Mr. Melville crosses the yard and enters the greenhouse of the Melville Nursery. Inside, he speaks to his daughter Jodi, suggesting she get something to eat. But Jodi is overweight and this has made her unhappy. She hopes to look good for Lana Lang’s upcoming birthday party. As she explains this to her father she works with planting soil. Tiny bits of glowing green rock dot the soil here and there like vermiculite. Jodi believes no one likes her. Worse, she expects this because of her size. But she has devised a plan: no more food, just the plants she’s growing.
At school, Jodi cuts the heads from pictures of supermodels and tries out the bodies under pictures of her own face. Chloe and Pete find her at this and talk to her briefly, asking for help with the math midterm. Since it is lunchtime they promise to buy lunch in exchange for the help. But they don’t need to buy lunch for Jodi has brought lunch – a thick green slurry in a thermos bottle. As she holds the cup of vegetable goo, Dustin and a friend approach Pete about a pickup game. They mock Jodi about her size and finally Dustin bounces the ball and splashes vegetable shake all over Jodi, who runs off embarrassed. Dustin comments that someone that big ought to have a thicker skin, and Pete, angry, bounces the basketball off his head as Chloe comments that someone as stupid as Dustin
ought to have a thicker head.
At home, Jodi mixes more of the green drink in the blender. Her father urges her not to starve herself; she replies that she has tired of waiting and weighing and keeping a diary. Her father tells her she cannot simply stop eating because that is unhealthy. Then he tries to reassure her, telling her that she is beautiful just like her mother was. That may make her feel worse, since her mother was not fat.
In the bathroom, Jodi learns she weighs a hundred sixty five pounds. Then she hears a growling in her stomach and notices her belly visibly shrinking. Her face also thins. Moments later a return visit to the scale reveals she has lost nearly twenty five points in seconds!
At his home, Lex finishes a treadmill run and Dr. Vargas gives him a clean bill of cardiac health. Only one finding puzzles the physician – Lex has a somewhat elevated white cell count. Anywhere else, the doctor tells Lex, he would order a battery of tests. But he sees this syndrome a lot in Smallville. Lex presses him and he somewhat hesitantly suggests that some believe the cause is pollution emitted by Luthor’s plant. Lex denies this and asks Vargas to set up the battery of tests. Vargas begins questioning Lex and discovers that Lex had childhood asthma that disappeared when he lost his hair.
At the Kent home, Clark helps Lana with her math midterm. He learns that her aunt has largely taken control of her birthday party. Lana would choose pizza and loud music but her aunt has planned a lavish affair at Lex’s mansion. Lana and Nell have been through a lot recently so Lana has chosen to give her aunt this one.
When they move outside Whitney drives up. He has happy news: the scout called and he got a tryout with Kansas State! He and Lana hug and kiss, but then Whitney explains that he hasn’t accepted yet because they want him there on Saturday and he knows that is the day of Lana’s big party. Lana tells him to go and they kiss again. Embarrassed, Clark tells them he’ll catch up to them later and leaves.
At school, Pete tells Clark that Whitney’s good fortune is also Clark’s good fortune. Clark, remembering the long kisses, fails to see it. Even Chloe is confused. Pete explains that Lana will be at her own party with no date. As the three friends pass a table, Jodi calls out. Pete and Chloe are surprised at home much weight she has lost, Pete especially; she even bought new clothes. She thanks Pete for defending her when Dustin taunted her but Pete dismisses it, saying a lot of people don’t like Dustin. Then Jodi asks Pete if he has a date for Lana’s party, but Pete, captivated, fails to answer so Clark tells her his friend is dateless. Then Jodi asks Pete if he would like to go with her. Clearly he would, so Clark again answers for him, telling Jodi that Pete would love to.
After Jodi leaves, the friends can’t agree on how fast Jodi lost the weight; Chloe says that if she could lose so much weight overnight, half the school would be after the secret.
Lana visits the Kents at home. Jon offers her a latte but she passes. She has come with the produce order for the party; Martha tells her she could have phoned that in, but Lana explains how she wanted to get away from her house. Clark returns with several bushel baskets. Not seeing Lana, he tells his father that he put the posts in the west field, explaining that he hit granite but hammered through it. Seeing Lana, he conjures a hasty explanation involving a sledgehammer.
Lana explains how she is hiding from Nell, and has even considered stowing away in Whitney’s truck. Clark jokes that if she failed to show for her own party it would start talk and she assures him she would never do that to Nell. Clark rather clumsily offers to escort her to the party, since Whitney will be away. Martha smiles, perhaps remembered her own early dating experiences. Lana asks Clark to promise to make it this time before she leaves.
Martha gently mocks Clark’s invitation after Lana leaves, then briefly discusses Clark’s birthday gift, suggesting that the best gifts come from the heart.
Jodi makes more of the green goo in her kitchen. Her father remains concerned but she tells him that she feels great, and that she even got a date to Lana’s party. He tells her that’s terrific, but adds that he wants her to eat more than shakes. He leaves, telling Jodi not to stay up too late.
Back upstairs Jodi steps onto the scale again. She has another strange stomach convulsion; with gurgling and noise. The scale reveals that she has lost nearly fifty pounds in two days! As the gurgling concludes, she races back downstairs and hauls open the refrigerator. She grabs chicken, leftovers and other kinds of food, and eats like a starvation victim. She drops half-eaten food, tears contains with her teeth, and leaves a mess all over the floor. Finally, she spies the vegetable drink and hurls the blender beaker and drink at the wall, where it spatters in a green blotch.
Later, Jodi drives through the rain in her pickup. Food packages cover the passenger seat as the teen jams edibles into her mouth. Distracted, she fails to see the buck cross the road until too late; she slams on the brakes but hits the animal anyway. She gets out of the truck and sees the carcass in the glow of its headlights. Approaching, she bends down and dislocates her own jaw, then tucks into the deer...
Clark watches Lana and Whitney make out through his telescope. He’s so interested Chloe surprises him when she appears asking if he’s gotten his daily Lana fix. Irritably, Clark asks if she ever knocks, and she points out that he’s in a barn. She has come about the accident on Route 5. Someone hit a deer, she continues, but animal control claimed the creature died of “causes unknown” and Chloe wants more. She knows the Kents, as farm folk, have had contact with the animal control officials and she wants Clark to use his ‘pull’ to get her into the office. Clark tries to blow her off, claiming chores and that he still hasn’t decided on a birthday present. Chloe promises to help him with the present if he can get her into animal control and he agrees.
Clark asks to use their bathroom, a trivial ploy but one that works to get them into the back of the building. Unfortunately, the examination room containing the deer carcass is locked. Chloe leaves to finagle a key out of someone; Clark forces the door by punching the lock mechanism loose with a stiffened finger. He lifts the sheet so Chloe can take a picture and sees the carcass now looks like jerky. According to a report Chloe finds, the animal somehow lost eighty percent of its body fat. Clark wonders only half jokingly if they have uncovered a fat sucking vampire.
Lex surfs the Smallville Torch online. The front page contains an article by Pete Ross and a piece by Chloe on ‘America’s strangest town.’
Jodi’s father approaches the closed door of her bedroom. He tells his daughter that he must go to Metropolis for a few days or he will lose a client, and that he will return Sunday. He asks for a kiss goodbye but she claims she is not decent. He almost enters and then changes his mind, saying goodbye and leaving. Inside, Jodi sets on the floor, surrounded by a fan of discarded food wrappers.
Clark meets Lex in the Torch offices unexpectedly. Lex visited the school to discuss endowing a computer lab with the principal – perhaps a pretense to visit the Torch offices. Certainly Chloe’s ‘Wall of Weird’ has caught his attention; he claims his plant manager Gabe goes on and on about his daughter the reporter, so Lex decided to drop by and visit. Lex asks Clark if he remembers the day the meteors fell; Clark claims he does not. Lex does, and shares the incident – how he wandered into a cornfield and when the meteor hit felt a tidal wave. Everything went black until he woke up completely bald at Metropolis General Hospital. When he was younger Lex viewed his lost hair as a curse, constantly fielding questions about whether he was on chemotherapy or what was wrong. Gradually, he came to see it as a thing that defined him and gave him strength. He now sees his future as brighter than that of the spoiled rich kid who walked into the cornfield. Chloe enters and greets Lex. Lex asks he if she believes the weirdness in Smallville started with the meteors and she admits it. Only one other person, a man who earns his living selling meteor souvenirs, agrees. As Lex leaves he suggests she call him when she’s looking for work, because he has friends at the Inquisitor.
Pete and Jodi talk. Pete is concerned because Jodi has been ill. She claims she has a mild case of stomach flu and Pete tells her if she can’t go to the party he’ll understand. She says all she needs is rest and she’ll be fine. As she walks up the stairs she encounters Dustin walking down; he complements her on deciding to hit the gym. A stomach cramp seizes her and Dustin asks if she’s okay, but she recovers. Then she asks Dustin if he likes what he sees, and he does – and wants to see more. Jodi has Dustin follow her...
Clark finds Lana reading ‘A Confederacy of Dunces,’ a gift from Whitney that surprised her. She has hiding, having completely surrendered her birthday to Nell. Clark asks if Lana is ‘anti-birthday’ but she says no, she just wanted something different. Clark asks if she ever had a happy birthday and she describes one before her parents died, when they took her to a drive-in. Her father parked all the way up to the front so the screen filled the windshield, and Lana felt all grown up because she got to sit in the front seat. She reminisces further, about the opening Bugs Bunny cartoon and how her mother wrapped her in a sweater and she fell asleep before the actual movie started. And, she finishes, how that birthday was the last time she felt completely safe.
Jody leads Dustin to a machine room, and then her attitude changes, as she recalls the mockery. She turns, and her jaw dislocates, and she leaps...
Clark hears something and looks around with his X-Ray vision. He spots two entangled skeletons and races in. Not far away, Jodi opens a large valve and steam blasts Clark. He calmly pinches of the pipe and continues looking. Suddenly Dustin falls against Clark! The boy is half dead from starvation, with the gaunt look of a badly embalmed corpse!
Lex visits the barn/laboratory operated by Dr. Hamilton. He pokes around but before he can touch any of the samples Dr. Hamilton interrupts him. Lex claims to be a fan and Dr. Hamilton replies with a wry smile and a comment that mineralogists don’t have fans. Lex admits that’s true but qualifies it by reminding Hamilton that most mineralogists didn’t handle the moon rocks. Hamilton tells Lex that all happened long ago, before he got kicked out of Metropolis University. Then Lex gets to the reason for his visit. Ever since he found out about a medical condition, he has been curious about Hamilton’s work. Hamilton asks if Lex thinks meteors caused his condition, and Lex parries by reminding the scientist that his theory claims the meteors alter cellular make-up. Lex suggests this is research worth funding, and Hamilton replies that his funding is private... and so are his results. Lex reminds him that his funding comes from tourism and says the money will be available when Hamilton changes his mind.
Clark talks to Chloe and learns that Dustin lies in a coma from loss of body fate. Had Clark not found him, he likely would have died. Clark wonders about the fat sucking vampire theory he’d joked about earlier. And he wonders who would steal body fat and why.
They encounter Jodi, who now has a large try of food spread before her. No more vegetable shakes, and she seems fully recovered from her stomach flu. She shovels items from the pile before her into her mouth as the other students watch. Soon enough she becomes self-conscious; grabbing two wrapped deserts, she leaves.
Clark still has not decided what to get Lana for her birthday.
Lex finds Lana surveying the progress of the decorators from a balcony. He comments about her boyfriend Whitney, who cannot make the party and she tells him didn’t make the cut, but unexpectedly got an invitation when someone dropped out. Lex knows the story, which surprises Lana; Lex rather quickly tells Lana that her aunt Nell shared the details with him. Before leaving her alone, Lex comments that he likes her new escort better.
Martha folds clothes at the Kent household. Clark tells her he has devised a gift for Lana with some help from Lex. Chloe appears but is not dressed for the party. Instead she has done more digging and has found a receipt from a body and fender repair shop. It describes repairs necessary to restore a truck to working condition following a front end accident, and the customer is Jodi Melville. Chloe concludes that Jodi hit the deer and did not admit to it. Chloe also reports that the Melville home is built next to one of the big meteor hits, and suggests that Jodi’s vegetable drink might have contained plants grown in soil rich in meteor fragments. Chloe concludes that the drink altered Jodi’s metabolism so that she lost weight too fast and has gone on losing it, and now needs body fat to survive. They conclude that the must find Jodi.
Jodi models a form-fitting red dress in front of a mirror at her house. Pete knocks at the door and presents Jodi with flowers when she answers. As they walk to the car, Jodi has more stomach cramps. She knows what they mean, but she does not want to harm Pete, who has always been nice to her, so she begs him to run. Noting the noise and cramps, Pete offers to take Jodi to the hospital but she runs instead.
Pete knocks on her door, and when she fails to answer pushes the unlocked door open and steps into the dark house. He searches, calling Jodi’s name, and she asks him again to leave, pleading that she does not want to hurt him. Pete finds her sitting on the floor of the kitchen, just in time for her hunger to overpower her. She tackles Pete and knocks him down, also knocking him out, then dislocates her jaw and bends to feed.
Clark arrives, interrupting her feeding, and she flees to the Melville greenhouses. Clark follows her, but the plants there have taken up meteor compounds, and there is a lot of meteor rich soil stored about. Clark immediately weakens, so when Jodi hits him with a shovel it knows him to his knees. She’s about to spear the helpless hero when she sees her own reflection in some broken glass. She realizes then that she must stop this for good, and with the shovel knocks a hole in the gas line. Then she smashes the overhead electrical light. A tremendous explosion consumes the greenhouse.
At her party, Lana has gone to the outside balcony. Lex visits her there. A veteran of Luthor Christmas parties (eighteen years worth spend in the coat closet), Lex knows how Lana feels. He tells Lana he knows Clark will be there, and leaves her to “get some air.” She replies that it doesn’t matter because it’s just a birthday, but clearly it does matter.
Clark returns home. Jodi Melville is en route to Metropolis General Hospital; her father will meet her there. Pete has a “serious migraine” but is otherwise unharmed. Clark is upset that he disappointed Lana; Jonathan suggests that when one helps people as Clark does, sometimes one must make sacrifices. Clark perks up, saying he doesn’t have to sacrifice everything.
At his mansion Lex opens and reads a letter from Doctor Vargas in Metropolis. When he finishes he smiles slightly and crumples the letter.
In his barn/lab, Dr. Hamilton continues working on meteors. Lex appears and tells Hamilton he received a clean bill of health. Hamilton looks up and smiles sarcastically and suggests that Lex won’t be bothering him any more. Lex continues as if Hamilton did not speak, saying that he had a friend do some digging. Hamilton, it seems, lost his job because of what Lex delicately describes as “student-teacher relations” and not because of his outré meteor theories. Hamilton tightly orders Lex to leave and Lex plays his last card – he hands Hamilton a check for one hundred thousand dollars. Lex tells Hamilton he doesn’t care about the past and in fact believes in personal reinvention. Hamilton wonders aloud why a billionaire’s son cares about a bunch of rocks that fell out of the sky twelve years earlier. Lex airily replies that he saves that
story for people he trusts.
Clark appears on the Lang lawn, below Lana’s window. He wants to apologize and admits he blew it. But he wants to give Lana her present, right now. Moments later, they’re in the cab of Clark’s truck. He has rigged a platform in the bed from which a film projector shines a Bugs Bunny cartoon onto a sheet hung from the side of the Kent barn. He wishes Lana happy birthday, and she hushes him with a smile as she asks for the popcorn. Share this article with your friends