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|Broadcast Date||March 12, 2002|
| Previous Episode: Kinetic
Next Episode: Nicodemus
Roy Rothman has come to Smallville to terrorize Lex Luthor and get vengeance for his sister, whose fiancé died at Club Zero three years ago. Meanwhile, Chloe Sullivan researches Clark's adoption and Lana Lang prepares for the opening of the Talon.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 1x14
Lex Luthor is wearing a straitjacket, hanging upside down in a large dark room. He calls out for help. Jude Royce approaches, shining a light in his face and demanding the truth. Flashback to Metropolis, three years ago (c. 1999), Lex enters Club Zero with Max Kasich and Amanda Rothman. Max is Lex's bodyguard. Amanda is a friend of Lex, engaged to Jude Royce, who is supposed to be out of town for a few days, so she is out with Lex tonight. Unfortunately, Amanda catches sight of Jude across the room sitting between two beautiful women. Hurt and outraged, she takes off her engagement ring, throws it at him and runs away. Jude correctly guesses that Lex brought her there on purpose. Lex admits that Amanda deserves better. Lex catches up with a crying Amanda on the dance floor. Jude catches up with Lex and they exchange blows. The noise and the lighting add to the confusion. Jude pulls a knife and stabs Lex in the shoulder. Max pulls out a handgun and shoots and kills Jude.
In the present, Lex is still hanging from the ceiling in a straitjacket. Jude calls him a liar. He already knows that version of the story from the newspapers and police reports, but he doesn't believe it. He threatens to get even, claiming that Lex, not Max, killed him. He raises his handgun to shoot Lex.
One week earlier
Mr. Austin gives his students an assignment to write a six-page biography about one of their fellow students. Supposedly, the subjects were randomly assigned, but Pete Ross was assigned Stan Gibson, the manager of the student store. Chloe Sullivan was assigned Clark Kent and Clark was assigned Lana Lang.
Clark takes off to meet Lana at the Talon where he finds her arguing with the general contractor about the plumbing. Jude Royce is there applying for a position as an assistant manager. Jude warns Lana that whatever Lex gets involved with usually turns out badly. When Lex arrives at the Talon, Max meets him outside. Lex is not happy to see him because they were supposed to be avoiding each other. Max reports that Jude has been stalking him and demanding the truth. Lex sends him to a safe house in Metropolis and joins Clark in the Talon. When he learns that Jude has applied for the assistant manager position he becomes upset and leaves. When he starts his car the music is blaring—the same song that was playing the night Jude Royce was killed. Lex can't figure out how to turn it off. Clark uses his X-ray vision to find a CD player under the dashboard.
Clark returns home to find Chloe interviewing his parents for her biography assignment. She is asking difficult questions about his adoption. Clark rushes off to meet Lana on Main Street. Lana says that she is really enjoying the Talon project. People are depending on her rather than treating her like the poor little girl who lost her parents. Lex arrives and they all go inside to meet the contractor but they find him on the floor unconscious. They rouse him and he reports that someone knocked him over the head. There is a gift box on the table with Lex's name on it. Inside is Max Kasich's hand, identifiable by a distinctive ring he always wore.
The next day at school, Chloe is trying to get interesting information about Clark from Pete. Pete tells her that when Clark when six, he threw a nine year old bully through a door. Chloe tells Clark that she has done some digging and discovered that Clark's adoption was managed by Metropolis United Charities, but they were only in business six months and Clark's was the only adoption they ever handled. Clark is furious. He didn't know any of that and he's not happy that Chloe is poking around.
At the gym in the mansion, Mr. Rains, head of security, reports to Lex that Max never made it to Metropolis after leaving Smallville, and that Jude Royce has no parents and no siblings. He has not yet tracked down Amanda Rothman. During his workout, Lex flashes back to that night at Club Zero. Amanda is crying over the body of her dead fiancé when Sam Phelan arrives. Lex tells Sam that after Jude stabbed him, he and Max struggled for Max's gun; both their hands were on it when it went off and killed Jude. Sam agrees to fix it so that Lex's name will not appear in any police reports or any newspapers. He gives Lex the card for a man (Dr. Toby) who will take care of his shoulder so that his name doesn't appear on any reports in an emergency room. As the memory ends, Lex is still in the gym where someone puts a gun to his head. When he turns around, he sees Jude Royce, the man who should be dead. Clark arrives at the mansion and scares Jude off. Clark tries to ask Lex about Club Zero, but Lex doesn't want to talk about it.
Back at the Kent Farm, Clark is helping his dad with the chores. Clark asks about the mysterious Metropolis United Charities. Jonathan makes an equally mysterious reference to needing "a higher level of access." Then they find their entire herd of cows dead in the field. The Center for Environmental Protection (CEP) shows up with HAZMAT suits and finds barrels with the LuthorCorp logo on them. Lex is on hand to supervise the cleanup, but one of the CEP men is Jude Royce. He uses a taser gun to shock Lex and throw him into an empty cargo van. He drives him all the way to Metropolis, to the abandoned site that was once Club Zero, puts him a straight jacket and hangs him from his heels, ten feet off the floor.
Chloe meets Clark in his loft to apologize for blindsiding him with the adoption mystery, saying she is dropping the whole thing to save their friendship. She finds the clippings that Clark has on the death at Club Zero and they match the picture of the man killed with a picture Chloe took of the CEP guys. She hacks into the DMV database and pulls his license. She gets an obviously fake name (John Smith) and an address. Clark asks her to send the Metropolis PD there as he speeds away. When he arrives, the police are there and the coroner is removing a body bag from the house. Clark uses his X-ray vision to see that the corpse has no hand and deduces that it must be Max Kasich. Clark asks a police officer where he can find Club Zero. The officer explains that it closed six months ago but gives him the address.
Back at Club Zero, Jude is once again about to shoot Lex when Roy Rothman shoots Jude. Roy turns on the lights and music and shoots the chains holding Lex upside down. Lex crashes to the floor. He recognizes Roy as the contractor from the Talon, but he's actually Amanda's brother from Central City.
When he was in prison, Amanda was the only one who visited him. He explains that he has kidnapped Lex because he wants vengeance for his sister, who committed suicide a year ago. He also explains that about a week after his sister's funeral, he walked into a restaurant in Blüdhaven and met a short order cook who looked exactly like Jude Royce. Lex agrees to tell Roy the truth about what happened the night Jude was killed.
Lex says that after Jude stabbed him, Max pulled out his gun, but a dancer bumped him and he dropped it. Amanda picked it up and shot Jude. This is not the story that Roy wanted to hear and he becomes furious. He picks up Lex and puts him up against a huge fish tank. Just as he pulls the trigger, Lex twists away and jumps back over a railing. Clark walks in just then. He uses his super speed to push a couch under Lex, then runs upstairs and throws Roy against a post, rendering him unconscious. Then he runs back to the door and pretends to have just arrived. He unties Lex, and they head back to Smallville for the Talon opening. Back at the Torch offices, Chloe decides to continue her investigation into Clark's adoption by Metropolis United Charities.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Eric Johnson as Whitney Fordman
- Sam Jones III as Pete Ross
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
- Deputy Ethan Miller - Mitchell Kosterman (6/14)
- Deputy Gibbons - Mark Gibbon (2/3)
- Sam Phelan - Cameron Dye (2/2)
- Roy Rothman - Eric Breker
- Max Kasich - Michasha Armstrong
- Jude Royce - Corin Nemec
- Amanda Rothman - Jud Tylor
- Club Zero Bouncer - Darryl Quon
- Mr. Raines - Glenn Ennis
- "Let's Go For A Ride" - Eleventeen
- "God Is A DJ" - Faithless
- "Lonely Road Of Faith" - Kid Rock
- "Battle Flag" - Lo-Fidelity Allstars (featuring Pigeonhead)
- Zero is the first number.
- The title refers to the name of the club where all the major events of the episode took place.
- Antagonist: Roy Rothman
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, X-ray vision and accelerated vision
- The flashback sequences take place "three years ago" (c. 1999). If Lex was nine years old on the day of the meteor shower (1989), then he would have been just 19 years old when he nearly got himself caught up in a murder investigation.
- Besides references to Metropolis, Kansas, characters also mention Central City and Blüdhaven. In the DC comics, those cities are the respective homes of the Flash and Nightwing.
- This is the second episode in which the villain was not suffering from green kryptonite poisoning. The first was Rogue which shows Sam Phelon's eventual fate.
- Since obtaining the Talon, Lana appears to skip many days of school in a row. However, she is back at school in the next episode, Nicodemus, and tells Lex in Redux that she has the first two periods free.
- Just a few months ago in Hothead, Lana was such a terrible waitress that she lost her job at the Beanery, but now (with apparently more personal and powerful motivation), she is not only a skilled waitress but also the assistant manager.
- This episode features the opening of and first appearance of the Talon Theater as a coffee shop.
- This episode is possibly the first clear indication that Pete and Chloe, especially the latter, have any suspicions towards Clark's past.
- Whitney has a non-speaking role in this episode.
- This episode details the incident that Roger Nixon threatened to blackmail Lex with in X-Ray and the incident referenced by Lex's Dr. Toby in Hug.
- Sam Phelan previously appeared in Rogue.
- Ethan Miller was last seen in Leech.
- While this is Sam Phelan's last onscreen appearance, he appears in a flashback in the Smallville #4 story Phelan.
- Clark finds out the entire story about his adoption in Lineage.
- Clark says he didn't know Chloe was "gonna go Mike Wallace" on him when his parents questioned him about her assignment to research and interview him. This was a reference to the popular American journalist, who interviewed many prominent figures in his sixty-year career.
- Pete: In a world of designer water, Clark Kent is straight from the tap.
- Clark: You know, Chloe, this is a class project, not a corruption scandal.
- Chloe: Relax Clark, it's not like you have anything to hide, right?
- Chloe: Come on Pete, I'm desperate. Now the only information I could get out of the Kents was the earth-shattering admission that Clark hates peas.
- Phelan: (to Lex) Here's how it's gonna go: you were never here; your name will not appear on any papers or in the police report.
- Lex: How?
- Phelan: That's what your daddy's money's for.
- Jonathan: If she mentions anything about the peas, sorry, that was the first thing that came to mind.
- Clark: And if she mentions anything to me about the Metropolis United Charities?
- Jonathan: I used to think perseverance was an admirable quality.
- Lex: (to Clark) I didn't think it was possible for me to fall any further in your father's eyes. Obviously I was wrong.
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