Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 11, 2001 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
806 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

An experiment at the Luthor fertilizer plant makes an old friend of the Kents literally shake and jitter, and he seeks vengeance against the Luthors, who hide the secret of his transformation behind "Level Three" at the local plant.

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  • Meanwhile,after a crap episode...

    This is a pretty awesome episode IMO. This episode still has a FOTW in it, but it also has a hostage situation with the mysterous level 3 that plays a pivitol part in season 6. This is one of the episodes where you think back on Smallvile and say "I miss those times".

    Clark- Throwing the party was awesome! It showed how much he really used to have fun back in high school. At the beginning where hes listening to music while eating cold pizza is one of my favorite Clark moments. But when it turns serious, I love how Clark knows hes the only one that can save all of his friends lives. He was just so awesome in this episode. Very Superman-like.

    Lex- At the beginning when he shows up at Clarks house party, it was awesome, just because you really saw their friendship shine. But then when his plant gets taken over, and his father comes, you see his confidence go down. It was very un-Lex Luther like when he put his life in danger for a couple of high school kids...but man was it awesome.

    Earl Jenkins- Very cool FOTW, as for the first time you dont see a psyco. Well, not really. I mean you just see a poor man who just wants to get better and see his child again. I really like Earl and while his condition was pretty stupid, I think he was a great addition to the show.

    So ya, this episode was great. Not only was it suspensful, there was no side-plots, as everybody was toghther. The first 15 minutes, its hilarous and funny while the last 45 was serious and edge-of-your-seat stuff. So I highly advise watching this episode.moreless
  • An old farmhand of the Kent's has been infected by Kryptonite in the mysterious "Level 3" at LuthorCorp, leaving him with uncontrollable, violent shakes. After he accidentally kills a man, he becomes determined to uncover the secrets of the plant. Ace...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    I thought "Jitters" was an excellent episode, possibly 'Smallville's best story thus far. But it seems to be one of those stories that people either love or hate, as some seem to have rated it very low. I'm kinda surprised at this, as I felt this episode to be far superior to a few of the previous episodes.

    It is a very enthralling tale about Earl Jenkins, an old farmhand-come-friend of the Kent family, who has been infected by some kind of Kryptonite toxin while working at the Luthor plant – in a department that Lionel Luthor denies even exists. I found this to be a very interesting "opponent of the week", and a welcome twist on a series that could so easily fall into the standard "troubled infected teenager of the week" template (and has even verged on doing so in a couple of previous episodes).

    Earl is brought to life by wonderful actor Tony Todd. Although never quite making it to the "front line" of actors (as maybe he deserved to have done), Todd has shone in many TV guest roles and b-movies, and I enjoy anything he appears in. Earl could so easily have come off as an unbelievable, two-dimensional character, but Todd really made him believable for me; he is a victim, a tragic figure but not a deliberate bad guy, and I really willed him on to find the mysterious "Level 3".

    Things start off with Jonathan and Martha going out of town, to a trip to Metropolis, which gives Clark the opportunity to have a "small" party which quickly gets out of hand. These are the obligatory "good looking teen drama" elements of the episode, complete with lovelorn Lana and Whitney scene, but thankfully, these elements are soon out of the way as the (no pun intended) badly shaken Earl is discovered in the barn. (It did lead to one fun scene though, as Clark zips around at super-speed to try and find something for a worse-for-wear partygoer to throw up into!).

    The whole party element at the beginning does in a way feel slightly "tacked on" to the main story; I think maybe it was to try and emphasise the difference between the Kents and the Luthors – the Kents are understandably cross but quickly forgive Clark, whereas the relationship between Lex and father Lionel is much more distant and strained as Lex tries to defuse the hostage situation with Earl, only to find that his father has been lying to him and Level 3 did indeed exist. I suppose with this in mind, it would give more explanation and basis to the party scenes, though if it is the case I feel this point could have been made clearer; This is my only minor quibble with the episode though.

    The story, especially with Earl's violent junkie-like shakes, feels to have a much darker edge to it than usual. The hostage situation at LuthorCorp, which could have been slightly two-dimensional, is executed well, and the climax, with Clark saving Earl and Lex hanging off of the collapsed bridging over the now empty Level 3, is very exciting.

    All-in-all, I really enjoyed this episode. Personally I think it is strong enough to rank a perfect 10/10.

    (By the way, I've said this before but will repeat myself, some people seem to misunderstand – "review" is to give your own thoughts about the episode, not to just give a plot rundown, which already exists on the page lol)moreless

    i didnt think this one was all that interesting at all, that guy came out of nowhere and we were somehow suposed to sympathise with him with his predicament. well i didnt sure it was sad for him but he was acting crazy and he was well justified to act that way but i didnt feel anything for his character. saw lex's dad found out what we already knew, he is a jerk. i like that lex risked his life, didnt think he ever would. ok so noone questioned how the wall got distroyed going to level 3? and i hated the fact that clark who can barly stand up when kryptonite is near him could hold on to that guy, not even hold on pull up! what is up with that? i guess his adrenalin could have had something to do with it like he said but if that is the case then all those other times he much have had no adrenalin at all. the party was funny. "once you get past the first few dishes you get used to it" funny stuff. i almost had a heart attack when he quickly cleaned his house and people started to clap. at first i thought it was clarks friends, so glad it was his parents.moreless
  • Tony Todd "Shakes" Things Up!

    Jitters-An experiment at the Luthor fertilizer plant makes an old friend of the Kents literally shake and jitter, and he seeks vengeance against the Luthors, who hide the secret of his transformation behind "Level Three" at the local plant.

    Smallville has been on a very brisk pace so far it's first season, with only a few moments of excellence along the way. Well, "Jitters" is Smallville's strongest episode so far and ironically, doesn't seem to have any first season "jitters" anymore. Earl Jenkins could have come off as just another freak of the week waiting to be defeated by Clark, but the writers write the character very well and the fact that his played by the brilliant Tony Todd was a perfect touch. Tony Todd is one of the most underrated actors in the last 10 years. His role as the Candyman and his guest staring roles in TV and movies throughout those 10 years have shown his incredible acting talents. Todd automatically brings such a strong presence to Smallville and he steals the show throughout, even from the great John Glover who returns in this episode as Lionel Luther. You feel genuine sympathy for Earl and his uncontrollable kryptonite induced seizers look very disturbing.

    The hostage situation is a highlight of the episode and it brings some tense moments. I loved how Clark played hero as both he and Lex become trapped inside the Luthcorp facility. The concept of Level 3 and its cover-up is played out very well and Lionel Luthor already seems cruel in retrospect. But the most powerful moment of the episode is the end where Clark is consoled by his parents while Lionel hugs Lex, just to show off to the press. It's one of Smallville's saddest moments as you can see the undying jealousy even yearning Lex has toward Clark. While Clark is adopted, his parents love him like their own while Lex's biological father will never love him like he wants. A solid moment that will drive Lex toward his ultimate destiny. All and All, "Jitters" is a superbly developed episode with wonderful acting, tense scenes, strong development and a terrific guest spot from Tony Todd.moreless
  • Another consequence of a meteor

    Former employee of LutherCorp wants to know why he got sick after a weird explosion in the factory where he used to work. Now everyone tries to convince him that Level Three does not exist. And all Earl wants to do is find out what's the cause of his 'shaking' desease. Clark is there in the right place on the right time to save the day. He shows Earl Level Three. But Earl starts to shake uncontrollably and almost manages to kill himself, Lex and Kent. But Kent with his superpowers saves them. Again...

    Lex is suspicious how come Kent was able to pull them up. How can't he figure everything up? I mean, he saw what the crystal does to people. That weird things happen in Smallville. Didn't he realize Kent had super powers too?

    And one thing is bugging me since the beginning. So some people get in touch with parts of the meteor. They gain certain powers. And those powers are revealed eventually. The 'fat' girl, 'frozen' guy, ever-changing girl, Earl, 'wanna-be-young' old man-- how do people explain their behaviour? I mean, I'd be definetely suspicious. Why no one sees that weird things are happening? really weird!moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Kristin Kreuk

Kristin Kreuk

Lana Lang

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Alexander ('Lex') Joseph Luthor

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Sam Jones III

Sam Jones III

'Pete' Ross

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Whitney Fordman

Michelle Goh

Michelle Goh


Guest Star

Kendall Cross

Kendall Cross

Little Girl's Mother

Guest Star

Tony Todd

Tony Todd

Earl Jenkins

Guest Star

Robert Wisden

Robert Wisden

Gabe Sullivan

Recurring Role

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Recurring Role

Mitchell Kosterman

Mitchell Kosterman

Sheriff Ethan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • In the beginning of the episode, when Earl visits his baby, it clearly shows hard shadows from the mobile attached to the baby's crib, suggesting that the light should be right above it, but when the shot switches to the baby's viewpoint looking up, there are no lights to be seen.

    • After the kids are released. Pete tells the Kents that Clark went back inside and he tried to stop him. However, the audio didn't match Pete's lips.

    • After Clark cleans the house he realizes their parents are there. Martha then says that they called six times the night before and that the telephone was answered by six different people. But during the party there's a time when she calls and no one answers. She even gives up, goes back to the table and tells Jonathan that.

    • Trivia: Lionel Luthor wears eyeglasses in this episode for the first and only time.

    • When Earl first talks to Clark through the glass at the hospital, he has to press the button to turn on the microphone for Clark to hear him. We see Earl release the button. Then a little later, he is not pressing the button when Clark is overhearing the rest of the conversation.

    • When the pills from Earl's hands fall, he takes two pills from the road and eats them, but look closely. He didn't eat anything - nothing goes into Earl's mouth.

    • At the party, upon closer inspection, you see that the Asian boy does not actually throw anything up.

    • When the meter is going toward the red "danger" zone, the needle keeps going on the same numbers on the scale (when it should be increasing), and the needle would have been off the scale (and the building would have blown up) before the hostages could have gotten out. Basically, the timing seems off.

    • In the scene where Clark sees a room containing the fertiliser plant's floorplans, Clark can be seen running around in Luthorcorp's plant via the security cameras. So why doesn't Lex or other people working at the plant discover that?

    • Lex gives Clark the third degree on saving him - it's not that unusual for someone on an adrenaline rush could pull this off. The question is, how did Clark do it when he was being weakened to below human strength by exposure to a green-radiated Earl nearby?

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Pete: What are you going to do now that you're officially home alone?
      Clark: I was thinking of having a few people over.
      Chloe: Do my ears deceive me, or is Clark Kent actually suggesting a party?
      Clark: A small gathering. You guys, a few other people, maybe... Lana.

    • Lana: If I had a hundred people trashing my house, I'd be a little freaked out.
      Clark: After the first few dishes, you kinda get used to it.

    • Lex: I hear you're taking a tour of my plant tomorrow.
      Chloe: (unenthusiastically) It's a class field trip.
      Lex: What'd you do wrong?
      Clark: It's that bad?

    • Clark: He even tried to teach me how to play guitar; said it was a good way to impress women.
      Chloe: Oh yeah, we're all a sucker for a guy with a six-string.

    • Mr. Sullivan: Welcome to LuthorCorp, where we give a crap.
      Chloe: Okay, somebody kill me now.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Music: "Bad Idea" by Bad Ronald, "The People That We Love" by Bush, "Tie Me Up" by Handsome Devil, "Pacific Coast Party" by Smash Mouth, and "My Bridges Burn" by The Cult.

    • The Season 2 DVD set reveals that Earl's son was affected by the meteor rocks, and that Earl himself died six months after this episode.

    • This was the fourth episode in production order - scenes from it were originally used at the end of the third complete episode "Hothead" to promote the next week's episode (although they aired "X-Ray" instead).

    • Although this is Gabe Sullivan's first appearance in the show, he was in a deleted scene in the pilot episode.