- For the eponymous Kryptonian military leader, see Zod.
Thrown into the Phantom Zone, a Kryptonian jail created by Jor-El, Clark finds himself without powers and surrounded by revenge-seeking criminals sent away by his father. Meanwhile, having taken over Lex's body, Zod keeps Lana captive with a demand to bear him an heir and begins his plans to turn Earth into a Krypton-like planet using the alien ship's hard drive. After Lois and Martha's plane crashes near the Fortress of Solitude, Jor-El tells Martha how to kill Zod. Back at the Daily Planet, Chloe reunites with an old flame, Jimmy Olsen.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 6x01
In the Phantom Zone, a Kryptonian prison created by Jor-El, Clark has no powers and is vulnerable to revenge-seeking criminals sent there by his father. He meets Raya, a Kryptonian who was his father's assistant.
She explains that Jor-El founded the Phantom Zone as a prison for Kryptonians as well as intergalactic criminals from the "28 known galaxies". Most of them lose their corporeal bodies and become Phantoms, but as Krypton was being destroyed, Jor-El put her in the Phantom Zone for her own survival. Raya says a stone Jor-El gave her is her only weapon against the phantoms. Clark tells her that Zod has returned to Earth, but she doubts that Clark can stop him. She also explains to Clark that there is an exit out of the Phantom Zone, a gateway designed by Jor-El in case anyone in his family were imprisoned there.
Lionel rescues Chloe from an angry mob and they seek safety in the LuthorCorp building, only to discover Zod/Lex has kidnapped Lana and flown away. They try to decide how to stop Lex as Zod. Lionel knows that Jor-El gave Clark a dagger and says he will go back to the Kent Farm to retrieve it. Chloe is surprised that Lionel will resort to killing Lex and suggests they try to read the Kryptonian symbols, but Lionel knows that Clark is the only one who can read them. He says the connection he felt at the Fortress is gone. He gives her a gun, tells her to take care of herself, and leaves for the Kent Farm. Chloe goes back to the Daily Planet to try to decipher the symbols. At the Planet, Chloe is shocked to run into Jimmy Olsen, with whom she had a summer romance while in high school. He is now a photographer at the Planet.
Zod keeps Lana captive and drags her to the Black Ship. She realizes that Lex has been taken over and watches as Zod touches the ship and makes it disappear. He tells her that he intends for her to bear him an heir and begin his plans to turn Earth into a Krypton-like planet using the alien ship's hard drive. Lana tries to stop Lex/Zod and he keeps her in place by pinning her hand against the wall with a knife. He leaves to infiltrate the Pentagon, where he plans to control Earth's satellites. When he leaves, Lana is able to pull the knife out and free herself.
Fortress and has her first conversation with Jor-El. She accuses him of crashing their plane, but he explains that she was, in fact, taken by Milton Fine and he saved them. He tells her that Clark is banished forever by Zod.
He tells Martha about the dagger he gave Clark and how Zod must be stopped and killed in order to save the world. He thanks Martha for being such a good mother for his son and transports them back to Smallville.
Lionel shows up at the Kent farm and Martha explains what she must do. Lana also arrives, looking for Clark and having realized now why Clark was talking about killing Lex. She reasons that she is the only person that would get close enough to use the dagger and offers to kill Lex. She takes the dagger back to the Luthor Mansion, where Zod is waiting. She tells him that she has agreed to bear his heirs and they start kissing. Thinking he is distracted, she tries to stab him, but he is too quick, and shatters the knife. Angry, he uses the hard drive to activate a satellite which starts an earthquake. He then chokes Lana until she passes out.
Clark and Raya make it to the gateway and Raya explains that only a member of the House of El can open the gate. However, they encounter two prisoners, Aethyr and Nam-Ek. Raya pretends that she is using Clark to escape and they start to fight. Raya is able to stab Nam-Ek, but Aethyr retaliates stabbing Raya. She gives Clark her crystal and urges him to escape; he has no choice but to leave her. Clark runs to the portal, placing his bleeding hand on it, pushing him and the other prisoners through. Seven meteor-like objects fall from the sky out of the Phantom Zone, one of them being Clark. He arrives at his farm just in time to save Lionel and Martha from being crushed by the collapsing barn. Lionel and Martha tell him that Lana took the dagger, so he goes to the mansion to confront Zod.
Before Zod can choke Lana to death, Clark arrives. He blasts the hard drive with his heat vision, which deactivates the satellite and stops the earthquake. They fight and Zod picks Clark up and flies out the window with him. They land in a field and battle. Zod gains the upper hand and commands Clark to kneel before him. He tells him that if they join forces, he will spare the human lives that Clark cares most about. Clark appears to accept his offer and takes Zod's hand. However, in his hand is Jor-El's emblem. Zod is sucked out of Lex's body and into the emblem while Lex falls unconscious.
Clark goes to the hospital to check on Lois, who remembers being in the Fortress, but she thinks it was heaven. Clark tries to convince her it was just a hallucination. They share an awkward but tender moment. Lex encounters Lana in the hospital as well and she is understandably skittish towards him, showing him the hand he stabbed. Lex tells her he doesn't remember anything, but seems sincerely guilty over having caused such destruction. Lana decides to forgive him.
Clark goes to the Planet to check on Chloe, who was extremely worried about him and is relieved to see him. When she runs into his arms, he tries to bring up when she kissed him, but she blows it off and says it won't change their friendship. This is confirmed when she introduces him to Jimmy. It is obvious that Chloe and Jimmy share something, and Clark looks surprised and a little hurt.
Back at home, Martha tells Clark that Lionel claims that his connection to Jor-El is gone. Clark tells Martha that he went to the Fortress to talk to Jor-El, bringing along the emblem, but Jor-El didn't answer—it was like the Fortress was dead. He confides in his mother that he doesn't know what to do now... everything has changed. His father is dead, Jor-El is gone, Lex has become his enemy and Lana won't speak to him. She tries to comfort him, but he just looks lost and alone.
Meanwhile, Lionel is at his office, writing Kryptonian symbols; he is astonished at what he does and writes "POWER" underneath it. Lex returns to the mansion and opens his laptop to find a part of the object Zod had taken from the ship, half destroyed. In Argentina, a phantom rises from the water and speeds away.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and Zod
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
Special Guest Star
- Unknown Actress as Aethyr
- "Zod" refers to the main villain of the premiere, the Kryptonian General Zod.
- In this episode, Lex Luthor is possessed by the spirit of Zod.
- Antagonist: General Zod
- There was talk of including Brainiac in the story, but James Marsters was unavailable.
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, heat vision, and Invulnerability.
- This is the first appearance of Jimmy Olsen.
- In Smallville, Jimmy Olsen is played by Aaron Ashmore, the twin brother of Shawn Ashmore, who previously portrayed Eric Summers in Leech and Asylum.
- This is the first episode to be broadcast on The CW after the acquisition of The WB eleven days before this episode premiered, The CW started broadcasting the morning afterwards. Vessel was the final episode that was broadcast on The WB (in the terms of newly produced episodes.).
- This episode introduces new opening credits with footage from Season Five and Season Six and is the first set of credits without John Schneider as Jonathan Kent.
- This is the first season premiere that does not feature Jonathan Kent.
- In the DVD version, the scene recap from the previous episode is removed, but it is intact on the Blu-ray version.
- The medallion that Raya hands to Clark bears the famous "S" logo that Superman will wear on his suit and cape.
- The ending scene with the released phantom is subtitled "Iguazú Falls, Patagonia, Argentina". However, the Iguazú Falls are located in the border between Argentina and Brazil, a few thousand kilometers away from Patagonia.
- This is the only time in the series that Martha speaks to Jor-El.
- This is the first time that Jor-El has ever expressed approval of Clark's upbringing by the Kents.
- When Martha speaks to Clark while cleaning up the barn, the stitches on the right side of her head are briefly seen on the left side.
- While in the Phantom Zone, Clark's Kryptonian abilities are disabled. This marks the 7th time Clark has lost his abilities, and the second time it has happened in a season premiere. Previous losses occurred in Leech, Perry, Asylum, Transference, Spell and Arrival.
- September 28, the air date for this episode, is the best date for Dark Thursday, based on information from Wither (The park ranger that Gloria replaces was missing for a week, Lex's invitation for the Benefit Ball is dated October 11, and September 28 is the first Thursday that would match both dates).
- The scenes of the satellites in space can also be seen in the film Batman & Robin, a film that John Glover had a cameo appearance in.
- Pascale Hutton (Raya) was also in Season Four's Ageless.
- Leonard Roberts reprised his role as Nam-Ek.
- Near the end of the episode, when Clark and Chloe hug, Chloe is not holding anything in her hand but in the next scene of the same hug, she is seen holding papers in her hand.
- In addition, the image of Zod's face being extracted from Lex's body is that of Terence Stamp, who played Zod in the Superman II movie and currently voices Jor-El's spirit on the show.
- This is the 3rd season to begin following a previous season finale that had ended with a "To be continued" credit. Simultaneously this is also the 6th episode to follow a previous episode that ended with that expression. The other episodes were Vortex, Exodus, Phoenix, Arrival, Vessel, Bizarro, and Lazarus.
- The fact that the last 2 previous episodes both ended with a "To be continued" credit makes Oracle/Vessel/Zod the only official 3-part story in the entire series.
- Clark accidentally frees the Zoners and is followed towards Earth, and feels guilty for this. The same happened to Kara Danvers/Supergirl on Supergirl, as the prison known as Fort Rozz followed her out of the Phantom Zone towards Earth.
In Other Media
- This episode features the Smallville version of General Zod. Zod is traditionally one of Superman's more powerful archenemies in the comics. He is a minor villain in the first Superman film Superman: The Movie and the primary villain in the second Superman feature film Superman II and there are several references from the films. In this episode, he paraphrases the line by Ursa (played by Sarah Douglas in Superman II) "Zod doesn't take orders. He gives them.". In the film and this episode, Zod continually refers to himself in the third person and frequently commands people to "kneel before Zod". The way Clark tricked Lex/Zod is similar to how Superman tricked Zod in Superman II. Also, Raya says that Jor-El created the Phantom Zone to hold criminals from the "28 known inhabited galaxies". In Superman: The Movie, Jor-El also says that there are 28 known galaxies.
- Clark's escape from the Phantom Zone is similar to Kara's in the 1984 film Supergirl. In the film, her mentor Zaltar (played by Peter O'Toole) is killed while helping her to escape. Clark believed that the same was true of Raya until discovering that she was still alive in Reunion.
- Jimmy traditionally refers to Clark as "C.K." in other versions of the Superman story.
- The two that attack Clark and Raya just before Clark escapes the Phantom Zone are the Disciples of Zod, banished by Clark to the Zone in Season Five's Arrival.
- Jimmy Olsen is the boy that Chloe told Lana about in Season Four's Unsafe to whom she lost her virginity after a summer romance when she was 15 in between Vortex & Heat.
- The phantom seen at the end of this episode is the same phantom seen in Nemesis and Prototype on a DVD. It is captured in Phantom and becomes Bizarro in Bizarro.
- Brainiac appears as the black ship and the Kryptonian black box in this episode meanwhile, James Marsters is seen as Brainiac via archive footage.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Superman's iconic S shield on the necklace used to capture the Zoners, and on the gateway from the Phatom Zone.
- This is the second season premiere where Lana tries to save Earth by defeating the Kryptonian villain and is subsequently saved by Clark.
- This marks the first episode where Chloe carries a firearm. Other episodes include Progeny, Savior, Collateral & Fortune.
- This episode marks the 3rd appearance of Clark's Red jacket/Blue shirt outfit in a season premiere since Season Two's Vortex and Season Five's Arrival.
- This episode marks the 39th appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- Raya's fate is revealed when she returns to help Clark fight another escaped Phantom Zone prisoner in Fallout.
- When the phantoms come out from the Phantom Zone, one can only see 7 shooting stars, though there are 8 escapees. The eight include Gloria, Raya, Baern, Aldar, Dr. Hudson, Titan, Bizarro, and Clark.
- Martha: All right. Send me back.
- Jor-El: Everything you have done for Kal-El, you have my deepest gratitude. I could not have wished for a brighter light to guide my son. Farewell, Martha Kent.
- Clark: If there was a way to save everyone you love, wouldn't you risk dying?
- Jimmy: My first official day at the Planet and the world decides to end!
- Chloe: Clark! Oh my God, I thought you were dead! (she runs into his arms)
- Clark: Hi. Um... So did I, for a while there.
- Chloe: What happened? Where did you go?
- Clark: A place I never want to go again. Are you okay?
- Chloe: Yeah, everything's great now that you're here. (they embrace again)
- Clark: Chloe... before I left, there was this moment that we, um...
- Chloe: You mean when I laid one on you? Don't worry, Clark. It was the end of the world, it's not like I'm expecting us to hook up.
- Clark: Um, yeah. Me... me neither.
- Clark: Everything's changing. Dad's gone. I can't talk to Lex. And Lana's... I don't know where to go from here.
- Martha: Every world needs its heroes, Clark. They inspire us to be better than we are. And they protect from the darkness that's just around the corner.
- Smallville The Official Companion Season 6
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