Season 1 Episode 21

Tempest (1)

Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 21, 2002 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
871 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Lex is hit with a surprise after his father closes the local Smallville plant to force him back to Metropolis, blaming the plant's failure on his management. Meanwhile Clark prepares for his date with Chloe, reporter Roger Nixon gets wind of Clark's alien origins after setting up an explosion, and Whitney joins the Marine Corps.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • A Season Finale With a Twist(er) [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]

    Okay, right off the bat, I gotta say that I LOVED seeing Tom Welling in formalwear this episode, not to mention shirtless. ;D Getting to the actual episode itself, though, I loved the chemistry between Clark and Chloe. I mean, I'm a die-hard Clois fan, but the way they kept looking at each other made me hope that they could ride off into the sunset together. In fact, as much as I loved that Clark rushed off to save the day in the end, I hated that his potential kiss with Chloe was interrupted to accomplish it. And again, this is coming from a die-hard Clois fan. I also loved that Jonathan disregarded his own safety to protect Clark's secret. Some may call that stupid and/or reckless, and to an extent I agree, but I say it's what being a parent is all about. Anyway, moving on. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last time, John Glover shows viewers just why they love to hate him. And I don't see that as entirely negative. In fact, I couldn't really find much wrong with the episode overall. Maybe I was focusing only on the positive. In any case, I award "Tempest" 9 twisters out of 10.

    Highlights include: Clark stripping off his singed clothes (especially while looking at the burning truck like "Ah, crap"), Clark reassuring Chloe and kissing her in the halls, Lana dancing with Whitney before he left (and I loved how the song playing also played during the pilot), Chloe picking up Clark for the dance, Clark and Chloe sharing a slow-dance (also thought it was pretty neat that Remy Zero played the dance), Lex arguing with Lionel while the storm rages on, and Clark rushing to save the day.moreless
  • A great first finale!

    A Prom, a natural disaster, a nefarious reporter and a runaway spaceship! this finale had it all so it was an excellent first season finale! Of all those issues I think that Clark found the natural disaster easier to deal with than the drama of who to take to the prom, trying to avoid the nosy reporter and the inconvience of trying to hide a spaceship in the storm celler! An excellent set up for the second season and a sure way to get fans interested in continuing with the series. I found the entire first season to be addictive TV and I immediately wanted to continue watching the second season and luckily I was able to keep going with the series out of my local library.moreless
  • Season One ends with Whitney leaving for the Marines, leaving open the possibility of a relationship between Clark and Lana. Nixon discovers Clark's secret, threatens to expose it, and a severe storm endangers Lana and Clark.moreless

    The eye-catching opening scene has a US-registered helicopter arriving at the Luthor plant with Lionel aboard, greeted by Lex, who is uneasy about the purpose of the visit. He wants a pat on the back for the plant's workers for recent good performance. The production staff must have hired the entire workforce of this processing plant as extras for Lionel's speech scene - so everyone got a nice work break and a chance to be seen on-camera.

    Lionel instead drops the news that the plant is closing immediately due to management failures - Lex being the culprit. At least he told everyone in person, but he wisely had an exit strategy via the same chopper, and last words for Lex about that job being just a training ground, and that's over. So Lionel's helo lifts off toward the Alex Fraser Bridge in North Delta, BC, just southeast of Vancouver - a distinctive landmark - but an area depicted as Metropolis in other episodes.

    Chloe, Clark and the Kents are shocked about the closure and the impact on employment in Smallville - but Clark is somewhat defensive of Lex. Meanwhile Whitney and Lana are out for a traditional picnic by the lake, where he hands her his acceptance letter for his US Marine Corps enlistment, signed out by the cleverly-named General "Maulem," and giving Whitney a free trip to Parris Island. Lana is shocked. "Will you wait for me?," he asks. She doesn't answer.

    Clark visits Lex, spotting the spaceship key Lex found near the Kent farm last week in "Obscura." Lex may have a plan to cope with the plant shutdown, but doesn't share it with Clark. Lex later meets with the plant staff and supervisors, proposing an employee-led buyout, and offering to come up with 90% of the capital.

    So Clark visits Chloe, whose father is facing a loss of work, and she's considering moving back to Metropolis, alarming news for Clark. He promises her a night she won't forget at the formal, and later commiserates with Lana, who drops the news about Whitney leaving. So they both face the loss of someone close to them, and their gaze tells us that ain't all necessarily bad. Our superpower scene has Clark ramming fence posts into the ground from the old blue GMC pickup. As he attempts to drive away, the truck goes up in an huge explosion...who's filming that? We see it was set up by Roger Nixon, the editor of the Inquisitor, and he's seen Clark emerge unscathed.

    Meanwhile, Lex has an Apple laptop product placement scene, but since I like Macs, I don't have a problem with that. He's reading an email about Alexander the Great's exploits and scorched-earth campaigns, and checking a Luthorcorp spreadsheet of software bug reports, when in walks Lionel. Lex talks about the employee buyout of the plant; Lionel ridicules the idea, and reveals he's yet again one step ahead of Lex. He bought the local Savings & Loan, giving him control over much of the resources and mortages of the plant workforce. That's a clear threat to anyone who supports the buyout.

    Clark solicits a ride to the formal from Chloe, so they don't have to explain the sabotage explosion to anyone. No suspicions. Clark has to reassure Chloe about the date; she clearly sees the potential competition from Lana. He gives her a brief kiss; Lana sees that, and we see her.

    Nixon meets Clark in the Talon...wanting a story about Clark, and revealing that he knows Clark wasn't hurt in the explosions. Clark denies everything, then Lex enters, pretending not to know Nixon, but we saw their relationship in previous episodes. Lex continues to hide his scheme to feed tabloid fodder to Nixon.

    The script has Clark and the Kents oddly incurious about the explosion. No police report, they didn't try to figure out who was behind it - all taken in stride. When they finally talk about it, they realize Nixon has seen something of Clark's invulnerability, and advise Clark to continue his usual activities. When Clark speculates that Lex has a piece of the spaceship, we see that Nixon has bugged the barn, and hears their discussion of all this and the location of the ship. Pretty good investigative reporting, but it makes the Kents look very careless.

    The Nixon character now knows so much that he can't last too long in this script. He tells Lex about important discoveries, seeking big cash for information about Clark, and promises to reveal more that night. Lex goes to see Clark as he prepares for the formal, and issues veiled warnings about something happening soon.

    Whitney and Lana are reminiscing at the school ahead of his departure as they enter the gym, fully decorated for the Spring formal, and have one last dance. We have to think Johnson is being written out of Smallville for next season, probably so the relationship with Clark can progress.

    Chloe picks up Clark for the formal out at the farm, driving her '61 Ford Falcon four-door, and making us wonder how she can possibly maintain such a relic. But it's fun to see a 45-year-old car in such good shape. Roger Nixon watches from afar, with the spaceship key in his hand, so Lex does not know Nixon stole it. A storm brews as everyone arrives at the formal, giving Clark an chance to talk to Whitney alone...he wants Clark to look after Lana, he agrees, and Whitney leaves with Lana for the bus station. So long, Eric Johnson, thanks for the contributions to the Smallville story.

    Lana is returning to town in a new red Dodge pickup, unaware of the storm danger, until a row of flying mailboxes crashes into her windshield, and she hits the ditch, without her shoulder harness on. Three funnel clouds are heading her way.

    Back at the farm, trespasser Nixon is checking the storm cellar, finding the covered spacecraft and videoptaping it. As the storm nears, Jonathan and Martha head to the shelter, where Nixon has the key, but it flies from his hand and inserts itself into the slot on the ship. Nixon threatens to expose all he knows, and Jonathan attacks him. The ship powers up, Nixon bolts outside, followed by Jonathan, leaving Martha with the ship, now illuminated and opening. Cliffhanger #1.

    Back at the formal, the dancing continues, Chloe pleased but a bit surprised that Clark is still there, and his mind does seems to be on her..until they get the weather warning, and Clark disappears, knowing Lana is in the path of the tornadoes. A severe reality check for Chloe.

    Lex has discovered that the key is missing, sending him into a hysterical search for it, just as Lionel arrives. The windows blow in; they're both crushed by the force of the sudden storm surge. Trapped, Lionel calls for help by Lex, who now has a decision...will he save his own father? Cliffhanger #2.

    The tornado special effects are pretty good, and Lana has taken refuge in the Dodge, as Clark speeds to the rescue. He reaches the scene as the truck and the terrified Lana are hurtled into the funnel be continued. Cliffhanger #3.

    It's going to be a long summer waiting for resolution of this episode, but the writers have given us a good ending to savor until then. It meets every expectation for this series - relationships ending and starting, threats to Clark's secret, and a dramatic rescue underway. "Tempest" no doubt will be one of the best of the series. Re-run rating B.moreless
  • this was a really good final ep of the season

    in this ep has alot of exciting parts in this ep. cloe is going to the dance with clark and has been waiting for this moment for awile. but clark gets a call from him real father that wants to clark go through his destany. clark does not want to deal with that. and lex has his dad make a vist and cloes the smallville plant to have him come to matropils again were he belongs. lana also gets the news that whitney is going to the marines.she misses her dance to go the bus with him to say good bye. clark and cloey go to the dance and they are having a good time but they hear about the tornado warnings and clark leaves the dance to go get lana and he gets sucked up in the tordnado and the truck and lex is arguing wit his dad and a colom fall on him meanwhile jothan and martha see that some one was in the storm seller and it is roger nixon and he ivideo recoring everything but johtan chaces after him afte martha sees a big flash of light . and the ep is to be continuedmoreless
  • A Whirlwind of Drama

    Tempest-Lex is hit with a surprise after his father closes the local Smallville plant to force him back to Metropolis, blaming the plant's failure on his management. Meanwhile Clark prepares for his date with Chloe, reporter Roger Nixon gets wind of Clark's alien origins after setting up an explosion, and Whitney joins the Marine Corps.

    After a jittery yet solid first season, the writers start their tradition of powerhouse finales starting with the episode. "Tempest" does a great job of rapping up all the storylines of the year while giving us a lot to look forward to next season. Its here where we see the dynamics between the character finally come into play and developed a lot more. Clark and Chloe finally explore their romantic feelings for each other as they prepare for attend the Spring Formal together. Of course, Chloe is a bit worried about Clark going off to Lana's side during their date but Clark assures her he'll only be thinking bout her. It's nice to see this relationship explored with little Lana interruption. Despite Clark and Chloe making much better friends than a couple, it's nice that the writers tried to explore a possible relationship this early in the series to see how it would work out. Whitney and Lana also get some quality and well developed screentime between each other. They're relationship seemed more like just plot device as an obstacle in Clark's way until he can date Lana, but they're relationship comes full circle here. Last episode, Whitney discovers his father's military medals and decides to become a join the Marine Corps. This is actually great development on Whitney's part and nice exit for the character who has been overlooked the whole season. Eric Johnson and Kristin Kreuk work wonderful together in this episode, making you feel sympathy for the end of their relationship. The best scene between them is when they dance together in the gym before the Spring Formal. It's a touching scene and plays out perfectly. I also loved Whitney and Clark's talk before Whitney leaves. It's great closure between the characters who have been at odds as season and it show tremedous growth as Whitney asks Clark to look over Lana while his gone.

    Lex and Nixon's storyline really get intense in this episode as Nixon sets out to prove Clark isn't normal. The truck explosion scene was great and Nixon develops into a villain throughout. The episode really builds to an incredible conclusion when the tornado threat comes into play. First, there's Martha and Jonathan finding Nixon in the storm cellar during the tornado. It's completely in Jonathan's character to go after Nixon, especially during the storm. Then Martha looks in amazement as Clark's spaceship comes to life and creates a blinding light. Lionel returns and confronts Lex about closing the Luthorcorp factory. John Glover and Micheal Rosenbaum work off each other flawlessly in this scene as it builds to the shocking cliffhanger as Lionel is trap under a collapsed pole in the room and an injuried Lex decides whether or not to save his father. Lastly, Clark goes after Lana who is about to be sucked into a tornado. While the tornado effects are dodgy, the suspense at this point is high! The episode ends with a brilliant climax as Clark arrives in the middle of the road to witness Lana getting sucked into the vortex. Clark superspeeds into the twister as Lana and her car are engulfed by it and the credits roll with the sound of the storm still roaring in the background... "Tempest" is a stunning finale full of wonderful scenes, great character development, and stunning cliffhnagers.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

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Whitney Fordman

Remy Zero

Remy Zero

Musical Guests

Guest Star

Angelika Baran

Angelika Baran

Erika Fox

Guest Star

Scott Bellis

Scott Bellis

Assistant Principal

Guest Star

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Recurring Role

Tom O'Brien

Tom O'Brien

Roger Nixon

Recurring Role

Robert Wisden

Robert Wisden

Gabe Sullivan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • Trivia: The song Whitney puts on when he is dancing with Lana is the same one that ends off the very first episode.

    • If Smallville has a population of over 45,000 people, why doesn't it have a normal Greyhound bus station, instead of a spot in a dirt lot?

    • When Lionel announces that he's closing the plant down, Lex tells him that he just fired 2,500 people, but later Jonathan says that this decision caused half the town to lose its jobs. We have seen before that the label of "Welcome to Smallville" shows that the population is over 45,000.

    • Lex is seen reading an email just before a confrontation with his father at 14:56 of this episode. The subject of the email is "Crisis". The text is as follows:

      ..rebel, prompting Alexander to march on their city. Calmer heads do not prevail. Alexander seizes the "opportunity" to send a powerful statement to the rest of his empire. he and his armies kill six thousand Thebans, demolish the city and sell the 30,000 survivors into slavery. Scorched earth, Lex. That was how Alexander the Great chose to inaugurate his reign at what my college history professor liked to call the modern empire's birthplace. But that is only history. Now you have a choice between seizing the opportunity or fleeing from the danger. What you do will define your regime, as Alexander's actions defined his for generations to come.
      I sincerely hope you will seize this "opportunity" to show your father and the business world--as well as those of us who serve you--an example of righteous and compassionate leadership. My family and I pray that you will.

    • When Clark is trying to decide what color of tie and cummerbund to wear Pete tries to convince him to go with basic black while Lana says to go with the red. How did Lana even hear what they were talking about, seeing as she joined them from a different hallway at the end of the conversation? Clark of course decides to go with red but when you see him getting dressed for the dance his tie is black.

    • Whitney's truck doesn't have any license plates.

    • Trivia: Just as Ryan predicted in "Stray," Chloe wears a pink dress to the dance.

    • When you see Remy Zero and they perform Save Me, you see Clark standing and drinking something and Pete comes over to him and they cheer the band. But Pete says "Ruby" Zero, not "Remy."

    • When the car blows up, and Clark gets out of the car, his hair is wet. Then when we see Clark up close his hair is instantly dry.

    • In this episode Clark's clothing are pretty much burned and destroyed by the truck explosion - which contradicts several previous and subsequent episodes where Clark's clothing heat up a little bit but don't get damaged (presumably because his invulnerability extends to them).

    • As Clark sees Lana in the truck, there is a sign behind Clark that says 90. 90 is the speed limit in Canada where Smallville is filmed, but not in Kansas where Smallville is supposed to be. (one contributor, Favre, thought it was a highway #, not a speed limit sign - note that in "Suspect" Smallville is mentioned as being near Highway 91).

    • Does anyone believe every single person, not only the committee but the teachers and chaperones, would leave the decorated gymnasium completely empty an hour before the dance begins? It didn't work that way when I was in high school.

    • Doesn't Lex have any security? Lionel just comes strolling in without any warning, and later Nixon just wanders in and steals the spaceship key.

    • Nobody in the Kent household seems too concerned that they just lost their truck to an explosion. How many do they have?

    • When Lex meets with the employees to engineer the buyout, he says some people thought he was promoted over better people and he got the job because of nepotism, but that it all really isn't true. Umm, it is true, isn't he? Granted it was Lionel, not Lex, that promoted him because of nepotism. Still lying to these guys doesn't seem like a good idea to convince them he's sincere.

    • In the Smallville Ledger headline, in the subhead they misspell "Cited" as "Sited" (i.e., "Management Problems Sited")

    • In this episode, Lex says the plant is turning a profit "for the first time in two years." Again, the headline in "Stray" said the plant was showing a profit then. Is this just a delayed reaction or what? How much time separates that episode and this one?

    • In the earlier episode "Stray" the local newspaper ran a headline saying that the LexCorp plant posted a profit. In this episode Lionel shows up and says he's closing the plant because it isn't making a profit. Granted, Lionel is presumably lying about the profit-thing to get Lex back, but no one in Smallville seems to notice the discrepancy. And what do the shareholders and the board of LexCorp think of Lionel closing off a plant that has publicly announced a profit?

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Lex: I don't know. Just got a bad feeling. Kind of like when you can smell the air change before a storm.
      Clark: Storms are a way of life around here, Lex. The trick is not to get caught out in the open.

    • Clark: Chloe!
      Chloe: (sighs and rushes through her speech) Okay, I just... I have this horrible nightmare that you are going to rush to the bus station after Whitney leaves and profess your undying love for Lana, and I'm going to be waiting at the gym all alone, and if you do that to me Clark, I will never speak to you again, Okay? I said it.

    • Lex: Take the buyout now and you can keep your dignity. That's more than you left me.

    • Lex: I believe the term is cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

    • Lana: One day he's worried about his English paper, and the next he's putting on a uniform and saving the world.

    • Lex: The two theories seem to be I either ran the plant into the ground through incompetence or did it deliberately so that I can go back to Metropolis.
      Clark: Your dad already offered you a job in Metropolis - just tell people the truth.
      Lex: Then they get stuck with the incompetence rap. Being reviled is the lesser evil.

    • Lionel: If you're going to take me on, son, you're going to have to bring your game up to a whole different level.

    • Lionel: Smallville isn't in your future, it's just a brief chapter in your biography.

    • Chloe: Clark Kent, man of mystery. Just when I think I have you figured out, you surprise me.

    • Lionel: I will bury you and everyone in Smallville who takes your side.

    • Clark: Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?
      Chloe: Yeah. But frequent reminders are always appreciated.

    • Clark: Lex cares about the town - he says he has big plans!
      Jonathan: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!

    • Lionel: You're throwing away your future, Lex.
      Lex: Or forging a new destiny free of you.

    • Lex: Any relationship founded on lies is destined to fail. It's a good thing we don't have that problem.
      Clark: Lucky us.

    • Lionel: You may have thought you found a home, Lex, but Smallville was just a training ground. Your training is over. You're coming home, son!

    • Lionel: You're not my enemy. You're my son.
      Lex: I never saw the distinction.

  • NOTES (7)

    • This episode was nominated for Golden Reel's Best Sound Editing in Television Episodic - Sound Effects & Foley in 2003. This episode was nominated for a CSC Award for Best Cinematography in TV Series.

    • When Lionel Luther is getting out of the helicopter, you can notice the bridge in the background. This bridge is the Alex-Fraiser Bridge in Canada near Vancouver.

    • Music: What Do I Have to Do? (Stabbing Westward), Where This Love Goes (Sherri Youngward), Everything

    • This episode aired in Italy on 26th February 2003.

    • This is the last episode Eric Johnson (Whitney Fordman) is listed as an offical cast member in, although he guest starred in later episodes.

    • Rock band Remy Zero performs the Smallville theme song, their hit single "Save Me," in the episode at the high school formal. When Remy Zero is playing "Save Me," Pete says "Yeah, Remy Zero!"; it's a reference to the fact that Remy Zero plays "his show's" theme song.

    • This episode aired in the UK on 22nd May.


    • Prom Theme: Emerald Knights
      In the comics, "Emerald Knight" is one of the nicknames for the superhero Green Lantern. "Emerald Knights" is also often ascribed to the team of Green Lantern and Green Arrow.

    • Lex: I believe the term is "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war."
      This line refers to Mark Antony's soliloquy in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Act III, Scene I.