Smallville

Season 1 Episode 14

Zero

3
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Mar 12, 2002 on The CW
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
741 votes
15

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
A man from Lex's past stalks him in conjunction with a mysterious death at Club Zero that Lex may have been responsible for. Meanwhile Chloe looks into Clark's past as an adopted child.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • First flashback episode!

    7.0
    This episode wasent one of the strongest of the season. But it certainly wasent terrible. It just dident have a very memorable plot. But I gotta tell ya im a sucker for Flashbacks and this bumped up the episode score a little.



    Clark- Like some of the other episodes he dident really have a plot. He just tried to save the day like usual. But it was cool that Clark relized Lex has alot of secrets. He was just at the center of all the plots in this epiosde. Dident really have a big part.



    Lana-Finally opens up the Talon again. Only this time its a movie theater instead of a coffee house. Its nice looking back on this episode later in the series and noticing that one of the most used sets on Smallville started here. Nice little storyline that isent complex or action-y.



    Lex- Main focus of the episode right here. I Love the Lex episodes of the series because he is one of my favorite characters. The beginning of the episode is a great teaser. The only problem is the plot dosent follow through with the hype. It got REALLY stupid when you find out the "ghost" is just a look-a-like. And the main villian (which happens to be the plumber or whatever at the talon) just happens to find his dead sister's, boyfriends, look-a-like. I felt the premise was better than the conclusion.



    Chloe- Invesigates Clarks adoption. I mean if youre ganna have a reporter friend, you gotta expect that shes ganna follow up on juicy information. Interesting storyline that pays off. The end was a good cliffhanger too.



    Roy- Not even ganna talk about him. Huge dispointment for a villain. Wish I couldve talked about Jude.



    So, if you read this review, you would see alot of bashing on this episode. But its really not that bad once you watch it. It provides great insight into Lexs past. Not one of the best this season, but still rewatchable.moreless
  • this was a cool ep

    8.5
    in this ep lexes past comes back to haunt him. in this ep lex startes seeing old faces come up a old body guard that gets murderd and a man that he thinks is dead is casing problems and people think they are seeing him . and even causing the kents probelms when all of there katle are dead from toxics from luther corp. and in this ep cloe is caught looking into clarks past and they get into a fight . and lex is kidnapped and turns out it was just a guy to make him look like the guy that was killed and it turs out it was a relive of the girl that lex finds out killed her self . this was a good epmoreless
  • Who committed murder at Club Zero? Several flashbacks of Lex show he may be the culprit, but he's pursued by the dead man. Chloe's class project requires deep background on Clark, endangering his secret.moreless

    7.5
    The opening scene features Mr. Rosenbaum hanging upside down in a straitjacket, so we know something is wrong. His captor demands the truth, which is illustrated by a three-year flashback to a Club Zero scene with Lex and his date Amanda, and matchbooks labeled "Zero Consequences," an appropriate slogan for Lex and his desires. His date finds her fiance with other women, and he angrily accuses Lex of setting up this relationship break. A fight breaks out between the two, set to loud music, strobes, and overly-kinetic camera work. When the fiance pulls a knife, a bouncer, Max Kasich, saves Lex by shooting the man dead, to Amanda's horror.



    The truth sought by Lex's captor is about this killing, but he's the allegedly-dead fiance, thus the lead story line in "Zero," will be about Lex, while Clark and company will be handling the subplot. That starts at Smallville High, a week-ago flashback, with journalism interviews on tap, and Chloe gets assigned to get six pages of info on Clark. He's reluctant, giving Chloe the fun quote of the episode - "It's not like you have anything to hide." Clark's assignment is Lana, who's readying the Talon for opening as a coffee bar.



    The dead fiance, Jude Royce, comes to the Talon to apply for a position, but already disqualifying himself by bad-mouthing co-owner Lex, warning Lana to stay away from him. This week, Lex is driving a black Porsche Carrera cabriolet, tagged "LEX 1," and he gets an unpleasant surprise when the bouncer from Club Zero shows up, claiming that he's seen Jude everywhere. Lex sends him to a secure apartment in Metropolis, then meets Clark and Lana in the Talon, where she, too, reveals she has seen Royce.



    Chloe starts her interview without Clark, at the farm, probing for details on Clark's adoption, a subject of anxiety for Jonathan and Martha, so something happened there that even Clark does not know. "Has your son always been this strange?" she asks. This may not be the last journalistic probe of Clark's origins. Clark ducks out before having to answer any questions.



    Back at the Talon, Lex joins Clark and Lana, finding their contractor the victim of a mugging. A wrapped box for Lex has a tag from Club Zero - it contains a human hand, with a ring having a "K" logo. Lex identifies the hand as belonging to Max Kasich, the bouncer, and "someone he knew in Metropolis," he tells Clark, claiming that Royce has been dead three years and can't be the perpetrator.



    Chloe is relentless in her pursuit of details about Clark's early life, drawing out an anecdote from Pete about a youthful rescue from bullies by Clark. Clark finally reacts when Chloe reveals she discovered that his adoption was handled by Metropolis United Charities, a company in business only 6 months and which handled only one adoption. We can guess that even Clark never heard this from his parents, and he's visibly angry at Chloe for background digging.



    Lex hears from his head of security more about Royce and Amanda, sending him to find Amanda to warn her she may be in danger. The Club Zero flashback this time is a script surprise - Lex is the shooter, and Metropolis detective Sam Phelan is on the scene, a conspirator in assuring there will be "zero consequences." Phelan tells Lex he was never there, to never see Amanda again, and how to avoid an emergency room visit for his stab wound - all for a payoff from Lionel. Bouncer Kasich likewise will "come into some serious money," says Phelan. Lex suddenly finds himself at gunpoint by Royce, looking very alive and demanding to know about the coverup. Phelan is dead, he claims. Clark approaches the building, overhears part of this conversation, and calls out for Lex, allowing Royce to escape. Clark has dug up news stories about the Club Zero killing, but Lex wants him to stay out of it - "Some secrets are better left alone," he says, a phrase that certainly should resonate with Clark.



    Back home, Jonathan is joined by Clark, who lets him know of what he's learned about the adoption process - Jonathan will not reveal any more details. They then find the entire herd of cattle...dead, but the carcasses are evenly spaced in the pasture, so at least we know it's dummy cows. It's a Luthorcorp chemical spill in the adjacent field - and on one side of the fence, everyone is in full hazmat suits, while just across the fence the Kents and Chloe have no protection. The toxic gas that killed the cows is still there - so why didn't the director set up a plausible emergency response? Lex shows up in a Luthorcorp Humvee, embarrassed and apologetic, offering to pay for the damages. Jonathan is negative as usual. Clark suspects that the sabotage related to Club Zero, and advises Lex he should tell the authorities. As Lex approaches the environmental van, the driver turns out to be Royce, who Tasers Lex.



    Later, Clark cannot reach Lex, while Martha wants him to stay clear of Lex for awhile. Chloe drops by, apologetic, planning to drop the story of Clark's life. She asks if he wonders about his biological parents. "Every day of my life," he replies. They discover Chloe's photos at the cow killing includes one of the environmental investigator, who is identical to the murder victim at Club Zero.



    Lex is confined in a straitjacket upside down in a dark building, so we're back to the opening scene. Royce wants the Truth from Lex. The police show at the apartment address in Metropolis, but discover only a body, and Clark's x-ray vision shows it's missing the right hand, so it's Kasich. Clark hears from the police about Club Zero being closed months ago.



    Back to the Lex scene - as Royce is about to shoot him, he's shot instead, by who? The contractor for the Talon work, Roy Rothman. They're in the abandoned Club Zero, Lex a prisoner of Amanda's brother - Rothman. Royce was taken from her; she had nothing to live for, so Amanda committed suicide, and Rothman's out for revenge. Rothman simply found a dead ringer for Royce, and hired him to play the role in harassing Lex. But Lex now claims that Amanda fired the shot which killed Royce, and flashback #3 at Club Zero shows Amanda as the shooter of her own fiance. We viewers will never know which of the three is the Truth, but the final version has more credibility.



    As Rothman prepares to shoot, Lex dives over a parapet just as Clark arrives, superspeeding in to cushion the fall. Fine special effects here as someone falls through a slow-motion waterfall of broken glass onto the floor below, Clark flings Rothman aside, and then re-sets the scene by pretending to enter the building again after everything is over. As often happens in Smallville scripts, the criminal's fate is not shown. If logic prevailed, Rothman would be arrested, investigated for a couple murders and sabotage, and the Club Zero case would be re-opened, implicating Lex again. All that would complicate this story, which has to come to an end in a couple minutes of screen time.



    Epilog One. The Talon finally opens for business, with Clark and Lana together when he offers he an old family photo of the Talon theater in it's heyday. Lex claims he was trying to protect Amanda...is it the truth? And he, like Clark, would do anything to protect his friends.



    Epilog Two. Chloe checks again on Metropolis United Charities, hesitating on following up on her promise to Clark to drop the story of his life. A decision must be made - Delete or Save. She clicks on "Save" - a nice ending for this episode. Chloe is still curious about Clark and will be learning more about him in the future.



    The multiple flashbacks are effective in this story, keeping us guessing about which version is the Truth, and showing Lex as a decent person, but constantly embroiled in intrigue. His character keeps him on the side of evil, even when he tries to be a friend and protect others. In this respect, he is surprisingly like Clark, but it just never works out for him. It's sometimes a slight difference between the two, but the outcomes are always drastically different. Chloe's development as a journalist continues, and Ms. Mack grows in importance in the series, edging closer to learning more about Clark than he would like. "Zero" is a good mystery - and worth a repeat or two. Re-run rating C+.moreless
  • What Happens in Club Zero...

    8.9
    Zero-A man from Lex's past stalks him in conjunction with a mysterious death at Club Zero that Lex may have been responsible for. Meanwhile Chloe looks into Clark's past as an adopted child.



    Making Lex Luthor a series regular was a great decision on the creators behave as the character's jorunery toward becoming villian is just as important as Clark's journey to becoming a hero. One of the first episodes to center completely around Lex and one of the best this season, "Zero" gives us the first glimpse into Lex's past. The flashbacks that invovle Club Zero are a highlight as we see a younger and more rebelious Lex caught in middle of a murder during one of his wild nights out in Metropolis. I love how this backstory puts the pieces together from past episode, especially the animosty between Detective Phelan and Lex. But I also great how the episode plays from different perspectives of the flashbacks so we can see the full picture.



    Micheal Rosenbaum does well throughout as Lex's past literally comes back to haunt. The scenes throughout this episode are effectivly creepy, like the teaser when Lex is suspended upside down in a pitch black room. Eric Breker as Roy does a great job of making his character disturbing yet also sympathic. My only nitpick about the episode is how Roy isn't Roy at all, but a looklike and the club owner turned out to be behind it the whole time. It's pretty convenient and contrived plot twist but at least the rest of the episode plays out well. Clark's rescue at the end is nothing short of stunning as the effects are brilliant. Lex's past also makes Clark a bit suspicious of Lex, which is nice development in their friendship. It inrtoduces the side of Lex that Clark will become worried about, and one day soon hate, so it's nice that we get that here. "Zero" is quite underrated as it's a great Lex centered episode with a dark and well written story.moreless
  • Great Episode

    10
    Lex's past comes back to haunt him, when Jude Royce, a man presumed to be dead, resurfaces after three years and kidnaps Lex. He tortures him in an attempt to get Lex to reveal the truth about the cover up of Jude's death. Jude's ex-financé's brother is revealed to be the true orchestrater, having found someone willing to undergo surgery to look like Jude. Angered over his sister's suicide, which he believes is the fault of Lex; he wants Lex to pay for her death. Clark saves Lex's life, but is worried about Lex's past. During a class project, Chloe discovers inconsistency in Clark's adoption and it puts strain on their friendship.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

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

    • The website where Chloe is looking at Clark's adoption information doesn't have any type of domain name, not .com or .org or anything, it just goes www.metropolis/.....

    • When Chloe goes to the barn to apologize to Clark, she gives him a set of photos of the accident that killed the cows in the Kent farm. She claims to have taken those photos to help them with the insurance. So, we can assume the photos are about the leak of poison, dead cows, etc. There's no reason for Jude's face to be on them, much less blown up to large size.

    • Just a few episodes ago (in "Hothead"), Lana was so inept at waitressing that she was fired from her job at The Beanery. Now she's not only smoothly waitressing, but also running an entire cafe? Where (and when) did she pick up these skills?

    • Lex tells the Club Zero security guy to go to his secure apartment in the city and hands him a set of keys. He neglects, however, to tell the guy where it is and the guy heads out immediately (to the right one - wouldn't Lex have more then one...?) without further detail from Lex when Clark shows up.

    • So how did Lex and the cop Phelan manage to cover-up Lex's involvement in the shooting incident, when pretty much everyone in the club could have seen Lex, if not during the shooting then afterward when he stood around waiting for Phelan or whoever. Lex could plead self-defense, but from on-screen dialogue it's clear they plan to make sure he doesn't ever have to go before a judge.

    • How does Clark get to Metropolis so fast? He doesn't have a car so presumably he ran really fast with superspeed. You'd think that might raise Lex's suspicions sometime down the road, however.

  • QUOTES (12)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Music: "Let's Go For A Ride" and "God Is A DJ" by Faithless, "Lonely Road Of Faith" by Kid Rock, and "Battle Flag" by Lo-Fidelity Allstars (featuring Pigeonhead).

    • In a nice touch Cameron Dye returns to play Sam Phelan in the flashback, despite the fact his character was killed previously in the modern-day in "Rogue".

    • Whitney appears in this episode but has no dialogue.

    • Besides references to the ubiquitious Metropolis, Kansas, characters also casually mention Central City and Blüdhaven. In the DC comics, those cities are the respective homes of the Flash and Nightwing/Dick Grayson.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Clark: I didn't know she was gonna go all Mike Wallace on me.
      Mike Wallace is an American journalist, born Myron Leon Wallace, who has been a correspondent on the CBS show 60 Minutes since the show first came out in 1968. He has received a large number of various awards for journalism including 20 Emmys. He retired in 2006.

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