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"Transference" is the sixth episode in the fourth season of Smallville, and seventy-second episode overall. It aired on October 27, 2004.


Clark is drawn to the prison where Lionel is being held. When he sees Lionel attempt to stab Lex with a strange glowing stone, Clark grabs for the stone causing the two men to switch bodies. Learning his new body has super powers, Lionel immediately begins wreaking havoc on Smallville. Trapped without his powers, Clark must figure out a way to get his body back in order to save his friends and family.


→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 4x06

Clark is in the barnyard practicing football when Jonathan and Jason arrive to announce that a Met U scout will be at Friday's game. However, Clark's excitement is cut short when he begins to hear a painful ringing in his ears. Jonathan sends Jason away. Clark explains that he hears a ringing sound and says he has to go. He superspeeds away.


Clark and Lionel's spirits switch places.

At the Kansas State Penitentiary, Lionel is having a visitation with Lex. He looks very weak and pained. Lex remarks that he probably has about a month to live. Lionel explains that he did not want to die without telling Lex he loved him and reaches across the table to him. Just then, Clark enters and uses his X-ray vision to see that Lionel is clutching a pointed stone. He rushes between them and lifts Lionel away from Lex. Lionel grabs Clark's fist and the spirits of the two men swirl and merge. They switch bodies and fall away from each other. The guards rush in and haul Clark-in-Lionel's-body away as he protests.

Lionel-in-Clark's-body stutters out an explanation to Lex, who offers to take him home. Lex drops "Clark" off and he wanders around the barnyard, where he finds Jonathan, who asks him to lift up the tractor. Lionel is astonished to discover that he can.

Clark finds an entire wall filled with articles and research about the Stones of Power in Lionel's prison cell. He meets his cellmate, Edgar Cole. Edgar tells him that he is an expert translator who was framed and helped Lionel figure out how to switch bodies, intending to trap Lex in prison. Edgar also tells Clark that Lionel is dying of an incurable liver disease.


"Clark" tells a suspicious Martha he "needs a hug."

In Clark's barn, Lionel is admiring his new physique, while on the phone with a foreign bank. He is trying to transfer funds, but he fails the voice verification and grows frustrated. Martha enters, and is surprised to see Clark wearing a dress shirt and slacks. She notices Clark's behavior is off, and asks him about the ringing he heard earlier. "Clark" says he just needs a hug. They hug awkwardly and Lionel becomes aroused and shoots a beam of heat out of the barn window. Martha gets annoyed and leaves. In the house, Jason has come back to see how Clark is feeling. "Clark" tells him that he's not going to the football game and quits the team, slamming the front door closed. Jason looks shocked.

In prison, Clark-as-Lionel asks Edgar to help him make a phone call. When they enter the common area, a large convict roughs Clark up, threatening to kill him. Without his abilities, Clark is powerless to fight back.

Lionel tries to access the LuthorCorp company database from the computers in the Torch office, but Lex has changed the password. Chloe arrives and also comments on Clark's attire. Lionel starts playing mind games with Chloe, asking her what she would do if Lionel were to get out of prison. He then starts going on about how he finds her fascinating and leans in to kiss her. Just as they are about to kiss, he pulls back and whispers cruelly, "Don't you wish," and saunters off. Chloe is nearly in tears as he walks away.


Clark tries to convince his mother that he is in Lionel's body.

Lana and Jason are in his office discussing Isobel Thoreaux and "Clark" walks by and bursts in on them kissing. He makes rude remarks about their relationship, shocking Jason again and upsetting Lana.

Lionel-as-Clark goes to the prison to visit Clark-as-Lionel. He threatens to kill Lex unless Clark records himself saying the access codes to Lionel's bank accounts. Back at the barn, he learns the accounts are empty and is still seething as Lana enters. She tells him that her relationship with Jason is serious, but she's sorry he found out the way he did. He doesn't really care, but decides to play mind games with her, too. He forces a kiss on her and she slaps him across the face, as she storms off angrily while Lionel looks pleased with himself.


Lionel, as Clark, forces information from Lex.

Martha arrives at the prison to visit "Lionel". He tells her a story she already knows—about how when he was six, he super-sped into the woods and got lost. "Lionel" convinces her that he is really Clark inside. He explains how the stone caused them to switch bodies and warns her of who she thinks is Clark.

Lionel-as-Clark then goes to the Luthor mansion to force the money out of Lex. Through his words and actions, Lex realizes that he is really Lionel as he forces the life out of him. Martha shows up and subdues "Clark" with a meteor rock, but he zips away. She tries to call Jonathan to warn him, but "Clark" arrives first and throws Jonathan across the room. He is just in time to answer a call from Edgar. At the prison, Edgar explains that the transference is temporary unless one of the people is dead. At the same time, the convict is harassing "Lionel" again in the common room. He fights back and a riot breaks out. Lionel-as-Clark uses the opportunity to approach Clark-as-Lionel and picks him up by the front of his prison uniform (orange jumpsuit and white slip-on sneakers). The two argue and Clark-as-Lionel grabs his hand, clutching the stone. Their spirits transfer back into their rightful bodies. Clark drops Lionel and the stone and speeds away. Dazed, Lionel notices the liver splotches on his hand have disappeared.


Bridgette Crosby collects the Crystal of Water.

Back home, Martha and Jonathan inform Clark that he (Lionel-as-Clark) quit the football team and upset both Chloe and Lana. Clark explains that he was drawn to the stone, just like he was as Kal-El. He tells them about the altar in the caves and about how he believes the stones are meant for him to find. They warn him of Lionel, since he knows his secret, but Clark remarks that Lionel is dying.

At school, Clark tries to patch up his friendships with Chloe and Lana, who are still furious. Chloe suggests he get psychological help, and Lana angrily asks him to keep quiet about her and Jason, not realizing that Clark didn't know what Lionel did as "Clark".

Lastly, Clark goes to see Lex who immediately threatens Clark with the four barrel pistol.  As Lex knows Lionel could be inside Clark's body, he must have proof it is Clark in Clark's body.  Lex asks Clark about what the two joke about concerning the day they met. Lex gives Clark some background and Clark wonders out loud about the twenty questions. Lex won't have any stalling and again threatens Clark with the gun. Clark realizing Lionel also upset / did a number on Lex, backs off and replies, he told you to drive slower. Lex drops the pistol and welcomes Clark back. While Lex wonders how it all happens and Clark again plays "dumb," this time Lex doesn't push it (friendship). He wants to thank Clark for saving him, as otherwise it would have been him locked away in prison dying of liver failure. Clark asks a favor of Lex to help Edgar out of prison. After asking s few questions, Lex agrees to try and get an innocent man out of prison.

At the prison, it is confirmed that Lionel's liver has indeed healed itself and Edgar is released. He climbs into a waiting limousine to be greeted by Bridgette Crosby, who collects the Crystal of Water from him.



Guest Starring[]



Featured Music[]

  • "Pain" - Jimmy Eat World


  • A transference is the process in which thoughts, qualities or powers are passed from one being to another.
  • The title refers to Clark and Lionel switching bodies after their dual contact with the Crystal of Water.


  • Antagonist: Lionel Luthor
  • Clark (and Lionel as Clark) use the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, super dexterity, heat vision, Multi-spectrum Vision, x-ray vision, super memory, and super hearing.
  • As Clark is not in possession of his own body, this marks the fourth time that he has lost his abilities. The other losses occurred in Leech (stolen by Eric Summers), Perry (temporarily lost during a solar flare), and Asylum (again stolen by Eric Summers).
  • The prisoner who plays "who wants to beat a billionaire" is the same as the one who shaved Lionel's head in Covenant as you can see his tattoo in both episodes.
  • The prisoner extorting Lionel for money refers to him as "Trump", probably a reference to future president Donald Trump, who at the time of the episode was a well known businessman and reality TV star known for showing off his wealth.
  • On the Season 4 DVD, John Glover and Tom Welling revealed that while shooting this episode, John Glover would act out the scene while Tom Welling observed. They would then switch places and Welling would imitate Glover's mannerisms.
  • Edgar notes that he was framed for embezzling a Princeton University account, possibly Lionel's doing, as Princeton University is his alma mater.
  • From the story that Clark tells Martha, it can be assumed that Clark developed super speed at age six.
  • Clark finds out that Lana and Jason are a couple.
  • If you pause at 19:47 when two cheerleaders are about to pass Lionel-Clark, the classic Superman Shield symbol is visible on a "Join the Pep Squad" poster.
  • Although Lionel is in Clark's body at the time, this marks the first time that he and Lana have been depicted interacting with each other.


  • To see if it was really Clark, Lex asked what Jonathan said when he asked if there was any way he could repay him after Clark fished him out of the river in Pilot.
  • Clark (as Lionel) mentions Sheriff Ethan, who was Sheriff of Smallville during Season One and most of Season Two before he was sent to jail for shooting Lionel and trying to frame Jonathan in Suspect.
  • Bridgette Crosby was the emissary sent by Dr. Swann in Crusade. Her fate is revealed in Spirit.
  • When Lionel (as Clark) hugs Martha (whom Lionel has long expressed attraction towards), he accidentally triggers Clark's Heat vision, much like how Clark first accidentally triggered his heat vision while thinking about sex in Heat.
  • Lionel was last seen in Gone.


Lionel-as-Clark: (holding up the tractor) Of course. It all makes sense now.
Jonathan: What's that?
Lionel-as-Clark: Oh! It's just ah... boy is it dirty under here!

Edgar Cole: Oh, Houston, we have a problem. That stone was meant for Lex. No...

Martha: Clark!
Lionel-as-Clark: Martha.
Martha: I know you're practically a grown man, Clark, but please call me "Mom," no matter how old you are.
Lionel-as-Clark: Sure. Sure.

Chloe: (to Lionel-in-Clark) What, was flannel too five minutes ago?

(As Lionel-as-Clark moves to kiss Chloe )
Chloe: Clark, what are you doing?
Lionel-as-Clark: What I've wanted to do for a very, very long time.

(Chloe moves to kiss him but he draws away at the last moment)

Lionel-as-Clark: Don't you wish...Miss Sullivan.

Lana: Clark?
Lionel-as-Clark: This one.

Lionel-as-Clark: (to Lana) A man would travel around the world... to pluck your succulent fruit.

Lana: Who the hell do you think you are!? (she storms off angrily.)
Lionel-as-Clark: Clark Kent. Of course.

Lionel-as-Clark: (to Lex) Crunching numbers? Or spinning daydreams?

Edgar Cole: Well, none that I see, uh... save murder. Theoretically speaking, if you were to, you know, kill the other you, then there would be no you for you to revert back to, so... you know, I suppose you could be Clark Kent for the rest of your life --his life. Your life. Well, the difference is nil at that point.

Clark-as-Lionel: (to Martha Kent) No, Mom, remember when I was six, and I was playing tag with Dad. And all of a sudden I started running faster than I'd ever run before, and I was in the middle of Palmer Woods completely lost. And you and Dad had to call Sheriff Ethan. And when you saw me, you started crying. And I thought something was wrong with me. And you said, 'No, there wasn't.' And then you held me in your arms, and you told me I was just special. I'm your special boy!

Clark: Lex!
Lex: Stay where you are!
Clark: Lex, it's me -- Clark. I need to talk to you.
Lex: After I drove my Porsche into the river and you fished me out, I asked your dad if there was any way I could repay him. What did he say that we always joke about?
Clark: Lex, what is this, a pop quiz?
Lex: Answer the question!
Clark: He told you to drive slower.

Edgar Cole: Is that really you in there, Lionel?
Lionel-as-Clark: No, it's the Easter Bunny.

Lionel: No. Not that I know of. You must understand, I have no recollection of the past few days, Doctor. I just know that something here -- something... inside of me has ch-changed... profoundly. I'm not... the same man.

Lex: Well, if I can manage to put a guilty man in prison, maybe I can get an innocent man out.

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