After Clark receives a message from the recently deceased Dr. Swann, he and Lana follow Jason and Lex to China in search of one of the Stones of Power. Lana is tortured, causing Countess Isobel to emerge and wreak havoc in her search for the crystal.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 4x15
Clark is pondering where to attend college when a messenger shows up with a package from Dr. Swann. Before he can open it, the TV news announces that Swann has died. Swann's message says that Clark must find his father to complete his "mission", and the package contains the octagonal key. Clark goes to the cave and when he puts the key in a slot, Jor-El speaks to him. He tells Clark about the three stones and warns him that if the humans unite them, then the world may very well be destroyed.
Jonathan and Clark are arguing about Jor-El and Martha tries to remind Clark that "ever since he got away from his Kryptonian destiny, they got the old Clark back". Clark protests, saying that even though it is good to be normal, the truth is that he is not normal. He believes all the trials with Jor-El in the past could have been a test to prepare him for his search for the stones.
Jason calls Lana and tells her that he's overseeing a project for Lex in Metropolis, but Lana is suspicious of where he really is when she hears an Asian dialect being spoken in the background and becomes even more suspicious when Jason tells her good night when it is clearly day in Kansas. Jason hangs up with Lana and is immediately called by Lex who reveals that he is standing right behind him and that he has followed Jason because he knows that Lionel gave him a map that leads to one of the three stones. Lana goes to the Luthor mansion and meets with Lionel, who informs her that Jason and Lex are actually in China looking for one of the stones. He then tells her that they have been seriously investigating Lana's long-dead relative Isobel, whose arch rival was a duchess by the name of Gertrude from whom Jason's family is directly descended. Gertrude was obsessed with finding the three mythical stones and sent many ships to scour the globe, but they all failed to find even one of the stones. The only clue about the stones that they were able to find was a map of a temple in China, which Isobel promptly stole before it could reach Gertrude. Because of Isobel's theft, Gertrude had her executed by burning her at the stake as a witch. Lana is upset that Jason lied to her and that he and Lex are working together behind her back, so she decides to go to China and confront them both. Clark goes to visit Lana and after she tells him about Jason and Lex, they both go off to China (without Clark telling his parents).
In Shanghai, the local police chase Lex and Jason, who end up getting arrested when they are cornered in an alley. Jason and Lex are tossed into a cell underneath the very temple that the map depicts and Lex is dragged away by the guards, leaving Jason alone. Meanwhile, Clark and Lana arrive in Shanghai where they meet up with Lionel's contact, Professor Sen, who then leads them to the temple using a copy of the map given to them by Lionel. Lex is thrown back into the cell and when Jason is hauled away to be interrogated, Lex tells him to just give up the information and save himself. Once Jason is gone, Lex turns to the guard and reminds him not to harm Jason when they interrogate him for the information, revealing that Lex had originally set up the arrest. However, the leader of the soldiers tells Lex that he cannot ensure the safety of either of them because someone else has paid him quite a lot more money for information that both Lex and Jason know and this someone has no qualms about using torture to get the information. Clark, Lana, and Professor Sen arrive at the temple and Clark spots a secret chamber behind a wall using his X-Ray vision. He has them leave the room to search elsewhere and then uses his super strength to roll back a wall and enter the chamber. He finds a ceremonial dress, a mask, and a dragon statue with green kryptonite eyes which causes Clark to fall to the floor as he is weakened by kryptonite.
Soldiers immediately burst into the temple, killing Professor Sen, but when one of them sees Lana's tattoo, they capture her instead of killing her. Meanwhile, the soldiers have been torturing Jason and Lex but so far they have been unwilling to divulge anything, so they bring in Lana and start shocking her in hopes that either Jason or Lex will give in to save her. However, much to the shock of the guards, the pain unleashes Isobel, who electrocutes them and breaks free. She mocks Jason and Lex for being so headstrong in their pursuit of the stones and tells them that they were looking at the map in the wrong way.
The soldiers return to the chamber and take the weakened Clark prisoner, but when they get him away from the kryptonite eyes of the statue, he regains his strength and breaks free, sending the soldiers flying to opposite walls of the room. When Clark goes to rescue Jason and Lex, Isobel knocks him out and goes back to the chamber where the dress, mask and statue are.
Clark wakes up, frees Lex and Jason, and then takes them to the hidden chamber. Upon seeing the statue, Jason figures out that the map is actually a drawing of the tree where the stone is buried. Isobel is already there and unearths a horse-statue holding the stone. When she breaks the statue to remove it, the stone gives off the noise in Clark's head so he super-speeds to where she is and takes the stone from her hand. Isobel knocks him away and puts the stone in her pocket before rushing back to the temple. Clark confronts her again and Isobel fights him with weapons that she has charged with magic capable of wounding him. Clark gets the stone away from her, but when they both reach to pick it up, they are blasted by Isobel's magic. The blast causes Lana to reemerge, but the stone has disappeared..
Back in Smallville, Clark and Lana talk about their experiences in Shanghai and how much the search for the stones have changed them both. Lex has a conversation with Lionel who claims ignorance about the soldiers who tortured him but he warns Lex that finding the stones won't ultimately help him gain peace and may not give him the answers he is looking for. Jason tries to reconcile with Lana who feels betrayed by his lack of trust in her, so Jason reveals that he took the stone for Lana because of how he important she is to him. Reluctantly, Clark has to tell his parents that he didn't recover the stone but he also tells them that Dr. Swann sent him one last email before he died. In the email, Dr Swann told Clark that he asked his associate Dr. Crosby to give Clark the stone that he had recovered from Lionel Luthor, but now Crosby has disappeared entirely along with the stone she had in her possession. Clark goes to the Kawatche Caves and stares at the Crystal of Fire still sitting in the slot. As he stands in front of the pedestal, Clark remembers Dr. Virgil Swann's last words before his death: "Kal-El, You must write your own destiny".
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang and Margaret Isobel Thoreaux
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan (credit only)
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Special Guest Star
- "Hold On" - Newcomers Home
- A "sacred" item is regarded with reverance or is devoted to a divine purpose.
- The title refers to Stones of Power, which hold a sacred importance for the world.
- Antagonists: Margaret Isobel Thoreaux and Commander Cheng
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, and X-ray vision.
- Jonathan is completely healed from the dog bite that he received in Krypto, stated to have been "clean through to the bone."
- The weapons used by Isobel to fight Clark are a Jian, or Chinese straight sword, and a Sai, which is actually Japanese (Okinowan) in origin but is occasionally used in modern Chinese martial arts. The fight itself is highly reminiscent of combat sequences in Chinese martial arts films.
- The secret chamber is hidden behind a door marked with a special ring of ancient Chinese runes known as "八卦" ("Ba gua", or literally "eight symbols") surrounding the Kryptonian letter of a figure eight enclosed in a diamond shield. The ceremonial dress is reminiscent of traditional Chinese clothing commonly worn by royalty. The mask is in the likeness of Chinese dragon masks sometimes donned as part of the celebrations of some festivals.
- It is unknown where the kryptonite in the mask comes from, as Krypton only exploded less than two decades ago and the mineral and the secret chamber seems to have been undisturbed for a long time. Also, traditionally Chinese dragon heads have red or gold eyes, not green or black (before it starts glowing in Clark's presence).
- Isobel/Lana's magic functions normally in this episode despite it being established in Spell that she could not work magic without her spellbook.
- Chloe Sullivan does not appear in this episode.
- When Isobel picks up the Stone, the Kryptonian symbol for air is very reminiscent of the House of El symbol. When holding it with the red cloth it looks almost like Superman. Whether this was intended is unknown.
- This is the first episode in which Lionel interacts with Lana while in his own body. However, he had a conversation with her while in Clark's body in Transference.
- When news of Virgil Swann's death appears on the television, the newscaster is heard to be called "Tom Flores". Tom Flores is a long standing producer on Smallville.
- Byron Mann who plays the commander Cheng here, previously appeared as Kern in the episode Insurgence.
- This episode reveals the fate of Dr. Virgil Swann, whom Clark met in the second season episode Rosetta. Clark's key has been missing since Dr. Swann obtained it last year in Legacy.
- Isobel (who possessed Lana), tells Clark that he "put up a better fight last time", referencing Spell when Clark fought Isobel, Brianna Withridge (who possessed Lois), and Madelyn Hibbins (who possessed Chloe).
- Jor-El was last heard in Covenant.
- This episode marks the 19th appearance of Clark's red jacket and blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- Jason: Yeah, Lex, uh, I was going to call you. Something came up, I had to leave work early.
- Lex: To what, catch the next flight to Shanghai?
- Jason: What?
- Lex: Why don't you turn around?
- Lex: Even though pistol-whipping wasn't exactly my idea of fun, it's good to have the old dad back.
- Lana: We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.
- Dr. Swann: Kal-El, you must write your own destiny.
- Lionel: You have a ferocious desire to find all the answers, son, but don't let your search for those stones turn into your personal Tower of Babel.
- Lex: I'm not trying to get closer to God, Dad. I'm trying to solve the riddles He's laid out for me.
- Lionel: Did you ever think there might be a reason why we weren't given the answers?
- Lex: To challenge us?
- Lionel: Or maybe to humble us. Knowledge comes from finding the answers, yes, but understanding what the answers mean is what brings wisdom. Men who didn't understand the difference have been the ruin of some of the world's greatest civilizations.
- Lex: Is that why you stopped looking for the stones? Because you're afraid?
- Lionel: No. No, I stopped because I realized that even if I find the three stones, I'm not gonna find what I'm really looking for. Neither will you.
- TV.com (recap source)
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