It was a variation of the freak of the week formula that the show prominently used in Season One. As the freak of the week formula gradually became used less, the occasional episode used the hero of the week variation.
A typical formula for a "hero of the week" episode usually has three key elements:
- The hero arrives in Smallville or Metropolis and at first has an altercation with Clark Kent.
- The hero of the week usually gets into trouble and needs Clark's help.
- The hero joins forces with Clark to overcome a threat.
The characters origins are usually revealed in this episode, although there is not often a lot of detail provided. The hero of the week is usually the central plot of the episode.
Heroes on TV
|Image||Episode||Hero of the week|
|4x05 Run||Bart Allen, a metahuman having super speed, saved Jonathan from an accident, but stole his wallet. When Clark tracked him down, they had an altercation about Bart's criminal behavior. Bart got into trouble with a fence called Hanison. Clark saved him and they left on good terms.|
|5x04 Aqua||Arthur Curry came to Smallville to stop Lex's experiments at Crater Lake. Thinking that he was a terrorist, Clark intervened, but when he learned that Lex had developed an under-water weapon, he rescued Arthur who had been caught by Lex and helped him destroy the weapon.|
|5x13 Vengeance||Andrea Rojas received super-powers by a heart transplant from a metahuman. She moonlighted as a vigilante nicknamed "Angel of Vengeance". Clark helped her locate the man who had injured her and killed her mother. When she learned that Lionel had set up her mother's murder, she tried to kill him, but Lionel was saved by Clark and Andrea disappeared.|
|5x15 Cyborg||Victor Stone was given a bionic endoskeleton at SynTechnics after a car accident and was the only cyborg surviving the experiments. When he fled from the lab, he met Clark and pushed him into a wall as he was scared that people were after him. They quickly became friends and Clark rescued Victor when he was kidnapped for more experiments.|
|6x04 Arrow||Oliver Queen moonlighted as a vigilante nicknamed "Green Arrow". Clark initially believed that Green Arrow was a thief, but then learned that he only took stolen objects and donated the revenues to charity institutions. When Lois was kidnapped, Green Arrow succeeded to rescue her, but was almost unmasked. Clark distracted Lois using his heat vision, allowing Oliver to escape, and the two became friends.|
| ||6x11 Justice|| The Justice League is formed as a team of vigilantes including Oliver Queen as "Green Arrow", Bart Allen as "Impulse", Arthur Curry as "Aquaman", and Victor Stone as "Cyborg". The episode follows the "hero of the week" formula:
Clark chased a mysterious figure, which turned out to be Bart. They disagreed over Bart's continued criminal behavior, which led to Bart being captured by Lex. Clark as "Boy Scout" and Chloe as "Watchtower" joined the league to free Bart and destroy one of the sites used by Lex for his 33.1 experiments.
|7x02 Kara||Kara Kent, Clark's cousin woke up from her suspended animation she was held in since she had arrived with her spaceship in the 1989 meteor shower. She begun searching for Kal-El whom she believed to be still a baby. Clark recognized her by the Mark of El on her bracelet and helped her to find back her stolen spaceship.|
|7x11 Siren||Dinah Lance, a talk show host with a strong sense for justice, moonlighted as "Black Canary" to retrieve stolen goods. She had a subsonic scream she could use as a weapon. When she was hired by Lex to deliver Green Arrow whom she believed to be a terrorist planting bombs, Clark intervened. Dinah realized she was on the wrong side and joined the Justice League.|
| ||8x11 Legion|| Rokk Krinn as "Cosmic Boy", Garth Ranzz as "Lightning Lad", and Imra Ardeen as "Saturn Girl" are members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of vigilantes of the 31th century.
They appeared in the 21th century during the Persuader's attack on Clark. Clark quickly realized they were here to help him defeat Brainiac. However, they had very different ways of going about this. While the Legion intended to kill Chloe as Brainiac's vessel, Clark eventually convinced them that this was not the way and they united their super powers in exorcising Brainiac from Chloe.
|8x17 Hex||Zatanna Zatara, daughter of a mighty magician, made Oliver steal the spellbook which Lex had bought after her father's death. She wanted to use it to return her father to life, sacrificing her own life. Clark tried to persuade her that her father would not wish her to do so, but only when Chloe was caught by the magical vortex that should bring her father back, Zatanna aborted the spell.|
|9x08 Idol||Zan and Jayna, twins having super powers, impersonated the Blur during botched rescues, thereby bringing him into trouble. When Ray Sacks, a corrupt district attorney, tried to kill Lois by throwing her off the Daily Planet rooftop, the twins rescued her and helped Clark hiding his identity as the Blur from her.|
|9x11 Absolute Justice|| Carter Hall as "Hawkman", Kent Nelson as "Doctor Fate", Wesley Dodds as "Sandman", Sylvester Pemberton as "Star-Spangled Kid", and Courtney Whitmore as "Stargirl" are members of the Justice Society of America.
When Icicle killed Pemberton and Dodds, the others united to overcome the threat. They first were suspicious of the new super-heroes including Clark, Oliver and John Jones, but then accepted their help to hunt down Icicle. Several lessons were learned when the two generations of heroes came together.
|9x12 Warrior||Alec Abrams, a young boy who was a comic fan, stole an enchanted Warrior Angel book and was converted to Stephen Swift, the human person of Warrior Angel. He saved Chloe from a falling globe. They became friends and went on a flight across Metropolis. When Stephen learned that Zatanna tried to reverse the curse, he felt betrayed and transformed into the villain Devilicus. He threatened to kill Chloe, but the counter-curse transformed him back into the boy.|
|10x16 Scion||Conner Kent, a clone made from DNA both of Clark and Lex, developed the same super powers as Clark. Influenced by a red kryptonite ring he was given by the mirrored Lionel Luthor, he abducted Lois and even tried to kill her. Clark came to free her, and in a fight, the ring was destroyed and Connor returned to normal. When Lionel weakened Clark with green kryptonite, Conner destroyed it using his heat vision.|
|10x18 Booster||Booster Gold arrives from the future to Metropolis in 2011 in order to take Clark's place as the "World's Greatest Hero". During his first save he unknowingly lets loose an extraterrestrial weapon known as the scarab, which attaches itself to a goofy teen known as Jaime Reyes, who fails to control it. The suit attacks Booster during a dress rehearsal for his Key of the City presentation, but, using advice Clark previously told him, is able to help Jaime control the armor. Later Jaime decides to become a superhero like Booster.|
Heroes in the comics
|Image||Episode||Hero of the week|
|Detective||Bruce Wayne as Batman and his protege, Barbara Gordon as Nightwing, arrive in Metropolis to hunt Joe Chill, the man who killed Bruce's parents and is now working with Intergang as a weapons dealer. Superman and Batman team up in order to take down Intergang and their hitmen, The Prankster and Mr.Freeze. In the end, Clark and Bruce agree to join forces again whenever the need arises.|
|Olympus||Diana of Themyscira|
- Legion is the first "hero of the week" episode where Clark does not fight the heroes the first time they meet. However, Clark and the Legion strongly disagree with each other's methods of defeating Brainiac and it is only at the end that they unite as a team.
- Legion is also the first "hero of the week" episode that introduces more that one hero at the same time. Idol is the second "hero of the week" episode to do this and Absolute Justice is the third.
- Although Idol uses the hero of the week formula, this is mainly for the B plot, while the A plot focuses on Lois and Clark. This episode also does not feature a confrontation between Clark and the Wonder Twins, although they do cause trouble for Clark inadvertently by impersonating the Blur.
- Many of the DC comics superheroes that have appeared on the show have been introduced with a hero of the week episode. Martian Manhunter is an exception.
- Oliver Queen was a recurring role and is the first superhero to appear before their "hero of the week" episode. He appeared in Sneeze and Wither before his superhero persona first appeared in Arrow.
- Kara is the second superhero to appear before her "hero of the week" episode. She made her first appearance in Bizarro.
- Kara is the only "hero of the week" to be a full-time cast member when she was introduced. Oliver eventually became a full-time cast member after recurring appearances for 2 seasons.
- More recently, the heroes of the week have had repeat appearances together in episodes that are not "hero of the week" episodes. These episodes include; Odyssey, which featured Oliver, Dinah and AC; Doomsday, which featured Dinah, Bart, Rokk and Oliver; and Salvation, which featured Dinah, Victor, Oliver, Courtney and Carter.
- Although hero of the week, Zatanna, makes a repeat appearance in Warrior, this does not follow the "hero of the week" formula.
- Rokk Krinn is the first "hero of the week" to make his first appearance with 2 other heroes and then make a return appearance by himself in Doomsday, although his second appearance was not a hero of the week episode.
- Oliver, Bart, AC and Victor are the only characters to appear in 2 "hero of the week" episodes.
- Lois Lane has been the love interest of 2 heroes of the week; Oliver and AC.
- Vengeance is similar to a "hero of the week" formula, although Andrea Rojas proves to be more villainous, as she was prepared to kill Lionel Luthor and as a result she left Clark on bad terms. All the other "hero of the week" episodes leave things positively between the guest hero and Clark.
- Kara has a more ongoing storyline than most other "hero of the week" episodes, largely because she is a full-time cast member at the time of her "hero of the week" episode.
- Lex Luthor has featured as the main villain in most of the "hero of the week" episodes. These episodes include; Aqua, Cyborg, Justice, and Siren.
- There were at least two "hero of the week" episodes every season between Season 5 and Season 9.