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Season One  - Season Three - Season Four - Season Five - Season Six  - Season Seven - Season Eight

Season Two: Vortex - Heat - Duplicity - Red - Nocturne - Redux - Lineage - Dichotic - Skinwalkers - Visage - Insurgence - Suspect - Rush - Prodigal - Fever - Rosetta - Visitor - Precipice - Witness - Accelerate - Calling - Exodus


Ryan and Martha

First aired November 12, 2002

Official Description - Detailed Description - Notes

See also: Quotes - Music - Transcripts

The CW's Official Description:

Clark (Tom Welling) pushes his abilities to the limit to save his telepathic young friend Ryan (guest Ryan Kelley) from an evil doctor who wants to control the boy's abilities. Meanwhile, Nell (guest star Sarah-Jane Redmond) tells Lana (Kristin Kreuk) they are moving to Metropolis.

Michael Rosenbaum, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider also star. Terrence O'Hara directed the episode written by Philip Levens.

Detailed Description:

By Nadine

Ryan James (Ryan Kelly) is being tested on for his telepathic abilities (see episode "Stray"). Dr. Garner (Martin Cummins) is asking him to read his mind as Garner looks at certain images. Ryan's whole body is hooked up to various monitors, one of which is observing his brain activity. He is getting headaches, but the doctor wants him to continue. It is obvious that this is torture on Ryan. The headaches get worse, and suddenly his nose starts bleeding. The doctor is looking concerned, and Ryan reads him mind: the doctor is worried that Ryan will die before he can complete his research. Garner tells his assistant to go fetch some coagulant. Ryan is looking confused and asks Garner what oxicontent is. Garner explains it is a powerful narcotic, and Ryan tells Garner that his assistant is stealing it. Garner suspected it, and goes to confront his assistant. In fact, Ryan had read Garner's mind (who was wrongly suspecting his assistant). Garner confronts his assistant and realizes that the assistant was just following directions and fetching a coagulant, Garner realizes that Ryan wanted to be alone. When they run back to the testing room, they find Ryan is missing. Garner sees that Ryan must have gone into the ventilation duct. Ryan crawls through the vent to a room with a phone. Garner finds what room Ryan was in, but can't get in, the door is locked. Ryan calls the Kents, and Clark Kent (Tom Welling) picks up. Ryan is in a hurry on the phone, and Clark can barely understand what he's saying. Ryan tells Clark that he is being held in a place called Summerholt and that they're experimenting on him. Finally, Dr. Garner enters the room, and fights with Ryan. Clark hears all the cries on the phone. While the assistant is holding him, Garner prepares to use a huge needle on him to inject something into his brain. Clark hears Ryan begging for them to stop the injection, but it's too late, and the injection sedates Ryan.
Martha Kent (Annette O'Toole) tries calling Ryan's aunt, but the operator tells Martha that the number has been disconnected with no new listing in Edge City for Ryan's aunt. Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) asks Clark if he found out anything about a place called Summerholt, but Clark says that there are no hospitals by that name. Jonathan goes to call the Edge City police. Clark is very worried. He says he got an email from Ryan a few weeks back, he was getting ready for school and seemed fine.
Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) and Clark are discussing this back at school. Clark wonders if there's something he should have noticed in Ryan's emails. They get to the Torch office, and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) tells Clark that her friend Henry at the telephone company managed to trace to call to a place called Summerholt Neurological Institute in Metropolis. Chloe finds it odd however, because that place is purely a research facility that doesn't even take patients, and she wonders what Ryan could have to do with a place that specializes in super-esoteric brain research.
Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) meets Mayor Tate (William B. Davis) and they discuss LexCorp's expansion. Lex explains that he is still waiting for the approval of the zoning commission. Tate explains that environmental and safety regulations generally slow things down. Lex tells Tate that if the project falls through, it will cause a huge job loss for Smallville. Tate then goes on to say that he knew Lionel Luthor (John Glover) well, it seems Lionel used to support Tate's party and campaigns. Lex is confused about why his father would be interested in local politics, and Tate boldly explains that it is the reason why Lionel has never had a permit held up at the zoning commission. Lex realizes that Tate is asking for funding in exchange for Lex's permit. Tate laughs when Lex calls it a bribe but says that it's the only way business is done. But Lex refuses to compromise on his ethics, and explains that his father is no longer in charge of the Smallville plant, that it is owned by LexCorp and that he has his own way of doing business. But Tate doesn't deter from his message, and reminds Lex of how much Lex would loose if the project shut down. They mayor also reminds Lex that Tate is up for reelection soon.
Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) is riding her horse, when Nell (Sarah-Jane Redmond) walks up to her and tells her that her fiancé Dean and her are moving to Metropolis and wants Lana to come too. Lana is shocked that Nell would have accepted without discussing it with her first and doesn't want to leave her friends, her school and The Talon.
The Kents discuss Ryan's situation. Martha tried to call the Institute but was put on hold endlessly. Jonathan explains to Clark that it can't be the right place, since the police had already been there and found no trace of Ryan. Clark is worried and wants to go to Metropolis, but his father tells him he just can't go into a facility like that and start breaking down doors.
Ryan is back in his room in the institute, sedated, weak and hooked up to monitors. Clark goes to the institute anyway. Both the receptionist and Dr. Garner tell him that Ryan is not there and that the police has already looked. While the receptionist is busy on a call, Clark sees a clipboard with a list of departments with their room numbers, and sees that the listing for Parapsychology is listed as "restricted". Clark knows that it is where he has to go, and breaks down the door to Ryan's room. Ryan is weak, but manages to tell Clark that he knew he would come for him. A lab assistant walks in, but Clark knocks him out and takes Ryan away.
Clark takes Ryan to the Luthor mansion, where both Clark and Lex take care of Ryan, with blankets and hot chocolate, and ask about Ryan's aunt. Ryan explains that he started getting headaches and nosebleeds and that his aunt tried all the local doctors. It became too expensive and then Dr. Garner showed up and offered to pay for all Ryan's expenses and lodging while taking care of him in his hospital. Ryan's aunt then moved to Arizona. Lex wonders what condition Garner was holding him there for, but before Ryan can answer, Lex answers that he was just being held for observation. Lex asks to speak to Clark in private. He asks Clark why he would have kidnapped Ryan out of place that is only holding him for observation. Clark explains that they were treating him like a lab rat. Lex explains to Clark that they will both get in trouble for kidnapping a minor, but that Ryan can stay here tonight, and that Lex would call his lawyer and find out what they can do. Lex wonders how Clark got Ryan out without being stopped by anyone, and Clark replies that he was just lucky. Lex states, "You're the luckiest guy I've ever known".
When Clark gets home, he finds Garner and Sheriff Ethan (Michael Kosterman) waiting for him. Martha wants to know what happened. Clark states that Ryan is not in the house, he's somewhere safe. When Garner wants Ethan to arrest Clark, Clark pleads to give him until tomorrow. Garner agrees and wants Ryan back by 9am or he's threatening to put Clark's life under a microscope.
Clark brings Ryan to the farm in the morning. Everyone's happy to see him, and Ryan tells them not to be mad at Clark. He explains that his aunt freaked out when she found out about his abilities and couldn't handle it. He realizes that Garner is coming for him. Garner shows up with Ethan and tells Ryan to come with him. Ryan pleads with the Kents not to make him go. When Clark and Jonathan stand in Garner's way, he threatens them to accuse Clark of kidnapping which would come with jail time and the Kents would loose both boys. Garner tells them that he is Ryan's legal guardian and that he has every right to take him back. Suddenly, Lex shows up and hands Ethan a temporary restraining order against Garner, giving the Kents custody of Ryan until the situation can be reviewed. Garner still threatens to have Clark arrested, but Lex tells him that he has a counter-suit waiting to be filed, since Metropolis DA is very interested in looking into some of Summerholt's research facilities, especially those involving minors held under duress. Garner walks away, promising that this is not over.
Chloe and Lana throw Ryan a surprise welcome back party. Ryan pretends to act surprised, of course, he knew about it as they were arriving. Lana kisses him on the cheek and he is shocked and happy. Everyone is having a good time, while Von Ray perform a great acoustic version of "Inside Out". Ryan thanks Pete for having his mother co-sign the restraining order. Ryan realizes that Pete knows Clark's secret, and he tells Clark that Pete is constantly worried that he'll slip up and tell someone about Clark's abilities and that he would end up in a place like Summerholt. Ryan also tells Clark that Lana is moving to Metropolis. Ryan then starts getting a headache and they leave the party early.
Lana comes to Clark's barn to check on Ryan. Clark tells her how worried he is for Ryan, and how life is so tough for Ryan. Lana tells him that everything is ok now, that Ryan is safe, thanks to Clark. Lana tells Clark that she is expected to follow Dean and Nell to Metropolis. Clark suggests she speaks to Henry Small (Patrick Cassidy) but she is not prepared to burden him with that, especially since they're not even sure that he is her father. Clark would like Lana to stay at the farm, but the house is too crowded right now. Lana tells Clark that Ryan is very lucky to have been able to choose the Kents as his family. Clark tells Lana that she shouldn't go to Metropolis if it doesn't feel right.
Martha takes Ryan to the Luthor mansion, but she says she won't have a lot to do since Lionel is in Metropolis. Ryan tells her that he knows that she enjoys her job. She tells him that she may give it up since Ryan is here now, so she can spend more time with him. He's worried that they are changing everything for him, but she reassures him that he is a gift, like Clark. He also tells her that he knows her secret, but he doesn't say what it is. Martha promises she will tell Clark and Jonathan eventually. While Martha goes to work, Lex shows Ryan his Warrior Angel collection. Lex explains that it help him get through tough times when he was younger. It was reassuring for him to read about characters where he new who the villains and heroes were. He explains that when you grow up, not everything is black and white. Ryan feels that this is his father talking, and that Lex shouldn't have to compromise as he says he does. Just when Lex is about to comment on Ryan's intuitiveness, Ryan's headaches take a turn for the worse, and he collapses.
Clark is by Ryan's bedside in hospital when he wakes up. He gives him the latest edition of Warrior Angel he purchased from the gift shop. He asks Ryan about Warrior Angel's floating fortress, and Ryan explains that it's where to hero goes to get away from it all. Clark confesses that he wouldn't like his fortress to float because he is scared of flying. Clark tells Ryan that the doctors are running more tests, but Ryan tells him that he's already read Garner's mind, and that he is dying from a brain tumor that is getting bigger. Clark wants to go tell the doctors, but Ryan tells him that they already know.
Clark and Jonathan discuss Ryan. Jonathan explains that the doctors think that the tumor is growing at an accelerated rate because of the experiments that were done on Ryan in Summerholt. Clark feels powerless, and he knows that Ryan thinks of him as a hero, but there's nothing that even he can do to help.
Lana explains to Chloe that she has no say in where she's gonna live, since Nell is her legal guardian. She even looked into child emancipation, but the process can take over a year. Chloe tells her that she has one more option. Lex shows Clark a magazine with the profile of a doctor who has invented a radical new serum that shrinks primary brain tumors, but the serum is still in the experimental stages. Unfortunately, the specialist is flying out of Hub City to Helsinki this afternoon and won't be back for six weeks. Lex also tells Clark that he's looked into Ryan's condition, and found that the type of tumor Ryan has can give people ESP-like abilities. Lex thinks that Ryan can read minds. Clark is suddenly worried that Lex is only interested in exploiting Ryan, but realizes quickly that he overreacted. Lex tries to tell Clark that sometimes, no matter how much you wanna save someone, there's nothing you can do. When Lex's mother was dying, he spent so much time researching the best doctors and treatments, when the best thing he could have done is spend time with her. By the time he realized that, it was too late. Lex wasn't at his mother's side when she passed. Lex begs Clark not to make the same mistake he did, but Clark is determined not to let Ryan die. He runs over 400 miles to Hub City to find the specialist.
Meanwhile, Lex brings Ryan the rarest issue of Warrior Angel, where Devilicus turns against the Warrior Angel, when they had started off as friends. Apparently, Devilicus asked Warrior Angel to conquer the world with him, but Warrior Angel refused, he believed it was a hero's duty to protect the weak and innocent. Devilicus vowed to destroy Warrior Angel and everyone he loved. Lex doesn't think that Devilicus was aware that he was becoming a villain. "In life, the road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch", says Lex, to which Ryan answers, "You should remember that, Lex".
Clark finally makes it to Hub City airport, and sees Dr. Burton's jet getting ready for take off. He throws himself in front of the plane, forcing the pilot to make an emergency stop. Dr. Burton steps out of his plane, and Clark shows him Ryan's x-rays. Burton realizes the emergency and agrees to see Ryan. The Kents wait for Ryan to come out of surgery, Martha and Jonathan tell Clark how proud they are of him. Clark feels confident that the surgery is gonna to work.
Lex shows Mayor Tate a tape that Tate's opponent could release that exposes all of Tate's shady dealings. Lex tells Tate that he is putting all his money behind his opponent, and suggests that Tate resigns immediately. But Tate threatens Lex with a rebuttal of fiery speeches about Lex being from outside the community, trying to control all of Smallville. Lex warns Tate, "If you start a fire, Mayor Tate, you better be prepared to deal with the flames".
Lana comes to the hospital, and tells Clark that she is moving in with Chloe and her father, Gabe Sullivan (Robert Wisden) until she finishes high school. Nell is not happy with it, but has agreed to it. Clark is very surprised that Chloe and Lana are going to be roommates. He's saddened that she won't be the girl-next-door anymore. She teases him about not having anymore use for his telescope now that she's moving. Martha and Jonathan arrive and are in tears, the surgery was unsuccessful. Clark visits Ryan in his room and they discuss Warrior Angel's floating fortress. Ryan wishes to have one too, because, from up there, his problems would seem so small. Ryan tells Clark that Lex really admires Clark, and makes Clark promise that he will look out for Lex after he's gone. Clark doesn't want to admit that Ryan is dying. Ryan says that the surgery bought him a few extra days, that's all. Suddenly the headaches get worse again, and Ryan finds it unbearably loud in the hospital. Clark promises him to take him somewhere quiet.
Clark has taken Ryan for a hot air balloon ride over the fields of Smallville. Ryan says it's perfect, and wonders how Clark can be up there if he's afraid of flying. Clark explains that its ok with Ryan there to protect him. Ryan tells Clark that he shouldn't be angry or sad about not being able to save him, that Clark changed his life, and that he will be changing a lot of people's lives, and that he should never give up. They hug and cry, while Dishwalla's song Angel and Devils plays with the great lines "Fighting all the demons will take time..." and "Are we ever gonna learn to fly...".
Clark picks up the comic books from Ryan's now empty hospital bed.

All detailed descriptions © Copyright 2000-2008- All Rights Reserved


Warrior Angel #1 looks suspiciously like Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman. Note also the (very nicely directed) transition from the "A Hero Cries" cover to Clark's face in the next scene.

Musical guest: Vonray

Hub City is home of the DC hero, The Question.

Despite being billed in the opening credits, John Glover doesn't appear in this episode.

Why doesn't anyone find it odd that Dr. Garner vehemently denies holding Ryan (several times people say it's "just a research facility and we don't experiment with people") but then when he arrives in Smallville, he's claiming that Ryan legally belongs to him and they have been doing experimentation with people? Even says he had the police come in (twice) to search for Ryan. At the very least it seems odd to be threatening Clark with a kidnapping charge over something Garner was probably doing illegally. Lex says the D.A. might look into Garner holding Ryan for unethical treatment - seems like it would be a given.

So...are Lana and Lex partners in The Talon? It's always Lex and Lana talking business, Lex closed out the deal (in "Heat") with Lana rather than Nell, etc. But she's definitely a teenager as established here - can she really have any kind of meaningful legal contract with Lex? More importantly to this episode, if Nell is the legal partner, could she close down The Talon? And is she content to let Lana manage it single-handedly while she lives in Metropolis? Later episodes establish that Lana and Lex are equal partners, although this may be a simplification.

Ryan's aunt gave up custody of him to a complete stranger? She might have noticed that he was being experimented upon if she had ever visited him, which, of course, she didn't, since she moved to Arizona while he was in the hospital, apparently not even leaving a forwarding address. Why did she even bother to take him in if she was so unable or unwilling to care for him? And yet, Ryan insists she's a good person. (note: some abused children still defend their parents.)

Doesn't anybody wonder how how Clark got all the way to the brain specialist in such a short amount of time? (of course he could have said he was hitchhiking for a week)

If Lex really wanted to, couldn't he get a helicopter to take him to Hub City?

As a researcher of human physiology, specifically but not necessarily exclusively the brain, Dr. Garner isn't the least bit interested in a boy who can kick in a security door and toss a grown man across the room like a rag doll?

Once more Clark uses his superhuman abilities in a hi-tech facility that just happens not to have any security cameras. How lucky was that?

Another nitpick related to moving people around, is how Clark got Ryan from Metropolis. Didn't Lex wonder how he got the boy all the way back without a car looking the way he did?

Can't Lex just call the airport in Hub City? He's rich, he's connected - can't he call ahead and ask Dr. Burton to wait?

In the episode "Crush" Chloe mentions the mayor as Mayor Siegel (a shout out to the co-creator of Superman), however in this episode we meet him as the incumbent Mayor Tate. Since Tate mentions that he has been around forever, Siegel couldn't have been running the town in Crush. They probably should have kept his name as Siegel instead of Tate.

Several people thought that Ryan's hair seems undisturbed for undergoing removal of a tumor, but not all such operations require hair removal.

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Season Two: Vortex - Heat - Duplicity - Red - Nocturne - Redux - Lineage - Dichotic - Skinwalkers - Visage - Insurgence - Suspect - Rush - Prodigal - Fever - Rosetta - Visitor - Precipice - Witness - Accelerate - Calling - Exodus

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