|Writer||Alfred Gough & Miles Millar|
|Broadcast Date||October 16, 2001|
| Previous Episode: None
Next Episode: Metamorphosis
The first episode tells the story of the meteor shower that hit Smallville and changed life in the Kansas town forever. Clark Kent discovers that he is an alien, meets Lex Luthor for the first time and encounters the first in a long line of humans mutated by the strange green meteor rocks that accompanied him on his journey to Earth.
On October 16, 1989, a spaceship, accompanied by meteors, crashes in Smallville, Kansas, "Creamed Corn Capital of the World," population 25,001. Martha and Jonathan Kent, a childless couple, visit a florist shop. They chat with the owner, Nell Potter, and her three-year old niece Lana Lang.
Meanwhile, Lionel Luthor, an extremely rich businessman, and his nine-year-old son Lex are flying in their helicopter to a Smallville factory. Lionel chastises his son for being scared and keeping his eyes closed. After they land, as Lionel signs the deal, Lex wanders into a nearby cornfield. He hears someone whisper, "Help me." Frightened, he begins to run and sees fourteen-year-old Jeremy Creek stripped to his skivvies, tied to a cross with an "S" painted on his chest.
When a meteor hits the cornfield, it causes a shockwave that engulfs Jeremy and knocks Lex to the ground. Lionel finds Lex buried under debris. He is horrified to see that Lex has lost all his hair. In town, Lana watches as a meteor hits and kills her parents, Lewis and Laura Lang. The Kents' pickup truck is overturned by another meteor. A naked little boy approaches the truck, appearing to be around age two or three. The Kents extract themselves from the upturned truck and find a small spacecraft. They deduce that the little boy came from outer space, wrap him up in a blanket, and take him home.
Twelve years later, in 2001, Smallville is the "Meteor Capital of the World," population 45,001. Since the shower, the town has been littered with bright green meteor rock fragments. A teenaged Clark Kent (given his arrival years ago, he's either 14 or 15) reads on the Internet about a boy who breaks a speed record. At breakfast, he tells his parents he wants to play football but his father won't give permission for fear that Clark might hurt one of the other guys. Clark misses his bus, but reveals that he possesses superhuman speed, and outruns it through a cornfield.
Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan, Clark's best friends, talk about going to the school dance. Chloe insists she doesn't have a crush on Clark. Pete explains that he and Clark want to join the football team in order to avoid becoming that year's "Scarecrow." Tradition has it that the football team chooses a freshman each year, strips him down to his underwear and ties him to a cross in a cornfield like a scarecrow. Clark has a crush on Lana Lang, but she wears a necklace made from the meteor that killed her parents, in memory of them. Clark inexplicably becomes physically ill whenever he approaches her.
At football tryouts, Clark watches Lana practicing with the other cheerleaders. He daydreams about being the star quarterback and winning the game. Then he walks home at normal speed to think and mope.
Jeremy Creek (looking exactly as he did twelve years ago) is skulking around the school. He gazes at the football trophy case, then breaks it and takes a picture of three smiling football players. At Frank's auto shop, Jeremy Creek electrocutes Frank, one of the former football players that put him out in the cornfield twelve years ago.
Twenty-one year old Lex Luthor arrives in Smallville to assume management of the Smallville branch of his father's company, a fertilizer plant. Lex is driving quickly when his cell phone rings. Distracted, he doesn't notice something blocking the road ahead. He swerves and sees Clark moments before the car hits him. Both, Clark and Lex in his car go over the Loeb Bridge into Elbow River. The impact knocks Lex unconscious, but Clark swims towards him, rips the top off of his car, and pulls him out. He resuscitates Lex, who is sure he actually hit Clark, but Clark brushes him off. When Clark's father arrives at the scene, he is very unhappy with Lex.
Later that night, Clark is in the loft of his parents' barn. He spies on his neighbor, Lana. She is talking to her boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, a senior and quarterback of the football team. Lana gives him her necklace for good luck in the homecoming game.
The next day, Clark receives a brand new truck as a gift from Lex for saving his life, but his father won't let him keep it. Jonathan's animosity towards the Luthors is revealed when he tells Clark that LuthorCorp evicted their neighbors to make the money that bought that truck. When Jonathan says that it's normal for Clark to be upset, Clark turns on the wood chipper and sticks his hand inside to demonstrate that he is not "normal", leaving Jonathan stunned.
Trying to explain Clark's origins, he shows him the spaceship, which they have hidden in the storm cellar. He tells Clark that he arrived in it during the meteor shower. Clark is angry and says he should've been told before. He runs away to think and meets Lana in Smallville Cemetery. She confesses that she goes there to talk to her late parents. She and Clark have their first real conversation. Clark walks Lana home and she asks if he's going to the dance. He says that he is going to sit it out. She says if he changes his mind, she'll save him a dance, and then kisses him on the cheek. Whitney watches from the shadows.
Clark goes to Lex's mansion and explains to Lex that he can't keep the truck. Lex realizes it's because Clark's father doesn't like him. Lex says he doesn't want anything to stand in the way of their friendship.
Pete and Chloe are at the scene of a crime. Another former football player has been found in a coma. They see
Jeremy Creek and snap his picture. Chloe is editor of the school newspaper, the Smallville Torch and, with Pete and Clark's help, the three report on school events, but Chloe is keenly interested on abnormal events. They take Jeremy's photo to the office of the Torch and find him in a twelve-year-old yearbook. They realize he has been in a coma since the meteor shower and hasn't aged a day because he was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance. He escaped from the hospital during an electrical storm and is now prowling around Smallville electrocuting jocks for revenge. Chloe shows Clark her "Wall of Weird" - a collection of articles about the strange goings-on in Smallville since the meteor shower. Clark is upset by the mural because he believes that he is to blame.
As Clark is leaving the school, Whitney picks him to be the next scarecrow. Clark tries to fight back but Whitney is wearing Lana's necklace. When Clark notices the necklace, Whitney puts it on Clark which renders him helpless. Whitney and his fellow football players throw him in the back of a pickup truck and string him up in a field on a cross with an "S" painted on his chest. Jeremy finds him but refuses to help, telling Clark that he'll be safer where he is. Jeremy then goes to the homecoming dance to electrocute everyone there. Lex drives by as Jeremy jumps the fence. Lex recognizes Jeremy from twelve years ago and gets out of the car to investigate. Jeremy slips away but Lex finds Clark and frees him. Lana's necklace falls off and as Clark runs away, Lex picks up the necklace.
At the dance, Jeremy is about to set off the sprinkler system when Clark shows up. They fight and Jeremy tries to run Clark down with a car when he crashes into a water main. As the cab fills with water, he short-circuits himself. His powers are gone. He has no memory of Clark and just wants to go home.
Clark watches Lana and Whitney dance and leaves in frustration. When he sees Whitney's truck, he pauses. After the dance, the students are astonished to see three trucks belonging to the football players stacked one on top of the other.
Jonathan comes to the loft to talk to Clark. Clark is no longer angry and says he is glad the Kents are the ones that found him. Jonathan says it was Clark who found them. Clark daydreams that Lana stops by and gives him the dance she promised him. As they dance, she asks him if everything is alright, and he responds that it's perfect. The sound of a car horn jolts him back to reality, as he watches Lana being dropped off by classmates. He gazes at her and whispers, "Thanks for the dance, Lana." She turns, almost as if she heard him, then smiles to herself, and walks into her house. Clark remains looking out the window.
- Lionel Luthor - John Glover
- Young Clark - Malkolm Alburquenque
- Lex Luthor (age 9) - Matthew Munn
- Lana Lang (age 3) - Jade Unterman
- Lana Lang (age 3) (uncredited voice over) - Miranda Cosgrove
- Nell Potter - Sara-Jane Redmond
- Lewis Lang - Ben Odberg
- Laura Lang - Wendy Chmelauskas
- Principal James Kwan - Hiro Kanagawa (scenes deleted)
- Jeremy Creek - Adrian McMorran
- Bill Ross/Cream Corn Farmer #1 - Dee Jay Jackson
- Dale Ross/Cream Corn Farmer #2 - Alvin Sanders
- Garage Worker/Former Jock #1 - Steve Bacic
- Former Jock #2 - Kirby Ward
- Heike - Amy Esterle
- Factory Worker (uncredited) - James Ralph
- "The Way It Is" - Bruce Hornsby
- "Long Way Around" - Eagle Eye Cherry
- "Everywhere You Go" - The Class of 98
- "Unstoppable" - The Calling
- "Wonder" - Embrace
- "Inside The Memories" - Fear The Clown
- "Let's Go" - Capitol Eye
- "Maybe" - Stereophonics
- "Everything I Own" - Jude
- "Woodstock Alice" - Paul Trudeau
- "Everything" - Lifehouse
- Technically, this episode is unnamed. The term "pilot" is traditionally used in the entertainment industry to identify the first episode of a television series.
- A pilot is a person who drives an airplane or jet.
- Coincidentally, this episode also introduces Clark Kent, who was "piloted" to Earth by a tiny spacecraft.
- Antagonist: Jeremy Creek and Whitney Fordman
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, invulnerability, speed reading, super leaps (only in imagination) and super speed.
- The name of the Smallville High School paper, the Smallville Torch, was also the name of the school paper where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman's creators, worked in high school.
- Jeremy Creek is the first known meteor freak and villain of the show.
- The episode contains a few subtle references to Superman. Lex asks Clark, "Do you believe a man can fly?" similar to the tag-line from the first Superman movie - "You'll believe a man can fly." When Clark is hung up as the Scarecrow, the red "S" on his chest is an allusion to the S on Superman's costume. When Jonathan puts his jacket around Clark and they walk away from Lex and the accident, the red blanket around Clark hangs off his shoulders like a classic Superman cape. Additionally, Clark bumps into Lana in this episode and as they talk she asks him, "So what are you, man or superman?" referring to his future as Superman.
- The first two episodes of the series are sometimes combined into a movie-length feature with some scenes extended. Some of them can be seen on the DVDs. They include:
- More conversation between Pete and Chloe on the bus after Clark is seen running through the cornfield.
- Principal Kwan seeing Jeremy break into the trophy case.
- When Lex is resuscitated, Clark sees the broken guardrail and looks weak. Lex asks, "Kid, are you feeling alright?" Clark says "Yeah, I'm fine", then faints, falling flat on his face.
- Clark stacking the trucks up to get back at Whitney for the hazing incident.
- Clark reads an article entitled "3-year-old Korean boy lifts truck off injured father" which is an obvious allusion to Superman: The Movie where a 3-year-old Kal-El lifts a truck off a shocked Jonathan Kent.
- Lionel is the very first character to appear on-screen in the series.
- Before Lionel appears on screen, he is reading a newspaper with the headline 'Queen Industries CEO missing, presumed dead'. This is a reference to the Queen family. Oliver Queen first appears in Season 6 and becomes a series regular in Season 8.
- 'Queen Industries CEO missing, presumed dead' could be a starting point to the Season 7 story arc of the secret of Veritas .
- Clark wears a blue jean jacket while looking at Lana and Whitney through his telescope, and ironcally, he wears a blue jacket and a red t-shirt in some seasons.
- During the very first scene, among the green meteors, there is one with red and blue strains in it instead.
- The DEFCON system is referred to incorrectly; DEFCON 5 is the least severe state. Ironically, it will be used correctly by Chloe over nine years later.
In Other MediaEdit
- In Smallville, Kal-El's ship came to Earth accompanied by meteor rock fragments. This differs from nearly every version of the events, which tells that kryptonite came long after Kal-El, although it is same as the beginning of Superman: The Animated Series.
- Annette O'Toole, who plays Martha Kent, previously played the adult Lana Lang in Superman III.
- Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Pete Ross, Martha Kent, and Jonathan Kent are the first six DC Comics characters adapted into the series.
- According to the producers, the scene at the graveyard is one of the first scenes which Kristin Kreuk auditioned for in the show and her first scene with Tom Welling.
- This is the first and only episode in which the theme song, Save Me isn't featured.
- When this episode originally aired, there were no opening credits. The regular actors are listed followed by a "Special Guest Star" listing for John Glover.
- In the version of the pilot that aired, childhood Clark, Lana and Lex are played by Malkolm Alburquenque, Jade Unterman, and Matthew Munn, respectively. All three child actors would reprise their roles in Season 2, Alburquenque and Munn in Lineage, and Unterman in Accelerate.
- The pilot episode runs 48 minutes long.
- Actress Cynthia Ettinger was the original Martha Kent.
- The bridge that Lex goes off is the Loeb Bridge, a reference to Jeph Loeb, who wrote Superman comic books and consulted on Season Two.
- Lana's parents are played by Ben Odberg and Wendy Chmelauskas. They appear as Lewis and Laura Lang in two future episodes, Season Four's Scare and Season Five's Void.
- More is revealed about the day the Kents found Clark in Season Two's Lineage and Season Eight's Eternal.
- In the first scene, the front page of Lionel's newspaper states that Queen Industries' CEO is missing and presumed dead. The new Queen Industries CEO, their son Oliver Queen, joined Smallville as a recurring guest in Season Six, before being promoted to regular from Season Eight. This headline also appears in Season Seven's Veritas.
- In Season Seven's Descent, the real reason for Lionel's trip to Smallville is revealed to not so much to buy a creamed corn factory, but to welcome the Traveler.
- Lex talks about the history of the Luthor mansion - which is supposed to be his ancestral home and was "shipped over from Scotland stone by stone". Lionel's reasons to actually do so is explained later on in Season Seven's Quest.
- The "Scarecrow" prank that in which Clark was victimized showed him hanging on a cross-like structure. This is the first of several times throughout the series that imagery of Jesus Christ alludes to Clark being a Christ figure.
- This is the first and only episode that shows Clark Kent carrying a skateboard.
- In the story of Smallville, it is shown that right before Kal-El as a baby left Krypton, his older future self from 2008 battled Brainiac with help from Kara as Brainiac was about to kill him. Kal-El from 2008 put him back in the spaceship and the story of Smallville began.
- The Superman symbol is shown on a little ride in front of store as young Lana is crying.
- Clark is reading a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher whose views on religion, morality, and psychoanalysis were influential to the German Nazi Party. His book "The Will to Power" contains the famous line, "Behold the Superman".
- Clark: I'd give anything to be normal.
- Jonathan: Kids just don't fall out of the sky, Martha.
- Martha: Then where did he come from?
- Jonathan: I don't know. But he must have parents. (they both find the space ship)
- Martha: Well, if he does, they're definitely not from Kansas.
- Jonathan: Sweetheart, we can't keep him. What are we gonna tell people? We found him out in a field?
- Martha: We didn't find him... he found us.
- Young Lana: Do you want to make a wish?
- Martha: I would love to make a wish.
- Young Lana: Okay. Abracadabra.
- Martha: (scolding Clark for drinking out of the carton) Jeez, Clark. Get a glass, where did you learn your manners?
- Clark: (laughing) On a farm.
- Chloe: Statistical fact. Clark Kent can't get within five feet of Lana Lang without turning into a total freak show.
- Lionel: This has got to stop. Open your eyes, Lex.
- Lex: I can't...
- Lionel: 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.
- Lex: Clark, do you believe a man can fly?
- Clark: Sure. In a plane.
- Lex: No, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about soaring through the clouds, with nothing but air beneath you.
- Clark: People can't fly, Lex.
- Lana: Nietzsche? I didn't know you have a dark side, Clark.
- Clark: Doesn't everyone?
- Lana: So what are you: man or superman?
- Clark: I haven't figured it out yet.
- Lana: I didn't see you tonight, Clark.
- Clark: Lana. What are you doing here?
- Lana: I saved you that dance. (They start dancing) Everything okay, Clark?
- Clark: It's perfect. (Horns outside honk, and Clark awakes from his reverie.) Thanks for the dance, Lana.
- ↑ Simpson, Paul (2004). Smallville: The Official Companion Season 1. London: Titan Books. pp. 8–17. ISBN 1840237955.
Beginning of Series
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