Smallville

Season 4 Episode 15

Sacred

1
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Feb 23, 2005 on The CW
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
733 votes
20

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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After Clark receives a message from the recently-deceased Dr. Swann, he and Lana follow Jason and Lex to China in search of one of the kryptonian crystals. Lana is tortured, causing Isabelle to emerge and wreak havoc in her search for the crystal.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I'm tired of the "Lana As A Witch" stories...

    3.0
    I thought I was watching "Smallville". (The story of young Clark Kent before he becomes Superman) Turns out it's equal parts "Charmed", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (with VERY bad wire stunts) and "Scavenger Hunt" (a 1979 film comedy) with the torture scene from "Lethal Weapon" thrown in for good measure. The premise of the episode with high schoolers Clark and Lana able to jump on a corporate jet and fly off to China strains credibility. I know the show is fantasy about a teen who lifts cars like feathers, is bulletproof, and shoots fire from his eyes, but come on! SOME basis is reality would be nice. -Slaughtermoreless
  • Jason and Lex, and later Lana and Clark travel to Shanghai, China, on a quest for a mysterious stone, or element, foretold through centuries of legend and mystery. Who will be first to find it?moreless

    9.5
    Clark has given up his football scholarship, and gets a package from Dr. Swann in New York - just as the news reports that Swann (Christopher Reeve in previous episodes) has died. His final note to Clark urges him to contact Jor-El, and the package includes a cave key. When Clark takes it to the cave and inserts it in the proper receptacle, he makes contact with Jor-El, whose voice says that the knowledge of the Kryptonian civilization was encoded on three stones hidden "at the far reaches of the world," and he warns Clark that he must find the stones before any human finds them and destroys the Earth through their power.



    Jason calls Lana, telling her he's working for Lex in Metropolis, but we see that's a big lie, as Jason is actually in Shanghai, China. Lex suddenly appears there too, so he's been tracking Jason's movements, and knows Jason has a map from Lionel (last episode) which leads to a Kryptonian stone. Looks like Jason gets two business partners.



    Clark persuades Jonathan and Martha that he must find the stones first, despite their misgivings about contacting Jor-El again. Lana seeks Jason's whereabouts from Lionel, who drops the news that Lex and Jason are in China, and he's been studying Lana's ancestor Isabelle. He names Isabelle's archrival as Gertrude, obsessed with finding three mythical stones, but Gertrude found only maps leading to China. Isabelle stole the map, and Gertrude had her executed back in the 16th century, but the spirit of Isabelle lives ("Spell," earlier this season) and is using Lana for her quest. Some pretty important plot clarifications here. Why did Lionel give Jason a copy of the map? To circumvent Lex's quest to find the stones first?



    Lionel reveals to Lana that Jason is a direct descendant of Gertrude, a duchess, so Lana and Jason's ancestors have a lot of pre-history. This exchange between Lana and Lionel is critical to anyone wanting to follow the stones storyline, which extends through numerous episodes. How will Clark start his search for the other two stones? Clark sees Lana, who is packing for China - all at the expense of Lionel. Lana can't trust Jason, she says, and Clark insists on joining her. Hey, no airline ticket involved, just per diem.



    Over in Shanghai, Jason says he's searching for the stones because Lana will not be safe from his mother until they are found. Sounds plausible - if Genevieve thinks Isabelle is threatening her through a descendant, she's going to pursue that one - Lana - to the death. Just then, Lex and Jason are captured by Chinese federal troops, as Clark and Lana fly along a great circle in Lionel's Hawker-Siddley HS-125. Oops, the interior aircraft shots are from a much larger aircraft. Lana and Clark discuss the stones - Lana thinks something far more powerful exists within her - a foreboding that will become apparent in future episodes.



    In a Chinese dungeon, Lex tells Jason that Lionel already had the temple searched and found nothing. While Lex and Jason are undergoing a bit of torture, Lana and Clark arrive in Shanghai and are met by a woman who knows of the map, and they immediately trust her. She describes a legend about an all-powerful god who secured a treasure in the temple centuries earlier but it was stolen by Europeans. The Chinese torturers are discovered to be in league with Lex! But they soon betray him, having sold out their services to a higher bidder. Led to the temple, Clark sees, through an altar, a hidden garment, but it's laden with kryptonite and Clark is disabled. Troops invade and capture Lana and both Lex and Jason spend more time in the torture chamber - the troops demanding to know the location of the stones.



    They bring in Lana to the dungeon for some high-voltage treatment, which brings out her Isabelle-witch side and there's no fooling around with this gal! She quickly frees herself, leaving Jason and Lex hanging. Lana/Isabelle knocks Clark for a loop, and she's suddenly dressed in an ornate Chinese gown and headed to the temple. Lex, Jason, and Clark return to the temple, where Lana/Isabelle has a map too - it doesn't show the location of the stone, it shows how the surroundings would look if one were standing where the stone is located, under a tree on the temple grounds. A couple incantations and she digs up the stone. There's a nifty sword fight, but then zap - Isabelle is gone and so is the stone.



    Back home, Lana and Clark have a quiet talk about the events - everyone revisits the situation as this week's epilog, including Lex and Lionel, and Jason and Lana. As a last kicker, we see that Jason is the one who secretly retrieved the stone, just not sure we can trust this guy. In the final scene, Clark is in the cave, with the key and one stone. Any Smallville fan can't miss this episode - many major story developments have been revealed this week, so see it again. Re-run rating A.moreless
  • Best episode of Smallville.

    10
    I like this episode because i like episodes when Lana turns into a witch. It makes her more dangerous and you don't even know if its Lana or Isabella. She has kick but moves which can kill Clark. I also like the part when there shocking Lana and everything goes in slow motion and then automatically she turns into Isabella. I also like the part when Jason was in China talking to Lex on the phone and Lex was really right behind him. That was funny. Its cool how Jason and Lana make up at the end. This episode was awesome especially when Isabella (Lana) and Clark were fighting.moreless
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Lana

    8.8
    Sacred-After Clark receives a message from the recently-deceased Dr. Swann, he and Lana follow Jason and Lex to China in search of one of the kryptonian crystals. Lana is tortured, causing Isabelle to emerge and wreak havoc in her search for the crystal.



    Okay, at this point, the whole stone search storyline has only been hinted on and never fully developed. This storyline came out of no where at the beginning of the series and was never really hinted on in the previous seasons. But whatever the case, the stones themselves and the power they hold make for an intriguing premise and "Sacred" kicks up the whole stone storyline to another level. While "Sacred" has it's plot hole and lackluster moments, it's overall a great ride from start to finish. The episode begins with a touching tribute to Christopher Reeves (the actor died in late 2004 I believe) as Dr. Swann is found dead and Swann has sent the octagon key back to him. Clark goes to the caves and uses the key to talk to Jor-El, who tells him he must find all 3 stones before they get into the wrong hands and cause destruction.



    It's a refreshing change for the series as they writers take most of the cast to China. This could have either been a huge mistake or a success, and luckily, the new setting works well for the episode. The scenes of Jason and Lex running through the streets of Shanghai are undeniablly entertiaing as well as watching them get tortured by the Shanghai police. It was a nice little twist with Lex working with them at the beginning only for them to turn on him in the end. I loved Lionel througout the episode, giving Lana hints about the truth about Jason and his affairs. The character has been pretty quite since his release from prison and I'm glad the writers are having him manipulate the characters' decisions, like how Lana choses to go to Shanghai. Of course, it's quite far-fetched how Clark and Lana could get away with going on a jet to China with their parents just letting them go, but at this point that's only a minor plot hole. Also, I wonder how the ancient armor of a Chinese warrior could be covered with kryptonite? It's never explained why in this episode and most fans speculate about it. Then there, when Lana gets tortured by the Shanghai police, Kristin Kruek acts as if she's getting a shot from a doctor and not tortured to death!



    But despite those faws, the episode progresses the main arc of the season well and Isabelle's return isn't that much suckfest as it was in "Spell". While Kruek still plays the character over-the-top, at least Isabelle moves the story along. the discovery of the map being painting all along is a good twist and I love the shot of the map becoming the area where the stone is hidden. There are also some great special effects with the energy throwing from Isabelle and Clark superspeeding about. The rather poorly choreographed fight sequence between Clark and Isabelle can be overlooked as we don't get that many fight scenes like this one Smallville. But yet, how the hell did Isabelle know how to fight? Anyway, I was a bit of a shock that Jason got the stone afterwards, at least the writers are making him smarter. Minus it's share of plot holes and inconsistent storytelling, "Sacred" is a great episode the moves the stone search arc forward with a wonderful setting and entertaining special effects.moreless
  • After receiving a message from Dr. Swann, Clark and Lana follow Jason and Lex to China, where the four race to find the Kryptonian Crystal of Air. When Lana's captured and tortured, Isobel emerges and wreaks havoc in her search for the crystal.moreless

    9.7
    Clark receives an envelope from Dr. Swann, just as a news report announces Swann's death. Inside the envelope, Clark finds the octagonal key, as well as a note urging him to seek out Jor-El. In the Kawatche Caves, Jor-El informs his son of three Kryptonian stones hidden around the world, and warns that Clark must find the stones before humans unite them and bring about "Earth's ultimate destruction". After learning that Jason and Lex are in Shanghai hunting for one of the stones, Lana and Clark follow and join the search. However, when all but Clark are captured and tortured, Isobel emerges and escapes, wreaking havoc in her own search for the stone. Meanwhile, Jason steals the stone after it's uncovered and hides it from Lex and Clark; and Lana learns that Jason's ancestor was Duchess Gertrude, Isobel's archrival and fellow hunter of the mythical stones.



    I loved the fighting scenes, the change of scenery, and, for some reason, the return of Isobel. It was interesting to see how Lionel factored into this episode, but then again, Chloe was unexplicably absent and Lex was already off in China, so Lana had to get her info from somewhere. I agree with Lex, though, that Lionel's true motives are still unclear. I'm not totally convinced that Lionel's done a moral 180, but that's not entirely a bad thing. The writers have to keep us on our toes somehow. Anyway, I give this episode nine out of ten stars. It would've received a perfect ten had viewers not had to endure so much of Lex, Jason, and their supposed intentions towards Lana.



    Highlights: Dr. Swann's message for Clark; Clark visiting the caves to speak with Jor-El; Lex catching up with Jason in China; Lionel informing Lana of Jason's whereabouts and family history; Clark surprised to find Lana packing for China; Clark and Lana's conversation on board the LuthorCorp jet; Lana and Clark arriving in Shanghai; Clark and Lana searching the Chinese temple; Isobel possessing Lana (again); Clark freeing Jason and Lex, then showing them what he found; Isobel unearthing the stone, and her ensuing fight with Clark; Lana and Clark discussing the day's events; Jason showing Lana the stone; Clark informing his parents on the two remaining stones; and Clark in the caves, remembering Dr. Swann's words.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

Jensen Ackles

Jensen Ackles

Jason Teague

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Annette O'Toole

Annette O'Toole

Martha Clark Kent

Michelle Goh

Michelle Goh

Professor Sen

Guest Star

Mike Wu

Mike Wu

Chinese Soldier

Guest Star

Byron Mann

Byron Mann

Chinese Officer

Guest Star

Terence Stamp

Terence Stamp

Voice of Jor-El

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (17)

    • Where would Isabelle/Lana get the Chinese sorcerer's cloak anyway? She didn't use any magic, but for some reason it's just in the torture chamber.

    • Luthor's scientists went over the cave with a finetooth comb and never found that secret room, back in the "Lionel Luthor searching for the hidden meaning of the caves" episodes. However, with as much natural light streaming in from the top of the chamber (and there's a lot of it) you'd think that maybe, just maybe, one of those scientists would've accidentally stumbled across the secret room by looking though one of the huge cracks on the outside of the cave.

    • Clark says "...seeing you spew Latin and chuck those guys around like matchsticks..." but Clark came in to the torture chamber after those guys were already knocked out and didn't see Lana/Isabelle do anything like that.

    • Joanthan displays no sign of the arm wound from "Krypto," the episode just previously. A wound severe enough that it bit "clean through the bone" would take much more time to heal, and would be a major hindrance.

    • In the torture room we see Lex without a shirt on - there's no sign of the implants he needs for cleansing his blood as seen in "Crusade." clearly showing again that he has no implants on his chest which he needs for cleansing his blood every 72 hours according to his Doctor in "Crusade." What happened to the life-threatening situation of his blood being poisoned by his father which has left him on borrowed time?

    • When Clark gets the crystal from Isabelle the witch the first time with his super-speed, he stops running 10 yards from her to look at the crystal. Not surprisingly, she attacks him. If he'd run a couple thousand yards he would have escaped. For that matter, why stop until he's hidden the crystal somewhere?

    • When Lana talks to Jason at her apartment near the end of the episode, she walks over to the stove and pours a clear substance, presumably water, from a kettle, then takes a sip. Why is Lana drinking hot water?

    • When the Chinese woman gets shot, we can hear the sound of a silenced gun. However, the smoking gun that the Chinese officer points at Lana, doesn't have a silencer on it.

    • Clark goes to visit Lana as she packs and...just walks right in, surprising her. They're friends (kinda-sorta) and ex-boyfriend/girlfriend (again, kinda-sorta) but does it seem odd he just strolls into her apartment over the Talon? What if her and Jason were...engaged? What if she was taking another shower?

    • Isabelle/Lana says, "Did you really think I would let any harm come to this body I possessed?" Here Isabelle emerges out after a couple seconds of non-lethal-but-painful electrical shock. Where was she when Lana was being strangled in "Pariah"? Or about ready to die of a heart attack in "Scare"?

    • Who got the LutherCorp plane for Clark and Lana? It can't be Lionel - he doesn't have money and Lex'd be nuts to give his father, the guy who tried to poison him twice, authority to do anything involving the company, no matter how persuasive he is. And if Lionel has secret contacts, why would he reveal them here when Lex'll figure things out? But Lex doesn't want Clark or Lana in China either.

    • Why does Isabelle/Lana bother stopping to don a Chinese dress? And being a French witch (with an American accent, who speaks Latin and calls Jason "lad"), why would she want a Chinese dress?

    • Lana and the professor don't hear Clark move the incredibly heavy stone across the floor, scraping loudly as it goes, but they hear the quiet noise of him moaning next to it a little later.

    • Why doesn't Clark use any superpowers against Isabelle/Lana? He eventually figures out to use his super-speed, but why doesn't he use heat vision?

    • Where did Isabelle/Lana get super-kung-fu skills? They would have been useful back in "Spell" but she didn't display any such abilities then.

    • Anything resembling a decent computer security system conceals the password with asterisks. No wonder Lex has trouble with people breaking into his mansion, his computers, etc.

    • How did Jason get away with the stone? Clark has x-ray vision - why wouldn't he have scanned his surroundings to find it at the temple after Lana reverted to normal?

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Jason: How could you put Lana in the middle of this? I swear, Clark, if anything happens to her...
      Clark: She's here because you lied to her.
      Lex: I get the feeling Lana can handle herself right now.

    • Lex: You stole copies of my map and gave them to Lana and Jason. You used them.
      Lionel: No, Lex, it was you who was using them. And you'll do far worse to find those stones. You have a ferocious desire to find all the answers, son, but don't let your search for those stones turn into your personal Tower of Babel.
      Lex: I'm not trying to get closer to God, Dad. I'm trying to solve the riddles He's laid out for me.

    • Clark: (about the stones) I'm sure they'll end up in the right hands.
      Lana: I hope so because right now I kind of feel like some random piece of a puzzle I'll never understand.
      Clark: Well, maybe we're not supposed to understand it just yet. (Lana looks questioningly at him) I get the feeling that our lives are a lot less random than we think.

    • Clark: Seeing you speak Latin and throwing those guys around the room like toothpicks is kind of weird. And even when Isabelle's gone, sometimes I look at you and there's a part of you I don't recognize anymore. (Lana laughs) What?
      Lana: I'm sorry, it's just that... do you know how funny that sounds coming from you?

    • Clark: You know, Lana, I'm not sure we should trust this woman. Maybe we can do this on our own.
      Lana: I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you spoke fluent Mandarin and knew your way around Shanghai.

    • Lex: You wouldn't have lied to Lana and come all the way here unless you knew the secret to reading that map.
      Jason: No, I lied to Lana to protect her.
      Lex: Oh, right. I forgot. Lana's new self-appointed hero. She seems to have a way of attracting them.

    • Lana: So, um, what'd your parents say about coming to China?
      Clark: Nothing. I didn't tell them. I left them a message.
      Lana: It's funny. The two people I ended up trusting are Lionel Luthor and you.

    • Lana: I feel like you're the only person in my life right now who doesn't have an agenda.
      Clark: Lana, whatever their motives are, I'm sure they still care about you.
      Lana: That still doesn't change the fact that everybody seems to know more about me than I do.

    • Lex: (to Jason) Look, unless you hired your own Chinese security, I think we've hit a bit of a snag. Run!

    • Clark: Lana, what's going on?
      Lana: Which part? The immaculate tattoo, the fact that I seem to be harboring a 16th-century witch, or that Jason and Lex took off with a map to uncover it all behind my back?
      Clark: Why would they do that?
      Lana: I don't know, but Jason said that we were gonna figure this out together. But it turns out he has a rather limited definition of "we."

    • Lionel: Miss Lang. Please, don't be shy. You were looking for your elusive boyfriend, I assume.
      Lana: Uh, yeah. I was hoping that Lex could get in touch with him for me. He sent him to go catch up on this project and I can't seem to reach him on his cell.
      Lionel: Well, I would imagine reception would be rather shoddy in China. Lex is in Shanghai. If I had to guess, I would say that your boyfriend is there with him.

    • Clark: Going somewhere?
      Lana: China.
      Clark: China? Are you serious?
      Lana: And freaked out and mad and just about everything else you can possibly imagine.

    • Jason: I wasn't honest about going to China because I didn't want to put you into danger. If you remember a certain torture chair, I'd say that's pretty decent foresight.

    • Clark: Well, maybe he has a good reason why he's not being open with you. Don't you think you owe him a chance to explain?
      Lana: Clark, you know I don't give up on someone that easily.

    • Lex: Even though pistol-whipping wasn't exactly my idea of fun, I have to admit, it's good to have the old dad back.

    • Clark: I was just trying to figure out if hidden temples and body-snatching witches fits under community service or extracurriculars.

    • Clark: How did Lionel know these symbols are about you?
      Lana: There are two answers to that, and they're both three time zones away.

  • NOTES (9)

    • This episode won a Leo Award for Best Production Design in a Dramatic Series. This episode was nominated for a ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episodic TV Series.

    • Injoke: In the episode teaser, the news reporter from New York is named Tom Flores. Tom Flores was the associate producer of Smallville in Season 4.

    • Chinese guard babble - most of the phrases shouted made no sense but every once in a while you do hear some Mandarin: hao kan - good looking (referring to Lex); wo da ni - I hit you; zoh - walk (as they push Lex or Jason along)

    • Music: "Hold On" by Newcomers Home, and "Spaghetti Streetwalkers" by Speechwriters LLC.

    • http://www2.warnerbros.com/web/smallville/luthorcorp/home.jsp initially worked, providing Lex Luthor's insecured account and password: Lex Luthor and elements.

    • Allison Mack does not appear in this episode.

    • Michelle Goh previously played a different character - Suki, in "Jitters." Byron Mann previously played Kern, in "Insurgence."

    • Terence Stamp is billed by character name.

    • The Time magazine Clark had was an actual cover about Christopher Reeve, the name at the bottom was just changed.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Lionel: Don't make this into your own personal Tower of Babel.
      The Tower of Babel is the universal symbol for human beings reaching beyond their station towards the gods and being punished for it. It comes from an old Babylonian legend about a king who tried to build a tower tall enough to converse with the gods. The story of the Tower of Babel can be found in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

    • Lana: We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.
      In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy (Judy Garland) looks out from her house that was whipped away by a tornado to set down in the Land of Oz and says to Toto (her dog) "We're not in Kansas anymore."

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