Season 5 Episode 19


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 20, 2006 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
824 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Lionel is taken hostage by a masked man who forces him to play elaborate games for the prize of staying alive. Martha goes to confront Lionel after Clark tells her Lionel knows his secret and becomes a part of the game herself, fighting for her life.

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  • Yes a filler episode, but good filler, with awesome acting between Martha and Lionel. I would have chosen "nerve-wracking," but Clark kept ruining scenes.

    Why does this show have to be centered around Clark? Seriously, if Clark wasn't in this episode it would have been a 9.5 for me (I guess probably because I haven't seen Saw, but whatever). We all know filler episodes are necessary - there can't be 22 major plot moving episodes a season. This episode turned filler (with minor plot movement) into excitement, which isn't always easy to do. The major development was the realization of how long Lionel has known Clark's secret. Clark tells Martha about Lionel's secret, which at first draws her apart from him. But then Martha is thrown into a crazy situation with Lionel and sees that he truly would give up his life to save hers. Thus Martha gains trust for Lionel while Clark becomes almost completely untrusting of him - a very nice contrast. Oh and I liked how Lana only had like one scene (in which she accomplished nothing?). It's good to focus on other characters for a change.

    The suspense in the elevator with Martha and Lionel was the high point of the episode for me. The acting was very nice (but Martha could have emoted just a tad more I think), and Lionel's words to Martha were a nice human touch to his character. And keeping Clark's secret - is it to be nice, or is he going to get something out of it? Something nice to ponder for the future. Well now, this episode isn't as much filler as some might have thought, now is it? ; )

    Now on to what killed me - Clark. He always seems to act like such a brainless reject. First when Lex tells him that they need to start acting more civil around each other, he just gives him this stoopid stare and doesn't say anything, probably because he's too dumb to admit that he's being a jerk about the whole situation. Great, don't trust Lex at all, that's fine, but at least be civil with him. Hating him and acting all pissy around him all the time is definitely NOT going to help the situation out. Now I can understand why Lex hates Clark so much in the future.

    Then we get to Clark "saving" Lionel and Martha. Whatever Clark, stopping the elevator like you did would have killed them anyway. I REALLY think the story would have ended better if Lionel and Martha would have found a way out of the situation themselves. It would have made their characters seem stronger, and it would have given the show a new direction instead of the Clark saves everyone every week thing. At least Clark didn't interact with the bad guy this time, and at least the bad guy wasn't some kryptonite freak. He had cool creative games that he made Lionel play (I loved the hangman!).

    Now what else did Clark do? Oh YEAH, he got all in Lionel's face at the end of the episode and threatened him. Yeah Clark, that won't really help you out if you're trying to get Lionel to keep your secret. Stop being dumb. Just stop.

    So overall, this episode was a nice change from the normal happenings. Different characters get all the scenes, Lana isn't important, and Clark doesn't fight anyone. I'd prefer this filler over most of the other filler episodes this season.moreless
  • Linoel get kidnapped and the only way to survive is to play a game. Firts he has to play hangman or he will get hit by a train. next he has to balance water on this thing or he will burn to death. Then he solves a riddle.moreless

    i loved this episode so much. But then again i love all the smallville episodes! Linoel is faced with death and the only way he could survive is beat the games. This was a crazy epiosde. I ws scared for Martha. And wow Linoel saw Clark use his powers... i was Gaped the whole time. I hope he was not lying when he said he would not use it against him...please be telling the truth! Clark is always tehre to save the day! he is awesome. Im surprised linoel didnt shot Martha so he would survive. Im suprised he would let her kill him. Has he changed?? i dont wanna believe it because then he wont changed

    cant wait for next weeks smallville!moreless
  • Jigsaw called, He wants his movie series back!

    Mercy-Lionel is taken hostage by a masked man who forces him to play elaborate games for the prize of staying alive. Martha goes to confront Lionel after Clark tells her Lionel knows his secret and becomes a part of the game herself, fighting for her life.

    Yeah, more ripoffs! Season 5 at this point has been smothered by them thanks to the writers lack of originality. Instead of continuing with the Professor Fine/Brainiac/Zod storyline or creating ANY kinda of decent storylines for some episodes, the writers decided to capitalize on the SAW franchise and write a cheap imitation with Lionel right in the center. While John Glover is arguably the best actor on the series, but even his energetic performance can't take away from the fact this feels like a gimmick episode at best. Doesn't take away from the fact that you can't stop laughing from the fact that Lionel's kidnapper seems like his been watching SAW when too many times! Every suspenseful, life-threatening situation Lionel and eventually Martha are put in is more laughable after the next! The only remotely interesting developments are Lex, Chloe and Clark investigating the whereabouts of Lionel and Martha. I did like the scene of Clark and Lex watching Lionel and Martha trapped in the elevator. Its obvious Lex is frustrated that Lionel knows about Clark's secret and I love the ending scene between the two. Then there's Clark saving Lionel and Martha then Clark confronting Lionel about knowing his secret. It's a good scene made suspenseful when Lionel begins having a massive headache and begins writing a message from Jor-El. But besides that, I rather forget "Mercy" ever happened. It's neither fun nor fresh; maybe if the writers tried making a satire out of the SAW films, then this could have been a fun episode. But no! The writers so shamelessly try to play this out like a serious, thrilling episode that you're just laughing 'til the end.moreless
  • If you love the Saw series, you'll love this episode!

    In this episode of Smalville, Lionel is held captive by one of his ex employees, Lincoln Cole. Lincoln sets up various fatal traps through out Lionel's captivity, one of them which includes Martha Kent. Lionel believes that his son, Lex Luthor, has something to do with this, he was wrong. Throughout the elevator scene, Lionel and Martha must choose who will die, because only one gets to leave alive from this trap. Lionel asks Martha to kill him, was he being a good guy or did he know all along that the gun wasn't loaded. Clark comes to the rescue and stops the falling elevator, Lionel is stunned by this, even thought he already knew about Clark. The episode ends with Lionel having some sort of attack after Clark confronting Lionel.moreless
  • A vengeful Luthorcorp employee sets traps for Lionel and then Martha, and the deadly games force Clark and Lex back together to find them and end the threat.

    As Lionel is chauffered on US 40 in his Lincoln limo, his driver suddenly turns rogue, stopping the car on a railroad track. And then? And then? "A trainnnnnn started comin! (Ref: Along Came Jones) A masked tormentor appears on the screen, inviting him to play Hangman to prevent his imminent death. Guessing the puzzle answer, "No mercy," Lionel escapes the car and cheats death.

    Clark commiserates with Chloe about Lionel knowing his secret, and perhaps having designs on Martha, but Clark has not told her yet. So as Martha quotes "truth, justice, and the American way" (the voiceover phrase from the '50s tv series), he tells Martha that Lionel knows. She tells Clark about the blackmail video of him escaping the explosion at Warehouse 15 ("Cyborg", four episodes back), and that Lionel took care of the threat (but we know Lionel paid the blackmailer). They were both hiding these things because they were protecting each other. But they agree - no confrontation with Lionel until they know what's on his mind. Lionel thinks Lex is behind the death attempt, but Lex is clearly not involved, and Lionel sees the truth of those denials. "Killing you would hurt the bottom line," Lex says to dear old dad.

    Lionel's having his office searched for electronic devices, finding none, he opens his laptop and there's the masked avenger again, and he obviously has the office under surveillance. A disgruntled employee? A power outage darkens the office, and even Lionel's phone is bugged too, and then the Mask downs Lionel with an injection to the neck.

    Lionel awakens in a dark chamber, being verbally tormented by the Mask, who is someone who was destroyed by Lionel. Various forms of torture are previewed, requiring physical challenges. Soon LIonel is playing barefoot barbeque.

    Lex and Lana have a peaceful evening playing chess, but she wants to talk relationships, and discuss their kiss in last week's "Fragile." He's interested, she has doubts, and returns to Metropolis. Then he hears that Lionel is missing from the corporate offices.

    Lionel manages to pass the skill test, avoiding immolation, but soon faces another - the Mask has captured Martha, and she's trapped in a glass cell with the water rising. Ms. O'Toole play this well, looking terrified, but not overdoing it. At the last moment, he guesses the puzzle and Martha escapes, and she's very wet in this scene. You only get one good take when the cast winds up a mess. But their next trap is in an elevator, and as Martha asks why he hasn't simply tried to be a good father, Lionel explains that he has been trying to teach Lex consequences, and to help him reach his own humanity.

    At the Planet, clever Chloe refers to Lionel as "Darth Luthor," as Clark hears that Martha failed to appear at a fundraiser. Clark can see that the office is in fact bugged, and Chloe reveals another talent - reverse engineering the video/audio transmitter. Ok, that's going too far, even for Chloe. They find the origin of the control, but Clark has to defer speed in favor of riding with Lex in his (insert product placement here) Porsche.

    The next challenge is a gun, the Mask demanding that one of them save their life by shooting the other, or both will die in the elevator. Clark and Lex have found the building, but all they find is a video screen reading, "Game Over," then video of Lionel and Martha and the gun. Lionel is going to sacrifice himself for Martha, but why make her pull the trigger? Be a man, and pull it yourself, Lionel, don't leave that heavy burden on her. She can't. Pushed to the edge, he pulls the trigger to end his own life...nothing, gun empty. Just then, Chloe traces the signal and Clark speeds off, leaving Lex to wonder again.

    The Mask is unmasked - it's Luthorcorp employee Lincoln Cole, who lost home, family, everything in the machinations of Luthorcorp. Clark blows in as the elevator plummets, nice catch, Clark. Lionel saw this rescue, but he's maintaining secrecy.

    As Clark and Martha worry over Lionel's knowledge, she leans to trusting Lionel, as they may not have a choice. Lex later found Lincoln Cole, called the authorities, and Cole is locked up. Lionel still covers for Clark's rescue, although Lex is suspicious. "Let it go", Lionel says, but we know Lex will never do that.

    Clark finally confronts Lionel, who calls him Kal-El. To reveal his secret would change Clark's destiny, Lionel explains, but Clark is the one who is suspicious, warning Lionel to stay away from Martha. In this vein, Lionel shows more patience and determination than others in the Smallville scene. Uh oh, someone has drugged Lionel. He is falling and writing, quickly on a scrap of be continued next week?

    Nothing extraordinary in this episode, a routine bad guy and some annoying torture scenes, but there's a bit of progress on the Kents - Lionel relationship, and darn if I'm not beginning to trust Lionel myself. Re-run rating C+.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

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Annette O'Toole

Annette O'Toole

Martha Clark Kent

Ian Tracey

Ian Tracey

The Figure/Lincoln Cole

Guest Star

Dalias Blake

Dalias Blake

Security Guard

Guest Star

Lauro Chartrand

Lauro Chartrand

Lionel (stunt double)

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • It's a common goof in many movies, but when the train is coming down the tracks it has plenty of time to see the limo and doesn't slow down. And when it hits Lionel's limo it just...keeps going. Trains aren't automated - there's a guy in the cabin.

    • Trivia: Lana's phone number is 555-0164.

    • When Martha and Lionel are going up toward their final test, you will notice that the elevator isn't really moving upwards at all, by simply looking at the stationary pipes in the elevator shaft which are behind and to the left of Lionel. The elevator was shaken, and a light source was panned from above to below repeatedly to make it look like upward motion, but the pipes gave it away.

    • If Lionel's captor lost all his money in the failed Apex takeover, how was he able to construct that giant, elaborate death trap?

    • When Lionel runs from the limo after the train hits it, the limo is just over his shoulder. When they cut to a closer shot, the limo is now considerably further back behind Lionel.

    • When Lionel escapes the limo just before the train hits, why does he run parallel to, and right next to the track, instead of running away off to the side?

    • When Martha and Lionel were in the falling elevator car, why didn't Clark try to find a cable connected to the car to try to slow its descent in a safe fashion? It wouldn't have been the fall that killed Lionel and Martha, but the really quick stop at the end. Even with Clark's help, they would at least have needed to go to the hospital.

    • Trivia: In the opening scene, Lionel is riding in his limo down US 40, which is an east/west highway. The freight train from Smallville to Metropolis crossed these tracks. Therefore, it is relatively safe to assume that Metropolis is more to the north or south of Smallville than to the east or west.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Lionel: Well, I'm just thankful the elevator safety brakes slowed us down enough to survive the fall.
      Lex: Yeah, you should be. Especially since Cole disabled them.
      Lionel: That's enough to make a man believe in miracles. Isn't it, son?
      Lex: I don't suppose Clark had anything to do with that divine intervention.

    • Clark: My mother seems to think there may be some good in you, but I'm not so sure.
      Lionel: It takes time, Clark. Maybe you'll be.
      Clark: Or maybe you'll show your true colors. Secret or no secret, you stay away from my mother, or you'll wish I never saved your life.

    • Martha: (practicing a speech) "It isn't enough to simply give when we can. Upholding the principles of truth, justice and the American way isn't a matter of convenience, it's a matter of conscience."
      Clark: Sounds like words to live by.

    • Lionel: Lex is not Clark and...I am not the father Jonathan Kent was.
      Martha: It's never too late to change.
      The Figure: Unless you're dead.

    • Lionel: I only want what's best for you and your mother, son.
      Clark: You don't call me that. Jonathan Kent was my father.
      Lionel: No...I am not trying to take his place.
      Clark: You couldn't.

    • Lex: I'm not playing to win, Dad. I'm playing to instruct.

    • Lionel: (to Lex) You're still obsessing over him after all these years? Clark Kent is a simple farm boy. Let it go, Lex...let it go.

    • The Figure: Hello, Lionel – how does it feel to be helpless?
      Lionel: I'll let you know if it ever happens.

    • Lex: (to Lana) Are you asking me to forget what happened? Because short of a serious blow to the head, I think it's a memory that's going to linger for quite a while.

    • The Figure: You want to tell me what you learned from this little game before the flesh is seared from your bones?
      Lionel: Yeah, you talk too much. Shut up.

    • Lex: I may not like you very much, Dad, but you're a valuable asset to LuthorCorp. Killing you would hurt the bottom line.
      Lionel: Your concern is truly touching.

    • Chloe: Why don't you let me use that as an in, you know, to find out what he's really up to?
      Clark: What if he finds out what you're up to? It's too risky.
      Chloe: Oh, and waiting for Darth Luthor to hatch his evil plan isn't?

    • Lionel: It was you, Lex. I know it.
      Lex: What?
      Lionel: Disabling my limo in the path of an oncoming train. You know that kind of melodrama went out of style with silent movies.

    • Lex: You going to wait for the security team?
      Clark: No.
      Lex: Me neither. (kicks down the door)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Several story ideas were planned, but rejected for the onscreen story: 1. The focus would be a character known as a lizard boy, but was rejected as he was too close to Dr. Curt Connors from the Spider-Man franchise. 2. Martha was to be threatened by the lover of someone on death row. If the person was executed, then Martha would face execution as well.

    • Deleted Scene: Lionel is in the kitchen at the farm preparing a meal for Martha. Clark is surprised with his kitchen skills, with Lionel stating that many people have a side to themselves that they rarely show. Clark responds by saying that some people are exactly as they appear to be.

    • Martha mentions "Truth, Justice and The American Way" in her speech. In the early comics, cartoons, radio shows, and the Richard Donner Superman, he was described as fighting for "Truth, Justice and The American Way."

    • Erica Durance and John Schneider are credited but do not appear in this episode.


    • Chloe: Oh, and waiting for Darth Luthor to hatch his evil plan isn't?
      This is a reference to Darth Vader who was the villain in the first three movies of Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi.