Capitulo 4 “Hothead”

Rain pours down and the crowd cheers as Whitney calls out the snap count for the Smallville Crows football team. The ball is snapped, but the rain is blinding and he’s sacked. On the sidelines, Coach Walt Arnold, abrasive and authoritarian, tells Whitney to run the same play and throw the ball. Whitney does so, the pass is completed for a touchdown and Smallville wins. It’s Coach Walt’s 199th victory. Later that evening, Walt relaxes in his private sauna, pouring water over heated rocks hiding several green meteor fragments. Principal Kwan arrives bearing bad news: several players have been caught cheating. Walt tries to get Kwan to cover it up to no avail; Kwan is suspending the players. Walt furiously slams his towel down when suddenly, his desk bursts into flames.

At school the next day, Coach Walt, now short of players, is recruiting for that week’s game, hopefully Walt’s 200th win. He sees Clark toss a football in the hall and asks him, or rather coerces him, to be on the team. With Lana watching, Clark reluctantly agrees, but has to face his father when he arrives home. Jonathan is not pleased; he worries that there might be an accident in which Clark hurts someone, or that Clark will inadvertently reveal his secret. Meanwhile, his hated LuthorCorp rival, Dominic, visits Lex. Dominic informs Lex that Lionel wants him to cut his workforce to increase profits. Lex has a more daring business plan in mind and refuses. There is no love lost between these two. At the Lang home, Lana informs Nell that she quit the cheerleading team, disheartened by the cheating football players. Lana now plans to fill her free time with a job. The next day, Clark arrives at football practice to find Jonathan in the stands. Clark is pleased until Jonathan tells him that he is only there to make sure no one gets hurt. On the field, Clark’s emotions get the best of him and he puts on an impressive, almost superhuman, display of speed and strength. Angry, Jonathan leaves. That night, Coach Walt and Principal Kwan have a heated exchange in which the TV in Walt’s office suddenly catches fire. Kwan leaves as Walt begins to realize that his anger might be the source of these fires. Looking out his window he sees Principal Kwan getting into his car. Walt focuses, concentrating intently. Suddenly, fire erupts inside Kwan’s car, just as Pete and Clark are exiting the locker room. Clark sends Pete for help, races to Kwan’s car, rips the door off, and drags the principal to safety just before the car explodes in a blazing fireball.

At dinner, Jonathan criticizes Clark for his lack of caution on the football field that day. Feeling completely unsupported Clark storms out, joining up with his friends at “The Beanery,” the local coffeehouse. They run into Lana who has found a job there as a waitress. Lana is struggling in her new job and Clark offers her encouragement. Also at the Beanery are the cheating football players. Coach Walt summons them, and sensing a story for “The Torch,” Chloe follows them to the football field. Coach Walt is waiting for the players, furious that one of them, Trevor, admitted to Principal Kwan that Coach Walt supplied them with the test. Walt berates the players, even hitting Trevor – “Nothing’s going to stand between me and my legacy!” As his fury grows, the lawn sprinklers spontaneously begin shooting geysers of fire. The players are terrified. Chloe, hiding in the stands, is amazed and begins snapping pictures. Meanwhile, at Luthor Mansion, Lex is mildly surprised when Lionel arrives unannounced. Lionel is angry that Lex disobeyed his orders to lay off workers. He suggests a fencing duel to settle the issue. Lex agrees and Lionel beats him. That night at the pep rally, Chloe corners Trevor and confronts him about Coach Walt. Trevor refuses to talk, but Walt saw the exchange and grabs Trevor by the forearm, burning him, to remind him to keep his mouth shut. Then, concentrating, Walt starts a fire in the “Torch” office where Chloe is working late. Chloe runs but the flames chase her through the halls. Clark arrives just in time to break Walt’s concentration and save Chloe.

In the aftermath of the fire, Chloe tells Clark she thinks Coach Walt is somehow controlling the fires. She asks Clark to talk to Trevor, and Clark reluctantly agrees to visit him tomorrow. At the Beanery, Clark, Lex, and Lana discuss their parent troubles, and Lex resolves to not cave in to his father. Meanwhile, Clark is paying a visit to a terrified Trevor. Trevor doesn’t want to talk, but the hand-shaped burn on Trevor’s arm is all the information Clark needs. He confronts Coach Walt before the game in Walt’s sauna, but is surprised to find he is suddenly weakened when he steps inside (by the meteor fragments under the heat rocks). Coach Walt knocks Clark down and locks him in the sauna, leaving him to suffer under the meteors’ power.

Jonathan and Martha arrive at the game, meeting Chloe, but Clark is nowhere on the field. Jonathan asks Coach Walt where Clark is, but Walt says he doesn’t know. Jonathan checks the locker room and finds Clark locked in Walt’s sauna. He kicks the door down, but just as Clark is free of the sauna, Walt hits Jonathan with a fire extinguisher. He then tries to hit Clark, but Clark’s strength is renewed and he kicks Walt through a window. Walt then calls up a fire, but Clark walks right through it unscathed. Clark pushes Walt into the shower room, telling him he needs help, but Walt is enraged that Clark is beating him. His fury is uncontrollable and the showers suddenly shoot out jets of flame. Coach Walt is immolated instantly. Meanwhile, Lionel arrives again at Luthor Mansion, furious at Lex’s new business plan – one that saves money without having to fire anyone. “You get one chance to defy me,” Lionel says. In the aftermath of Coach Walt’s death, Clark and Jonathan make up, and Clark runs in to Lana on the now empty football field. It seems Lana was not a very good waitress and was “let go.” “Some days I just want to scream,” says Clark. Mischievously, Lana suggests they do exactly that. They throw back their heads and release all their frustrations in a long cathartic scream.

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