This interesting and spartan episode revolves around the premise that Lex has a long-lost brother named Lucas, whom we first see trying to cheat at a high-stakes poker game. We could easily find fault with the depiction of Asians in the opener poker den scene, all sinister gangsters, but at least it's short. It's just a vehicle to show us that Lucas is a sleazy character, but as he attempts to escape down a darkened alley on a racing cycle, his big bro Lex comes to his aid.
For once, the Smallville writers and producers avoid an overloaded plot, keeping this story on a few main characters, and minimizing the side plots. Even the Clark-Lana dialog is generally confined to the impact of Lucas on everyone in the cast. Double-dealing and double-crossing is featured as Lionel tries to manipulate Lucas to his side in a struggle for control of Lexcorp with Lex. For a few scenes, this even goes as far as Lionel dismissing Lex entirely; he winds up asking for lodging at the Kent farm. Even the hardheaded Jonathan allows him to stay, and Lex earns some respect by working hard for his few day's keep.
There's a side story about Clark applying to work at the Talon, and Lana's reluctant decision to hire him, but that ends as we expect when Clark has to keep running out to save someone.
Lex continues to warn Lucas that Lionel is not to be trusted, but it seems that Lucas eventually turns to the Lionel side, warming up to his father and his millions. But first, Lucas is observant enough to throw a billiard ball at Lionel, which he ducks. He can see! His recent blindness has been a ruse.
In the climax, Lucas takes Lex in constraints to Lionel's office, threatening to kill Lex - after all, who needs Lex now that the "Prodigal" son has returned? But then he turns the gun on Lionel to force him to kill Lex. When Lionel tells Lucas to put down the gun, Lex suddenly realizes that Lionel can see. Ruse is ended. Lionel hesitates - he refuses to shoot Lex, and just as Lucas appears ready to pull the trigger on Lionel, Clark uses heat-vision from the ductwork above to burn the gun hand of Lucas, who drops his weapon. Lionel acts! He aims his gun at Lucas...and fires! A shocker - they both were loaded with blanks! It was all a scheme by Lex to prove to Lucas just how untrustworthy Lionel is. This is one of the best-staged scenes I can remember in Smallville - just the right dialog, manipulation, surprises, secret plots - good fun.
Clark and Lex are still friends, and discuss their respective fathers and how they have been influenced by them. It's a calm and reflective scene in an story that's admirable in it's simplicity, yet still entertaining and impressive in the complexity of the business and financial manipulations of the Lionel-Lex-Lucas triad. "Prodigal" is just good quality Smallville, and I could see it a number of times. Re-run rating B.