Smallville

Season 3 Episode 20

Talisman

2
Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 05, 2004 on The CW
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
596 votes
11

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Jeremiah Holdsclaw, a young Kiwatche Indian, steals a mythic knife from the tribal caves and gets superpowers similar to Clark's. Jeremiah believes he is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy of Naman, "the man who fell from the stars." He sets out to kill Lionel with the knife, and Clark must stop him without revealing his own secret.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Rights to cave artifacts are the subject of this politically manipulative and stereotyped script, with a lot of contrived violence and overacting, and trivial subplots.

    5.0
    In the caves, Lionel's explorations are interrupted by Professor Willowbrook, ostensibly a native American, along with his stereotypically-angry research assistant Jeremiah, full of resentment over others exploring what he sees as his sacred history. He snatches an artifact, smashes it and it turns into a light emitting dagger - suddenly he has superpowers, wounds Lionel, whose bozo guards summarily open fire with at least three pistols. Of course he's not affected. This setup looks like the start of a manipulative and politically correct episode, meant to fan the flames of racial hatred and feelings of injustice. Smallville never does well when written around a political issue - it usually doesn't make for a good story line or a script.



    Willowbrook visits Lex, who thinks Clark is the man of destiny. Some of the cave prophesies are coming true, and strength and speed for the young native. Jeremiah, they suspect, will not return the knife. At the hospital, Lionel is being treated for his wound from Jeremiah. When Lex arrives, Lionel tries to hide the source of his wound, but Lex already knows the rumors about Jeremiah's powers. In a dramatic turnaround from last week, Lex is conciliatory and helpful. Just when we think a major shift in characters has occurred, the writers back way off and reset major relationships back to some previous state, and this is usually confusing and unsatisfying. We have a 'B' plot about Lana's proposed trip to school in Paris, but she's having a financial problem. Chloe suggests tapping Lex for a loan, an out-of-character proposal for Chloe, given her history of mistrust of Lex. Anyone want to be indebted to him?



    Clark finds Lex in the ransacked office of Jeremiah at Central Kansas A&M, Clark saying Jeremiah was going to help him with a term paper. Clark claims ignorance of the cave incident, so Lex fills him in about the artifact's effects. So a total stranger (Lex) can wander around a crime scene and the University has no security, objection, or investigation? On the back of the blinds Clark finds a cave symbol, a bit of a plot stretch. Lionel, meanwhile, tries to talk Willbowbrook into collaborating on more research - legend says the blade will disintegrate if the wrong person touches it - the Bearer of Darkness. Clarks strolls in, Lionel strolls out. Clark shows Willowbrook the symbol - it's said to be a place where rituals took place, a slumbering place.



    Out in the woods, Jeremiah is doing a dance of sorts at the site, when Willowbrook appears with Clark. Jeremiah says he no longer exists - their warnings to him about the blade's dangers fall on deaf ears. There are so many plot developments here it's hard to swallow. Rebellious Jeremiah goes overboard with power and demonstrates his heat vision by destroying a nice Jeep Cherokee.



    Clark tells Mom and Pop that he thinks Jeremiah is going after Lionel, but Jonathan advises searching for him before he can harm Lionel. Clark suggests that superpower weakness may match his own.



    Lana finds that Lex plans to sell the Talon without informing her - Lex later says he decided to sell a poor investment, and he kept the building all this time for her. He's getting practical, and she's leaving, so why hang onto the building? He challenges her to be something better - the girl who goes to Paris. This scene has the best script in the episode - all too brief.



    Lionel visits Clark - who preaches about Lionel pillaging the caves, so Clark is again portrayed as a supporter of native rights, a position that must mirror network or producer policy. Lionel believes the knife is forged from the same metal as the octagonal key - which is missing in the cave wall - (but we know Dr. Swann has it). Lionel believes the Kiwatchee will listen to Clark - and Clark sees Lionel as the culmination of prophecy - the "friend who becomes an enemy." He tells Lionel to get out.



    Clark returns home to find Jeremiah, who accuses him of being a false prophet. Clark pulls out the meteor rock, but Jeremiah is not affected, and stabs Clark with the dagger. Of course, Jeremiah could presumably finish him off, but doesn't, and Clark staggers into the house, wounded. The folks find him - but how do they treat the wound? Not a problem - Jonathan tries to stop the bleeding, and his hand turn to light - he has conveniently acquired healing powers, and the wound closes up. Quick problem - quick resolution. Why they leave Clark laying on the floor all night is a mystery, just as much of this murky story. Somehow they know that Jeremiah now has Lionel prisoner. No logic to all this - just quick one-liners to advance the script, but making the whole story trivial. Jeremiah somehow commandeers Lionel's Lincoln limo, and if Lionel isn't killed this time, we have to wonder. Jeremiah prepares Lionel for a ritual murder on a stone in the forest - of course Clark arrives in time to halt the attack. Lex magically appears, freeing Lionel, but of course neither see the superbattle between Jeremiah and Clark, which ends in Jeremiah collapsing for no apparent reason and the knife conveniently flying through the air onto the ritual altar - as Lex and Lionel try to grasp it, it disintegrates.



    How to dispose of Jeremiah is the next plot dilemma - oh, he's in a coma in Belle Reve, according to Clark's wrapup with the folks. Clark says the prophecies indicate that either Lionel or Lex are his greatest enemy, since they both held the dagger when it disappeared. The cast struggles on with this miserable script, with Lana telling Lex she's going to Paris - no mention of how she solved her financial problem.



    The third subplot with Pete and Chloe is hardly worth mentioning, since it's all contrived tension and mushy reconciliation. Anyway, Pete's parents are divorcing, so this foretells Mr. Jones' departure from the cast in some future episode. Not a good story, just a few lines to tip off the audience.



    Lex drops by Clark's lair, about the prophecy - his new interpretation is that the saviour comes from the stars, shoot fire from his eyes, and could conquer the world. The hero of the story is the adversary - so we're supposed so see that this is Lex...I guess.



    Talisman is about the fourth demographically-based story in the series, and just as poorly executed as the others. Someone with influence in the production staff is able to manipulate the writing process to advance their political position, to the detriment of the script and any enjoyment we might get out of the story. At least we can see it coming, and adjust our expectations downward, and don't bother watching it again. Re-run rating - skip it.moreless
  • One of the best endings to a Smallville episode yet.

    9.5
    This episode was pretty good throughout, with Clark mortally wounded by a villain who is as powerful as he is. Clark believes that his mortal enemy is Lionel Luthor, the dark one foretold by the Kawachi legends. However, by the end of the episode he has reason to believe his enemy is either Lex or Lionel. The ending shows Clark studying a glyph of himself (Naman) and his mortal enemy Zegit in eternal struggle. Suddenly Lex is in the loft, and offers his own interpretation of the legend. "Naman is a powerful visitor from the stars with the strength of ten men, who can shoot fire from his eyes. It would take a brave man to battle such a man and keep his powers in check. Clark, did you ever think that perhaps Zegit is the hero of this story?"moreless
  • this was a good ep

    9.0
    in this ep of the show smallville a man that is kerwaitch indian finds a sacred knife in the cave and it gives him huge amounts of powers and its like he is like clark and he thinks he is the one that fell from the stars and so he goes and wants to kill lex luthor with the knife and clark must find out a way to stop him from doing that without reavealing his powers to lex or anyone eles this was a good ep i thought and it had alot of action and intense scenes that is why i gave it a 9moreless
  • Will The Real Naman Please Stand Up?

    8.2
    Talisman-Jeremiah Holdsclaw, a young Kiwatche Indian, steals a mythic knife from the tribal caves and gets superpowers similar to Clark's. Jeremiah believes he is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy of Naman, "the man who fell from the stars." He sets out to kill Lionel with the knife, and Clark must stop him without revealing his own secret.



    An effective episode that sees the return of the Naman mythology of the caves. The development of the mystical knife is intriguing as well as the Kryptonian powers they give Jeremiah. Nathaniel Arcand is good as Jeremy yet we never see the full of extent of Jeremiah's rampage or what he can do. But I love how the episode goes back to the prophecy of Naman and about his greatest enemy, which develops into the possibility of Lex or Lionel. It's obvious that Lex will become Clark's greatest enemy but it's nice that the writers played with the idea that it could be either father or son.



    I love the action sequences of the episode like Jeremiah using heat vision to destory Clark's truck and the fight scene between Clark and Jeremiah in the woods. I also love how Jeremiah ties up Lionel and puts kryptonian symbols all over his body as it makes for a disturbing scene. Gordon Tootoosis (Joseph Willowbrook) makes for a good mentor to Clark and serves a purpose in Clark's destiny. Also, the last scene between Clark and Lex as Lex suggests that Naman could be the enemy of the prophecy is storng forshadowing of future for the yet to be enemies. All and All, Talisman is a solid episode that pushes Clark's destiny slightly forward with hints of the future.moreless
  • Great Episode

    10
    Lionel Luthor calls Professor Joseph Willoebrook (Gordon Tootoosis) to the Kawatche caves to show a recently found ancient object. Professor Willoebrook brings his assistant Jeremiah Holdsclaw (Nathaniel Arcand), who takes the relic from the hands of Lionel. It transforms in a knife and makes Jeremiah as powerful as Clark. He runs away from Lionel's security men with the mythic knife. Professor Willoebrook insists that Clark Kent is Namam, the man who fell from the stars, and in accordance with the Indian prophecy, that knife belongs to him and could be destroyed only by his greatest enemy. Meanwhile, Lana Lang decides to move to Paris.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

Sam Jones III

Sam Jones III

'Pete' Ross

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Nathaniel Arcand

Nathaniel Arcand

Jeremiah Holdsclaw

Guest Star

Teryl Rothery

Teryl Rothery

Real Estate Agent

Guest Star

Gordon Tootoosis

Gordon Tootoosis

Joseph Willowbrook

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (23)

    • At 10:33 when Clark opens the door to Jeremiah's office, the reflection of the camera operator is very visible in the glass.

    • At 3:32 as the camera moves in on the symbol on the wall, a black format bar moves in and covers the left side of the shot.

    • At 12:54 the shadow of the light reflector mat is very visible, as it moves from the lower left to the right of the shot.

    • Lionel Luthor wants to obtain the Starblade in order to use its metal to create a duplicate octagonal key. Why doesn't he just forge one out of meteor rocks like he did in Season 2?

    • When we first see Lionel sitting in the exam room, the radiographs hanging on the view box behind patient and doctor are totally inappropriate to assess Lionel's injuries. The two films hanging to the viewers' left are chest x-rays - a woman's chest x-rays. The film to the far left is also placed backwards on the screen.

    • It took Clark some hard work and practice to master his heat vision, but Jeremiah seems to pick it up almost instantly.

    • Does no one in Smallville have any consideration to knock? Twice this episode, Lex and the Professor just entered the Kent farm and made their way into a room in the house and barn.

    • If the knife is supposed to crumble when it is in contact with Ziget, wouldn't this be a bad choice of weapon for Jeremiah (believing Lionel to be Ziget)?

    • Jeremiah has the world's largest private office for a teaching assistant you'll ever see on a campus, anywhere.

    • Given what Clark knows about what goes on at Belle Reve, and Lionel's connections there, he seems awfully complacent about the fact they've got a comatose Jeremiah on their hands.

    • The "prophecy" of the knife is kinda vague. Early in the episode Clark says "if the wrong person touches the knife." There could be millions of "wrong people" who aren't supposed to touch the knife, and only one or two "right people" (Clark and Jeremiah, presumably). But later in the wrap-up, Clark goes much further and says because the knife dissolved when Lex or Lionel touched it, that "proves" one of them is Ziget.

    • How did Lex find Lionel at the burial grounds? If Clark led him there, there's no mention of it. But if Lex were looking for his dad without Clark's help, wouldn't he have brought help with him? Security guards? Anybody?

    • When Jeremiah stabs Clark, it goes in low and left (camera-right) into Clark's stomach. But at the house, before Jonathan heals it and when we see the subsequent scar, the wound is almost dead-center and just below his sternum.

    • More of a directorial misstep then a goof, but when Clark, Martha, and Jonathan are discussing the myth, John Schneider brings over a cup for Martha, fumbles it a bit, and seriously interrupts the flow of the scene.

    • How did Jeremiah draw the symbol on the shades so smoothly? Try drawing something on venetian blinds sometime - they sway and bend at any kind of serious pressure. And the faster you draw, the worse it gets. But the symbol is drawn picture-perfect.

    • Where the heck were the Sullivans going to get the money to buy the Talon? Mr. Sullivan's out of work, and even if they had bought it, given that Chloe knows Lionel is going after her father, wouldn't they be worried that Lionel would somehow mess them up there too?

    • When Clark hits Jeremiah with the tree, Jeremiah lands clenching the dagger in his right hand (he doesn't drop it). Then in the next scene when he bounces to his feet, the dagger is clearly in his left hand. He then runs at Clark, and the dagger is back in his right hand.

    • Clark can't figure out if it's Lionel or Lex who is supposed to be Ziget, yet he should have noted that the blade was not glowing when Jeremiah was going to "sacrifice" Lionel, and it only started to glow after Lex arrived.

    • Lana - still not much of a businesswoman. When she sold off her share of the Talon to Lex, what did she expect him to do with it? If she cared, why didn't she ask? And if she did, did Lex lie to her? Or why is she surprised about Lex's plans now?

    • Why does Lionel go to Smallville Medical to get checked out? He's got millions and millions of dollars - can't he afford a personal physician? Particularly given all the other injuries he's got, being on death's door with his liver condition, etc.

    • Near the end of the episode, when Pete and Chloe are hugging, Pete's left arm is under Chloe's right arm when his back is facing the camera. But when Chloe's back is facing the camera, Pete's left arm is over Chloe's right shoulder instead of under her right arm.

    • Why did Jeremiah wait what appears to be several hours to kill Lionel? It's clearly nighttime when he stops the limo, but he doesn't do anything until the next morning. There's no mention made that the ritual kill has to be made at sunrise or anything goofy like that.

    • Lionel says that the key and the dagger could be made from the same metal. Then why is it that the key does not shine like the dagger?

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Clark: Who do you think I'll become?
      Jonathan: I don't know. You can be the world's greatest hero, or its most mild-mannered citizen.

    • Willowbrook: (to Clark) Jeremiah is desperate to be someone he's not, and you're desperate not to be someone you are.

    • Willowbrook: One who denies his destiny can bring about as much pain and suffering as his greatest enemy.

    • Lex: (to Clark) I'm surprised. Usually you keep such a close eye on everything that happens in the caves. For those term papers you're always writing.

    • Lex: I've been thinking a lot about this prophecy. I've got a new interpretation. Want to hear it?
      Clark: Sure.
      Lex: May I? (takes Clark's book) This Naman guy is supposed to come from the stars, have the power of ten men, and shoot fire from his eyes, right?
      Clark: It's just an allegory, Lex.
      Lex: I know. But if one person could do all that, he'd be a formidable enemy. He could conquer the world. He could become a tyrant if nobody kept him in check. So I've been thinking...anybody who'd be willing to fight him would have to be pretty brave. Clark, did it ever occur to you that maybe the hero of the story...is Ziget?

    • Lex: I like to keep my mind open to extreme possibilities.
      Clark: You're starting to sound like your father.

    • Chloe: Did you pull an all-nighter? Or do you just find changing clothes every day a little too cliché?

    • Lex: I spend so much time swimming with Wall Street sharks and boardroom barracudas, that it's been nice to come up for air every so often with someone as honest and pure-hearted as you. In some ways, you're the best partner I ever had.
      Lana: Thank you, Lex...
      Lex: But you're leaving. And you're irreplaceable. So why hang on to something that's over?

    • Chloe: What good are extracurriculars if you can't milk them for office supplies?

    • Clark: Mr. Luthor, those caves may not belong to my family, but this barn does. So get out.

    • Lex: I don't live in the past anymore, Dad -- someone told me it was a weakness. Given your recent mishaps in the cave, maybe you should start following your own advice.

    • Pete: (on the phone) Why won't you listen to me? I told you I don't want to talk about it!
      Chloe: Note to self: forward all telemarketing calls to Pete.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Another scene that was cut from the episode had Chloe talking to Lana about Pete's behavior and offering to run the Talon with her dad (with the intent of preserving the building as is).

    • In the DVD subtitles, the name of Naman's enemy is spelled "Sageeth" rather than "Ziget."

    • Bits of the John Williams/Superman main theme, and the "Fortress of Solitude" theme, are used throughout, albeit a little garbled.

    • According to kryptonsite.com, there was initially an extended scene at Lex's manor where he throws a surprise birthday party, and Jeremiah attacks Lana. Presumably the scene was cut due to length, although you can still see people setting up for the (unexplained) party in the background when Lana confronts Lex over the sale of the Talon.

    • Many references to Clark's (presumed) future clothing and accessory choices. When Clark's parents find him on the stairs bleeding, Jonathan rips open Clark's button shirt to reveal a blue undershirt, just as the future Clark wears his blue supersuit under his reporter garb. Clark once again has a red blanket over his shoulders, resembling a cape. And Jeremiah has glasses in his "mild-mannered" identity until he gets superpowers, and then gets rid of them.

    • When Chloe and Pete are discussing Pete's family situation, you can see a picture of Clark on the Wall of Weird.

    • Music: "Chase Me" by Katie Herzig. "Reason Why" by Rachael Yamagata. and "From Afar" by Red Letter Day.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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