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Recap / Smallville S 01 E 03 Hothead

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Originally aired October 30, 2001

Written by Greg Walker

Directed by Greg Beeman

Walt Arnold, Smallville High's football coach, gains the power to control fire. Clark joins the football team against Jonathan's wishes. Lana quits cheerleading and takes a job at the local coffee shop. Lex defies his father's orders to fire his employees.


Tropes present in the episode:

  • Accidental Athlete: Coach Arnold notices Clark's athletic potential after witnessing him catch a football thrown at Chloe.
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  • Antagonist Title: Coach Arnold is the titular "hothead."
  • Big "NO!": Coach Arnold during his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Broken Pedestal: Coach Arnold becomes one to Jonathan after he makes an insulting remark about Clark when he comes out onto the football field looking for Clark (who's trapped in the coach's sauna and weakened by meteor rocks). The look on Jonathan's face after this happens says it all.
    • Lana leaves the cheerleading squad when she finds out some cheated on an important math test.
  • Cathartic Scream: Clark and Lana share one in the final scene.
  • Compliment Backfire: When Coach Arnold is trying to convince Clark to join the team.
    Arnold: 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 of heart.
    Pete: Thanks... I-I guess.
  • Fatal Flaw: According to Lionel, Lex's is that he is ruled by his emotions.
  • Feud Episode: Clark and Jonathan clash over the former joining the football team against the latter's wishes. Fortunately, they reconcile in the final act.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Martha points out that Jonathan once ran away from home to go try out for the Metropolis Sharks when he was a teenager.
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  • Hot-Blooded: Coach Arnold
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When Coach Arnold is trying to convince Clark to join the football team, he tells him football is in his genes. In the final act, after Arnold witnesses Clark walk through a wall of fire unscathed and asks how he did so, Clark remarks "It's in the genes."
    • After insulting Dominic and two other LuthorCorp employees, Lex dismissively tells them "This meeting is adjourned." Later, after Lionel bests Lex in their fencing match and orders him to fire 20% of his employees, he tells Lex "Meeting adjourned."
  • Irony: Coach Arnold burns to death before the team won the game.
  • It's All About Me: Coach Arnold cares about winning and doesn't care how or who he has to hurt or kill to get it.
  • Jerkass: Coach Arnold verbally abuses his players and even burns the wrist of one kid who told Principal Kwan that Arnold supplied his players with exam answers.
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  • Man on Fire: Coach Arnold, by his own ability.
  • Mythology Gag: Jonathan tells Clark that he is here for more important things than football.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: After Jonathan wonders how Clark got to be so stubborn, Martha remarks he once ran off one summer to go try out for the Metropolis Sharks when he was a teenager.
    Jonathan: Now how did [Clark] 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.
  • Personality Powers: Hot-Blooded football coach Walt Arnold gains the power to generate and control fire.
  • Playing with Fire: Coach Arnold's power.
  • The Runaway: Martha mentions that Jonathan once away from home one summer to go try out for the Metropolis Sharks.
  • Skyward Scream: The episode ends with Clark and Lana screaming up at the sky to vent their frustrations.
  • Take a Third Option: After Lionel bests him in their fencing match and orders him to fire 20% of his workers, Lex finds a way to save money without firing any of his employees. Lionel doesn't seem very impressed, though.
    Lionel: [holding a folder] What is this?
    Lex: It's my new proposal. I cut the operating budget by twenty percent without losing a single job.
    Lionel: [looking through Lex's proposal] Lex, I specifically told you to cut your workforce.
    Lex: Why? With this plan, you don't get the bad P.R.
    Lionel: That's not the point!
    Lex: Careful, Dad, you're getting emotional. [draws a foil] We could always try a rematch. Are you afraid you can't take your son again?
    Lionel: [beat] You get one.
    Lex: One what?
    Lionel: One chance to defy me.
    Lex: 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.
  • Villain of the Week: Coach Walt Arnold, a football coach with pyrokinetic powers.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Coach Arnold absolutely loses it after Clark tells him that he's lost. Whether it refers to their current fight or the game itself is unclear, and frankly it doesn't matter...Walt Arnold hates losing.
  • Wrote the Book: Lex states to Clark that the Luthors "wrote the book on uncomfortable silences."
  • Yes-Man: Lex ascribes this trope to Dominic and the two other LuthorCorp employees who visit him.
    Lex: My father sent me to Smallville because he'd rather surround himself with drones than people who challenge his archaic business practices.

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