When Martha comes down with a strange disease, Professor Fine convinces Clark that Jor-El is responsible and that the Fortress of Solitude must be destroyed to save her life. However, Professor Fine has an ulterior motive which comes to fruition when they arrive.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 5x08
Coming home from work one evening, Martha is walking toward the house. Suddenly, an energy burst shoots out of the sky and hits her. Clark hears it from the barn, rushes out, and finds her lying unconscious in the driveway. She wakes up and thinks she's fainted and doesn't remember what happened.
Clark goes to the Daily Planet to check weather reports to see if his mother was struck by lightning, but Chloe tells him that nothing unusual was recorded. Clark suspects that Jor-El was involved and he tells Chloe about how after he was resurrected, Jor-El warned Clark that one of his loved ones would have to die instead. Clark fears Jor-El has come to collect.
Lex is holding a photo shoot at the Talon and Lois is unimpressed. She warns him that someone will dig up enough dirt on him to ruin his chances of election. She decides to ask Chloe to help her find evidence that Lex was committed in Belle Reve. At the Luthor Mansion, one of Lex's scientists informs him of an electromagnetic tidal wave that is emerging from the Black Ship when Lionel arrives. Lionel reveals he knows about the warehouse and warns Lex that the public won't tolerate a politician obsessed with little green men.
Clark goes to Fine and asks for more information on Jor-El. Fine already knows about Clark's deal with Jor-El but refuses to tell more despite Clark's insistence. Clark reveals Fine's true identity to his parents and Jonathan is suspicious of Fine based on the other Kryptonians they've encountered. Martha's hand goes numb and she develops a strange bruise pattern on her left shoulder.
At the hospital the doctors have no idea how to help Martha, so they release her. Clark confronts Fine again, who reveals that Jor-El caused similar injuries to political dissidents on Krypton and was a ruthless dictator who imprisoned anyone who opposed him, including the rebel General Zod. Fine tells Clark that Jor-El destroyed the planet and sent Clark to Earth to conquer its people and recreate Krypton. Fine goes to the Kent home to examine Martha, who is getting worse. When she goes into convulsions, Fine advises treatment with a meteor rock, which relieves her pain. Fine warns that within a matter of hours she'll be dead. Clark confesses to Jonathan that when he was resurrected, Jor-El warned him that his life-force would be exchanged for someone he loved. Jonathan is upset that Clark didn't tell him and encourages Clark to go to the Fortress to contact him. Jor-El denies attacking Martha but warns that Clark can't alter destiny.
At the Planet, Lionel drops in on Chloe and tips her off about a story about a super-powered person at Central Kansas A&M... Professor Milton Fine. Chloe agrees to investigate him and follows him around campus. Lois convinces Chloe to help her bring down Lex and Chloe tells her about a LuthorCorp warehouse she followed Fine to. They hatch a plan to sneak into the warehouse. Lois distracts the security guard and Chloe sneaks in. She sees a pool of liquid metal leave the ship and form into Professor Fine, holding a black crystal spike. Another guard comes up behind her and when she turns back Fine is gone. Lois and Chloe escape the warehouse.
Martha's illness continues to worsen. Clark is taking care of her and she tells him that she is more than ready to die for her child. Desperate, Clark confronts Fine again, who tells him that the only way to cure his mother is for Clark to destroy the Fortress and break Jor-El's hold on Martha. Clark and Fine go to the cavern and insert the key, teleporting them both to the Fortress. Fine tells Clark to put the black crystal in the Fortress and it begins to collapse. Fine incapacitates Clark with kryptonite and reveals he was created to free Zod, the real tyrant of Krypton, so Zod can recreate Krypton on Earth. He leaves the kryptonite on Clark's chest and goes to welcome Zod, who is appearing out of the Phantom Zone.
Chloe meets with Jonathan at the farm and tells him what she's seen. She warns that Fine is not as helpful as he claims. Chloe goes to the Kawatche Caves and teleports to the Fortress. She takes the kryptonite off of Clark and he pulls the black spike out, sealing Zod in the Phantom Zone once again. A fight ensues between Clark and Fine, who has the same abilities as Clark. Clark sends him flying, impaling him on crystal spikes, and he disappears in a burst of light. Simultaneously, the Black Ship vanishes from the warehouse and Martha is cured.
Lex accuses Lionel of stealing the spaceship, which Lionel denies. He expresses concern that Lex is giving in to his "delusions" again.
Fully recovered, Martha and Clark talk about losing loved ones and Clark expresses how important she is to him. Warming up in the Kent house, Chloe tells Clark that Lionel is the one who tipped her off to Fine and Clark thanks her for her dependability. Clark also reveals that he went to see the black ship, but it has disappeared. Talking about all that has happened, Clark tells Jonathan that he is still worried about Jor-El's promise. Jonathan reassures him that even if that is true, he shouldn't dwell on what might happen and live life to the fullest.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang (credit only)
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Special Guest Star
- Aleks Holtz as Gate Security Guard
- Benita Ha as Dr. Asuka
- "I Don't Want To Fall In Love" - She Wants Revenge
- "Wicked Game" - HIM
- Solitude means "the state or quality of being alone or remote from others," or "a lonely or secluded place".
- The Fortress of Solitude is prominently featured in this episode.
- Martha almost dies in this episode. Jonathan gets angry with Clark for not telling him about Jor-El's threat in Hidden, and Milton Fine convinces Clark that his father Jor-El is trying to kill his adopted mother. The result is that Clark is temporarily isolated from his family, until he realizes that Professor Fine has been manipulating him all along.
- It could also refer to how Fine turns out not to be a friendly kryptonian but a malevolent artificial intelligence, making Clark alone again.
- Antagonist: Brainiac
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, and heat vision.
- Brainiac uses the following abilities: Biological Manipulation, Mineral Manipulation, super strength, super speed, heat vision, super leaping.
- Lana Lang does not appear in this episode. Although she previously did not appear in Exposed, this is the first episode in which she is neither seen nor mentioned.
- When Clark is in the Fortress for the first time this episode, the clip of him taking the main crystal from the console is reused from Arrival.
- Lois' new car is a 2006 Ford Fusion. During the original airing, one could win a Fusion by entering a Ford-sponsored contest and identifying the song playing during the scene with Lois and the security guard.
- Zod technically first appears here, his face being glimpsed, though it was far away and blurry.
- The bruise on the right side of Lex's face has healed and is no longer wearing the cast that he wore at the end of Splinter.
- The energy burst (that hits Martha) strongly resembles the one that Clark saw in his nightmare in Commencement. Upon slowing the video down, you can see the Superman colors of red, blue, and yellow forming the light.
- This episode contains the first onscreen interaction between Chloe and Lionel since his conviction at the end of Season Three, more than a year earlier, and they are on bizarrely cordial terms, despite the fact that Chloe knows Lionel tried to have her killed multiple times a year earlier. However, it had already been stated that Lionel had been passing on information on Lex's activities to Chloe in an effort to derail Lex's State Senate campaign. It's possible that there had already been a reconciliation between Lionel and Chloe prior to this onscreen meeting.
- A brief advertisement of Superman Returns is included in this episode.
- Martha says even when she is gone her love will never die, mirroring what she said about Lara in Memoria.
- Clark wonders how Lionel could have learned that Milton Fine was of Kryptonian origin. However, while controlling his body in Hidden, Jor-El told Clark that Lionel had become "an oracle of all Kryptonian knowledge."
- When Clark tells Chloe that he found Martha passed out, he says he found her in the field, but Martha fell in the driveway.
In Other Media
- Zod is the 25th DC Comics character to be adapted into the series.
- Lois tells Lex: "There must be enough dirt on you to create a landmass the size of Texas," which is actually the plot of the 2006 film Superman Returns, which had not been released as of the original airing of the episode.
- General Zod first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961). His full Kryptonian name was Dru-Zod. He also appeared in the first two Superman movies as a military leader and rebel that was banished by Jor-El into the Phantom Zone. He was played by Terence Stamp who supplies the voice of Jor-El in Smallville, including this episode.
- Clark reveals the truth to Jonathan about Jor-El's warning that his resurrection would cost him, which occurred in Hidden, after previously lying that Jor-El wanted nothing in exchange.
- Shelby was last seen in Hidden.
- This is the second time in the series that Lois mentions her car is a "safety net" for her and that in case she loses her job or is without money, she will live in her car, the first being in Recruit.
- This is the first episode since Crusade that Lois appears in where she isn't in any physical danger.
- This episode marks the 28th appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series until it becomes identified as his Red-Blue Blur attire in Season Eight.
- Chloe says Milton Fine knew "as much about human nature as R2-D2." R2-D2 is an astromech robot in the Star Wars franchise.
- Brainiac's attempts to free Zod from the Phantom Zone were thwarted in this episode, but he eventually succeeds in Vessel.
- Chloe forgiving Lionel is emphasized again a year later in Rage, when Chloe is happy to sit next to Lionel at Thanksgiving dinner.
- Milton Fine: Many humans believe the Earth was created in seven days. I'm surprised it took you that long to trust me.
- Clark: He's my father. I have a right to know everything about him.
- Milton Fine: I agree... when you're read--
- Clark: I'm ready now!
- Milton Fine: Impatience is such a pathetic human trait. But I suppose that's to be expected from someone raised by such a primitive race.
- Clark: I happen to care a great deal about this "primitive race", a lot more than I do about Krypton.
- Milton Fine: Waiting... patiently.
- Clark: (referring to Martha Kent) Please let her live!
- Jor-El: I am sorry, my son. The wheel of fate has already been set in motion. Even you cannot alter destiny.
- Lois: Let me give you a little friendly advice. Bow out of the race before a pesky little squirrel digs up one of your rotten acorns.
- Lex: Well, thanks, Lois! You know, there's nothing more valuable than the savvy political advice of a muffin-peddling college dropout. Speaking of, do you have banana-blueberry today?
- Clark: (to Martha) Dad's given me so much, I could never measure... but you're my heart. My soul.
- Martha: (in Lois' car) I'm proud of you, Lois. Living in your own apartment, buying a brand-new car. You've really grown up.
- Lois: Oh, let's not get carried away. The car's my safety net. When I lose my job and apartment, I'll need somewhere to sleep.
- Martha: Your father told me about Jor-El, Clark. I want you to know... I'm more than ready to give up my life for the life of my child.
- Clark: Don't talk like that, Mom.
- Martha: You've given me so much happiness, Clark. I don't know what I would've done without you.
- Clark: Without me, none of this would have happened.
- Martha: Don`t ever feel guilty about this. Do you hear me? I wouldn't have it any other way. You're gonna be fine. Look at you. You're a man now, Clark. A wonderful man. My... my job is done.
- Clark: No, it's not, Mom. You can't say that. You have to fight this.
- Martha: I love you, Clark. And just because I'm gone... it doesn't mean my love goes with me. I will always be in your heart. Always.
- Clark: I`m not gonna let you die. I won't let you.
- Martha: Oh, baby.
- Chloe: You know, next time I head up north, I got to remember to pack a parka.
- Clark: How did you get up there anyway?
- Chloe: You left your key in the cave. Seriously, Clark, you've got to be more careful. I mean, if I can get up there, anyone can.
- Clark: You know, Professor Fine said that human beings were insignificant and couldn't be depended on. He obviously don't know you very well.
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