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Recap / Smallville S 01 E 16 Stray

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Originally aired April 16, 2002

Written by Philip Levens

Directed by Paul Shapiro

The Kents take in Ryan, a young boy with telepathy who's on the run from his abusive stepparents. Lex considers an offer from his father to return to Metropolis.


Tropes present in the episode:

  • Abusive Parents: James Gibson and Debra Birch, Ryan's stepparents. Gibson proves to be the worst of the two, since he shoots and kills Debra (which he was planning to do anyway), then tries to kill Ryan himself.
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  • Antagonistic Offspring: In the final act, Lex turns down his father's offer on the suspicion that Lionel just wants to control him because he's afraid that Lex will become a business rival.
    Lex: I know why you want me back. I'm driving you crazy, aren't I? I'm not clubbing till six A.M., not getting arrested. I'm on track—that's what scares you. You want me back where you can keep an eye on me.
    Lionel: You're making a mistake, Lex.
    Lex: You know what those emperors you're so fond of talking about were really afraid of? That their sons would become successful and return to Rome at the head of their own army.
    Lionel: You think you can find your future in Smallville? I'm your future. Join me, Lex. Join me in Metropolis. How long have you been waiting to hear me say those words?
    Lex: I've waited to hear other things from you for a lot longer. I'll return to Metropolis when I'm ready.
    Lionel: At the head of an army?
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  • Big Brother Instinct: Clark really takes to acting like a big brother to Ryan. In the final act, he puts a stop to Gibson.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Clark arrives in time to save Ryan from his evil stepfather.
  • Hollywood Hacking: What Gibson is doing to get Lex's trust fund qualifies as social hacking at best, but the way he does it from a laptop inside a moving car was impossible in 2002, when the episode was made and takes place. Wireless internet connections only became commonplace towards the end of the decade.
  • Kick the Dog: While looking for Ryan, Gibson tells him that his late mother considered him a freak too.
  • Look Both Ways: Downplayed. In the teaser, while fleeing from his stepparents, Ryan ends up running across a road and getting hit by Martha's car. He isn't killed, but Martha insists on taking him to the hospital.
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  • Mundanger: Ryan's stepfather James Gibson, who has no superhuman powers.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • The Runaway: Ryan runs away from his abusive stepparents in the teaser.
  • Stealth Pun: Lex gives Clark a fencing foil as a present, telling him that "every hero should have one."
  • Telepathy: Ryan's power, though he can only hear what a person is thinking at the moment.
  • Villain of the Week: James Gibson, Ryan's stepfather.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Gibson prepares to shoot and kill Ryan. Fortunately, Clark stops him by hurling a bowling ball straight through the wall at Gibson's chest.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Ryan refused to give the code and reveal that Gibson plans to shoot Debra forcing Gibson to shoot her, Gibson decided to get rid of Ryan.

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