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"Prodigal" is the fifteenth episode in the second season of Smallville, and thirty-sixth episode overall. It aired on February 11, 2003.


Lex finds Lucas, the son Lionel gave up for adoption, and brings him home in the hope that the two of them can unite against Lionel. When Lionel's machinations end up putting all three of them in a dangerous situation, Lex is left to wonder whom he can really trust. Meanwhile, Clark decides to take a job at the Talon.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 2x15

A young man is playing poker in a seedy hall in Edge City. His partner, Dirk, is in the rafters using surveillance cameras to help him cheat by photographing the other players' cards. When security discover the cheaters, a gunfight erupts. The man escapes on a motorcycle with the thugs close behind him. He stumbles and is nearly overtaken when Lex Luthor shows up in a black town car stops in front of him, invites him to get inside and introduces himself as his brother.


Lex watches on as Lionel and Lucas reunite.

Clark goes to the Talon and surprises Lana by asking for a job. She is reluctant because he doesn't "have the best track record for keeping appointments," and suggests he try the hardware store. Clark is dismayed and spots the rose that he gave her in the garbage can. Lana looks sheepish and tries to cover by offering him an application after all. Later, Chloe drops in for coffee and sees Clark's application. Lana says she isn't going to hire him, but Chloe guesses that it's not because Lana thinks Clark can't do the job.


Clark asks Lana for a job.

Lex arrives at Lionel's office with the young man in tow, and introduces him to Lionel as his son Lucas. Lionel embraces him lovingly and a pang of jealousy crosses Lex's face. Lex asks Lionel why he told him Lucas was dead, when, in fact, he was alive and well. He correctly guesses that Lionel knew Lucas was alive. Lionel sends Lucas out and remarks that Lex has probably welcomed Lucas so warmly because he just turned eighteen, so he is entitled to the vital ten percent of LuthorCorp stock that is needed to vote him out of power. He realizes Lex is staging a coup.

Clark and Pete are playing basketball when Lex arrives and introduces them to Lucas. Pete invites him to play, but shortly afterward, Lex gets a page and has to leave suddenly. Clark asks if Lucas can stay a little longer and they continue their game and chat. Lucas says he grew up all over the place and not having any parents has made him strong and independent. Clark and Lucas' game gets more intense as they try to show each other up, and Clark uses a bit of his abilities to beat him. Pete reins Clark in, but Lucas intentionally tries to elbow Clark in the chest and hurts himself instead. The game ends and Pete takes Lucas home.


Clark and Lucas try to show each other up on the court.

Lex storms into the library at the Luthor Mansion furious that his accounts have been frozen. Lionel patiently explains that Lex has put everything he owns into LexCorp, which is now owned by LuthorCorp, so Lex is now penniless. Lionel coolly informs him that he wants him out of the mansion. Lex says that it won't work because he and Lucas will vote Lionel out anyway. However, Lucas appears at the doorway and says that he is siding with Lionel. With nowhere else to go, Lex arrives at the Kents' doorstep. He admits that his father kicked him out and asks if he can stay with them for a while. Clark and Martha automatically defer to Jonathan, whose expression is unreadable. The next morning, Jonathan admits that he is amused at seeing Lex do farm chores but warns Clark that Lex shouldn't be left alone on the farm since he did investigate Clark for a year. Clark says he trusts Lex, but Jonathan is serious. Clark goes to help, and Lex explains that he used to spend summers on their ranch in Montana with his mother - everyone did their fair share. Lex is determined to prove to Jonathan that some Luthors pull their own weight.


Lex does his share at the Kent farm.

Lionel approaches Lucas and reminds him that he forgot to sign over his shares to the company as they agreed. Lucas looks bored and doesn't want to stop playing video games to talk about it. He finally reveals that he knows the $10 million Lionel offered for the shares is substantially lower than what he's entitled to as his son. Lucas reveals bitterness and animosity towards Lionel for failing to look for him before he turned twelve. Lionel shrugs off his questions and insists he sign the agreement. Lucas scrawls "bite me" on the contract, and notices Lionel's visibly react. Lionel stutters that he trusts him, so Lucas tries again. He calls out to Lionel and forcibly throws a pool ball right at his head. Lionel ducks, revealing that he saw the ball coming. Lucas says he realized that Lionel was not blind when he first met him and he poured a glass of water without placing a finger inside to know when it was full. Lionel asks what he wants and he says he wants to inherit everything.

Clark goes to the Talon and is surprised to learn that he got the job. However, Lucas kills his excitement by arriving and announcing that since he owns everything that Lex once owned, the Talon is his. Clark meets Chloe at the Torch office to thank her for her recommendation. She already knows about Lucas, and tells Clark that he's been in and out of foster homes, since he never got adopted, and has lived a hard life. Clark admits that he doesn't trust Lucas and Chloe reveals that there was no prior record of Lucas, but his birth certificate suddenly appeared two weeks ago, stamped by Metropolis United Charities. Clark shows the birth certificate to Lex, who realizes that Lionel wanted Lex to find Lucas and the two of them have been working together to orchestrate Lex's downfall. He goes back to the mansion to confront Lucas. Lucas tells him that Lionel contacted him three weeks ago. Lex warns him to be careful of Lionel's games and to beware of his "friends" in Edge City.


Lucas tries to force Lionel's hand.

Lucas goes to the Talon and berates Clark for being late for his shift and tells Lana to fire him. Lana refuses, so he threatens to fire her too, but the new partnership agreement doesn't allow that. He leaves in a huff and Clark chases after him. Just then, Dirk (Lucas' partner from Edge City) arrives in the alley on a motorcycle and with an automatic weapon. Lucas turns to run and he shoots at his back. Clark super speeds ahead of the bullets and deflects them, saving Lucas' life. The next day, Lionel counsels with Lucas. Lex will not go away without a fight. Lucas wonders if, instead of Lex, it is actually Lionel who wants him out of the picture, but Lionel assures him that Lucas has impressed him with the way he has stood up to him, a strength that Lex doesn't have.

The next day at the Talon, Chloe reports to Clark that Lucas' would-be killer was caught but mysteriously died during his police booking. Clark realizes that someone didn't want him to talk, and leaves the Talon in the middle of his shift to go to the Luthor mansion. At the Kent Farm, Lex thanks Jonathan for letting him stay and Jonathan promises that he is welcome back any time. Then Lucas comes from behind and cold-cocks Jonathan with a gun. Clark arrives at the mansion to confront Lionel about the contrivance of the whole Lucas situation. Lionel dismisses Clark when he receives a call from Lucas asking for a meeting. Clark eavesdrops and learns the meeting will be in Lionel's office in Metropolis.


Clark and Lex talk about the intricacies of the Luthor family.

Lionel arrives at the meeting to see Lex tied to a chair and Lucas pointing a gun at him. Lionel pleads with Lucas to put the gun down, and Lex realizes that Lionel is no longer blind. Lucas points the gun at Lionel, gives him another gun, and tells him that he intends to make Lionel shoot Lex. Lex plays into Lucas' insecurities by pointing out that Lionel allowed Lucas to scrape by in foster care by preventing his adoption just to see how he'd turn out. Lionel bailed him out whenever he got in trouble, but he also tipped off the shooter. Lionel refuses to shoot Lex. Clark arrives, sees the confrontation, and climbs into a vent. When he is situated above the three Luthors, he uses his heat vision to burn Lucas' hand, causing him to drop the gun. Lionel instantly shoots Lucas, but the gun is loaded with blanks. Lionel realizes that both sons set him up and are united against him. They leave, and Lionel notices the melted hole in the ceiling.

Later, Lionel finds Lex moving back into the mansion. Lex asks how long he has been able to see, and he admits that his vision has been back for a few weeks. Lionel offers Lex his company back in exchange for keeping quiet about Lucas. Lex agrees with the condition that Lucas is now under Lex's protection. Lionel tells Lex that Lucas is a sociopath and will never be the brother he wants.

Clark goes back to the Talon to explain why he left his shift. Lana says she isn't mad, but she has to fire him. Lex goes back to the Kent farm to get the rest of his things. He tells Clark that he is keeping Lucas safe, and he and Clark talk about his complicated family.



Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "China" - Mystica
  • "Don't Tempt Me" - The Contes
  • "Burn Baby Burn" - Ash
  • "Home Sweet Alabama" - Lizzie
  • "Gentle Healing" - Sounds From The Ground
  • "Like a Dream" - Morphic Field
  • "Shooting Star" - Darran Falcone
  • "When It's All Over" - Janelle Sadler
  • "Fight Test" - Flaming Lips


  • The title is a reference to the Biblical narration of the Prodigal Son. In it, a man has two sons, the younger of which demands his inheritance before the father dies and spends it quickly and wastefully. He shamefully returns home, but the father greets him with open arms, absolving him of his actions. The older brother is resentful that his loyalty goes unnoticed and jealous at his father's preferential treatment. [2]
  • Clear parallels can be drawn from the story and the three Luthors, with Lucas' sudden return and Lionel's acceptance of him and rejection of Lex.


  • Antagonists: Lucas Luthor and Lionel Luthor
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, X-ray vision, heat vision, super leaping, invulnerability and accelerated Vision.
  • The Season 2 DVD contains a deleted scene in which Lex gives Lucas a tour of the mansion before taking him to meet Lionel. Lucas correctly guesses that the mansion came from Scotland. Lucas comments that it's a strange family that makes you sign paperwork before you can join. Lex tells Lucas that his mother is in the Metropolis Sanitarium.
  • Lucas is seen playing the videogame Genma Onimusha.
  • While previous episodes had shown Lionel to be ruthless, dishonest, unscrupulous, and not above blackmail to achieve his goals, Dirk's mysterious death (which Clark suspects, but never proves, was carried out at Lionel's orders) is the earliest indication the audience had that Lionel is also capable of cold-blooded murder. Lionel had personally killed a man in Insurgence but that was killing in the defense of another person's life.
  • Lex says "so the prodigal son returns", a sentence also used in Superman: The Animated Series by Darkseid as he taunts Superman for being brainwashed into thinking he is Darkseid's son and has returned for revenge.
  • Lucas comes up with the thought experiment to make conversation that if Clark was raised by Lionel and Lex by the Kents, they would have grown up differently, which Clark come to terms with on the matter by the time of Eternal in connection to Davis, and it's partially put to the test with the result of Clark Luthor's sociopathy and narcissism.


  • Lucas Luthor is the child that Rachel Dunleavy gave up for adoption and mistook Clark for in Lineage.
  • Since Clark's rose is still in the rubbish bin without any signs of wilting, this episode probably takes place the day after the events of Rush.
  • After she fires him, Lana reminds Clark that she, too, was fired from the Beanery after one day, which occurred in Hothead.
  • Lana refers to her amended partnership agreement which no longer allows for her immediate dismissal, which occurred in Heat.
  • In this episode, Lucas is mentioned as being 18, however, according to Lineage, Metropolis United Charities was founded in 1989-only 13 years before.


  • Lex mentions that his family used to own a ranch in Montana before his father sold it. Years later, Lex apparently acquires the ranch back and turns it into a research facility used to harbor meteor freaks.
  • Lucas asks Clark what he thinks his life would be like if he were raised by Lionel instead of the Kents tow which Clark replies that he isn't sure. Seven years later in Luthor, Clark finds out how he would have ended up.


  • Lex's remark about Lionel's "Cain and Abel" fantasy is a reference to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve's first two sons. Each gave an offering to God, but while Abel gave his best, Cain gave scraps. When God chose Abel's offering as superior, Cain killed Abel out of spite.
  • Lionel also references the Biblical parable of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32.
  • Lex says "Lucas, I'm your brother", an intentional misquote of Star Wars.



Lex: Luke, Im your brother.
Lucas: Parents always try to make you versions of themselves. Grow up without those constraints; you can become your own person.

Lionel: You know Lex, I'm tired of your constant attempts at mutiny.
Lex: Yeah, well, you didn't leave me too many options. It was either that or the plank.

Lana: You work with him at the Torch. Isn't it strange supervising your friend?
Chloe: Are you kidding? Bossing around Clark is the highlight of my day! Besides, he always comes through, even if it is on his own special Clark time.
Lana: Yeah, that's kind of what I'm worried about.

Lex: You know, Lucas, the Luthor gene pool is a shark tank, and our father's just chummed the waters. Good luck.

Lionel: Lucas. I heard about last night. Well, you wouldn't be a Luthor if somebody weren't trying to kill you.

Jonathan: (to Lex) I gave you every single crappy farm job I could think of, but you did them all. You didn't complain, not once. You would have made one hell of a farmer.

Clark: You've got to cover for me, okay?
Chloe: No. No, Clark. I drink coffee. I do not serve it! Clark!

Lionel: Oh, Clark. I'm sorry. I meant to call and thank you for saving Lucas. Your rescues are becoming a bit of a Luthor family tradition.

Lionel: (to Lucas) You psychotic little bastard!

Lionel: Believe me Lex, your brother will never change. I've watched him over the years. The boy's a sociopath.
Lex: And I wonder which side of the family tree he got that from.

Clark: As long as I live, I don't think I'm ever going to understand your family.
Lex: Neither will I. Just remember, my father may try and rule the world, but yours will inherit the earth.

Lex: Careful, Lucas. You're showing your hand.

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ComicsThe Comic · Season 11 · Miniseries