other Media


Annette O'Toole as Lana Lang in Superman III

  • In Smallville, Kal-El's ship came to Earth accompanied by meteor rock fragments. This differs from nearly every version of the events (with the exception of Superman: The Animated Series), which tells that kryptonite came long after Kal-El.
  • Annette O'Toole, who plays Martha Kent, previously played the adult Lana Lang in Superman III.
  • Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Pete Ross, Martha Kent, Jonathan Kent, and Lewis Lang are the first seven DC Comics characters adapted into the series.
  • The Superman symbol is shown on a little ride in front of store as young Lana is crying.
  • The New 52 version of Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) arrives on Earth in a meteor shower on Smallville, a possible reference to Smallville and this particular episode. Kara's pod, however, hurtles through the Earth and emerges in Siberia.


  • According to the producers, the scene at the graveyard is one of the first scenes which Kristin Kreuk auditioned for in the show and her first scene with Tom Welling.[1]
  • This is the first and only episode in which the theme song, Save Me, isn't featured.
  • When this episode originally aired, there were no opening credits. The regular actors are listed followed by a "Special Guest Star" listing for John Glover.
  • In the version of the pilot that aired, childhood Clark, Lana and Lex are played by Malkolm Alburquenque, Jade Unterman, and Matthew Munn respectively. All three child actors would reprise their roles in Season 2, Alburquenque and Munn in Lineage, and Unterman in Accelerate.
  • The pilot episode runs 48 minutes long, which was the longest single episode until the Season 4 finale, Commencement - which runs at 50 minutes long. This would then be beaten by the double-part episodes of Absolute Justice and Finale, which run at over an 1 hour each.
  • Actress Cynthia Ettinger was the original Martha Kent.
  • The bridge that Lex goes off is the Loeb Bridge, a reference to Jeph Loeb, who wrote Superman comic books and consulted on Season Two.
  • David Nutter previously directed 21 episodes of Superboy from 1989 to 1992.


  • Lana's parents are played by Ben Odberg and Wendy Chmelauskas. They appear as Lewis and Laura Lang in two future episodes, Season Four's "Scare" and Season Five's "Void".
  • More is revealed about the day the Kents found Clark in Season Two's "Lineage" and Season Eight's "Eternal".
  • In Season Seven's "Descent", the real reason for Lionel's trip to Smallville is revealed to not so much to buy a creamed corn factory, but to welcome the Traveler.
  • Lex talks about the history of the Luthor mansion - which is supposed to be his ancestral home and was "shipped over from Scotland stone by stone". Lionel's reasons to actually do so is explained later on in Season Seven's Quest.
  • The "Scarecrow" prank that in which Clark was victimized showed him hanging on a cross-like structure. This is the first of several times throughout the series that imagery of Jesus Christ alludes to Clark being a Christ figure.
  • This is the first and only episode that shows Clark Kent carrying a skateboard.
  • In the story of Smallville, it is shown that right before Kal-El as a baby left Krypton, his older future self from 2008 battled Brainiac with help from Kara as Brainiac was about to kill him. Kal-El from 2008 put him back in the spaceship and the story of Smallville began.


  • Clark is reading a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher whose views on religion, morality, and psychoanalysis were influential to the German Nazi Party. His book "The Will to Power" contains the famous line, "Behold the Superman".[1]



Clark: I'd give anything to be normal.

Jonathan: Kids just don't fall out of the sky, Martha.
Martha: Then where did he come from?
Jonathan: I don't know. But he must have parents. (they both find the space ship)
Martha: Well, if he does, they're definitely not from Kansas.
Jonathan: Sweetheart, we can't keep him. What are we gonna tell people? We found him out in a field?
Martha: We didn't find him... he found us.

Young Lana: Do you want to make a wish?
Martha: I would love to make a wish.
Young Lana: Okay. Abracadabra.

Martha: (scolding Clark for drinking out of the carton) Jeez, Clark. Get a glass, where did you learn your manners?
Clark: (laughing) On a farm.

Chloe: Statistical fact. Clark Kent can't get within five feet of Lana Lang without turning into a total freak show.

Lionel: This has got to stop. Open your eyes, Lex.
Lex: I can't...
Lionel: Luthors are not afraid. We don't have that luxury. We're leaders. You have a destiny, Lex. You're never going get anywhere with your eyes closed.

Lex: Clark, do you believe a man can fly?
Clark: Sure. In a plane.
Lex: No, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about soaring through the clouds, with nothing but air beneath you.
Clark: People can't fly, Lex.

Lana: Nietzsche? I didn't know you have a dark side, Clark.
Clark: Doesn't everyone?
Lana: So what are you: man or superman?
Clark: I haven't figured it out yet.

Lana: Are you okay?
Clark: I'm hanging out in a graveyard. Does this strike you as okay behavior?

Lana: I didn't see you tonight, Clark.
Clark: Lana. What are you doing here?
Lana: I saved you that dance. (They start dancing) Everything okay, Clark?
Clark: It's perfect. (Horns outside honk, and Clark awakes from his reverie.) Thanks for the dance, Lana.


  1. Simpson, Paul (2004). Smallville: The Official Companion Season 1. London: Titan Books. pp. 8–17. ISBN 1840237955.

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