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This Is How The Different Colors Of Kryptonite Affect Clark In Smallville

Kryptonite: as weaknesses go, it's basically Superman's kryptonite. Since it debuted in the radio serial The Adventures of Superman more than 80 years ago, the irradiated mineral remains of the Man of Steel's home planet has become ubiquitous in the DC universe, making its way into the hands of every scofflaw and nogoodnik from Gotham to Central City. Convenience store robbers have kryptonite. C-list villains like Titano the Super-Ape and Metallo are basically made out of the stuff. Lex Luthor has apparently perfected the art of convincing geode-shilling Etsy shops that he's just developed an innocent interest in amateur geology and has no intention of building a glowing green suit of rocket armor. Again.

But nobody has used more of the iridescent plot device than Smallville, the decade-spanning saga of Superman's early days that tossed radioactive space rocks around like Mardi Gras beads. The series took full advantage of a spectrum of visually striking varieties of kryptonite, each with its own brand of skullduggery.

Green kryptonite

Green kryptonite is a classic for a reason. It's traditionally the most readily available variation on the substance. If you're writing a Superman story and need to put a hitch in your hero's giddyup, green kryptonite is the way to go.

In Smallville, green "k" is used just how you'd expect. Starting in the show's pilot, Clark is seen being weakened by the stuff, going weak at the knees any time that Lana Lang darkens his proverbial doorstep with her ever-present meteor rock necklace. Get the stuff close to a Kryptonian, and they'll lose their powers for as long as it's nearby, eventually killing them.

But that's not all. The massive amounts of the material present in the small Kansas town also added a touch of The X-Files to Clark's home turf. Denizens of Smallville who were exposed to green kryptonite became "meteor freaks," gifted with very on-the-nose superpowers. A kryptonite-infused bee sting gave a high school student the power to control bees. For one all-too-brief episode, Amy Adams played a young woman struggling with her weight who became a fat-sucking vampire lady after drinking green kryptonite diet shakes.

Then there were the medical experiments and procedures. Green kryptonite-infused organs were transplanted into patients to give them superpowers, green kryptonite-infused blood exposed to an MRI made a guy magnetic, green kryptonite-infused acne treatments gave a high school student ... less acne. Also, she could kill people by kissing them. All in all, Smallville's green kryptonite was the sci-fi CBD oil of plot devices, purportedly capable of doing anything, as long as you were buying it.

Red kryptonite

In the comics, red kryptonite has always been nebulous, affecting Kryptonians in different ways ranging from draining their powers to making their skin see-through. In the Smallville mythos, it hits Clark less like a literal poison and more like the hair metal band Poison, twisting his normally stand-up psyche until he don't want nothin' but a good time.

Yes, Smallville's "red k," first seen in the season 2 episode "Red," strips down Clark's inhibitions, turning him into a gosh dang troublemaker. When the future Man of Steel gets a class ring with a red kryptonite gemstone, he starts mouthing off, using his parents' credit cards, flirting with girls, and getting into all manner of hurtful adolescent hijinks. While the substance's side effects can be shrugged off easily given some physical distance, things get more complicated when it enters Clark's bloodstream. At that point, the only solution is a hasty stabbing with some green kryptonite, which starts Kent on a cleansing shvitz.

But that's not all. As with other forms of kryptonite, the red stuff can mess with humans, too. When Lois applies lipstick that's full of the stuff, she suddenly wants to do kissing.

Black kryptonite

It's like the helpful old rhyme says: "if the kryptonite's green, that rock is real mean. If the rock's dark and ruddy, there's two of you, buddy."

Black kryptonite, which is created through the process of super heating the bridge and tunnel green variety, yoinks folks in twain, with physical manifestations of their good and evil selves popping up as a result. Martha Kent uses a hunk of the stuff to separate the good and virtuous Clark from his recently brainwashed Kal-El counterpart in season 4, bringing Annette O'Toole that much closer to revisiting the plot of Superman III. When it's heated up, the stuff can make the same thing happen to humans — Lex Luthor whoopses into this discovery later in the same season. This variation on kryptonite came back in Smallville's eighth season when Clark used it to split Doomsday into his component personalities, to mixed results.

Also, fun fact: In 2017, apparently deciding that "makes a mean Superman and a nice Superman" wasn't a metal enough concept for the charcoal-hued space rocks, the DC comic series Dark Knights: The Batman Who Laughs introduced a version of black kryptonite that made Clark Kent tear his family apart with his bare hands, which, you know, would've been harder to square tonally with a prime-time slot on the CW.

Silver kryptonite

Silver kryptonite's tenure on Smallville was as brief as it was poorly explained. In the season 5 episode "Splinter," Lana receives a package, supposedly from Lex Luthor, containing a supposed new variant of meteor rock. Clark goes and gets himself into a real pickle when he opens the package, accidentally introducing this new metallic kryptonite into his bloodstream.

There are a few less than obvious results. Clark doesn't heal immediately, implying that his ability to recover from wounds has been diminished. The real bummer, however, comes when Clark starts to hallucinate. He thinks that he's about to be run off the road by a black truck, but then the truck disappears. He thinks that his dad is planning to sell him out to the Luthors. Threatening messages and phone calls haunt him. It's all bad news.

In short, the silver kryptonite, later revealed to be the creation of Brainiac, turns Clark into a paranoid mess. Inconveniently, it also seems to leave him with the majority of his powers intact.

Blue kryptonite

At a surface level, Smallville's blue kryptonite is relatively unspectacular. It takes away a Kryptonian's powers, rendering them effectively human for as long as they're in contact with it. Clark figures this out for himself when, not for the first time, he puts on a ring filled with a new variety of kryptonite in the season 7 episode "Blue." Honestly, like 40 percent of this show's problems would go away if Superman just stopped putting on jewelry.

But then there's the list of other characteristics. Blue meteor rock, as tends to happen, also has an effect on regular old Earth folk. When exposed to the stuff, humans become pictures of health, as seen in season 10's "Harvest." Also, and this is important, it takes a real toll on Bizarros, upping their powers to the point where they physically can't take it anymore and explode. Or, to put it another way, when Bizarro came into contact with the stuff, he blue up.

Gemstone kryptonite

Smallville's ninth season gave viewers another one-hitter quitter in the form of gemstone kryptonite.

You know how it is: you're out on the town with your best girl on Valentine's Day doing a little undercover investigative journalism when darn it all, a well-meaning romantic blows particalized fragments of irradiated minerals from your dead homeworld into your face. Your eyes glow with the ominous glint of CGI foreshadowing, and before you know it, you're controlling the minds of the people around you through the slightest verbal suggestion.

That's the situation that Clark finds himself in season 9's "Persuasion" when a fistful of well-meaning gemstone kryptonite gets blown in his face. He spends the episode Purple Manning his way through his social circle, accidentally causing Lois to quit her job and become a hypnotized homebody when he expresses interest in a more traditional relationship and turning Chloe into his brainwashed minion. In a major whoops, he even persuades himself to get all dark and vengeful. Luckily, kryptonite never caused a problem that couldn't be fixed by more kryptonite — green k manages to detox all affected parties.

Gold kryptonite

There's a reason that you don't see gold kryptonite too often. As plot points go, it's about as big a buzzkill as you could ask for. See, while green kryptonite weakens a Kryptonian's powers, and blue kryptonite takes them away for as long as the victim is in close proximity, gold kryptonite robs a Kryptonian of their remarkable abilities permanently. Sometimes. In theory.

Gold meteor rocks were a late addition to the Smallville universe. First mentioned in the show's final season as a means of causing permanent harm to natives of Krypton, it made its onscreen debut in the episode "Prophecy" before factoring heavily into the plot of the series finale. There, a brainwashed Oliver Queen tries to rob the future Superman of his powers at the Man of Steel's own wedding, sneaking in a hunk of gold kryptonite in the form of — hold on, let's just check our notes here — another ring. This show, man. If we ever needed more proof that rings are a terrible accessory for adult guys, Smallville was it.