Superman: The Animated Series

Season 3 Episode 1

Where There's Smoke

Aired Saturday 10:00 AM Sep 19, 1998 on The WB

Episode Recap

At a fancy regatta party held by an exclusive yacht club in Metropolis, those who are only moderately wealthy are aghast to discover that the bouncer will not let them in no matter how much money is offered. So it is understandable that they are further surprised and annoyed when a very attractive red-head in sunglasses gains entrance by simply flirting with the bouncer. When one of the women at the gate ask what that other woman has that she does not, the entralled bouncer replies "Everything..."

Inside, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen, reporter and photographer respectively for the Daily Planet, are covering the event, which features showings of priceless nautical memorabilia. Jimmy takes note of the stunning red-head as she enters and photographs her, telling Clark that this one is going in his private collection. The woman, noticing the flash of Jimmy's camera appears momentarily angry, before putting on a smile and going over to flirt with him. Unknown to Jimmy, a small puff of smoke comes out of his camera as she is talking to him. Taking her leave, the woman walks into the ladies' room and closes the door, removing her glasses and the scarf that has been holding back her exceptionally long red hair. She takes note of the air vent in the ceiling and then releases a bolt of fire from her hand which melts the door knob.

As Jimmy is just discovering that the film in his camera has mysteriously melted, back in the ladies' room the woman releases a huge amount of fire from her own body and directs through the air vent and into the air conditioning system. The living flames erupt in the kitchen and in the showroom. Jimmy loses track of Clark in the smoke, and Superman appears a moment later, punching through outer walls to allow the patrons extra exits. After freeing the kitchen staff, Superman returns a moment later to find the woman, who is stealing the priceless pieces, and mistakes her for another trapped party goer. When she sees him approach, she fires a large fire bolt at him that sends him through a wall and into the parking lot. Realizing that things are getting out of control, Superman takes up a large propeller and dives into the ocean and begins to spin rapidly, throwing an enormous amount of water onto the yacht club, extinguishing the blaze. But when he returns inside, Superman finds that the woman is gone...

That night, back in his identity as a mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent returns to the burned out building looking for clues. He is stopped by a man claiming to be there cleaning up hazardous chemicals used in motor boating that caused the fire, and tells Clark that it is not safe to be there. When Clark points out the this particular yacht club sponsors wind sailing only, the man becomes confrontational and orders Clark to leave. On his walk home, Clark realizes that he is being followed by a homeless man. Clark turns down a blind alley and the other man follows, only to be stumped when he finds that the closed off alley is empty. Clark, on the roof above him, removes his outer clothes, changing into Superman. The homeless man wanders into a phone booth and disappears, only to come out in a sophisticated office. He removes his disguise and goes into his private office, picks up the phone and asks to speak with a man named Kurt. Superman watches all this with his X-Ray Vision and sees that the man is in a building owned by the Federal Government.

In her home, the mysterious woman from the regatta is trying to convince an associate over the phone to buy some of the items she has stolen today. The man on the other end calls her "Volcana" and tells her that the items have all been reported stolen, making them too difficult to sell. Volcana says that she really needs the money as she is planning to leave town. She notices a copy of the Daily Planet and, seemingly intrigued, tells her fence that she has something else for him, and to meet her at the regular place. He agrees and hangs up. Just then, three other men in suits enter the confront the fence. The man in the middle has an eye-patch, and asks the scared fence where the "regular place" is.

At a school for children gifted with paranormal abilities, Clark interviews the school's director, and very short bald man. The director shows Clark some of the children who demonstrate abilities such as telekinesis and remote viewing. The school's main purpose is to teach children such as these how to deal with their abilities and master them. Clark is impressed, and asks who pays for all this. The director becomes a little hesitant and says that they receive donations. When Clark asks if the Government has ever funded the school, the director says that they do receive a little "encouragement" from them, but that that is a secret, as the public might not be thrilled to discover what their tax dollars are being used for. Clark asks if they have ever had anyone there with pyrokinetic abilities, or the power to control fire. The director becomes very nervous and excuses himself.

In his office, the little director is confronted by men in suits, whom he recognizes and is scared of. They say they are taking him away for his own protection, but when they get out to their car, the little man begins to concentrate and all four tires burst at once, and he runs off. He bumps right into Clark, and promises to tell him everything if he can keep him safe. Clark agrees and they flee. The director admits to Clark that he too has paranormal powers.

At Clark's apartment, the director tells Clark about a girl named Claire Selton, who was sent to the school for gifted children when her parents discovered that she could create and control fire. It seems that her pyrokinetic abilities were so powerful that the United States Government took possession of her and she was never seen again. Clark is disgusted, knowing what it's like growing up "different" and also knowing what could have happened to him if the wrong people had had control over him growing up. With his Super Hearing, Clark hears Volcana breaking in a Museum, and he excuses himself. Volcana is after a copy of the Bill of Rights and Superman arrives to confront her. He tells her that he knows she has had it rough, but she has to stop stealing. When he tells her to trust him, she goes into a rage and attacks him, screaming about how that is what everyone she cared about said just before they betrayed or exploited her. She covers her body in flames and flies away.

At a hotel room, Volcana arrives to meet her fence, only to find Kurt, the government agent with the eye-patch there. It seems he was the primary person in charge of Volcana during her time with the government, and he sent her on dangerous missions to assassinate people. He and his men use high powered fire extinguishers to capture Volcana. The next day at the Daily Planet, Clark hears Jimmy tell Lois about a bizarre incident at a hotel room rented out to a red haired woman involving fire retardant foam. Later, Superman tears through the Government Building he followed the "homeless" man too and demands to know what happened to Volcana.

Volcana awakes in a research laboratory. Kurt tells her that she is trapped in a sphere that is filled with a gas that will not burn, with a mask strapped to her face providing her with oxygen to breath, which he will cut off if she fights back. Kurt tells Volcana that she is too untrustworthy now and that there are plans to sell her to a foreign government for study, and she guesses that translates to dissection. Superman crashes through the ceiling and demands that Volcana be freed, and that since Kurt's funding was pulled months ago, he no longer works for the government, and that this is all his doing. In the fight that follows, Volcana is freed from her cell, and begins to burn everything in sight. She saves Superman from the attacks of the technicians with laser guns, and flies after Kurt. She plans to kill him for everything he has done and Superman tries to stop her, but before he can, she accidentally ignites some chemicals, which cause a large explosion which seeming kills her and Kurt.

On a tropical island, surrounded by water, Volcana is sunbathing on the beach. Superman arrives with supplies for her. He says that she will have to stay there until things cool down. She says that Superman is such a good guy to help her, and that his mother raised him well. He acknowledges that he was very lucky when it came to that. Volcana thanks him again, and tells him she hopes he thinks of her on those cold nights in the city. He asks her if she ever cools down, and she says no, before floating an air kiss made of fiery lips to him. Superman smiles and flies off.
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