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Recap / Smallville S 01 E 17 Reaper

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Originally aired April 23, 2002

Written by Cameron Litvack

Directed by Terrence O'Hara

A young man named Tyler comes back to life with the power to turn any organic substance he touches to ash. Clark and Jonathan clash when it's revealed that Lex investigated the Kents and that Clark knew about it. Lex contends with Dominic, who comes to Smallville on Lionel's orders to investigate Lex's finances.

Tropes present in the episode:


  • Antagonist Title: Tyler uses his death touch to become a "reaper."
  • Anti-Villain: Tyler is either a Type II, III, or IV. He isn't evil; he just wants to end people's suffering. However, he realizes it's his own suffering he's been trying to deal with.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: While he was misguided, Tyler took a diabolical power like instant-death touch and, rather than using it for selfish purposes, used it for probably the most altruistic purpose it could be used for.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Discussed briefly by Lex after he takes back his offer to give Clark and Jonathan football tickets in an attempt to help Clark and his father reconcile.
    Lex: [to Clark] In his own way, [your father]'s just trying to give you something my father never gave me.
    Clark: What's that?
    Lex: Limitations. All my father ever told me was "Don't get caught. Don't cause a scandal." That's not love; that's public relations.
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  • Driven to Suicide: Tyler, after finding out his mother is still alive after his botched Mercy Kill of her in the teaser and realizing he's been doing more harm than good.
  • Feud Episode: After Jonathan finds out Clark knew that Lex investigated the Kents, the two of them get into a heated argument and end up not speaking to each other for the rest of the episode. In the final scene, they reconcile.
  • Heel Realization: Tyler near the end of the episode, when he learns his mother is still alive.
  • Mercy Kill: Tyler uses his meteor power to kill people he feels want to die.
  • Not So Different: When Martha advises Clark to mend fences with Jonathan after their argument and Clark expresses reluctance to do so:
    Clark: Well, what can I do? You know how stubborn he can be.
    Martha: I know how stubborn you both can be.
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  • Pet the Dog: In the final act, Jonathan, who spends much of Season 1 acting like a Jerkass towards Lex, compliments Lex for arranging for the Metropolis Sharks to let Whitney play with them so his ailing father can see his son play pro-football. He then has a brief but civil conversation with Lex about the bridge incident, and politely tells him that he doesn't need an explanation for everything miraculous thing that happens.
    Jonathan: That's a really nice thing you've done for the Fordmans.
    Lex: Thanks, Mr. Kent. That means a lot coming from you. I just want you to know, I closed the book on that day at the bridge.
    Jonathan: Why'd you investigate it in the first place?
    Lex: That day was a miracle. Haven't you ever wanted to find out why things like that happen?
    Jonathan: [beat] No. I just accept the fact that they do. You don't need an explanation for everything, Lex.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Lex gives Jonathan grief for his unwillingness to look past the Luthor name, although Jonathan isn't moved.
    Lex: You know, from the day I first met Clark, all you've ever seen is the name "Luthor."
    Jonathan: Well, so far, you haven't given me a reason to see anything else.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Lex does this to Dominic so he can deliver him back to Lionel in the trunk of his car.
  • So Proud of You: Lionel's response to Lex after Lex puts Dominic in the trunk of his car.
    Lex: You want to ask an accounting question, Dad? Call me. The next time one of your drones bothers the Kents, he'll be lucky to catch a ride home with the spare. [starts walking off]
    Lionel: Lex! [beat] Well done.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Jonathan's response after Lex tells him that the only family photo he has appears in the LuthorCorp annual report.
    Lex: The only picture of my father and me appears in the LuthorCorp annual report.
    Jonathan: Is this the part where I'm supposed to feel sorry for you?
  • Touch of Death: Tyler gains the power to cause anything organic he touches to deteriorate (except Clark, of course).
  • Villain of the Week: Tyler Randall, Mercy Killer.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jonathan's response to Clark after Clark lets slip he knew that Lex investigated the Kents.
    Jonathan: Did you know that your buddy Lex Luthor had us investigated?
    Clark: Yeah, but he said it was all in our past. He promised.
    Jonathan: [beat] You knew and you didn't tell me?
    Clark: Because I knew you'd react like this.
    Jonathan: [stands up] I thought we had an understanding. How am I supposed to protect you when you won't give me all the facts?
    Clark: I don't always need your protection.
    Jonathan: When it comes to your secret, you bet you do!


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