"Exile" is the twentieth episode of the first season of Smallville and the 20th produced episode of the series. Overwhelmed by his destiny, Clark puts on his red kryptonite ring, leaves the farm and begins living a life of crime in Metropolis, so Jonathan makes a deal with Jor-El to bring him home.
It's been two weeks since Clark put on a red kryptonite ring and left Smallville. He is in Metropolis going by the name "Kal". He sees a luxury car he likes in a show window and tears open a row of ATMs for the cash to buy it with. He leaves the dealership with the car and the sales girl. When they arrive at the night club Atlantis, they are making out at the bar. When she asks about the scar on his chest, he grabs her hand, and she leaves. As he leaves, his scar starts to burn. Doubled over in pain, Clark ducks into a phone booth and unbuttons his shirt. The scar burns and glows until Clark takes off the ring. Without the ring, he decides to call his mother. At the Kent Farm, Martha answers the phone. Clark doesn't say anything, but she knows it is Clark, and she pleads with him to come home. Looking like he's about to cry, Clark hangs up the phone and slips the ring back on.
The next day, a Metropolis bank is being robbed by thugs wearing clown masks, but they are interrupted by Clark. He crashes through the window on a motorcycle. He hides his identity with a ski mask, and he catches the bullets shot at him with his bare hands. Clark picks up a bag of cash and walks outside the bank to meet the police led by Captain Maggie Sawyer. When he reaches into his jacket, they open fire. He stands there as the bullets bounce off him, and then he uses his heat vision to blow up a car. When Captain Sawyer picks herself up off the ground, all she finds of Clark is a ski mask and a pile of spent rounds on the sidewalk where he was standing. Clark super speeds behind a building grinning at his own exploits.
At the Kent Farm, Pete shows Jonathan and Martha a Daily Planet front-page article detailing Clark's crimes. Pete says Clark's crimes are escalating and Jonathan declares that he is going to retrieve him. Martha protests, saying that Clark, knowing what red kryptonite does to him, doesn't want to be found. She stresses that he will come home when he is ready and Jonathan concedes.
Chloe meets Lana at the Talon and offers her a ride to Lex's mansion, after telling Chloe that she is considering going to Metropolis for a few days to look for Clark. Chloe argues that Clark isn't lost. She tells Lana that he made a conscious decision to run away. Lana gets upset at Chloe's words, but Chloe continues, telling her that she needs to move on because pining for Clark is not doing her any good. Lana counters that Clark is waiting for the right person to find him.
At the Luthor Mansion, Lex is trying to decide which cake to serve at his wedding. Nicole isn't there, and it's only three weeks until the wedding. Lionel arrives to give Lex his wedding gift in person, since it's obvious he won't be invited to the wedding. Lex reminds him that he offered Nicole $100,000 to leave him, but Lionel claims it was just a test of loyalty. The wedding gift is a Caribbean honeymoon on a private island, but Lex remains doubtful of Lionel's good intentions.
Clark is asleep in a nicely furnished penthouse apartment when two goons break in and open fire on him. He throws them across the room and is approached by Morgan Edge. Edge asks Clark about interrupting his bank robbers and says he wanted to see for himself if Clark was really super-strong and bulletproof. He offers Clark a job; saying that he is the biggest crime boss in the city and Clark can come to him when he's ready to move on from the little league.
Chloe is summoned to the Kawatche Caves by Lionel Luthor. He talks with her about the octagonal hole that used to be in the wall, which disappeared the day Clark left. He asks Chloe if she has seen him, and brings up her Smallville Ledger column, saying there is more passion in it than in her investigation of Clark. Chloe says she's given Lionel all the information she has, and that she can't get more information while Clark is missing. Lionel does not accept these excuses and expects her to rise to the challenge and bring him more information.
Chloe arrives at Clark's apartment and tries to get Clark to come home. He yells at her to never come back but Chloe is undeterred. She doesn't believe that Clark is done with Smallville. She questions his behavior and asks how he will explain himself to Lana or his parents. Clark yells that he is through explaining himself to anyone. Chloe is angry by now and calls him a coward. Clark turns away as pain crosses his face. He grabs Chloe by the shoulders and physically pushes her out of the apartment, yelling that if she tells anyone where he is, he'll go so far away no one will ever find him, steering her towards the door. She is not intimidated and pushes him right back. He screams in her face to get out and slams the door. He then tears open his shirt. His scar is glowing red. He takes off the ring and the scar stops burning.
Without the ring, Clark goes to his loft and sees that his things have been packed into moving boxes. He overhears his parents below discussing their plans. They need to be moved out before the bank conducts the auction. They can store some things in Bill Ross's garage as long as they need, and Lana has given them the apartment over the Talon. Martha begins to cry and Jonathan tries to reassure her that they will get through it. Something falls on the floor as Clark turns to go. Martha hears it and runs to the loft, calling Clark's name, but Clark is gone.
Lana tells Chloe that she feels guilty because Clark asked her to come with him and now she feels like she could have made him come home if she had gone. When Chloe asks, she says she loves him and plans to hang up fliers. Chloe admits she knows where Clark is, saying she ran into him at a club a week ago, but he threatened to leave Metropolis if she told. Lana is angry that Chloe knew about Clark's whereabouts and leaves for Clark's apartment. She is standing outside when Clark rides up on his dad's motorcycle. She insists that she is not letting him go. Clark tells her to get on and they ride away together.
At the mansion, Lex confronts Lionel about the Dinsmore project. He accuses him of continuing the Level Three projects, even though the project was thought to be abandoned. Lionel tries to deflect him, but when that fails, he confronts him with the fact that the state has placed the conservatorship of the Kawatche Caves under the control of LuthorCorp. LexCorp had a five year contract, but since there have been some accidents and even deaths, the governor has given control to LuthorCorp.
Clark takes Lana to Club Atlantis. She pretends to have fun but ducks away to call the Kents. Jonathan says he's on the way but Clark finds her. He takes the phone from Lana and tells his parents that they're probably happier he's gone and they were never his parents anyway. Martha tells Jonathan that he can't stop Clark but Jonathan says if he doesn't try, they may lose him forever. He goes to the toolbox to take the key out of its hiding place. He takes it to the Kawatche Caves but he can't find the keyhole. He shouts angrily throws the key down in disgust. As he turns to go it glows and flies towards the wall. A burst of energy flows through Jonathan and he is addressed by Jor-El. They argue about Kal-El's name, parentage and destiny. Jor-El will allow him to return to Smallville, but Jonathan must retrieve him. Jonathan complains that Clark is too powerful, and Jor-El asks if he is willing to sacrifice anything. Jonathan says he will do anything for his son.
Clark finds Morgan Edge and accepts his job offer since he suddenly feels the need to disappear. Edge tells him he wants him to break into LuthorCorp Plaza and steal a package from Lionel's office. He breaks into the building and retrieves the package, but as he turns to go, he is approached by Jonathan. Jonathan admits that it was Jor-El who helped him find Clark. Clark refuses to listen and throws Jonathan against a wall. Clark is surprised to see Jonathan stand upright, unharmed. He tells Clark again that he is coming home and super speeds towards him. Together they fall through a window toward the street, sixty stories below.
Jonathan and a red kryptonite-infected Kal fall into an area of LuthorCorp below street-level and begin a brutal and destructive super-powered fight. Jonathan sees Clark's scar for the first time. Clark runs at Jonathan and pins him to the wall. Jonathan finally gets through to Clark by daring him to kill him if that's how he was raised. Instead of punching him, Clark hits the wall and the red ring shatters. Clark's scar burns away, and he is restored to his normal self. Jonathan passes out and Clark runs to help him up.
Martha is waiting for them to arrive when Clark and Jonathan stumble through the door. Martha runs into Clark's arms as he starts apologizing for everything. Jonathan collapses onto the sofa and Clark worries that whatever Jor-El did to him was too much for his body to handle.
At the mansion, Lex finds Nicole reading a book by the fire. He tells her he canceled his board meeting for personal reasons and then asks her to marry him. She answers with a kiss.
Clark asks Jonathan why Jor-El helped him and guesses that they made some kind of deal. Jonathan doesn't offer any details, saying the important thing is that Clark has his life back. Clark says he's not sure he wants it back because as Kal, he could do whatever he wanted. Jonathan says that Clark's problems might not be gone, but at least now they can deal with them as a family. Clark shows Jonathan the package that Morgan Edge hired him to steal from Lionel Luthor. They open it and realize that it is Clark's vial of blood. They speculate on why Lionel would want his blood as Jonathan destroys the sample.
- "You know, Helen, black widows may be powerful predators, but every predator is somebody else's prey. "
- (to Jor-El) "He wasn't ready! But you, you had to keep pushing him anyway, didn't you? What kind of a race are you people? No wonder you destroyed yourselves. "
- "I am Jor-El. The true father of Kal-El"
- "His name is Clark Kent. I am his father. I raised him."
- "This was Kal-El's first test to see if he was ready to begin his journey... This phase of Kal-El's journey is almost complete. It will be of no consequence if he returns to you for now. "
- (to Lana) "Listen, if you keep talking about Hicksville, you're gonna be on the next bus home."
- "What's the point of starting something if it's just going to end badly?"
- "You've made quite a reputation for yourself. I set up this test so I could see with my own eyes if you were man or myth. And clearly, you're both."
- "Well, I'm glad I could clear it up for you... Mr. Edge."
- "I'd like to talk about a job opportunity."
- "Thanks. But I'm really not looking for work right now. I like to fly solo."
- "Are you willing to sacrifice anything to bring him back?"
- "Yes, for my son, I'll do anything."
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