ACT ONE (TEASER)
Night, heavy rain. The Smallville High School Crows football team is playing. Their coach (Coach Walt Arnold) is on the sidelines. The crowd, covered in rain gear, cheers. Whitney starts to throw the ball, but decides to try running for it instead. He gets tackled and the crowd yells in disappointment.
(Ed. Note: Although there is no voice-over, closed captioning reads: 'It is third and twelve, eighteen seconds left, and the Crows are down by four.')
Coach: Whitney! Get over here!
Whitney runs over.
Coach (yelling): Refresh my memory! Didn't I just send a pass play in there?!
Whitney: The rain was comin' down so hard, I couldn't see if Donner was open, so I figured--
Coach grabs Whitney by the helmet and pulls him down close to the Coach's chest.
Coach: Hey! What does it say on my jacket?
Coach (in Whitney's face): That's right, "Coach". Football is not a democracy, and you will do as I say. Because I know what's best for you! Now, look, son, we have run this play a hundred times in practice. You don't have to see Donner to know where he is. Just throw it too him.
Whitney nods understanding.
Coach: I want you to go out there, and I want you to run the same play, (calmer, affectionately) and I want you to win this game for us, okay?
Coach: Go ahead.
Whitney runs onto the field again. Scoreboard reads 'Home 20' and 'Visitors (Timberwolves) 24'. The teams set up for the next play.
Whitney: Blue 32! Hut!
With the ball, Whitney looks for Donner, but still cannot see him. He throws the ball anyway, and Donner catches it, landing in the end zone. Cheerleaders, crowd, and coach go crazy.
Locker room. The victorious Crows run into the locker room, yelling and banging on lockers. The coach is standing on a desk in front of his office, excited.
Coach: All right! Bring it up! Bring it up! Bring it up!
The team noise dissipates slightly. Pete is seen amongst the players.
Coach: All right, listen up! There is another team eating crow tonight, gentlemen!
The team cheers.
Coach: I don't have to tell you how important this Friday night's game is.
Whitney: Yeah, not only is it gonna put us in the state championship, but it'll be Coach Walt's 200th win!
The team cheers again.
Team: Coach Walt! Coach Walt! Coach Walt! Coach Walt!
Coach Walt's office, covered in football mementos, school banner, pictures of himself. Camera pans to a sauna. The plaque reads, 'Walt's Private Sweat Box: From the Alumni Association in recognition of twenty years of dedicated service'. Inside, Coach Walt pours water on hot rocks, which steam green. Underneath the rocks are other, green meteor rocks. There is a knock on the door.
Coach: Come on in.
The door opens and Principal Kwan enters.
Coach (amicably): Principal Kwan. What brings you to this sweat box?
Kwan: We've got a problem, Coach.
Coach Walt's office. Still toweling off from his sauna. He flips briefly through a file folder of papers and hands it back to Kwan.
Coach: Gee, huh? My boys?
Kwan: Seven of them. On their math midterm. Which means they're ineligible for next Friday's game.
Coach (casually): Well, just keep it quiet for a couple of weeks, and, uh, we'll deal with it off-season.
Kwan: I'm not sweeping a major academic breach under the carpet so you can win a game.
Coach (chuckling darkly): You been here, what? Six months? I been here twenty-five years. We're not talking about just a game -- we're talking about my legacy.
Kwan: I don't care about your legacy. I'm here to educate young people.
Coach (angrily): I've been educating young people all my life! Do you know how many boys have gone onto college because of me! Have gotten good job on my recommendations!
Kwan (calmly): I know most people think you walk on water, Coach. I think you're dangerous. I've seen your temper. I've seen your methods. Just because you win doesn't make you right.
Coach Walt seethes, but say nothing. Kwan walks toward the door.
Kwan: Monday, I'm suspending the players. End of story.
Coach Walt glares angrily after him, wringing his towel. Losing control, he bangs it against the desk, which bursts into flame. Coach stares at it.
Smallville High School. Clark is reading from the front page of the Torch newspaper. Below the headline is a photo of Coach Walt yelling at Whitney during the game.
Clark: "Football: Sport or Abuse?"
Chloe: So, what do you think?
They're walking up the stadium stairs, Chloe in a good mood, carrying a coffee cup.
Clark (refolding paper): I think you need to seriously decrease your cappuccino dependency.
Chloe (looking at Pete): He thinks I'm being too hard on Coach Walt.
Pete: I mean, the man coached my dad. All my brothers. The man used to come over and watch the Super Bowl.
Chloe: Now, while I'm touched by that Hallmark moment, you don't get points for subtlety in journalism. (to Clark, pleased) I've already started getting hate mail.
Clark: You seem very happy about that. Why?
They have climbed from the stadium to a paved area in front of the school building. Basketball hoops are set up and students are playing. Cheerleaders are milling about nearby. School banners are hanging all over the fences.
Chloe: Because it means I'm hitting a nerve. Besides, between the abysmal sentence structure and the generous use of obscenities, I've got a pretty good idea who's been sending it.
Pete: If you think my teammates are reading the Torch, you're giving them way too much credit.
Pete musses Chloe's hair affectionately. As they pass the cheerleaders, Clark spots Lana, in her cheerleader outfit. He overhears her conversation with Whitney. She looks upset.
Lana: Don't you even care about this?
Whitney (shrugging): I don't see what the big deal is.
Lana: You don't think it's a big deal. I think it's a big deal.
She walks away, angry. As she passes Chloe, Pete and Clark, Chloe is amused.
Chloe: Ew, there's something you don't see every day: a pom-pom meltdown.
She laughs. In front of them, a group of boys in team jackets exits the building. Coach Walt is with them in a bright red school-color t-shirt.
Chloe: Ew, ew, here they come. (gestures animatedly for the camera Pete is carrying) Pete, I need a picture of the cheating jockstraps.
The boys stop at a nearby table with the cheerleaders. Coach Walt addresses them.
Coach (to team): Look, I don't want to hear any rumors goin' around, any false accusations.
Clark (watching team): Any idea how they got that mid-term, Chloe?
Chloe (focusing camera): It's still a mystery, but I'm working on it.
One of the assembled players notices Chloe with her camera.
Player: Hey, what's she doing?
The player, annoyed, throws the football he's holding at her. Just before it impacts her in the face, Clark reaches out one hand with super-speed and catches it firmly.
Pete: Ooh, nice catch!
Chloe (angrily at Pete): One of your teammates attempts to assassinate me and all you can say is, 'nice catch'?
Chloe walks away. Pete follows her.
Pete: I thought you wanted to hit a nerve!
Clark considers the ball briefly, then throws it back at the player that threw it at Chloe. He gives it extra momentum so that it hits the player heavily in his stomach. The player grunts. The bell rings and the players and cheerleaders begin going inside. Coach Walt passes the player and gives him a pat.
Coach: You all right?
As they all leave, Coach considers Clark intensely before following.
Inside the high school. Students fill the hallway. Clark and Pete stop at a vending machine, which Pete is planning to get something from. Coach Walt approaches.
Coach: Hey, Kent!
Clark stops, turns to face Coach.
Coach: I saw your arm out there. Your technique was lousy, but you got a lot of power.
Clark grins broadly.
Coach: So why aren't you on our team?
Clark: My dad needs me on the farm.
Coach: Well, your school needs you on the field. We got a big game Friday night. We're short of players. Look, look, I know your dad would understand.
Clark: He's kinda stubborn.
Coach (fondly): Yeah, I remember. Jonathan Kent was one of the best athletes I ever coached. A lot of god-given talent. It's in your genes, Kent.
Clark: Actually, I'm adopted.
Coach (getting agitated): Look, I am giving you a chance to be part of something special. A part of history. Now, I've seen you stare at your father's picture in that trophy case. Don't tell me you don't want to be a part of this.
Clark looks back, presumably toward said trophy case, then turns back with a broad smile.
Coach: Why don't you suit up? Look at Ross, here. He doesn't have a lick of natural talent, but he's got a truckload o' heart.
Pete: Thanks. I guess.
Coach watches Clark intensely, expectantly.
Clark: Lemme think about it.
Coach (toward offscreen): Fordman! (signals)
Whitney approaches, arm draped around Lana.
Lana (smiles): Hey, Clark.
Coach: Fordman, you're the team captain. How do you think Kent here would do on the field? I mean, considering our current predicament?
Whitney gives Clark a quick glance, not entirely happy.
Whitney: He might do all right.
Coach (looking at Clark): Hm. Seems afraid, though.
Lana (defensively): That's not the reason, is it, Clark?
Clark (seriously): It's my dad.
Coach: Kent, (approaches Clark, trapping him against the vending machine) there comes a time when you gotta step out of your father's shadow and be your own man. Now, what do you say? Ready to be your own man?
Clark considers it. He glances at Lana, then turns back to Coach with a smile.
Clark: Count me in.
Lana looks slightly disappointed. She and Whitney walk away.
Coach: Good. I will see you at practice today. Three o'clock. Don't be late.
Clark, still grinning, watches Coach walk away.
Pete: Hey, Clark? Um, remember what your dad said last time you asked him to play?
Clark's smile disappears. He hesitates.
Clark: He said no.
Pete: He said no. That's what I thought. (puts one hand on Clark's shoulder) Call me when the hurtin's done, 'kay?
The bell rings. Pete walks away. Clark looks worried.
School hallway. Whitney and Lana are walking quickly down the hall.
Whitney: So, we okay?
Lana (arms folded, angry): This isn't about us.
Whitney: The guys made a mistake. I don't see what the big deal is.
Lana: Whitney, they cheated. I don't know how you can support them.
Whitney: Because they're my friends. (stops Lana to talk) And they used to be yours. Do you want to tell me what's really going on here?
Lana: It's just the things that I thought I knew for sure don't seem so certain any more.
Whitney (smiling): I don't understand.
Lana: I know how much you love football, and you're great at it, and I support you.
She pauses, and he waits, still not understanding.
Lana: I want to find something that I'm great at.
Kent farm. Jonathan is working on a piece of machinery. Clark is standing next to the equipment.
Jonathan: Ah, wait a minute. What do you mean, you had to say yes?
Clark: Coach Walt sort of didn't give me a choice.
Jonathan (amused): Let me guess. Did he give you the "be your own man" speech? Right?
Clark just smiles.
Jonathan (chuckling): Well, Walt's been giving that speech for twenty-five years. Same one! Believe me, I know. (walks around equipment) What you gotta do is go there tomorrow and tell him you can't play.
Clark (following Jonathan): Dad, please don't make me do that.
Jonathan: Son, I'm sorry, we've already had this conversation.
Clark: It's never been a conversation. I can be careful, and you don't trust me.
Jonathan: Of course I trust you, Clark, but--
Clark: But what? I'm old enough to make my own decisions.
Jonathan: When you're out on the field, a million things can happen that can affect your judgment. If you get angry, just for a second... Or, uh, you try to impress some girl with a fancy move, somebody could get seriously hurt out there. (earnestly) You were meant for much more important things than winnin' football games.
Clark: I'm sick of being punished because I have these gifts. Most parents would be happy if their son could be star of the football team.
Jonathan: Son, (puts a hand on Clark's shoulder) I am happy when you wake up in the morning. Now, I don't need to live vicariously through your achievements.
Clark: Why would you? You got to play.
Jonathan (with air of finality): I'm not signin' a permission slip, Clark.
Clark: You don't have to. (firmly) I'm playing football, and you can't stop me.
Luthor mansion. Inside, several men in suits are waiting. Lex enters the room, towel draped around his neck.
Lex: Well, if it isn't the three wise men. (to third man) Hello, Dominic.
Lex walks past the men into the room. Dominic follows him.
Dominic (in British accent): I assume you're running late because you've been at a fencing lesson. Or have you taken up polo again?
Lex: I'm not running late. (gets bottle of water) I cancelled this meeting, if you recall.
Dominic: Your father insisted that we drive down here and keep it.
Lex (nodding): And when he barks, you jump.
Lex walks to pool table nearby.
Dominic: Have you seen the quarterly numbers?
Lex: Yes, I have. We're twenty percent below projections. (selects pool cue)
Dominic: And your father wants you to take drastic action.
Lex (calmly): I plan to.
Dominic: Good. Then I can inform him you'll be cutting your workforce.
Lex: On the contrary. (walks to pool table with cue) You can inform him I plan on increasing my workforce.
Dominic: By how much?
Lex (taking shot): Twenty percent.
Dominic: Lex, I've always enjoyed your 'unique' sense of humor, but you can't be serious.
Lex: You gotta spend money to make money, Dominic. If we increase productivity and marketing while our competitors retreat, when the sector bounces back... (shoots) we'll corner the market.
Dominic (angrily): Your father sent you to Smallville to turn the plant around!
Lex: My father sent me to Smallville because he'd rather surround himself with drones (nods toward the other suited men) than people who challenge his archaic business practices.
Dominic: I'll be certain to tell him that.
Lex: Please do. Now... this meeting is adjourned.
Dominic seethes slightly, then walks away. Lex smirks a tiny bit. He sits on the edge of the pool table.
Lex: By the way, Dominic... tell your sister I said hi.
Dominic stops, turns, and glares at the smug Lex before continuing his way out.
Lana's house. Lana is folding her cheerleading sweater over a box as there is a knock at the door. She looks over as Nell opens the door.
Nell: Lana, you're home early. Did they cancel cheerleading practice?
Lana (reservedly happy): Sort of. I quit.
Nell (entering, unhappy): You love being on the squad. What happened?
Lana: (shrugs) I just think there's more to life than memorizing cheers and shaking pom-poms. (puts pom-poms into box)
Nell: You just decided this out of the blue?
Lana (seriously): Some of the football players were caught cheating. Guys I know. I told Whitney how upset it made me. He said it was no big deal, that... people aren't perfect.
Takes box of cheerleading paraphernalia and puts it in the bottom of her closet.
Lana: I thought, why am I doing this, wearing a fake smile and a stupid outfit for people who'll do anything to win a game.
Nell: Well, you can't let a couple of bad apples spoil the experience. (sits on the bed) You're part of a team, you're making friends.
Lana: Aunt Nell, I don't want to go back. I want to try different things. What's wrong with that?
Nell: Nothing. It's just that you're on a good track. I want you to be happy. (pauses) What are you going to do with this new-found freedom?
Lana: I thought I'd get a job. (sits on the bed, too) Something part-time. Earn some extra money so I can go travel in the summer.
Nell (resignedly): Well, I suppose I could always use some help around the shop.
Lana (determinedly): Thanks. But I'm not looking for help. I want to do this on my own.
Football field. Suited-up players are exiting the locker room. Clark is in a red Smallville High football uniform. He walks out onto the field with an air of accomplishment and satisfaction. He looks toward the cheerleaders, slightly confused. He stops next to Pete.
Clark: Have you seen Lana?
Pete: No. (starts to jog off) There's your dad.
Clark looks at the bleachers nearby, where Jonathan is sitting.
Clark: Dad. (stops in front of Jonathan) I'm glad you're here. It means a lot to me.
Jonathan (unhappily): I still don't support your decision, Clark. I'm here to see that no one gets hurt.
Clark's face falls. His father meets his disappointment with his own stoniness. A whistle blows and Clark walks off toward the team.
Coach: Kent! Get in there at tailback!
Cut to team practicing.
Whitney: Blue 32! Hut! Hut! Hut!
Clark is almost immediately tackled, and as he recovers, he looks over at his father. Coach Walt rushes over and grabs Clark by the helmet.
Coach (angrily): Quit lookin' in the stands! Your dad's not coachin' this team -- I am! Now, I didn't bring you out here to be a tackling dummy. Get angry! (punches Clark in the chest motivationally) Kick some butt!
Jonathan watches, concerned. The team begins again.
Whitney: All right, guys, same play.
Opposing Quarterback: Oh yeah, we got 'em.
Whitney: Blue 32! Hut! Hut!
The ball goes to Clark, who easily pushes his way through several opponents, then jumps over the top of more, knocking another to the ground, and running full-tilt toward the end zone. As he reaches the end zone triumphantly, Jonathan gets up, upset, and leaves. He gives Clark a meaningful look as he exits.
Coach Walt is watching a video replay of Clark's super performance, contemplative. Principal Kwan enters the office.
He turns off the TV.
Coach: How's my favorite football fan?
Kwan (stonily): One of the players accused of cheating has come forward and said you supplied them with the test.
Coach (coolly): Oh? And what boy told you that little piece of fiction?
Kwan sets his briefcase down in front of the desk.
Kwan: I'm not at liberty to say.
Coach: But I'm guessing you already went to the school board and asked them to suspend me.
Kwan: You have a lot of friends in high places.
Coach (laughing): I should have! I coached most of them.
Kwan glares at him.
Coach: You don't understand. I'm an institution. Who'd you think the school board was gonna believe? Some cheating little brat who's just trying to cover his own ass, or the man who's been leading this school to victory for Twenty. Five. Years!
Kwan: They may not believe one, but if I can get them all to step forward, the board will have no choice. They'll suspend you from coaching for the rest of your life.
Coach (violently angry): You will not bring me down!
He smacks the desk in anger and flames suddenly engulf the TV. They both stare at the fire.
Kwan: What the hell's going on here, Coach?
Kwan picks up his briefcase and leaves the office.
Principal Kwan exits the school immediately after his 'conversation' with Coach Walt. Peeking through his blinds, Coach Walt watches him cross the parking lot and get into his car.
Coach: Who the hell does he think he is?
Principal Kwan puts his seatbelt on. Coach Walt concentrates, closing his eyes. As Kwan tries to start the ignition, the steering column bursts into flames. He pulls his hand back, singed. Flames soon spread to include as far as the gear shift. Coach Walt is still concentrating. In Kwan's car, the fire has engulfed the whole dash. He tries to unlock the door, but his hand is burned. More fire spreads, until it appears his whole cab is on fire. He begins to scream. Coach Walt turns away, a smile on his face.
Clark and Pete exit the school, freshly showered.
Pete: Where'd your dad go?
Clark: Yeah... he had to get back to the farm.
They stop as they see Kwan's car on fire.
Clark: Go get help!
As Pete rushes back inside, Clark drops his backpack and runs forward. He smashes the driver's window and pulls the door off. He pulls an unconscious Kwan out and carries him, fireman's style, away from the car just as it explodes in a giant debris-shooting fireball.
Kent house. Martha is on the phone while Jonathan and Clark both sit at the table, eating dinner.
Martha (to phone): Thanks. Goodbye.
She hangs up the phone. Clark is eyeing his father uncomfortably.
Martha: Principal Kwan's gonna be in the hospital 'til over the weekend.
Clark (to Martha): Is he gonna be all right?
Martha: He's got some burns and suffered smoke inhalation, but he's gonna be okay.
She looks at Jonathan as she clears a dinner dish. He is resolutely looking at his food.
Jonathan: Anybody see you, son?
Clark (exasperated): Nobody saw me, Dad.
Clark: I told the paramedics that I wrapped my hands in my jacket when I pulled him out.
Martha: Lucky you were there.
Clark: Well, (looks at his father) I kinda missed my ride.
Jonathan (also exasperated): Look, I saw you play. All right? (stands up) Now, you could easily have hurt any one of those boys.
Clark: But the point is I didn't.
Jonathan doesn't respond. He 'harrumph's and takes his plate to the sink. Clark follows.
Clark (to Martha): Why are we even having this conversation? He's never gonna believe me.
Jonathan still doesn't respond.
Clark: By the way, Coach gave me your old position. (proudly) You're looking at the starting tailback for this Friday's game.
Jonathan walks past him, giving him a long look, then walks back into the dining area.
Clark: Don't everyone congratulate me at once.
After a long look shared with Martha, Clark leaves the kitchen completely. Martha walks back into dining area where Jonathan is carrying the coffee pot.
Jonathan: How did he get to be so stubborn?
Martha: Gee, I don't know.
Jonathan: Hey, wait a minute. I was not like that when I was his age.
Martha: No, you were the obedient son (sits at the table) who always obeyed his father and didn't run away one summer and try out for the Metropolis Sharks.
Jonathan sits, too.
Jonathan: Since when did you go and join the other side? (smiles)
Martha: Jonathan, Clark hasn't been able to do anything normal his whole life. No play groups, no Little League. All because we were afraid he might hurt somebody. He's a teenager now, let's give him a shot.
Jonathan: His gifts come with responsibilities.
Martha: This isn't about his gifts. This is about his judgment. You're telling Clark that you don't believe in him.
Jonathan: Wha-- Of course I believe in him. What if he makes a mistake? And somebody suspects... the truth. I do not want somebody comin' on this farm and taking our son away from us.
Martha: Well, if we don't start trusting him, nobody's gonna have to take him away. He's gonna leave all by himself.
Jonathan looks at her thoughtfully.
The Beanery. Night. Chloe, Clark, and Pete are entering the coffee shop.
Chloe: You guys, it doesn't make sense. Cars don't just spontaneously combust.
Clark: Cops said it was faulty wiring.
Chloe (pleased with herself): I've already got my headline. "Jock strap saves principal from burning car."
Pete: Will you lay off the 'jock straps' thing?
Chloe: I still can't believe Clark's been blinded by the Friday night life.
Clark: I joined the football team, not a cult.
Chloe: Yeah, next thing you know, I'm going to be joining the pom-pom brigade.
As they stop at the counter, Lana walks by, carrying a notepad and wearing a green apron.
Lana: I hear there's a spot open.
Clark: Lana! What are you doing here?
Lana picks up a tray full of coffees.
Lana: Taking your order, I hope.
Chloe (following Lana as she walks): Wait, wait, what is this, some kind of cheerleader charity 'be a waitress for a night' sorta thing?
Lana: Yes, it is. Except for the 'cheerleading' and 'charity' part. And tips are always appreciated.
Lana sets the tray down and begins serving coffees to patrons nearby.
Clark: So, you're a waitress for real?
Lana: Even got the perky nametag to prove it.
Pete: For today?
Clark: Where's your necklace?
Lana: Strict dress code. No jewelry and no open-toed shoes.
Clark: You're very... waitress-like.
Lana: Thanks. (smiles) Now (walks away slowly) if I could only tell the difference between a half-caf decaf and a non-fat latte.
Chloe: In that case, I'll have a regular coffee.
PETE (at Lana): Hey! Times three.
As they sit, they realize Lana has left her tray on their table. Clark hurries to take it back to the counter where Lana is.
Clark: Uh, Lana, you forgot this.
Lana: Thanks. (takes tray) That's been happening a lot.
Clark: First days are always rough. (sits on a stool) So, you just quit cheerleading?
Lana: You sound surprised.
Clark: Well, it's not like you broke any state laws or anything, but I am. You always seemed so happy doing it.
Lana: My mom was a cheerleader, so was my aunt. I figured it was time to break the vicious cycle.
Clark (laughing): What did, uh, Whitney say?
Lana (smirking): You're his teammate now. Why don't you ask him?
Clark: You know, it's amazing. The same day I make the team, you quit the squad. I was just hoping we'd see more of each other.
Lana: I have four shifts a week. You can stop by any time you like.
Lana's boss approaches the counter.
BOSS: Lana, table three's been waiting for their drinks for five minutes. If they go cold, it's coming out of your tips.
Lana: Right. Sorry.
BOSS: Don't be sorry. Just be faster.
The boss leaves. Clark gets the hint and leaves the counter. Cut to Chloe and Pete at their table.
Chloe: Clark Kent is a football player and Lana Lang is a waitress...
Pete: What's the matter with that?
Chloe: Nothing. I just want to click my heels and get back to reality.
Behind them, a football player enters and heads over to where other football players are drinking coffees. Chloe and Pete pay surreptitious attention.
Player: Coach needs to see us on the field, right now.
The whole group gets up wordlessly and leave. Chloe is intrigued.
Chloe (to Pete): What's up with your fallen brethren?
PETE (shaking his head): I don't know.
Chloe (leaving quickly): I'll se you tomorrow.
Clark approaches as Chloe is making a quick exit.
Chloe (hurried): Relax. I'll, I'll see you tomorrow, okay?
As she leaves, Lana walks past. She bumps into a customer and spills a whole tray of orders. The whole café applauds. Clark gives her a cute shrug, which she gives back.
Football field. Night. The sprinklers are on. Coach is pacing in front of the group of cheating players.
Coach: Congratulations! I've never seen a group of young men demonstrate such extraordinary stupidity! Now, which one of you talked? Huh?
No one speaks.
Coach: No one here told Principal Kwan that I supplied you with that test?!
Player: Coach, no college is even gonna look at us with cheating on our records.
Coach walks coolly over to the player.
Coach: So, it was you, huh, Trevor?
Trevor doesn't meet Coach's eyes.
Coach: Now, why doesn't that (slaps Trevor) surprise me?
As he slaps Trevor, the sprinklers all around them begin to shoot fire. The boys stare at the shooting flames surrounding them, dumbfounded and afraid.
Coach (seething): You boys hear me good. Nothing... NOTHING is gonna stand between me and my legacy! Now, you go home and you keep your mouths shut! Understand?
They give him a chorus of 'yes, Coaches'. Coach walks away. As he does so, Chloe peeks up from behind a fence. She takes digital pictures of the fire, the boys, and the coach.
Lex's mansion, day. Lionel bursts through the doors of Lex's library. Lex is seated at the desk, feet propped on desk.
Lionel: Congratulations, Lex. You made the business page for once.
Throws a newspaper on the desk. Lex picks it up coolly.
Lex: I told Dominic I was doing this two days ago.
Lionel: Yes, and my drone dutifully reported it to me. I just didn't think you'd be (amused) stupid enough to implement it.
Lex: If you had a problem, why didn't you pick up the phone and call me?
Lionel: We have a reporting structure. (turns away from the desk) Just because you're my son, don't expect any special treatment.
Lex: Believe me, I never have.
Lionel: That 'wounded pride' routine may have worked for your mother, but don't try it with me.
Lionel comes around the desk to tower over the seated Lex. He reaches one hand out toward Lex's face, who shies away from it.
Lionel: You know perfectly well how I feel about you.
Lex (not looking at his father): Hence, I'm at a crap factory in Smallville.
Lionel: Lex, did you know Caesars would send their sons to the furthermost corners of the empire so they could get an appreciation of how the world works?
Lex: Whatever helps you sleep at night, Dad.
Lionel pauses, looks around briefly.
Lionel: All right, here is how I propose we solve our...impasse. (removes a rapier from a stand nearby, swishes it around) We'll fence for it. If you win, I'll let you pursue your plan. If I win, you fire twenty percent of your workforce. The question you have to ask yourself, Lex, is...are you good enough to take your old man?
Lex eyes his father, wearing the slightest of smiles.
Cut to both Luthors fencing in full gear, still in the library. Lex is pressing, but Lionel is calm. Lex is more agitated as they duel. Lex takes a swipe at Lionel, who rolls backwards over the pool table to the opposite side.
Lionel: Look at your moves, Lex. They're rash, no thought to their consequences.
Lex: If I wanted a running commentary, I'd buy one of your books on tape.
Lionel (laughing): You know what your problem is?
Lex (sarcastically): Enlighten me.
Lionel: You're ruled by your emotions. You always have been...
In two swings, Lionel has his blade at Lex's throat.
Lionel: ...And that can be a fatal flaw.
He moves Lex backward by the blade at his throat until Lex falls backward onto the coach, breathing heavily.
Lionel (deadly calm): I want those workers gone by noon tomorrow. (taps the blade on Lex's chest with a slight smirk) Meeting...adjourned.
As he leaves, Lex rights himself, angry at his loss.
Kent Farm, night. In the hayloft, Clark is looking at himself in his Crows football uniform in the mirror, smiling. Martha enters.
Martha (smiling): Heading out to the pep rally?
Clark: How do I look?
Martha: As handsome as your father.
Clark (chiding): You don't have to do this, Mom.
Martha: Do what?
Clark: Play Kent family peacekeeper.
Martha: Well, if the Kent men weren't so stubborn, I wouldn't have to.
Clark (coyly): So you're taking Dad's side?
Martha: No, Clark, I'm not. I told him he's being unreasonable.
Martha: Well, I'm not saying you're entirely innocent here, either. If you want to make your own decision, you need to be prepared to live with your mistakes.
Clark: You trust me, don't you?
Martha (sighing fondly): I want to, Clark. So does your dad. Just...give him a chance.
Clark accepts it, contemplative.
Pep rally, football field. Before a large bonfire, Crow cheerleaders lead the crowd. The Crow mascot dances about. Above the rally, at the top of the stands, Chloe walks toward an entryway. Trevor lurks around the shadows. Chloe heads toward him.
Trevor (nervously): Why did you call me? What do you want?
Chloe I want to know if Coach Walt supplied the players with the tests.
Trevor (serious): Look , if you don't want to get hurt, just leave this alone.
Chloe: Look, you can talk to me now or later. Either way, this picture's going to be on the font page of tomorrow's Torch.
She gets out her digital camera and shows a picture of the sprinkler fires and the players. Trevor looks at it, then at her.
Trevor: Just leave me alone.
He walks away. Chloe stares after him, disappointed and confused, then walks a different direction.
Trevor walks across the school parking lot, nervously glancing around him. He approaches his car, pulling out the keys. But a hand grabs him. Coach Walt is angry, and holds Trevor's arm. Trevor yells as his arm begins being burned.
Coach: Talking to the school newspaper, Trevor? (brings Trevor to his knees in pain) I thought you were brighter than that.
Trevor(extremely pained): Coach...I didn't say anything. You gotta believe me. (pleading, holding his smoking arm) She was at the field last night...she's got a picture of us in the sprinklers.
Coach looks off camera.
Coach: All right. (releases Trevor's arm) Go home. I'll take care of this.
With one last glance at Trevor, Coach walks away.
Chloe typing on her computer in her Torch office, same night. She is creating a front page with the headline, 'Playing with fire' and the picture. Just outside the fire door, Coach Walt is concentrating. Chloe's computer erupts into flames. She jumps up from her chair, horrified, as the rest of the desk is engulfed in fire. It is quickly spreading. She backs away as it spreads across the floor toward her. She reaches a corner, but the rest of the office is aflame. Cut to the pep rally outside. Cheerleaders are still cheering. Clark, in his uniform, is looking around as Pete joins him.
Pete: Hey, have you seen Chloe?
They both look around.
In her office, Chloe, cornered by the flames, looks out the window next to her. She sees the pep rally. Clark stops, looking toward her office. She leans out the window and signals to him.
Seeing her, Clark rushes through the crowd. As she knows she made contact, she goes back inside. Pressed against the wall by fire, she takes off her jacket. Wrapping it around her head, she tries to run through the fire. Falling as she clear a wall of flame, she throws off the burning jacket. Abandoning it, she runs to the door, but is blocked by an outbreak of fire. She backs away, but there is nowhere left to go.
Chloe: Oh my God!
Clark runs at super-speed down the hallway and up the stairs.
He speeds into the office area. Coach Walt, still at the fire door, hears Clark yell and, startled, stops concentrating. Instantly, much of the flames die back. Chloe stares, amazed. Clark runs in and grabs Chloe.
Clark: Chloe! You okay?
She turns and engulfs him in a great, relieved hug. He holds her, looking around at the smoldering office. Annoyed, Coach walks away.
The burned Torch office. Clark picks up a Torch issue, Chloe beside him.
Clark: The Torch torched. How's that for dramatic irony?
Chloe just glares, unamused.
Clark: Just tryin' to get you to smile.
He tosses down the paper and walks away from her.
Chloe: This is more than just arson, Clark. It's like the fire knew what I was doing.
Clark (disbelieving): And you believe Coach Walt was somehow controlling it?
Chloe (earnestly): Look at the facts. Principal Kwan launches an investigation into the cheating scandal; Coach Walt tries to fry him in his car. Then one of his players comes forward and he threatens them all with pyrotechnic sprinklers. I am about to print that picture and the Torch goes up in flames.
Clark: What, now you think he's behind the cheating scandal? (scoffs)Come on, Chloe.
Clark walks around the fire-damaged office. Chloe follows him, making her case.
Chloe: Coach obsessed with winning his 200th game helps bonehead players pass the test so he can secure his position in the pantheon of high school sports.
Clark: (still unconvinced) Do you have another copy of the picture?
Chloe: (sarcastically) No, it's kind of hard to recover the files.
Clark: You don't have any proof.
Chloe: Trevor Chapel[l].
Clark: What about him?
Chloe: I'm sure he's the one who talked to Kwan about the cheating. He wants to talk -- I know it. But he's still scared to talk to me. But I think he might open up to you.
Clark thinks about it.
Beanery. Lex is seated in a chair, going through papers and files. He sighs. Lana approaches in her apron, smiling. As he looks up, he recognizes her.
Lex: Lana! (closing files, amused) What happened? Did Nell put you out on the street?
Lana: I decided to join the workforce.
Lex: Good for you. (leans forward) I'm sure you'll be Employee of the Month in no time.
Lana: Right now, I hold the record for most dishes broken in a single day.
Lex: Better bring my cappuccino in a styrofoam cup, then.
He smirks. Lana rolls her eyes and leaves to get it. As she does, she passes Clark on his way in.
Lana: Well, if it isn't Smallville's latest football star.
Clark: Let's see how I do tomorrow night. Hey, have you seen Trevor tonight?
Lana: No, he hasn't been in.
Clark: How are things going here?
Lana: Today is one of those days I just want to scream.
Clark (shrugging): Well, for what it's worth, I think it's cool you got this job.
Lana: For what it's worth, I'm sorry I'm not gonna get to see you play tomorrow. New girl gets the worst shifts. So, can I get you anything?
Clark: Uh, maybe a cup of coffee.
Lana: Coming right up.
Lana leaves, and Clark walks up to join Lex.
Lex: Rumor has it Clark Kent joined the football team.
Clark: (gestures at jersey) Rumor's true.
Clark sits opposite Lex.
Lex: Congratulations. Your dad must be thrilled.
Clark: Actually, he freaked out. Told me I couldn't play. I'm surprised with my dad. I mean, he claims I should make my own decisions, but then when I do he shuts me down.
Lex: Ah, and you're out late, waiting for him to go to bed so you could avoid the uncomfortable silence that greets you when you get home.
Clark: How did you know?
Lex: Luthors wrote the book on uncomfortable silences.
Lex smiles knowingly. Clark smiles back, then notices the files.
Clark: What are you working on?
Lex: Trying to figure out which poor bastard should get the axe. (gestures with files) My father wants me to cut twenty percent of my workforce.
Clark: Any way around it?
Lex: Once my father's made his mind up, he's not easy to turn around.
Clark nods knowingly. Lana arrives with drinks, begins serving them.
Lana: If it makes you guys feel any better, you should have seen the look on my aunt's face when I took this job. Not that I was eavesdropping or anything. (smiles)
Lana sits on the arm of Clark's chair.
Clark: I guess we're all in the same boat.
Lex: No, no. You both stood your ground and are doing what you want. I caved.
Clark looks sympathetic. Lex picks up his foam-covered coffee cup and toasts them, smiling.
Lex: You two have inspired me.
Clark (sarcastically): Oh yeah. (gets his coffee) Joining the football team and pouring some coffee. We're a couple of real rebels.
Lana (laughing): Long live the revolution.
Lex drinks from his coffee.
Lana (nervously): How is it.
Lana stands up. Lex wipes foam from his upper lip.
Lex: It's perfect.
Lana (relieved): Okay.
Lana leaves. When Clark knows she's out of earshot, he gestures with his own coffee mug.
Clark: Is that what you ordered?
Lex: Not even close.
Trevor's house. Clark enters the front door. It's a mess inside. He looks around.
Clark: Trevor! It's Clark Kent. I'm here to talk.
Trevor's voice: Just leave or he'll come back.
Clark turns toward the voice. Trevor is huddled in a corner, scared, surrounded by fire extinguishers.
Clark: Coach Walt?
Clark approaches carefully.
Trevor (to himself): Once he gets angry...
Clark: (crouches down next to Trevor) What did he do to you?
Trevor: Coach rides me pretty hard, you know? (distressed) Me and some of the others. Thinks he's our father or something. That's how he justifies it, anyway. Once when I dropped a pass, he drove me home, punched me in the gut, and told me not to do it again.
Clark: Why didn't you tell anyone?
Trevor: Coach said he'd throw me off the team. Wouldn't help me pass my classes.
Clark: Did he give you that math midterm?
Trevor hesitates, then nods.
Clark: Trevor, I can help.
Trevor (angrily): That's what Principal Kwan said! Look what coach did to him!
Clark: What happened to your arm?
Trevor raises his arm, which is bandaged.
Trevor: It's nothing. It's a carburetor burn.
Clark reaches for it, but Trevor pulls away.
Trevor: It's nothing.
Clark (undeterred): Let me see it, Trevor.
Trevor hesitates again, then holds out his arm to Clark. Clark unrolls the bandage, revealing a burn the shape of a human hand. He carefully examines it.
Trevor (scared): I don't know how Coach did it. But if I talk, he's gonna fry me.
Clark just looks at him.
Coach is in his sweat box. Clark opens the door and stands confidently in the doorway.
Coach: Kent... why aren't you in the locker room suiting up?
Clark: I'm not walking out on that field. Neither are you.
Coach (unhappily): Look, I don't know what the hell your problem is, but you do not want to tick me off right now.
As he gets upset at Clark, the green rocks in the heater begin to glow. Clark begins to feel sick immediately.
Clark: (pushes through it) I saw what you did to Trevor's arm.
Coach: Trevor (gets off the bench) should have kept his mouth shut!
Close to Clark now, Coach notices him getting sick and weak.
Coach: What's the matter, Kent? A little too hot for you, huh?
Coach sucker-punches Clark in the gut and slams him against the inside wall of the sauna. Clark falls to the ground, knocking the stand of rocks over onto and around himself. He is in serious trouble.
Coach (snidely): You'll excuse me now. I got a game to win.
Sick, Clark falls back to the floor as Coach closes and locks the door from the outside. He glances in the small window one more time at Clark and walks away. Clark struggles unsuccessfully to get up.
The Big Game. Coach is on the sidelines as the team plays. The stands are packed. Pete is on the bench. Whitney: Blue 32! Hut!
Martha and Jonathan enter together. Martha spots Chloe on the bleachers.
Chloe (waving): Hi, Mrs. Kent! Hi, Mr. Kent!
Jonathan and Martha sit next to Chloe.
Martha: Smallville's resident cynic have a change of heart?
Chloe (shrugging): Well, I decided to put my personal politics aside to support my friends.
Martha: Yes, (looks meaningfully at Jonathan) we're trying the same philosophy.
Jonathan nods agreement.
Jonathan: Where's Clark?
Chloe: I don't know. I was supposed to meet him before the game, but he didn't show. I thought he was with you guys.
They all look around for Clark.
Sauna. Clark is still immobilized by the green meteor rocks. Sweating and breathing heavily, he picks up a rock and throws it toward the small window in the door.
Football game. Jonathan jogs onto the sidelines toward Pete on the bench.
Jonathan: Hey, Pete! Pete...
Pete notices him.
Jonathan: Have you seen Clark?
Pete: Nah, I haven't seen him all day.
Coach sees Jonathan, approaches.
Coach: Jonathan, you know the rules. No parents on the sidelines.
Jonathan: I'm looking for Clark.
Coach (upset): Join the club. I need him out here. Guess he doesn't have what it takes to be a winner, huh?
Chloe watches the exchange nearby, distressed. As Coach walks back to the game, Jonathan jogs back to Chloe.
Jonathan: Nobody's seen him.
Chloe: I think the coach is lying.
Jonathan (looking at Coach): What's going on here, Chloe?
Chloe says something indiscernible.
Jonathan: All right, I'll check the locker room, you check the school.
They both head off to look for Clark. Coach watches them leave.
Coach (to Asst. Coach): I'll be back in five.
ASST Coach: Walt, we're in the middle of a game-
Coach: Just call the damn plays!
Coach Walt jogs after the exiting Jonathan.
Sauna. Clark throws a rock, which successfully breaks the window, landing outside, He manages to pick up another, which follows it before Clark falls back again. Jonathan enters the locker room.
Jonathan: Clark! (looks around) Clark?
As he approaches the sauna, he sees the broken window. Peeking inside, he sees Clark on the floor, in pain.
Jonathan: Clark! (tries the doorknob) Clark? Clark!
Jonathan kicks the door open and rushes inside to hold Clark upright.
Jonathan: Can you hear me? Are you all right?
Clark (difficultly): ...it's the meteor rocks...
Jonathan: Come on...
Jonathan begins dragging his son from the sauna. As they go through the doorway, Coach smacks a fire extinguisher on the back of Jonathan's head. Jonathan is knocked out. But Clark is far enough from the meteor rocks that he recovers immediately. Coach swings at him with the extinguisher, but Clark blocks the blow. On a second block, Clark pushes the Coach through a nearby window. Coach lands heavily in the locker area. As he gets up, Clark approaches him.
Clark: Coach, you need help.
Coach begins backing away.
Coach: What I need is to win this game!
Clark (stony): It's too late for that.
Closing his eyes, Coach concentrates, and flames erupt around Clark. Clark just looks at them. As more fire blocks Clark completely in, Coach looks up. But Clark walks through the fire, uninjured and calm. Coach backs away, afraid.
Coach: How'd you do that?
Clark takes off his still-burning jacket. He smirks.
Clark: It's in the genes.
Coach takes a swing at Clark, who easily tosses him into the empty shower area, where he slams against the wall. Coach picks himself up again.
Clark: Give it up, Coach! You've lost!
As he yells in total anger, the showers erupt in flames. The fire engulfs Coach before Clark's eyes.
Lex's mansion, night. Lionel enters Lex's library. Lex stands.
Lex (cockily): Two trips in one week. I'm flattered, Dad.
Lionel: What is this? (holds out a folder)
Lex: It's my new proposal. I worked out how to cut the operation budget by twenty percent without losing a single job.
Lionel: Lex, I specifically told you to cut your workforce.
Lex: Why? With this plan, you don't get the bad PR.
Lionel (terse): That's not the point.
Lex: Careful, Dad, you're getting emotional. (picks up a rapier from nearby) We could always try a rematch. (plays with the blade) Or are you afraid you can't take your son again?
Lionel: You get one.
Lex: One what?
Lionel: One chance to defy me.
Lex (amused): I can't figure out what you hate more -- the fact that my plan works, or that you didn't come up with it first.
Lionel: Just remember -- empires aren't built on clever bookkeeping.
Lex: Dad, you have no idea what I'm capable of.
Father and son stare each other down.
School. Firemen are cleaning up the burned locker room. Jonathan and Clark exit the locker room.
Jonathan: Sorry you didn't get to play.
Clark: Were you here to make sure I didn't hurt anyone?
Jonathan stops his son with a hand.
Jonathan: I was here to support my son.
They begin walking again, passing a fire engine.
Clark: Some of the things I said...were out of line.
Jonathan: Look, I... (stops again) I do trust you, Clark. I do. I... I guess there's always gonna be a part of me that's a little bit afraid. (resignedly) But that's just being a parent.
Clark (smiling): Thanks, Dad.
Jonathan nods and smiles back, one hand on Clark's shoulder. He puts his arm around Clark and they continue leaving.
The empty football field. Detritus from the game still litter it. Clark is standing in the middle of the field.
Lana's voice: Peaceful, isn't it?
Clark turns to find Lana behind him.
Clark (warmly): Hey. I thought you were working.
Lana comes closer.
Lana: I got 'let go'. Apparently, I'm not waitress material.
Clark: Sorry. How did your aunt take it?
They begin walking together.
Lana: She said that it was a sign that I should seriously reconsider cheerleading.
Clark: Parents... what are you gonna do?
Lana: I heard about the coach. Pretty weird.
Clark: He won his 200th game, and didn't even see it.
Lana: You gonna play next season?
Clark: I don't know if football's for me. (stops) I mean, my dad played, my granddad played. I think it's time to break the vicious cycle.
Lana: Pretty short career. Why the change of heart?
Clark: I don't know. I guess I got out on the field and (looks at her) realized my reason for playing was gone.
Lana accepts the statement, smiling a little, perhaps understanding his meaning.
Lana: Sorry to hear that.
Clark: Who said life was fair?
Lana: Are you gonna be okay?
Clark: (thinks a moment) Sometimes I just wanna scream.
Lana (smiling playfully): Why don't we?
Clark: 'Why don't we' what?
Lana: Scream. I'm game if you are.
Clark looks around.
Clark: Are you serious?
Lana (laughing): Why not?
Clark: On three. One... Two... Three.
Standing side by side, both throw their heads back and scream.