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"Tailsman" is the twentieth episode in the third season of Smallville, and sixty-fourth overall. It aired on May 5, 2004.


When a Kawatche Indian steals a mystic knife from the Kawatche Caves, he is bestowed with superpowers similar to Clark's, causing the young man to believe he is the legendary Naman, "the man who fell from the stars." Clark learns the Kawatche legend foretold of a knife that could kill Naman and sets out to reclaim it before the young Indian can use it on Lionel.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 3x20

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Jeremiah and Joseph in the caves

Jeremiah Holdsclaw and Joseph Willowbrook are meeting Lionel Luthor in the Kawatche Caves. Professor Willowbrook introduces Lionel to Jeremiah, one of his graduate students, as the future leader of the Kawatche people. Lionel wants the two men to identify an artifact. Jeremiah seems excited when he sees it. The professor explains that it is an excellent example of ancient cookware. It is covered in clay and Jeremiah wants to take it back to the museum to study, but Lionel insists that it stay in the cave until he can thoroughly analyze it. Jeremiah smashes the clay, revealing a long knife with Kryptonian symbols, which glows in his hands. When Lionel tries to take it from him, he pushes him and Lionel flies backward. The guards open fire, but the bullets have no effect. Jeremiah takes off with the blade at superspeed.


Chloe asks Pete what's bothering him.

Clark finds Professor Willowbrook in his loft, who addresses him as Naman. He shows Clark a book about the blade, calling it Palak, the starblade. Clark shows his dad and tells him that as the legend predicts, Holdsclaw has been given powers by the blade in order to protect it until he can deliver it to the true Naman. Jonathan tells him that Jeremiah will probably not voluntarily give the blade back and Clark better find him before Lionel.

Chloe arrives at the Torch to see a usually affable Pete yelling angrily into the phone. She asks what's wrong and then notices that he's wearing the same clothes from yesterday. He begs out of his Torch assignment and leaves abruptly.

Lionel is being treated for bruised ribs at the Smallville Medical Center. Lex arrives and asks about his assailant. He offers to help him track down his attacker, but Lionel does not trust him and asks him to let the matter drop.


Lana confronts Lex over sale of the Talon.

Chloe is with Lana when she opens her letter of acceptance from the Paris School of Arts, but they have turned down her financial aid, so she can't go. Chloe suggests she ask Lex for the money, but Lana is reluctant. Later, Lana is surprised to meet a realtor who is showing the Talon to potential buyers. She goes to the mansion where Lex is preparing for a party and demands an explanation from Lex. She is extremely upset, saying she doesn't want it sold because she put her heart into it. Lex says it is more profitable to sell the building than buy out her shares and admits that he only kept it as a coffee shop because Lana wanted it. He suggests she is having second thoughts about leaving town, but Lana denies this.


Clark and Professor Willowbrook try to stop Jeremiah.

Clark goes to Holdsclaw's CKU office to find it completely ransacked. Lex is there and Clark lies that he and Jeremiah were working on a term paper together. Lex doesn't buy it and asks Clark if he's aware of last night's events. Lex closes the blinds to reveal a symbol painted along the entire wall. Lionel is also on campus, trying to bribe Willowbrook with a sizable grant. Willowbrook warns that the blade will crumble if Sageeth touches it. They run into Clark and Lionel exits. Willowbrook continues to call Clark Naman, even though Clark asks him not to. Clark asks Willowbrook about the symbol and he tells him that it's a diagram of a burial ground where the Kawatche performed death rituals. They find Jeremiah at the burial grounds and Willowbrook tries to convince him to give the blade to Clark. Jeremiah refuses, saying he himself is Naman. Clark uses his heat vision to heat the blade, but Jeremiah is impervious and uses his own heat vision to blow up Willowbrook's car. Clark tells his parents that he's sure Holdsclaw is going after Lionel, thinking he is Sageeth and they should warn him, but Jonathan maintains that Clark must find the weapon first. He suggests that maybe Jeremiah might be vulnerable to meteor rocks.


Jonathan heals Clark with the help of Jor-El

Clark encounters Lionel in his barn. He tells Clark that he thinks the blade is made of the same metal as the missing key and he intends to use the blade to make a duplicate. He tells Clark to remind Joseph Willowbrook that he can quickly turn loyal ally to formidable adversary. Clark recognizes this as part of the prophecy of Sageeth: a friend who becomes an enemy. Clark gets angry and kicks him out of the barn. He then goes back to talk to Willowbrook, saying he thinks Jeremiah Holdsclaw is the true Naman, and asks him to get in touch with him. Willowbrook agrees to try and contact Jeremiah and lure him to Clark's barn. Clark waits for Jeremiah in his loft and when he arrives, he tries to subdue Jeremiah with a meteor rock. Unfortunately, it has no effect. Jeremiah throws the rock away and Clark tries to speed past him and take the blade, but Jeremiah is ready for him and stabs Clark in the abdomen below the sternum. Clark collapses on the floor of the loft and Jeremiah leaves in search of Lionel.

Bleeding profusely, Clark makes it to the house and attempts to call his parents, but he passes out before he can make the call.

Later, Chloe finds Pete at the Torch again. When Chloe brings up Pete mother's consideration for a federal judgeship in Wichita, Pete lashes out at her.

When Martha and Jonathan arrive home, they find Clark on the floor bleeding to death. Jonathan administers pressure to the wound and in a burst of light, Clark's wound is healed, through the power of Jor-El, but he remains unconscious.


Lex and Lionel both grab the knife.

Martha and Jonathan watch over Clark all night and he wakes up the next morning, completely healed. Against Martha's protestations, Clark goes to rescue Lionel at the burial grounds, where Jeremiah is preparing him as a sacrifice. The two fight at super speed while Lex rescues Lionel and Clark knocks the knife away, stripping Jeremiah of his powers and putting him in a coma. The knife lands between Lionel and Lex and begins to glow. They both grab for it at the same time, but it dissolves at their touch.


Clark talks to his parents about his destiny.

Apprehensive, Clark tells his parents that the legend continues to come true, that one of the men would be his enemy, but he was unable to see which Luthor grabbed the knife first. He admits that he is not ready to face the possibility that Lex could be his greatest enemy. Jonathan tries to reassure him that despite what Jor-El or Willowbrook think his destiny is, it is up to Clark to choose his own path.

Later at the Talon, Lex and Lana hold a partnership meeting to discuss another offer they received. Gabe and Chloe Sullivan offered to buy the place, keep it as it is, and let Lana work there again when she returns from Paris. She turned them down, saying she doesn't want anything pulling her back to Smallville.

Chloe catches Pete sleeping in the office of the Torch and realizes that he is avoiding going home. He confides that his mother is going to accept the position in Wichita because his parents are getting a divorce.

Lex arrives at Clark's loft and speculates that if Naman exists, he could rule the world with his powers. He suggests that maybe Sageeth is the true hero for keeping Naman in check.



Guest Starring[]



  • Uncredited actress as Miriam
  • Launey Trask as Client


Featured Music[]

  • "Chase Me" - Katie Herzig
  • "From Afar" - Red Letter Day
  • "Reason Why" - Rachael Yamagata


  • A Talisman is any stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm.
  • The title refers to Palak, an ancient star blade that gives Jeremiah powers similar to Clark's, though it also corrupts him in the process.


  • Antagonist: Jeremiah Holdsclaw
  • Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, and heat vision.
  • In a deleted scene on the Season 3 DVDs, it is shown that Clark misses his surprise 17th birthday party at the Luthor Mansion because he was mortally wounded by Jeremiah. This is what Jonathan and Martha are returning home from (and why they are calling his name) when they find him bleeding to death on the floor. When Lana goes to talk to Lex about the Talon, mansion employees are in the background preparing for the birthday party.
  • The episode contains a few references to Clark's future Superman costume - Jonathan rips open Clark's button shirt to reveal a blue undershirt, just as the future Clark rips his reporter garb off to reveal his blue super suit. When he wakes up, he has a red blanket over his shoulders, resembling a cape. Jeremiah wears glasses in his "mild-mannered" identity until he gets superpowers.
  • Jonathan says that Clark could be "world's greatest hero or its most mild-mannered citizen", foreshadowing that one day he would be both.
  • Lex's alternate interpretation of the prophecy is similar to how in the comics, Lex Luthor sees Superman as the dangerous alien who must be kept in check.


  • This episode was directed by John Schneider. This was the first episode of Smallville to be directed by a regular cast member. According to John Schneider, he was never allowed to direct again due to how he had shot a scene between Lionel and Lex (which he had done, because the actors were not available at the same time).[1]
  • As a result of the time and cost that it took to shoot Memoria, this episode suffered from a loss in budget and two days filming.[1]


  • Joseph Willowbrook was introduced when Clark discovered the Kawatche Caves in the Season Two episode Skinwalker.
  • Jonathan references when Jor-El gave him super powers, which occurred in Exile/Phoenix.


Please add locations here.


Clark: Dad, you should have seen the way he looked at me, it was kind of overwhelming.
Jonathan: Well, Clark, he thinks you're the savior of his people. That's a lot to shoulder, even-- even for you.
Clark: Yeah, but I'm not. I mean, I can barely take care of myself.

Joseph Willowbrook: One who denies his destiny can bring about as much pain and suffering as your greatest enemy.

Clark: The prophecy isn't written down. It's part of an oral tradition, so it's open to a million different interpretations.
Martha: What's your interpretation?
Clark: I don't know. Professor Willowbrook thinks that I'm Naman. Jor-El wants me to be some sort of Kryptonian warrior. I just want to be Clark Kent.

Professor Willowbrook: Jeremiah's desperate to be someone he's not. And you are desperate not be someone you are.
Clark: Professor, I may be confused about who I am, but one thing I'm not is a killer.
Willowbrook: You'd be surprised what you're capable of when the time comes.

Clark: Who do you think I'll become?
Jonathan: I don't know. You can be the world's greatest hero or its most mild-mannered citizen, but the only person who can write your story, is you.

Lex: You know, I've been thinking a lot about this prophecy. I've got a new interpretation. Want to hear it?
Clark: Sure.
Lex: This Naman guy is supposed to come from the stars, have the power of ten men, and shoot fire from his eyes, right?
Clark: It's just an allegory, Lex.
Lex: I know. But if one person could do all that, he would be a formidable enemy. He could conquer the world. He could become a tyrant if nobody kept him in check. So I've been thinking. Anybody who'd be willing to fight him would have to be pretty brave. Clark, did it ever occur to you that maybe the hero of the story... is Sageeth?


  1. 1.0 1.1 Talk Ville podcast: "Talisman" (November, 2023)

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