Season 5 Episode 18


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 13, 2006 on The CW

Episode Fan Reviews (70)

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  • A young girl named Maddie comes into the Kent home after her foster mother is killed. She is found to have the ability to shatter glass with her mind, challenging Clark to help her control her power.

    A new character is introduced, Maddie (played by Emily Hirst), a pre-teen with an attitude of hostility and silence toward her foster parent Naomi, who is Martha's Chief of Staff. When Mattie is stressed or angry, she shatters glass with her mind, terrorizing all around her. The ability frightens Maddie, too, who is not entirely in control of this power. A wild breakage scene ensues - all the glass in the kitchen explodes in flying shards, as Maddie hides in her room, and her foster Mom is killed by the impacts.

    A Deputy brings Maddie to the Kent household temporarily, while they investigate the death. Child Services is to visit the next day, so that loose end is wrapped up quickly. Maddie has not spoken since age 3, Martha has learned, when her birth mother was killed. Clark takes some initiative by befriending Maddie as a fellow artist - as Clark produces a really nice stick figure, to Maddie's amusement.

    Lex and Lana are at the dorm talking about Milton Fine and classified documents he gave Lex about an alien invasion. They even trust each other. When Chloe comes in, she sees them together, and begins to believe that there is something between the two.

    Clark shows Maddie around the farm, entertaining her with some speedy tricks, and revealing that he was an orphan too. Maddie takes to good ol' Shelby the dog, and Clark hears her talking quietly to him. Suddenly she's talking to Clark. Lois drops in at the request of Martha, and Maddie puts on a quick glass-shattering demo. End of happy day. She's upset and confused by her powers, which Clark tries to understand. Miss Hirst is doing some pretty fine acting here - tears on demand, and impressive emotional power. She denies killing Naomi because she can't break glass in another room.

    Lois wants to call the police; Clark stalls her, and goes to see Chloe for some investigative journalism. Old news sources show Maddie's mother died from a shattered windshield; was Maddie to blame? Clark begins to doubt. Lois gamely tries to take Maddie out for a picnic lunch, but when Maddie gets a mad on, Lois is barely able to calm her down.

    Child Services show up to take Maddie; she refuses, while Lois warns the CPS man about the glass danger. Suddenly there's another man in the background, and every window in the Ford Taurus is blown, killing the CPS rep. The stranger drives off with Maddie - it's her father, and Lois has a number of shards in her back. Back to the hospital, where she and Clark try to identify the unknown assailant. Things seem better when those two collaborate, and frankly, Clark and Lois are getting easier to watch than Clark and Lana. Maddie's dad Tyler McKnight was just released from Belle Reve, and show that he, too, can manipulate glass. He wants his daughter back, but Maddie realizes that he killed her mother, Naomi and the CPS worker. She's powerless at the moment, and Tyler steals a Ford Galaxie, and they leave the Taurus by the road.

    Chloe has now found that Maddie's dad was in a glass shop when the meteor shower hit, thus his powers. He was also a jewel thief, escaping with several diamonds. Chloe finds his former address; Clark goes there, finding Maddie's grandmother, who did not even know Maddie existed. Tyler hid the diamonds at the Talon in a stained glass frame, and attempts to retrieve them with Maddie. But she won't go along Tyler's plans for their new life, and Clark intervenes and stops Tyler cold.

    Lana talks to Chloe at the Planet, irritated that Chloe has interfered with her personal affairs, but Lana denies having a "love life" with Lex. Has Chloe sensed something that was not there? Nah.

    Chloe bursts in on Lex to chastise him for taking advantage of Lana when she's vulnerable. He asserts they are friends, nothing more, but Chloe is pretty protective. Lex jabs her about never having a boyfriend, perhaps a sensitive subject for her.

    Clark and Lois are spending more time together as she heals from her wounds. Martha is back, and has chosen Lois to be her Chief of Staff. Guess she'll accept, but wouldn't that mean a move to Topeka and less of Lois in the scripts?

    McKnight is in custody, but the unfortunate Deputy is wearing glasses as he enters the elevator with the cuffed McKnight. Ugh, that was a nasty scene, but original, and Tyler is on the loose again.

    Thinking everything is at peace, Maddie, now looking far better, is even helping clean the Kent house. She wants to stay with him, but Clark tells her she has a grandmother. Nicely done emotional expression by Miss Hirst; we can sense see her pain and anxiety. That evening, glass is breaking around the house - Martha is trapped by McKnight, threatened by a hovering shard of glass, but Clark and Maddie come to the rescue; her power is superior to her father's, and she takes control of the floating glass and turns it against her father. She can kill him, but Clark talks her through this crisis, helping her to make the right decision rather than simply stepping in with his powers to end the standoff. Maddie is mature beyond her years, but what a friend she has in Clark.

    Maddie's grandmother arrives in her Jeep Cherokee to take custody of Maddie, and Clark assures her of his continuing friendship. An impressive acting job by the young Miss Hirst, not too schmaltzy, just warm and hopeful, there in the yellow sun at the Kent farm.

    At the Planet, Chloe thinks she'll always have a source of news at the state house with Lois working for Martha there. However, when Clark asks her about the fracas with Lana, Chloe denies hiding anything from Clark. While Chloe is right to stay out of the middle of the Lana-Clark relationship, why protect Lex? We know that development will become clear to Clark eventually.

    Lana stops to see Lex to "set the record straight." He assures her that they're both on the same page as far as a friendship is concerned. So they both feel the same...right? Oops, the moment seems emotionally right for a brief kiss. What just happened? Looks like Lana really does not know what she is feeling, but turns on the passion, gives Lex a deep kiss, and she's gone.

    "Fragile" is a very good production by the whole crew, with noteworthy acting and emotional expression by Emily Hirst, making this one of the better episodes of the season. The Lana - Lex relationship is progressing so Smallville fans need to see this one to keep up with this dramatic turn. Re-run rating B.