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Season 2 Episode 1

Vortex (2)

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Sep 24, 2002 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
753 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Clark rescues Lana from the storm, but discovers that the spaceship is released, while Jonathan is buried alive with the unscrupulous reporter who discovered Clark's secret. Meanwhile, Lex is wracked with guilt over his critically injured father.

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  • Buenisimo

  • It is......

  • I don't buy alot of it. But it's still amazing.

    There are lots of things I just don’t buy on this episode. First and foremost, Lana’s ease at accepting that she just dreamed that Clark was in the tornado with her. Second is Chloe’s ease at accepting “just friends” status with Clark. Third is Clark not being able to see under that trailer. And even if he could see the led, why wouldn’t he just rip up the trailer and look under it? Another thing is why isn’t Clark flying? He just flew up into that tornado. Not to mention the show from last season where he was hovering over his bed. I know if I thought I could fly, I’d be jumping off ladders and roofs as soon as I could find the time to. But Clark just keeps walking around. And Lex actually thought about killing his dad? I know Lex is Lex Luthor, but he isn’t the villain we know just yet. I just don’t buy it.

    The scenes with Jonathan and the reporter trapped in the basement reveal so much about what it would be like to have a son like Clark. Sometimes I found myself siding with the reporter over Jonathan. And then I remembered what would most likely happen to his son if the truth was leaked.moreless
  • A great second priemier

    Clark succeeds in saving Lana from the Toronado by flying (sort of) to her rescue and Lex and Lionel demonstrate once again that they are the poster family for family dysfunction if ever there was one. This second season sets the scene for even more adventure and fun as well as the required drama that is to be expected when dealing with an angsty teenage superhero and his future arch nemesis/friend. The first episode of the second season grabbed my attention and managed to keep it for the entire 21 episodes even though not all of episodes were always the most interesting.moreless
  • Severe storms are hitting Smallville, with Lex and Lionel injured in the mansion, Jonathan and Martha are contending with tabloid journalist Nixon, who has learned Clark's secret, and Lana is spinning inside a tornado, as Clark tries another rescue.moreless

    The spaceship, activated by the octagonal key, has flown toward the tornado - but for what purpose? Is it programmed to protect Clark? Clark enters the tornado, pummeled by debris, as Lana looks up to see him protecting her again. Is it a delusion? He covers her as the truck is ripped to pieces. Cliffhanger #1 resolved. But lightning dislodges the spaceship key, and it loses power, falling back to earth.

    Jonathan is pursuing Nixon through the woods, but the storm has lifted an entire mobile home into the sky - it drops toward them, giving Jonathan mere seconds to push Nixon into a crypt, and the trailer crashes over them in one of the better special effects scenes of the episode - as though right out of "Oz." Cliffhanger #2 resolved.

    Lex finally makes the right decision, and frees Lionel from the debris in the mansion, but he's badly injured. Clilffhanger #3 resolved.

    Clark brings Lana to the hospital; she's checked quickly and found in pretty good shape considering. Back at the farm, Clark finds Martha in the cellar, she's ok, too, but as they urgently talk about the missing Jonathan, they see the ship has disappeared.

    Lana makes a remarkable recovery, as Chloe comes to the hospital, hearing for the first time where Clark went after disappearing from the arm of Chloe at the Spring formal. Now she knows, and must see the inevitable. Clark is Lana-bound.

    Lionel is in serious condition - ruptured spleen, optic nerve damage, can't be moved from Smallville. And he saw in Lex's eyes what he was thinking...Lex knows he's right, and apologizes. Later, he admits to Clark with shame that he hesitated before helping his father, and believes Lionel will not forget this. Meanwhile, it's night, and Clark is still floundering in the barn trying to find Jonathan - who is trapped in the graveyard crypt beneath the mobile home wreckage with Nixon, who expected Jonathan to kill him. But no, there must be some other demise in store for Nixon.

    Clark and Lex head into the woods to search for Jonathan - when Lex looks up to see a Ford Taurus lodged in the trees. Lex knows it's Nixon's car, but splits up with Clark to keep it to himself.

    Jonathan and Nixon talk - "You have the most amazing being on earth and he's doing chores on a farm." He's not even human, Nixon says, insisting that Clark belongs to the world. Some truth in that - writers Gough, Millar, and Levens have come up with some excellent dialog between the two. But Clark overheard Lex trying to call Nixon, and has discovered the deception, and Lex just hates to be found out. Clark now has more reasons to mistrust Lex.

    Meanwhile, the Talon has become a tornado relief center, and Jonathan's photo is among the MIAs. And Lana questions Clark about the rescue, he claiming to have found her on the road, but she recalls Clark....well, that trails off. Clark insists on feeling guilty about bringing on this disaster involving his father.

    Nixon and Jonathan argue about Clark's powers - the offer is the videotape or an escape, so Nixon yields the video, which Jonathan destroys. They begin digging out. Lex has driven out to the farm in his Mercedes convertible, tags "LEX VII," and claims to have been protecting the Kents from Nixon, who said he had information about Clark. Clark is somewhat accepting of this explanation, so they trace cell phone calls to one tower, narrowing the search area, and soon find the trailer. As Nixon and Jonathan try to dig out, the walls collapse, burying them, while Clark, Chloe, and Pete give up the search above. Meteor rocks are in the rubble.

    Chloe proposes staying good friends with Clark, he agrees, but Chloe is trying to minimize the real effects of her disappointment - it was a test. Pete is a bit more understanding, and Ms. Mack does the best acting in the episode here, with tears on cue as her character is losing hope for a boy-girl relationship with Clark.

    Down below, Jonathan and Nixon talk more about Clark's abilities and the Kents' early plan to learn more, but decided not to have him tested when he was young. Clark tries the mobile home again, lifting the whole mess off the crypt in a pretty good special effects scene, and heads down, only to be weakened by the meteor rocks. Nixon puts more rocks in Clark's pockets and drags him out, leaving Jonathan in the crypt. As Nixon is about to kill Jonathan, a shot rings out. Lex has killed Nixon, the fate of anyone who learns too much about Clark.

    Doctors cannot agree on the treatment for Lionel, but Lex opts for surgery. First, it sounds like good news of a recovery, but as Lex visits, Lionel reveals that he has been blinded. As Lionel tells Lex it would have been better if he had let him die, Lex...backs...away.

    Jonathan and Clark realize either Lex or Nixon lied about Nixon's intentions - Clark sides with Lex - who saved Jonathan. Jonathan reluctantly thanks Lex for saving his life, and grants a handshake for a fresh start. How long will that last? Maybe part of the next episode.

    At the Torch, Chloe is tearfully deleting the photos of her with Clark at the short-lived formal, but she stops short at emptying the Mac trash. These photos will no doubt resurface in a future episode.

    Clark tells Jonathan he had experienced the feeling of flying in the tornado, willing himself to the truck to free Lana, so perhaps this power will develop this season. When Lana visits, she says things will not get back to normal in their lives. She discovered something about herself - previously thinking she was going to die young, and the tornado had finally found her. Yet Clark has always appeared to save her. He denies being in the truck, one of many secrets he must keep from her. "You can't hide out here forever," she says.

    Finally, as we look upon a field of golden corn, we learn the location of the missing spaceship. A nice ending to this episode, leaving another unanswered question for next time - who will find it, and how? "Vortex" is another well-written story, with some excellent acting, and only falling short in the special effects category with rather unrealistic tornado graphics. Worth seeing again - re-run rating B.moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Alexander ('Lex') Joseph Luthor

Kristin Kreuk

Kristin Kreuk

Lana Lang

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Sam Jones III

Sam Jones III

'Pete' Ross

John Glover

John Glover

Lionel Luthor

Jerry Wasserman

Jerry Wasserman

First Doctor

Guest Star

Tom O'Brien

Tom O'Brien

Roger Nixon

Recurring Role

Rekha Sharma

Rekha Sharma

Dr. Harden

Recurring Role

Julian Christopher

Julian Christopher

Second Doctor (Dr. MacIntyre)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • After Clark said "It felt like I was flying" the shot switches to his dad. Clark is visible at the far right, his lips are moving, but there is no sound.

    • When Clark and Lex are out in the woods, they find Nixon's car hanging in a tree. Well, since the tree is that thin, it's just impossible that the car would hit it hard enought to hang in it without breaking and tearing it apart.

    • When the TV is on in the background at the Talon, the newscaster who reports Lana's miraculous lack of injuries misprounces Lana's first name.

    • When Roger and Jonathan regain consciousness after the collapse, Jonathan says that "the cave-in must of cut of the air supply". However, in the background you can clearly see beams of light coming into the tomb.

    • While Clark and Lex are searching for Jonathon, the cut above Lex's right eye is above his left eye during a close-up shot.

    • Clark knows he can see through everything but lead. So why, when x-raying through the ground under the mobile home, didn't he think the void he saw was important? Hasn't he learned yet that a void would indicate something lead being in the way?

    • Right after Clark speeds into the tornado, the ship is seen speeding across the cornfields. However, how would it get out of the storm shelter to begin with? When Clark goes to the storm cellar and finds Martha, the ship is gone, but there is no evidence of it leaving the storm cellar (despite the fact that it would have left some damage to the doorway). At the velocity at which it was speeding, it would have left damage to the doorway. Either that, or it probably wouldn't have fit through the doorway.

    • Where does the blood come from which drips onto Lex's head? It's Nixon's car but we all know Nixon wasn't in it. (editor's note: some contributor seem to think it's oil, not blood, but it looks rather reddish for blood)

    • Throughout this episode Chloe doesn't do anything very...well, journalistic. Biggest apparent story since the meteor shower, and she does nothing reporter-like here. (some contributors such as saintdmitri thought she didn't act reporter-like because of the situation with Clark and the fact that tornados with lots of missing people and stuff would be normal for Smallville and she only reports on abnormal stuff and high school issues)

    • Does Lex always carry a gun - he's never had one before that we know of. Does he just haul it along with him on general principles, or did he bring it along to kill Nixon?

    • How did Lex get from the hospital (and the surgery with his father) back out to the trailer/church to shoot Nixon so quickly? It's like one scene later and there's no indication of time passing. No wonder Lex isn't surprised at Clark super-speeding around last season - he's just as fast!

    • Wouldn't Clark be able to search faster on his own using Lex's map, with his super-speed and all? Why does he pick up Pete and Chloe? (contributor belised thought they might have attached themselves to Clark and he couldn't lose them - wouldn't splitting up to cover more ground be a good idea and then Clark could go super-speed searching?)

    • Where did Lana get the bag that she packs to leave the hospital during her conversation with Chloe? Clark brought her direct to the hospital, and we never see Nell. So how'd it get there?

    • Clark picks up a haircut and tan between when we saw him rushing to Lana's help at the last episode and the beginning of this episode when he gets to the truck up in the tornado (due to the season break). For those of us with short memories, the opening clips make this difference obvious.

    • The corn in the field where the spaceship comes to rest is over 6 feet tall. In the Spring, 2 to 3 feet would be a lot.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Lionel: (to Lex) I need to say something to you. If I've acted ruthlessly, it was because I knew my opponents wouldn't hesitate to do the same. I know you've always seen us as opponents, Lex. When I needed help... you saved my life. I thank you, son. (Lex takes his hand) Listen, I know you agreed to go right ahead right way to operate.
      Lex: I thought it was best to take immediate action.
      Lionel: I would have done the same thing, and we both... would have been wrong.

    • Clark: Dad's missing because of me. I brought this upon us.
      Martha: You can't blame yourself. You can't change who you are. As long as you live, people will try to exploit you. Your father and I have tried to shelter you as long as possible, but one day we won't be there for you. And you're gonna have to carry the burden of your gifts on your own.

    • Jonathan: The first time Clark used his abilities, he'd crawled under a big oak bed that my grandfather had made, and I crawled underneath it to try to get him out. All of a sudden the frame just came up in the air. (he laughs) He... he was a toddler lifting--I don't know--500 pounds over his head.

    • Lana: (to Clark) I've always had this sense that I was going to die young. Maybe because of my parents, I felt guilty I'd survived. When the tornado came, I thought this was it. Fate had finally found me. Then I saw you in the truck and you put your arms around me and you told me that everything was going to be okay. I know, it sounds crazy, but I started to think of all the other times that you've been there to protect me. And I thought maybe there's more to Clark Kent than meets the eye.

    • Jonathan: Clark is not a story, he's my son.

    • Clark: I know it could have been the wind but all of a sudden I was moving towards the truck and it felt like I was willing myself to do it... It felt like I was flying.

    • Nixon: Do you have any idea what I would do with his abilities? The wealth, the power he could amass. It's unimaginable.
      Jonathan: You're exactly the reason I keep his abilities a secret.

    • Nixon: Why don't you stop playing the protector and admit the truth? You and your wife kept him because you couldn't have children of your own.
      Jonathan: We kept him because he is our son and we love him.
      Nixon: He's not your son, you deluded hick! He's not even human.

    • Clark: I never realized how strong you were until today.
      Martha: Well, thanks, Clark, but I was terrified.
      Clark: You didn't show it. You were like Supermom.

    • Martha: How do you feel?
      Jonathan: Kind of like a house fell on me, that's how I feel.

    • Clark: Uh, Chloe? I've been wanting to apologize for leaving you at the formal.
      Chloe: Oh, didn't I tell you that leaving in the middle of a tornado totally gets you off the hook?

    • Nixon: Dying in a tomb, that's ironic.

    • Lana: If it's any consolation, you guys look great together.
      Chloe: It's not, but thanks.

    • Nixon: You have the most amazing being on Earth doing chores on your farm!

    • Nixon: I thought you were going to kill me.
      Jonathan: You would think that.

    • Lionel: I saw in your eyes, son, what you were thinking. Life would be so easy, if I were out of your way.

  • NOTES (6)


    • Chloe: So you clicked your heels, said theres no place like home, and ended up in Smallville Medical Center.
      Alluding to the movie The Wizard of Oz released in 1939. The story started with a girl getting sucked up into a tornado, and surviving. At the end she clicks her heels three times and states "There's no place like home."

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