Season 3 Episode 17


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 14, 2004 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
590 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Jonathan begins to act strangely, Clark believes Jor-El is sending Jonathan messages through the key and is the cause for his father's withdrawal from the family. Clark goes down to the caves to confront his biological father but Lionel catches him there and begins putting the pieces together – leading him straight to Dr. Swann. As the two billionaires face off, a deal is struck and Lionel's true motives are revealed.moreless

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  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the show smallvlle clark begins to think that jorel is sendign his dad messages through the key in caves and he goes there to confront his bio locical dad about it but he bumps into lionel luthor and he begins to pecies the things togeather and he goes and he sees dr swan and they make a deal and thing is clark begins to think that he is being betrayed by lex and dr swan . this was a good ep i thought and it was really good and that is why i gave it a 9moreless
  • Lacking Logic, Much?

    Legacy-When Jonathan begins to act strangely, Clark believes Jor-El is sending Jonathan messages through the key and is the cause for his father's withdrawal from the family. Clark goes down to the caves to confront his biological father but Lionel catches him there and begins putting the pieces together – leading him straight to Dr. Swann. As the two billionaires face off, a deal is struck and Lionel's true motives are revealed.

    I'm probably in the rare minority of this episode as I found "Legacy" to be very underwhelming. I don't know but I felt that nothing truly significant happened in the episode, which is a shock considering this episode sees the return of Christopher Reeves as Dr. Swann. While Chrisopher Reeve is nothing short of amazing and his scene with John Glover are some of the best acted scenes of the series. It was truly a treat watching both veteran actors working together so well together. But the problem that lies with "Legacy" it never progresses the storyline of the season but more like a filler, which is very bizarre.

    First, Jonathan's consequences for the deal he made for Jor-El get more complicated and never really get developed on. Second, Dr. Swann helping Lionel felt completely out of left field and still didn't make sense why he did it after Clark confronted him about it. Third, Jonathan's fight with Lionel, while well choregraphed had no significance to the sorry what so ever and was a random confrontation. Lastly, how in the world did Dr. Swann get the key at the end as it just randomly showed up in front of him. "Legacy" is nothing like what most fans concieve it to be, less classic episode and more illogical and flawed.moreless
  • Great Episode

    While in the roof of the barn, Jonathan Kent is contacted though the octagonal key and Clark Kent saves him from a fall. Clark goes to the Kawatche caves with the key trying to find an explanation for what happened, when Lionel Luthor unexpectedly appears. Lionel Luthor meets Dr. Virgil Swann (Christopher Reeves) and proposes an association to investigate Clark. The FBI bugs Lex to make a surveillance and get evidences against Lionel Luhtor, and Clark becomes a suspect due to the interest of Lionel in an apparently simple "farm boy". Lana Lang does not decide whether she wants to stay with Clark or not.moreless
  • Dr. Swann makes his second, and final, appearance on Smallville in this memorable episode from Season 3.

    What a great episode this is. I'm surprised this is not one of the more popular episodes in the Smallville repertoire (although its rating is somewhat higher than average). Written by popular contributor Jeph Loeb, this episode is obviously one of the more smoothly written and constructively taut episodes of the series. The episode culminates with standout performances from John Glover, Tom Welling, Jonathan Kent, and special guest Christopher Reeve.

    The general plotline of the episode revolves around the mysterious behavior of Jonathan, who hears loud noises emanating from the octagonal key and who mysteriously calls Clark "Kal-El". Clark soon believes that Jor-El is responsible for the behavior and begins to confront him in the cave. Lionel happens to interrupt the session, and based on the re-emerging octagonal pattern on the wall -- he is convinced Clark has something to do with it.

    Lionel begins to fill in the gaps and takes his case to Dr. Swann (played with perhaps a greater urgency than the first time by Christopher Reeve -- Reeve's performance in this episode is riveting and is certainly a worthy swan song to his career). Dr. Swann is not willing to help Lionel out, but the mention of the key gives Dr. Swann ideas. So the two come to a sort of deal. However, it becomes clear that Dr. Swann has his own agenda that is unfavorable to Lionel.

    Meanwhile, Lex begins to tackle his formidable father, in this instance by bugging himself in case Lionel slips. Lionel's obsession with Clark Kent is revealed, but Lex supplies resounding disapproval to an investigation of Clark -- for reasons that will become obvious soon enough.

    When Clark learns of Lionel's visit to Dr. Swann, he confronts the brilliant scientist. Swann reveals his disapproval of Clark's behavior in the past year (and for good reason given the events of the end of Season 2 and most of Season 3). Swann is convinced that Clark is not ready to embrace his destiny; Clark, meanwhile, reveals what was written in the spaceship. One of Swann's lasting pieces of advice (and a worthy conclusion to Reeve's performance) is that "humanity is not entirely biological". A great scene.

    The episode's urgency reaches a fever pitch when an obviously skullduggerous search of the Kent farm takes place. But Jonathan Kent, whose behavior continues to mystify, has kept the disk. However, his behavior becomes more and more reckless, and he boldy goes back to the cave (which is now inundated with LuthorCorp gear and employees) to face Lionel. The disk reacts to its proximity with the octagonal impression in the cave and then moves directly toward it. The impression then is lost, and the disk is nowhere to be found.

    Jor-El's message that he "is waiting" is finally answered. The disk is to be protected until Clark is ready. And the keeper of the key? No one other than Dr. Swann. How unbelievably appropriate.

    Lionel's true intentions are also revealed. He believes his life can be saved by what's inside the caves. And it is obvious he will stomp on anybody in his way. Season 3 was a season where each character was on the brink. And the tension is at an incredible high. Great stuff.

    What a thrilling episode. Beautifully shot, superbly acted, and intelligently unraveled. This is one of the best episodes of the series.

    As for Christopher Reeve, you will forever be missed. And you went out in great style.moreless
  • Goodbye, Christopher Reeve!

    This episode was really cool, first of all Clark begins to feel that his father is acting strangely so he tries to figure out what is going on, later he discovers that Jonathan is getting messages coming from the small disk and Clark tries everything to help his father, Clark requests Lex's help in order for Lionel to get out of the caves, and discovers Lex is working for the FBI, and blames him from sacking the farm, telling him they were no FBI agents. Later on, Clark goes out to Dr. Swann and discovers that he has met with Lionel, and he tells him that he got a message origined from Earth that goes toward his dad, and Jonathan goes down to the cave to kill Lionel, but Clark manages to help him. Is really good episode, but unfortunately is the last appearance of Christopher Reeve, since he dies later, too bad a great legacy from Superman that he left us...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

Sam Jones III

Sam Jones III

'Pete' Ross

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Annette O'Toole

Annette O'Toole

Martha Clark Kent

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (31)

    • It's not revealed here or in the future why the key teleported itself to Swann at the end.

    • Trivia: Lex reveals that he speaks German.

    • At 0:55 as Jonathan falls, there is a wire visible that is keeping the weathervane from falling all the way off the roof.

    • When Clark moves in to kiss Lana his face is toward the right side of her face, but in between shots his face switches from left to right.

    • When Lana is about to leave Lex's office, she is holding her suitcase under her arm and up against her side, but when the shots change she is instantly holding it out.

    • During the struggle with Mr. Kent, Lionel reaches out for the key with left hand. Jonathan interlocks the fingers of his own right hand with Lionel's left hand to stop him. Then a close-up shot has Jonathan's right hand near Lionel's left shoulder. Then suddenly in the next shot, it's interlocked with Lionel's right hand.

    • Why does Clark lean out from behind the tree to use his X-ray vision to see into the FBI van? Surely he can look through the tree and thus stay completely hidden.

    • When Dr. Swann commands the screen to come up, it has already begun moving.

    • At this point it seems pretty definite that Clark has telescopic vision. He sees the small transmitter via x-ray vision on Lex's chest at some distance. But...the omission of this is rather odd. Telescopic vision is a fairly significant aspect of Clark's powers as Superman. When he's got new powers like heat vision and x-ray vision, there have been whole episodes devoted to them. But telescopic vision just seems to be...well, "there."

    • When Lionel is talking to Lex, he mentions Galileo and his theory about the earth revolving around the sun. In doing so he mentions that Galileo was sentenced to death for his ideas. That is not true, he was sentenced to house arrest after he renounced his theory before the church.

    • Last season finale, Lionel was about to open the caves using a kryptonite-made key. He never did it because Clark stole it and the wall sealed up. Well, if the wall is open again why doesn't Lionel pick up where he left off?

    • It seems odd that when Lionel recalls to Lex all the connections of Clark and the cave, he fails to mention Dr. Waldon and his message about "The day is coming" and Clark being the last son. After all both he and Lex met him together.

    • Once again we see the Kryptonian language displayed with alternating lines moving in opposite directions, yet Clark has no difficulty reading it. While we have no way of knowing exactly how an alien brain might perceive this text, this movement would seem to make the simple act of reading unnecessarily complex.

    • When Jonathan falls from the barn and Clark caught him, the weather vane hits the ground and gets bent. Then when Jonathan pick up the weather vane off the ground it is unbent.

    • Maybe we haven't noticed before, but when Lana pulls up in the last scene there's a fairly large mildly subsurbanish-looking house directly across from the Kent farm. It's not Lana's place (taken over by the Conroys in 'Slumber'). Who live there? And why have they apparently never seen any of Clark's super-shenanigans?

    • Where do the "FBI agents" go after Jonathan drives them out of the cave? They show up about five seconds after Clark super-speeds in and pulls Jonathan off of Lionel. And wouldn't they have seen Clark super-speeding?

    • The Kent farm has been visited by gangsters and Freaks of the Week, but the Kents continue to take absurdly minor efforts to hide the key. Clark locks it in a toolbox with a padlock, for Pete's sake.

    • Either the timeframe here is very odd, or there's some obtuse narrative toying at the beginning. The previous episode was 'Crisis', where (among other things) that episode ended with a big storm and Lex just starting to set up an arrangement with FBI Guy. And then that episode ended with Lionel with a gun in his mouth. Then this episode begins with Lionel with a gun in his mouth and the same opera in the background, implying it begins where 'Crisis' ended. But Smallville is now pretty dry and the FBI seem to have a rather elaborate surveillance operation set up. But unless Lionel likes to practice shooting himself there doesn't seem to have been enough time passing for various other events to happen.

    • When Lionel was about to commit suicide in his high rise office in Metropolis, he got a phone call from someone telling him that Clark was in the caves. But apparently, Clark was only down there for a few minutes to put the key in the wall. However, Lionel shows up immediately after his phone call, which is just after Clark had arrived. We learned that Metropolis is a 3 hour drive from Smallville in a previous episode. Even in the Luthor helicopter, it would have taken at least 20-30 minutes. There is no way he could have gotten there that fast unless he had Clark's speed, which he doesn't!!!

    • Once again, Clark acts absurdly obvious around Lex with his powers. Won't Lex wonder at all how Clark knows about the well-concealed wire beneath his jacket? Or doesn't Clark care?

    • It's only been two episodes (two months real time) since Jonathan's heart surgery in 'Resurrection' but Lionel kicks him here in the chest hard. Very hard. That kind of blow to someone recently recovered from a heart bypass surgery would be temporarily crippling at the very least. For that matter, Lionel's terminally ill. And yet they have an extended fight sequence.

    • The new building/room/whatever that Swann occupies seems very big and not very private. And yet he has a big screen that flashes Kryptonian language messages on it that he presumably doesn't want folks to know about (he claims ignorance to Lionel).

    • Dr. Swann states that Clark's secret has never left "this building." However, "this building" is clearly different from the one in "Rosetta," where the promise was made.

    • Why does Jonathan say Clark is never going to have to face his own mortality? Clark's been aging normally so far - why would he think Clark is suddenly going to be ageless? And Clark has faced death by kryptonite several times - it seems like he's already faced his mortality.

    • Why don't the stairs in Swann's big foyer/office have a wheelchair lift?

    • In the fight scene in the cave, when Jonathan and Lionel are rolling around one of them hits a large stalagmite and wobbles like it was made of styrofoam or balsa wood.

    • If the FBI guys are undercover and in a disguised surveillance van...why are they having a public outdoor meeting with Lex right next to it, with Lex's car parked nearby.

    • We've seen in the past that Clark has a cell phone. So...why does he need to borrow Lana's phone at the Talon?

    • Clark talks to Lex and finds out that Lex isn't responsible for the fake FBI raid. But...later Jonathan gets Lionel to call off his men by threatening to reveal that Lionel was responsible for the raid. How did Jonathan find that out - he never met with Clark after the Lex/Clark confrontation. Why wouldn't he think Lex was responsible, for instance?

    • Clark says to Swann that his father is dying - since when? Didn't the heart bypass surgery take care of that? Jonathan's been a little weak since then, but there's been no indication since then that he's going to die.

    • Clark accuses Swann of betrayal, but then seems to accept the message Swann shows him at face value. Couldn't Swann have forged it? Swann doesn't seem to have a reason to forge it, but then again everything he does in this episode is rather oblique.

  • QUOTES (10)

  • NOTES (12)

    • The building used as the outside of the Conservatory is The Dakota. When it was built in the 19th century, many people thought it was going to be a financial failure. Because of that, it was nicknamed "Clark's Folly" (a reference to the developer Edward Clark who had it built).

    • Music: Once In A Blue Moon (Edie Brickell), Mona Lisa (Grant-Lee Phillips), Love's Divine (Seal)

    • In the German dubbed version Lex speaks French.

    • This was Christopher Reeve's final acting role.

    • Last appearance of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann.

    • The writing on the key when it activates is red, yellow, and blue - the colors of Clark Kent as Superman as an adult.

    • In this episode,one of the FBI officers, when talking to Lex about his security with Clark, refers to Clark as "a kid from Podunk." In Tom Welling's recent movie, Cheaper By The Dozen, "Podunk" is also used by a high school jock when talking about Welling's character.

    • Christopher Reeve is listed as "Special Apppearance by."

    • German translation: Lex says first, "We must reduce costs" and then "Gentlemen, it's late. I'm tired. We can speak tomorrow."

    • On the episode's first airing, Tom Welling and Christopher Reeve once again appear at the end of the episode in a repeat of the brief blurb for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation - 800-225-0292 -
      This is also on the dvd episode.

    • Allison Mack and Sam Jones III don't appear in this episode.

    • The first airing of this episode was also the night the second season of the Smallville miniseries, "The Chloe Chronicles," premiered.


    • Lex: Where's the Inquisition when you need it?
      The Inquisition was an institution in the Catholic Church charged with the eradication of heresies. Heretics were people who said something in opposition to the doctrine of the Church and usually executed.