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Season 5 Episode 8


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Nov 17, 2005 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
1,048 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Martha comes down with a strange disease, Professor Fine convinces Clark that Jor-El is responsible and that the Fortress must be destroyed to save her life. But Professor Fine has an ulterior motive which comes to fruition when they arrive.

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  • Fortress of Zoditude

    Solitude-When Martha comes down with a strange disease, Professor Fine convinces Clark that Jor-El is responsible and that the Fortress must be destroyed to save her life. But Professor Fine has an ulterior motive which comes to fruition when they arrive. After the paranoid and tension filled "Splinter", we treated to another thrilling episode that begins with Martha falling ill to some strange disease after a blinding light erupts in front of the Kent Farm. Scared and overwhelmed by his mother, Clark goes to Fine, and sees if he can help. Some fans who don't like this episode critique Clark's actions in this episode saying he was stupid for believing Fine and for being so gullible. Now while Clark has made a lot of stupid decisions throughout the series and I mean A LOT, I fell that his actions in "Solitude" were not one of them. 1) Clark was worried about his mother and would do anything to save her, even going against his father. 2) Jor-El did say that someone's life with be exchanged for Clark and once Martha became, it was inevitable that Clark would put the blame on Jor-El, it wasn't Fine's manipulation. 3) After all the times in the past where Jor-El forced Clark into his destiny in some harsh ways, why wouldn't Clark think that Jor-El was capable of being a cruel ruler on Krypton.

    The episode really excels during the emotional scenes as Jonathan and Clark struggle to find a way to save Martha. John Schneider is solid as Jonathan like always but it the scene of Clark at Martha's side that really tugged at my heart strings. It's was a heartbreaking moment between mother and son with beautiful performances by both Annette O'Toole and Tom Welling. On a lighter note, I love Chloe and Lois breaking into Lex's factory, both Allison and Erica looked like they were having so much fun during those scenes.

    James Masters is once again, brilliant in this episode as he manipulates Clark throughout the episode. It was obvious by the end of "Splinter" that Fine/Brainiac's true intentions in this episode would be to deceive Clark and getting him to do the unthinkable, which he almost succeeds in. The Fortress between Brainiac and Clark was well done with some more stunning special effects this season continues to have. I just love it how as the Fortress being damaged, Fine reveals his true identity and Clark realizes that Fine was twisting the truth the whole time. My favorite part is when the portal to the phantom zone opened and we see Zod coming through it in the glass prison, which resembles Terrance Stamp, cool nod! Then there's Chloe coming to save Clark at the end and the brief fight between Clark and Brainiac. While brief, like I said the special effects as usual make up for that. The episode ends with a dark foreshadowing as after a scene between Clark and Jonathan, Jonathan smiles and the episode fades into black with some dramatic music. It's sad because looking back it was the writers giving us hint of who exactly was going to die soon and you just feel bad knowing that. While not more thrilling than "Splinter", "Solitude" is excellent mix of some emotional moments and stellar plot developments for the following episodes.moreless
  • A strange force sickens Martha, and she nears death, leading Clark to seek aid from Professor Fine. They attempt to destroy the Fortress, and Chloe must come to the rescue.

    On a dark night, Lois, in her new red Ford Fusion, has given Martha a ride home, and we learn that Lois has a new apartment, too. So it looks like Ford has the product placement in Smallville for awhile. As Martha nears the house, an eerie light appears in the sky, then it knocks Martha to the ground, and Clark, hearing a noise, rushes out to find her unconscious. She doesn't remember the light. Later, at the Daily Planet, Chloe and Clark discuss the phenomenon, but there were no celestial events reported that night. Martha was examined at the hospital too, but checked ok. Clark suspects Jor-El is coming back to collect on his threat to trade Clark's life for that of someone close to him, and he explains this threat to Chloe.

    Lex is having a campaign photo shoot at the Talon, where coffee-chef Lois jabs at him about buying an election, "There must be enough dirt on you to create a land mass the size of Texas, " she says. He counters by referring to her as a "muffin-peddling college dropout." No love lost there.

    Clark asks Professor Fine at the college for more information about Jor-El, and Fine already knows abou the bargain Clark made with Jor-El. Fine tries to put him off, saying he'll help "when you're ready." Clark finally reveals to Jonathan and Martha that Fine is a Kryptonian, and their first response is to urge Clark to avoid Fine, but Clark insists that he has to learn more. Suddenly Martha can't feel her hand, and her skin is rapidly becoming inflamed. They quickly return her to the hospital, where her vitals are normal. Clark is still agitated and fearful, but he can't tell Jonathan about the consequences of his pact with Jor-El.

    Chloe sees Lionel at the Planet; he's there to congratulate her on her new position at the newspaper. As usual, there's other motives. He offers her a big story; she gives him one minute to get to the point. He claims that someone at Central KS University can run "at the speed of light," get fire from his eyes, one he identifies as Professor of World History Milton Fine. Chloe is intrigued in spite of her doubts about Lionel.

    Clark sees Fine again and describes Martha's symptons - Fine replies that Jor-El tortured his victims on Krypton the same way! Fine claims Jor-El was a violent dictator on Krypton, and tortured "the great hero of the people - Zod." Jor-El allegedly destroyed Krypton, except his son, to recreate Krypton on Earth. Clark allows Fine to come to the Kent home, while Martha's condition worsens, and she suddenly goes into spasms. She needs meteor rock, as both Fine and Clark have to back off, while Jonathan uses the rock to relieves her immediate symptons, but Fine says there is no cure, she'll be dead in a matter of hours. Clark reluctantly tells Jonathan that someone's life has to be exchanged for his.

    Clark speeds off to the Fortress, where he urges Jor-EL to save his mother. Jor-El says he has caused no harm to her. Clark pleads for Martha's life, but destiny cannot be altered.

    At the mansion, Lex is watching video of the spaceship in his warehouse, and the picture is starting to break up. Lionel appears and reveals that he knows about what is being kept in Warehouse 15 (how did he find out?). The electorate has little interest in candidates obsessed with little green men, says Lionel, warning Lex about running for public office while vulnerable to paranoia, scandal, delusions, and other ruinous disorders. Chloe has come to the campus to shadow Professor Fine - she follows him to a Luthorcorp facility downtown. Martha is still deathly ill when Clark returns, with no answers to her condition. As she suffers, she expresses gratitude for the happiness Clark has brought her, she wouldn't have her life any other way. Clark is struggling with his anxiety over her condition, but she encourages him. Ms. O'Toole always plays these difficult scenes with skill and compassion.

    Lois is urging Chloe to find dirt on Lex, "the great bald hope of Kansas," so they head off to the warehouse, where Lois distracts the guard with a smile and her usual charm, while Chloe slips into the plant. Chloe first finds nothing in the warehouse, but finally spots the spacecraft, just as Fine morphs from the black goo. Super sleuth Chloe! She's detected by a guard, and Fine is gone. Meanwhile, Lois gives the guard a solid right cross and powerslides in to rescue Chloe from her armed escort. Wow, Chloe, you have some dangerous knowledge.

    Clark appeals to Fine, who is now back at the CKU campus. The only way to save Martha, Fine says, is to destroy the Fortress, claiming that Jor-El is controlling the virus through the crystals. Clark wants Jor-El gone, and Martha's condition continues to worsen. Chloe comes to the Kent home seeking Clark. She learns the Kents already know about Fine, and she's off to save the day.

    Fine and Clark go to the caves and are transported to the Fortress, and Fine offers Clark a dark crystal that will destroy the Fortress. Clark thrusts it into the console, and the Fortress begins to disintegrate. Betrayal! Fine shouts that he is not Kryptonian, but was created by kryptonians and attacks Clark with meteor rock. "The one true Kryptonian will rid the planet of the scourge of humans," Fine shouts. A portal open in the Fortress, surely something unfriendly is about to enter. Chloe goes to the cave also (How did she know?) and, finding the key still in the platform, reinserts it, and zip, she's in the Fortress. Once again, Chloe to the rescue, removing the meteor rock from Clark, who has only a moment to remove the dark crystal and close the portal. Fine's powers are formidable, and they battle, until Fine is impaled on the power center array. But he isn't human or even Kryptonian, so is he dead? He disintegrates, and simultaneously:

    The spaceship disappears from Warehouse 15!

    Martha is instantly healed!

    Dear Chloe, she has saved life on earth again.

    Back home during a peaceful rain shower, Clark and Martha talk quietly about the near loss of her from his life. She is Clark's heart and soul, he tells her. Thanks Smallville crew, for taking the trouble to film during adverse weather, just to make this touching scene even better.

    Chloe and Clark go over their experiences during a fireside chat. Chloe reveals that Lionel was her source of the information about Fine. How did Lionel know?

    Lionel comes to see Lex - of course Lex suspects him in the disappearance of the spacecraft. But Lionel denies involvement, and fears Lex's delusions once more. Hey, we have to agree with Lionel, so far he's the good guy of the story.

    At the DP, Lois is looking for dirt on Lex, she tells Chloe, warning that Lex plans to rule the world. She had found nothing in the warehouse. But with a few words from Chloe, we see Lois is developing an interest in investigative journalism, a harbinger of things to come.

    Jonathan and Clark talk about the events, Clark realizing he was gullible in believing everything Fine said, and Jor-El's warning is still out there. But Jonathan urges him to simply spend as much time as possible with those he loves.

    An excellent and significant episode - is this the end of Fine, and should we expect the Zod character to appear? Re-run rating right up there with the best - A.moreless
  • This one continues off from last episode's series of maneuvers by the one and only Milton Fine. It gets me thinking back and appreciating the writers' efforts at a more coherent plot development. Milton's presumeably deliberate 'Good Samaritan' firstmoreless

    This one continues off from last episode's series of maneuvers by the one and only Milton Fine. It gets me thinking back and appreciating the writers' efforts at a more coherent plot development. Milton's presumably deliberate 'Good Samaritan' first contact with Clark is certainly an exemplary exercise in plot psychology in securing Clark's trust on hindsight. Also in my Epimetheus routine I must praise the display of marksmanship by Milton, who is the writers in disguise, in determining Clark's weakness (no, I'm not talking about green Kryptonite), ie. his ties to his loved ones. However, the presentation of Jonathan and Clark Kent don't quite bear the same finesse. The biggest pooper seems to be another one of Clark's frequent memory loss - the training offered by Jor-El. The knowledge of the universe is not quite like a Ferrari you can do just as well without. I can just picture Jor-El reprimanding Clark, "If you had continued with your training, you would have recognized Milton Fine for what he is". I guess I had to settle for, "It was you who chose to give up your powers and turn your back on me". 'Giving up your powers' is a rather imprecise reference to that episode in their relationship don't you think? For all his perceptiveness shown in their first meeting ("Your thoughts are not a mystery to me, Kal-El"), Jor-El can be quite the Nobel winner when it comes to vague if not totally useless answers. But that's just my take on it. And Jonathan. He is the epitome of the stressed-out father. I certainly did not enjoy watching him being played out as the irrational fear-ridden dad. His arguments in the episode strikes out almost every time. They might have done better with more supporting material for assertions like "Clark, I want you to stay clear of this fellow (Milton)", "You (Milton) are obviously not a doctor so why don't you makes this easier on both of us and get out". It fits it into the same dislike he shows for the Luthors but that was understandable given his experiences. Jor-El's actions don't quite fall in the same league. Jonathan clearly isn't as accomplished a judge of character as his dad was. In any event, the frequent changes in the effective range of green Kryptonite makes for a rough viewing. As one commentator so aptly put it, it only seems to affect Clark the moment he sees it. The times he walked past it only to feel its effects when it smashes on the floor occurs with alarming regularity. These fluctuations also include Clark's reflexes. And finally, one small peeve about Milton Fine's ending. With a plan so meticulously devious, he certainly finishes with a revoltingly careless lapse in attention. Reeks of the good old bad movies.moreless
  • Great Episode

    While retuning home with Lois, Martha is hit by a flash of light followed by a thunder and contracts a lethal Kryptonian disease. Clark believes that Jor-El is charging for his resuscitation and asks for help to Professor Milton Fine. He discloses to Clark that Jor-El was a dictator in Krypton, who destroyed their great leader Zod first, and the planet later and sent Clark to Earth to dominate the world. Further, the salvation of Martha would only be achieved though the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude. Meanwhile, Lionel convinces Chloe to investigate Professor Milton Fine and find who he really is. When Lois, feeling offended because Lex called her of "muffin peddler", meets Chloe, the double decides to visit the LuthorCorp., where the truth about Professor Milton Fine is revealed.moreless
  • Use your head

    Which is what Clark doesn't do this week.

    Firstly why doesn't he ask about Professor Fine when he visits the fortress? Clark would at least get some perspective on the situation and force him to back pedal. Professor Fine meanwhile seems to have it all figured out but if he is 'Brainiac' then why didn't he spend more time talking Clark round to his supposed history of events or make sure he covered his tracks when he and Clark went to the fortress. Jonathan doesn't seem very receptive of Clarks theories at the start, unwilling it seems to even give him benefit of the doubt and given all the strange happenings you think Clark had earned that right. Clarks willingness to believe Fine is also not very plausible but that could be due to his desire to know about his homeworld. Lex raises some questions this week, as shown he had security footage on the spaceship so why would he accuse his father of doing something without a shred of proof? Lex is supposedly methodical so why did he straight out assume?

    It seems strange that Chloe got into the building easily, why didn't she trip some kind of sensor? Lois meanwhile continues to be underused.moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Alexander ('Lex') Joseph Luthor

Erica Durance

Erica Durance

Lois Lane

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Annette O'Toole

Annette O'Toole

Martha Clark Kent

Aleks Holtz

Aleks Holtz

Gate Security Guard

Guest Star

Benita Ha

Benita Ha

Lex's Assistant

Guest Star

James Marsters

James Marsters

Professor Milton Fine/Brainiac

Recurring Role

Terence Stamp

Terence Stamp

Voice of Jor-El

Recurring Role

Bud the Dog

Bud the Dog


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Trivia: From the moment Chloe finishes saying, "You have one minute" to the moment Lionel says "Good day, Miss Sullivan" it is exactly one minute.

    • When Lois drives through the barricade to rescue Chloe she spins the car around so Chloe can get in. The door is closed at this point, but in the next shot, the door is instantly wide open although Lois is still in the driver's seat.

    • When Clark comes in the room and his mom is lying on the couch waiting to die, where is Jonathan? Wouldn't he want to be with her for the rest of her time she has to live?

    • Given Lionel tried to kill Chloe and her father, she seems awfully accepting of him here. If the guy who tried to kill you showed up in your workspace with flowers, would you even talk to him, or call the police?

    • Clark knows that the two Kryptonians from "Arrival" were the Disciples of Zod. Lana would have told him if nothing else. Since they went on a rampage and killed people, why does Clark so willingly accept Fine's story that Zod is a good guy?

    • Professor Fine is actively opposing Lex, something Lionel is in agreement with since he doesn't want Lex to become Senator. And Lionel would know this if he (somehow) knows about Fine's superpowers and all. So...why does he try to out Fine to Chloe?

    • How can Lois afford a $17,000 new Ford Fusion? She works in a coffee shop handing out muffins and lattes. The gas alone for all the those trips back and forth to Metropolis would be enough to drive her into debt.

    • Trivia: When Lionel is talking to Chloe, the headline of the newspaper he is reading proclaims, "Metropolis Strangler Surrenders to Police."

    • Once again Lex's failure to use basic security cameras comes up. A security camera at the gate, the common-sense place to put one, would have shown Lois and Chloe showing up at the gate. For that matter, the guards could identify them. But Lex doesn't seem at all suspicious of them and thinks his father is responsible for theft.

    • When Lois drops Martha off she restarts her car when she leaves. However, we never see Lois turn it off.

    • Clark says to Chloe that he found his mother unconscious in a field. He actually found her unconscious in the middle of the driveway, nowhere close to a field.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Clark: Everything you said to me was a lie! You weren't talking about Jor-El. You really were talking about Zod. Jor-El didn't infect my mother, did he? You did.
      Professor Fine: To think that you would sacrifice your Kryptonian heritage for a single homo sapien. You are a pitiful disgrace. Goodbye, Kal-El.

    • Clark: You know, Professor Fine said that human beings were insignificant and couldn't be depended on. He obviously didn't know you very well.
      Chloe: Please. Robo-Professor knows as much about human nature as R2-D2.

    • Professor Fine: Impatience is such a pathetic human trait.

    • Lois: (to Lex) Don't take this the wrong way, but after eight hundred pictures, you don't get any prettier.

    • Lionel: I wonder, do they know about the sort of things you keep hidden behind closed doors.
      Lex: Ooh – you must be referring about our deep dark family secrets. Don't worry – I won't embarrass you.

    • Lionel: How does it go? You can put a tuxedo on the fiddler but he's still going to play the same old tune.
      Chloe That's good - you should jot that down and add it to your page-a-day calendar.

    • Chloe: I told you, Lois, Lex keeps his dirty laundry in a cast-iron hamper.

    • Lois: Let me give you a little friendly advice. Bow out of the race before a pesky little squirrel digs up one of your rotten acorns.
      Lex: Well, thanks Lois! You know, there's nothing more valuable than the savvy political advice of a muffin-peddling college dropout. Speaking of, do you have banana blueberry today?

    • Chloe: You know, next time I head up north, I've got to remember to pack a parka.
      Clark: How'd you get up there anyway?
      Chloe: You left your key in the cave. Seriously, Clark, you've got to be more careful. If I can get up there, anyone can.

    • Martha: I want you to know, I'm more than ready to give up my life for the life of my child.

  • NOTES (10)

    • This episode was nominated for a Leo Award for Best Make-Up in a Dramatic Series.

    • International Air Dates:
      The Netherlands: March 31, 2007 on Veronica
      New Zealand: March 23, 2007 on TV2
      Hungary: October 28, 2007 on TV2

    • Music: "Wicked Games" By HIM (His Infernal Majesty)

    • When Clark is in the Fortress the first time this episode, the clip of him taking the main crystal from the console is reused from this season's opening episode.

    • In the commercials for this episode, when Martha is "infected," the attack comes in the form of a distinct red lightning bolt striking her, but for some reason, in the actual episode, this effect was changed into a blurry red burst.

    • Advertising Cross Promotion:
      The Ford Fusion is heavily promoted in this episode. During the original airing, one could win a Fusion by entering a Ford sponsored contest by identifying the song playing on Lois' Ford Fusion during the show. That sequence of the episode included Lois showing a security guard many of her new car's features including the stereo and glove box. The song in question was Wicked Game, a Chris Isaac cover performed by "Him." This song was included on the recently released Smallville Soundtrack - Metropolis Mix that was also advertised during the episode's original airing.

    • James Marsters and Terence Stamp are billed as Special Guest Stars. Stamp is billed as "the Voice of Jor-El."

    • General Zod
      General Zod first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 (April 1961). His full Kryptonian name was Dru-Zod. He also appeared in the first two Superman movies as a military leader and rebel that was banished by Jor-El into the Phantom Zone.

    • Kristin Kreuk doesn't appear in this episode.

    • Upon this episode's initial airing, the Superman Returns trailer premiered during a commercial break.


    • Lois: You once mention that Lex Luthor spent a little time in the cuckoo's nest.
      One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was a novel written by Ken Kensey that was later adapted to cinema. In the novel, a schizophrenic native American in an asylum was the narrator of the story.

    • Chloe: Thank you Miss Andretti!
      A reference to Mario Andretti. Andretti has won the Daytona 500, as well as frequently competing in the Indy 500. He is best known for his time with the Lotus race team.

    • Professor Fine: Many humans believe the Earth was created in seven days, I'm surprised it took you that long to trust me.
      The Biblical account of the Earth's creation contained in The Book of Genesis, recounts the steps God took to create the Earth. This process took seven days (technically it took six days and on the seventh day, God rested).

    • Chloe: Robo-Professor knows as much about human nature as R2-D2.
      Referencing the nonspeaking mechanic-droid that has appeared in all six of the Star Wars movies.

    • Lionel: You don't want to end up an eccentric like Howard Hughes, remembered more for his ten-inch toenails than his contributions to society.
      Howard Hughes made many contributions to the world of aviation and was considered the wealthiest person in his time period. But in his later years, he became obsessed with little things, including germs. Today, he is remembered as having been a germaphobe toward the end of his life.