Lex Luthor and Lionel Luthor had a fraught relationship due to the latter's forceful and cruel parenting to the former. Lionel initially saw himself as the ruler of a great business empire, grooming Lex to take over someday. Lionel frequently tested Lex in order to build his guile and resourcefulness. Not wanting to be simply labeled as "the son of Lionel", Lex created his own company, due to which Lionel saw Lex as a rival. Even when Lex returned to Lionel's company to work with his father, Lionel constantly saw Lex as a threat and could never fully let Lex in. In many ways, Lionel represented the evil criminal mastermind that Lex was destined to become. Nevertheless while Lionel saw the error of his ways and worked to redeem himself, Lex took a darker path and finally became the product of Lionel's cruelty that he had originally hoped for.
- "Luthors are not afraid. We don't have that luxury. We're leaders. You have a destiny, Lex. You're never going get anywhere with your eyes closed." - Lionel Luthor to Lex Luthor, Pilot
Lex was Lionel's son and first child with Lillian Luthor. Lionel was occassionally a violent father in contrast to Lillian being a gentle mother. While Lex's parents argued amongst each other, Lex was torn between them. Lionel's status with the Veritas group, as well as his desire to keep everything he was doing a secret from his family, was what drove him to be violent with them. This was proven when he hit Lex, under the assumption that he opened his briefcase only to find out that Lillian was responsible.
In 1989, Lionel took his son with him to Smallville on a business trip. Lex was terrified during the helicopter flight, which his father criticized him harshly for. Despite Lionel's cruelty towards Lex, he clearly cared for him, as he became frantically concerned for his safety during the meteor shower while meeting the Kents. He abandoned his ambition to control the Traveler and focused more on his business and family.
In 1991, Lionel had his second son Julian Luthor with Lillian. When Lex discovered that his mother had killed Julian during a fit of depression, he lied to his father and claimed that he had done it, reasoning that Lionel might kill Lillian but he would never do anything to jeopardize his sole remaining heir.
In 1993, Lex's mother died and Lionel dismissed the nanny. He told Lex that she left because she had just inherited a lot of money and didn't want anything more to do with the family, but in reality, Lionel didn't want her influencing the upbringing of his son, fearing that he was not ruthless enough to take over from him at LuthorCorp someday.
In 1996, Lionel had sent him to boarding school where Lex caused his friend Duncan Allenmeyer to run in front of a car after they had an argument. Feeling guilty about what his son had done, Lionel organized Duncan to be kept alive by experimental treatment that caused him to become a meteor freak.
- "You know what those emperors you're so fond of talking about were really afraid of? That their sons would become successful and return to Rome at the head of their own army." - Lex Luthor to Lionel Luthor, Stray
Lionel sent Lex to Smallville to manage LuthorCorp's fertilizer plant. Lex resented this, but he took his assignment seriously, as he knew his father was testing him. At one point, Lex defied his father. After a 20% drop in profits, Lionel wanted his son to cut the workforce at his plant by twenty percent. Lex wanted to do just the opposite and to resolve their differences, they battled each other in a fencing match. Lex lost, but he still found a way to cut expenses without cutting his workforce.
During a hostage situation at the fertilizer plant, Lex and Lionel argued over how to proceed. Lex decided to go inside the plant and talk to the terrorist. Lionel protested that it was a very dangerous moveyet he seemed proud that his son was willing to take such bold and decisive action. Nevertheless, when the situation escalated and Lex became trapped inside, Lionel did nothing to help him, claiming that the lockdown was a safety feature that could not be overriden. When Lex came out safely, Lionel was clearly relieved.
When Victoria Hardwick (the daughter of a rival company) moved into the mansion, Lionel came to Smallville to show his disapproval to Lex. Lionel seemed afraid that Lex was either acting foolishly or disloyally. Later, Roger Nixon had discovered that it was Lionel who had sent Victoria to spy on Lex.
Before the end of the year, Lionel offered Lex a position in Metropolis. Lex turned it down because he valued the relationships he had built in Smallville. Lex suspected his father just wanted to keep an eye on him and he wanted to forge a new destiny without his father. Lionel tried to force Lex to come to Metropolis by closing the plant, but Lex countered by attempting an employee buyout, which Lionel blocked by buying the bank. Their battle over the plant ended abruptly when a tornado hit Smallville. Lionel was injured and relied on Lex to save him, to which Lex hesitated.
- "If you were really ready to run LexCorp, there's no way I could have taken it from you. Look at this as an opportunity for us to work together again, father and son." - Lionel Luthor to Lex Luthor, Suspect
In the wake of the tornado, Lex got his father to the hospital and approved surgery, which failed to save his eyesight. Lionel found it difficult to adjust to his blindness and decided to visit Lex to escape his therapists. Lex made it clear that he didn't want his father there but, when Lionel got involved with Lex's research into the weird and unexplained happenings in Smallville, he decided to stay indefinitely. Living together soon led to trouble, as Lionel started to redecorate the mansion. Nevertheless, Lex put his foot down and forced Lionel to stop pitying himself, reminding him that that was the same advice that he had given Lex when he lost his hair.
When Lionel was unhappy with Lex's choice of personal assistants for him, he took matters into his own hands and hired Martha Kent, which Lex was nervous about, as he feared that Lionel would damage the life that he had created in Smallville. As Lex warned Lionel not to hurt the Kents, Lionel teased him about wanting to be one of them, comparing him to a Greek god who tried to live with mortals.
In a bid to improve their relationship, Lionel asked Lex to be his partner in the office park, but Lex refused. As Lionel began building work, Clark Kent had discovered the Kawatche Caves, which belonged to a Native American tribe. As the tribe staged protests, Lionel complained to Lex that the project had become a public relations nightmare. Lionel was also upset with Lex for bailing out one of the protestors. Lex offered to buy Lionel out, claiming that he was interested in preserving the caves. However, Lionel suspected Lex knew something else about the land that made it valuable and refused to hand it over to him. Desperate to get one over on his father he approached the governor of Kansas to exercise the historic artifacts amendment, enabling Lex to buy the project from Lionel, much to Lionel's annoyance. Nevertheless, Lionel regained control of the caves after talking with the governor of Kansas regarding the injuries and deaths which occurred at the caves under Lex's supervision.
After their battle for the Kawatche Caves, their relationship began to get more competitive, which affected their businesses. Lionel was able to take a $150 million contract from Lex by extracting information from their lawyer. In retaliation, Lex hired a team to bug Lionel's office. However, this got out of control when the team decided to burgle Lionel instead, which resulted in Lionel and Martha being held hostage. After the hostage situation was resolved, Lex tried to assure his father that he did everything he could to help him, but Lionel had already guessed that it was Lex that sent the team in the first place.
Lex's fraught relationship with his father led to him becoming a suspect when Lionel was shot, as it was discovered that Lex and Lionel had been arguing about Lionel buying out the shares of LexCorp shortly before the attack. Nevertheless, Lex showed concern about Lionel's critical condition and waited in Smallville Medical Center for him to recover. Lex was exonerated for Lionel's attack when it became clear that Lionel intended to bring Lex back into LuthorCorp after LexCorp was absorbed by the main company. This made it clear that Lionel valued family over friends, however loyal they may be.
Lex soon discovered that Lionel had had an affair and an illegitamate son during his marriage to Lillian. Lex had always been closer to his mother and the news of Lionel's betrayal to her upset Lex. Lionel's former mistress believed that Clark was their illegitimate son that they had put up for adoption and she took Lex as a hostage to force Lionel into publicly admitting this. While she threatened to kill Lex, Lionel refused to meet her demands and Lex was only saved because of Clark's intervention. Lionel's lack of action to save Lex's life put further strain on their relationship.When Lionel and Rachel's true son arrived in Smallville, Lex felt a pang of jealousy as Lionel warmly greeted Lucas Luthor into the family. Nevertheless, it was Lex who had tracked him down in the hope that he could use Lucas' 10% entitlement to the business to force his father out. This plan backfired when Lionel took Lucas under his wing and together they forced Lex out instead. Lex soon discovered that Lionel had orchestrated the whole thing, secretly aiding Lex's discovery of Lucas. Lucas's interference forced Lionel and Lex to confront the problems in their relationship, as Lucas tied Lex up and threatened to kill Lionel if he did not shoot Lex. Lionel refused to kill Lex and instead shot Lucas, but discovered that the gun was filled with blanks. Realizing that Lex and Lucas had set him up, Lionel had proven his allegiance to Lex and gave Lex his company back in return for keeping quiet about Lucas.
Following Lex's previous deceptive behavior, Lionel suspected Lex was involved with the robbery of his truck. Lex was appalled that Lionel would suspect him but then investigated what it was that Lionel had in the truck. Lionel tried to make amends by giving Lex an early wedding present, as Lex had made it obvious that Lionel was not invited since Lionel had offered Helen Bryce $100,000 to leave him. Lionel claimed that he was merely testing Helen's loyalty as well as, despite offering Lex a Caribbean honeymoon, Lex remained doubtful of Lionel's good intentions. Lex was made more suspicious of Lionel, as his involvement with human cloning was exposed. Despite Lionel's attempts at reconciliation, Lex did not invite Lionel to his wedding to Helen.
- "Things would have been so... so different between us." - Lionel Luthor
- "Yes, Dad-- you might have actually loved me." - Lex Luthor
Lionel's suspicions of Helen were justified when she went missing during a flight to their honeymoon destination and caused the plane to crash but Lex managed to survive on a tiny remote island, where he became convinced that Lionel had betrayed him.
Believing Lex to be dead, Lionel held a funeral for his son. Clearly devastated by his loss, Lionel reacts badly to Helen's presence at the funeral and threatened to avenge his son. He was surprised when Lex returned safe and well, but Lex pulled a gun on him and questioned why Lionel tried to kill him. Eventually believing his father over his wife, Lex tried to kill Helen. Lionel congratulated him on turning the tables on Helen and Lex admitted that all the tests he had put him through in the past had helped him to survive on the island. After this, Lex decided to accept Lionel's offer to run LuthorCorp together, much to Lionel's delight. As they embraced, Lex was genuinely relieved but Lionel seemed worried about this new phase in their relationship.
It was not long before tension returned in their relationship, as Lex was not comfortable with Lionel's decision to take out a $50 million life insurance policy on him. Soon after, Lionel requested that Lex take a full psychological exam. When Lex refused, he was upset to discover that Lionel had only given him restricted security access. Lionel insisted that this was to protect the company's assets, indicating Lionel's lack of trust in Lex. To restore his father's confidence in him, Lex reluctantly agreed to five psychotherapy sessions.
Lex became suspicious of Lionel's involvement in his parents' death. Shocked at Lionel's callous behavior, Lex decided to avenge his grandparents and tried to convince Morgan Edge to confess to conspiring with Lionel to kill them. When Lionel discovered Lex's suspicions, he discredited his son by drugging him and made people believe that he was crazy. Lex then ended up in a mental asylum, where Lionel plotted to remove Lex's memories. Unconcerned about his son's health following this dangerous procedure, Lionel was solely driven by self preservation.
Following Lex's recovery, Lionel invited Lex back to work, although he ensured that Lex was given no important responsibilities and simply gave him the job in order to keep an eye on him. Despite Lex's mind-wipe, the tensions in their relationship were not resolved and Lex confronted Lionel once again about the lack of authority that he had been given at LuthorCorp and questioned Lionel's involvement with a blood-serum that reawakened the dead. Lex was keen to be put in charge of this project, but Lionel went behind his back and had the project terminated. This angered the recipient of this serum then murdered all of the associated technicians. Suspecting the worst of his father, Lex accused Lionel of the murders. Lionel denied these accusations but requested that Lex take charge of the clean-up. Disbelieving him, Lex refused to be drawn in to Lionel's criminal activities, showing no loyalty to his father. Nevertheless, establishing a connection between Lex and the chief technician, Detective Paul Cage arrested Lex but was offered immunity by FBI Agent Frank Loder in return for helping build a case against Lionel.
Thinking of his own self preservation over any loyalty towards his father, Lex began working with Loder to bring down Lionel. Lex involved Chloe Sullivan when she became meteor infected and had the ability to make people tell the truth and was able to get Lionel to confess to murdering his parents, but felt uncomfortable about being drawn into the father-son rivalry and questioned Lex about his motivation. Being forced to reveal the truth by Chloe's meteor power, Lex confessed that he had only ever wanted Lionel to love him. But when Lionel himself questioned Lex about what he wanted from him, Lex claimed it didn't matter as he would never get it.
Lex eventually discovered a procedure to restore the memories that Lionel had wiped, although Lionel tried his hardest to prevent this. When Clark became involved, Lex admitted that he would never sacrifice the people he cared about to get what he wanted, insisting that he would not become his father. Following his memory treatment, Lex confessed to Lionel that it was Lillian who smothered Julian, not Lex, as he had led Lionel to believe all those years ago. Lex explained that she did this to spare the baby from Lionel's parenting, as well as he took the fall for his mother because he knew that Lionel would destroy Lillian, but would protect his only heir. Lionel was shocked and horrified and expressed regret at the way he had treated Lex throughout his life, but Lex wasn't interested as it was too little too late.
Lex and Lionel were drawn into conflict again about Naman and Sageeth, when an artifact from the Kawatche Caves adorned Jeremiah Holdsclaw with Kryptonian powers. When Lionel was injured by Jeremiah, Lex showed concern and offered to help find him. But Lionel refused to trust him, which was justified, as it became clear that both were only interested in their own search for power.
Lionel discovered that Lex was wearing a wire to gather evidence on him and accused him of betrayal. Getting one over on his son yet again, Lionel came to an arrangement with Agent Loder, making Lex's efforts futile. Nevertheless, Lex eventually succeeded, although he seemed pained at finally causing his father's downfall upon his arrest. Lionel tried to appeal to Lex by revealing that he was dying. Lex remained unsympathetic, which led Lionel to purposefully giving Clark a key to Lex's room containing all his research on the Kents. Knowing that Lex valued his relationship with Clark more than anything else, Lionel's actions were particularly cruel and indicated the final breakdown in their relationship. With Lionel in prison, he was still keen for revenge on Lex and attempted to poison his son.
- "'Helping those who refuse to help themselves is a waste of time and money, son.'" - Lex Luthor mocking Lionel Luthor, Onyx
Nevertheless, Lex recovered and found great delight in watching Lionel be sent to prison. Lionel's plot for revenge continued when he planned to use the Crystal of Water to switch bodies with Lex, trapping Lex in prison and enabling him to make his escape. The plan did not work out as planned, as Clark intervened and Lionel switched bodies with him instead. Lex was the only one to recognize that "Clark" was in fact Lionel. Once they were switched back, Lionel's liver disease was cured and he vowed to become a changed man.
He even helped Clark prove Lex's innocence when he was accused of murder. On one occasion, however, he insinuated to Clark that Lex had sexual fetish for brunettes stemming from an Oedipal fixation stemming from Lillian. Upon his release, Lionel tried to convince Lex that he had changed by starting a charitable organization to share his good fortune. Lex was unimpressed by Lionel's new cause, due to his lack of trust in his father. With a strained atmosphere remaining between Lionel and Lex, Lionel continued to side with others over his son. He warned Jason Teague not to trust Lex and even helped Lana Lang and Clark find the Stones of Power before Lex.
Despite his best efforts, Lionel was encouraged to revert back to his evil ways when confronted with Lex's evil persona after he was split in two by black kryptonite. After Lex challenged Lionel to a fencing match and attacked him with his rapier while taunting him, Lionel eventually reverted back to his old self and overpowered Lex who was pleased to see his father revert to darkness. While Lex's dark half was certianly caused by Lionel's cruel parenting, in return Lionel's regression to evil was caused by his son. Once Lex had become whole again, he was disappointed in Lionel's change back to his old ways. Nevertheless, Lionel seemed grateful to Lex for showing him that despite his enhanced value for life, he refuses to be controlled by his son.
When Genevieve Teague had threatened to have Lex harmed if Lionel did not give her one of the stones, Lionel poisoned her. Lionel was very protective of Lex in this instance and warned her against threatening his family in future. Nevertheless, Genevieve refused to heed his warning and held both Lex and Lionel hostage until they revealed where the stone was. As Lex awoke in captivity, he initially thought his father was behind it, but quickly realized this was not the case. Concerned for his son's safety, Lionel only revealed that Lana had the stone when Genevieve and Jason threatened to torture Lex with a hot poker.
Lex and Lionel eventually escaped but were pursued by Jason. When Lex overpowered Jason, he turned the tables on him and chased him to the edge of a cliff. As Jason tried to reason with Lex and almost revealed Clark's secret, Lionel shot Jason, causing him to fall off the cliff. Lex was shocked by his father's actions as well as, while Lionel tried to convince him that he was trying to save him, Lex refused to trust him. This proved to be justified, as Lionel had the Crystal of Water all along, although it caused him to go into a catatonic state prior to the second meteor shower.
- "You tried to warn me about Fine, but I didn't listen." - Lex Luthor
- "You never have. No matter what I've given you, the things you've always wanted were beyond your grasp. This time you've overreached yourself." - Lionel Luthor
- "Did you come out here to lecture me or to help me?" - Lex Luthor
- "It's too late to do either, isn't it? You made a deal with the devil. He always comes to collect." - Lionel Luthor
As Lionel remained in his catatonic state caused by Jor-El, Lex admitted his father to Belle Reeve. However, Lex's actions seemed to be more motivated by his curiosity as to what had happened to his father and his connection to alien symbols, rather than concern for his health. Lionel's lack of response during this period frustrated Lex and he was completely mystified by Lionel's sudden cure. Lex tried to get some more solid answers out of Lionel about the symbols, including the one that he carved on the floor with a corkscrew, but Lionel feigned ignorance claiming that all he remembered was the two of them arguing before the second meteor shower. It transpired that Jor-El's influence over Lionel had reverted him back to the good path that he had been on following his release from prison.
Shortly afterwards, Lex decided to run for senator of Kansas. Realizing that Lex's thirst for power was insatiable and it would be dangerous for him to win his first foray into politics, Lionel backed Jonathan Kent instead and offered to fund his campaign. When Lex was shot by a mugger and left for dead, Lex dreamt of a better reality where he had cut all ties with Lionel and his business in pursuit of true love. He was married to Lana and had a son and was truly happy until Lana became ill giving birth to their second child. When he asked for Lionel's help, Lionel reminded Lex of his decision to leave his wealth and power behind him and refused to help resulting in Lana's death. When he awoke from this dream, Lex discovered that Lionel had risked his life by ordering emergency surgery to prevent him from being crippled. Lex showed contempt for Lionel's reckless decision without his permission, creating another barrier between the two. Nevertheless, his dream had reminded him of the power that he had been given as a Luthor and refused to hand over all that power to Lionel as he had done in his alternate reality.
Lex became more desperate to win the election by paying Griff to find any scandalous information from Jonathan's past to discredit him with the voters. However, still keen for Lex to lose, Lionel intervened and paid Griff for the evidence, which he subsequently destroyed. When Griff was later found dead, Lex suspected his father, but Lionel feigned ignorance. To Lionel's delight, Lex lost to Jonathan at the election. But when Lionel spoke to Jonathan about what he knew about Clark's secret they got into a fight, this led to Jonathan having a fatal heart attack. This did not deter Lionel from trying to take Luthorcorp back from Lex, since his campaign funds compromised Luthorcorp's assets, making the company vulnerable. Lex soon discovered information involving Johnathan having a secret meeting with Lionel the night of his death, as well as having witnessed Lionel's relationship with Martha, Lex threatened to tell Martha about Lionel's involvement in Jonathan's death if he did not give up control of LuthorCorp to which Lionel reluctantly agreed.
When Lionel began to be threatened by a mysterious man who orchestrated Lionel's limo being hit by a train, Lex was the first person that Lionel suspected. Lex denied these accusations and seemed concerned for his father, although he admitted that this was only because he percieved it to be a threat against LuthorCorp. Following this, Lionel and Martha were kidnapped by Lincoln Cole, a disgruntled investor of a failed takeover of LuthorCorp. Martha questioned Lionel about the failed takeover and Lionel explained that the purpose of it was to teach Lex hard lessons, hoping he would rediscover his own humanity. From an outsider's perspective, Martha couldn’t understand why they didn’t just have a father/son talk. Lex tried to save Lionel and witnessed a video feed of Lionel in captivity telling Martha how special Clark is. After Lionel was saved, Lex questioned him about what he meant about Clark, but Lionel chose to protect Clark rather than take Martha's advice about building up an honest relationship with Lex. Lex could tell that Lionel was keeping something from him as well as, having chosen Clark over his son, Lex and Lionel's relationship became increasingly distant, as Lex chose to turn his back on his father.
Nevertheless, Lionel became concerned for Lex's safety, as well as the safety of the planet should he succeed with his latest project, when he found out that Lex was working with Milton Fine, harboring every virus on earth. Lionel tried to warn him of the dangers involved with this project but these warning fell on deaf ears. As a result, Fine was able to turn Lex into General Zod's vessel and when Lionel tried to help him, Lex's super strength knocked Lionel away with such force that he was smacked into the front window of his car. Following this, Lionel seemed prepared to sacrifice his son to defeat Zod and save mankind.
- "As hard as it is for you to believe, Lana actually loves me." - Lex Luthor
- "Oh, you know so little about women, Lex. Lana does not love you. The only reason she even agreed to marry you is because I gave her a gentle, yet very firm, nudge." - Lionel Luthor
- "Using my wife against me? That's deplorable even for you." - Lex Luthor
After Lex was exorcised of Zod, he was left with no memories of Dark Thursday, however his activities as Zod had got the interest of Oliver Queen who had Lex followed. Lex initially suspected his father, which led to another heated confrontation between the two, but Lex soon realized his father was innocent when he was kidnapped by Orlando Block, an employee of Oliver's. Despite the breakdown in his relationship with Lex, Lionel leapt to Lex's defense when he suspected Oliver in the kidnapping, having realized he had the means and the motive to carry out the kidnapping. Lionel warned Oliver that if he was responsible, he would regret it, indicating that Lionel had not completely given up on his son, despite his previous willingness to sacrifice Lex to defeat Zod.
In an attempt to build bridges in their relationship, Lionel agreed to help Lex prove Lana's loyalty by asking her to destroy the Kryptonian black box. When Lana refused, Lex thanked Lionel for his help and it became clear that Lionel expected Lex to share his knowledge of the black box in return. When Lex refused to keep Lionel in the loop, Lionel continued to try to win him round by comforting Lex when a school colleague died in front of Lex during a school reunion. Lex remained unresponsive to Lionel and even chose not to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner.
As Lionel's relationship with Lex declined, he built up a stronger connection with Clark. Even actions that appeared to be for Lex's best interest were truly for Clark to maintain his secret or to provide him with inside information on Lex's dangerous projects. Lionel was able to earn Lex's trust when he relocated Lex's 33.1 project to prevent Bronson's attempts at exposing 33.1. After this, Lex shared his knowledge of a red blur that had been attacking LuthorCorp facilities. When further facilities were destroyed, Lionel showed disappointment in Lex for not putting a stop to it. Nevertheless, Lex believed he knew who the culprit was and confided in Lionel that he thought it was Clark. Choosing Clark over his son again, Lionel gave Clark an alibi, although Lex remained suspicious and disappointed that Lionel continued to leap to Clark's defense which caused a breakdown in trust once more.
This breakdown was made worse when Lionel warned Lex that he was indebted to him after he covered up Lex's murder of Dr. Langston then Lionel forced Lana to honor the promise she made to Lex when she had second thoughts about their wedding. He later revealed that he had been doing this in order to protect Clark by using Lana as a spy. Although he was keen to go to these lengths to stop Lex from completing his project, Lionel was keen to protect Lex from Jodi Keenan when she planted a bomb on a LuthorCorp site. He risked his own life to save Lex and ended up in the hospital. Lionel then requested that Clark save Lex when he became trapped after the explosion. This indicated that Lionel still cared for his son, despite his illegal and dangerous activities. But he regretted putting Lana in the middle of his turbulent relationship with Lex. Lionel eventually admitted to Lex that he had forced Lana to marry him, after which Lex insisted that Lionel played no further part in his life.
"I was raised in your shadow; now you're going to die in mine. No one will even remember your name." - Lex Luthor before murdering Lionel Luthor, Descent
With Lex having already cut Lionel from his life, Lionel went missing to which Lex seemed to show concern. However, Lionel was eventually found by Lex after he followed Lois Lane's story of a cabin bought by someone with the initials "LL". Lex was keen to release Lionel, indicating that he didn't want any harm to come to his father in spite of their disagreements.
As time went on, Lex and Lionel seemed to reverse roles. Whereas Lex previously criticized Lionel's criminal and immoral acts, Lionel had now chosen a better path and criticized Lex's decline. Realizing that it was his parenting that led Lex down this path, Lionel repeatedly tried to make Lex aware of these bad life choices, not just to help his son's redemption but also to help Lex's victims. Lionel criticized Lex for being obsessed with the new girl Kara Kent and suggested that he give up his obsession with Clark and everyone associated with him. Lex retorted that Lionel spent as much time protecting Clark as he did pushing Lex away, indicating his jealousy of Lionel's relationship with Clark. Lionel noticed that Lex had become more of an expert at hiding his projects. However, Lionel reminded Lex that he could fool everyone around him, except his father.
Lionel was furious with Lex when he discovered the existence of Grant Gabriel (Julian's clone). As Lionel had also been involved with cloning previously, Lionel was clearly more angry that Lex had recycled his brother (Lionel's son) in this process rather than the cloning itself. As Lionel started to bond with his "son", Lex became jealous of how easily he welcomed Grant into the family so Lex had "Julian" assasinated. Lionel was devastated by this and tried to get Lana's help in proving Lex's guilt, although this proved to be unsuccessful.
When Lex was shot in Detroit, Lionel realized how precious his son was to him and he put aside their differences and went to the hospital to be by his side. After Lex recovered, Lionel told Lex that he loved him and used Oliver's drug to revive him as a cover story. Although this fulfilled the wish that Lex once wanted, Lex seemed unmoved by this, as it seemed that too much had happened between them to recover from and Lex left without saying anything. Nevertheless, Lionel didn't stop trying to help redirect Lex to redemption. But Lex once discovered that the only reason they were caught in the first meteor shower was because of Lionel's obsession with the Traveler, Lex was sick of his father putting others before his son.Lex felt his life changed forever that day and wanted to know who the Traveler was. But when Lionel lied to Lex again by claiming that Lex was the Traveler, Lex pulled a gun on him. Lionel warned Lex that if he proceeded down the path that he was heading, there would be no redemption. Lex gave Lionel a final chance to hand over the Veritas key but Lionel proved his committment to keeping Clark's secret and refused to give into Lex's demands. As a result, Lex told Lionel that he had been raised in his father's shadow and now Lionel would die in his son's then sent Lionel plummeting to his death. As Lionel had killed his parents, Lex killed Lionel, proving that he was a product of Lionel's parenting. This could have been avoided if Lionel had been kinder to his son and showed him the love that Lex longed for much earlier in their relationship but Lex proved to be just as untrustworthy and more ruthless than Lionel was by using meteor freaks to carry out his simplest needs and killing people over the slightest inconvience, something Lionel had never done. While Lionel planned his father's death, Lex killed his father with his own barehands. Although Lex was initially shocked by what he had done as his assistant perceived this as grief, Lex treated his father with the same contempt that he was originally shown as he blocked Lionel's funeral from all guests (sans Clark), showing him no respect.
- "The Luthors were too busy feuding over which one of them was worthy enough to be your adversary that they couldn't see the truth... that there was another boy who came to Earth with you." - Tess Mercer about Lex Luthor and Lionel Luthor, Eternal
"It seems my father had a... a change of heart." - Lex Luthor about the alternate-universe Lionel Luthor, Finale, Part 2
An alternate-universe Lionel Luthor had regretted allowing his adopted son kill Lionel's flesh and blood in his Earth as Lionel lived in fear of his adopted son failing his expectations, finally revealing this to Clark. Having regretted choosing someone else over his own flesh and blood in his reality, Lionel attempted to rectify his mistake trying to take "Alexander Luthor"/Conner Kent to his side as a "son" but after both attempts were foiled by Clark. After losing LuthorCorp from Tess, Lionel mourned at Lex's gravesite then was approached by Darkseid.
Having drove himself into near madness in his obsession, Lionel discovered that Lex took the many clones' best pieces and grafted them together. With a heart being the only organ Lex wasn't able to duplicate successfully and the masterwork kept alive with life support devices, Lionel turned to Tess. While a planet was approaching Earth, Lionel's passion and desperation to have Lex back was made very clear when he attempted to have his thugs carve out his daughter's heart to restore his son but Tess escaped and fatally shot her alternate-reality father. Desperate, Lionel crawled to Lex's composite clone and Darkseid approached him once more. Instead of Darkseid's proposal to live forever, Lionel pleaded with Darkseid to give him Lex back, even if it meant killing himself since his son was the only one he cared about. Darkseid obliged killing Lionel and put Lionel's heart into Lex, granting Lionel's final wish of getting his son back. After being effectively restored, Lex pointed out his alternate-universe father's "change of heart" to Clark and then Tess pointed out that all their alternate-reality father wanted was Lex to live. After Tess poisoned Lex with a neurotoxin, Lex had completely forgotten all of his experiences with Lionel.
- Their relationship with Clark started to reverse in season 5 where Lex began to obsess over Clark's secret, resulting in the two falling out and with Lionel becoming Jor-El's vessel, which caused Lionel to dedicate his life to protecting Clark.
|Lex Luthor in Smallville|
|Lionel Luthor in Smallville|