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The Superpower Clark Learned Off Screen On Smallville

Superhero stories on TV have evolved into much grander affairs since the early 2000s. Shows like Smallville set the stage for future crossovers and team-ups with other important DC characters. The serialized storytelling meant audiences followed Clark Kent (Tom Welling) on his journey to becoming Superman every step of the way.

The first three seasons of the series featured a number of episodes which used either a villain-of-the-week template or saw Clark grapple with a new ability that he'd discovered. Although the show's infamous "no tights, no flights" rule meant the Man of Steel only took to the sky in the final season, we still got to see an impressive array of his powers. There's one particular skill that we never saw the hero struggle to learn, mainly because he'd already mastered it off-screen. Surprisingly, the writers intended to give the power its own episode early in season 4, but we never got to see how Clark Kent learned how to use this ability.

Smallville's writers reworked the use of arctic breath

The official Smallville companion book revealed that an episode originally planned for season 4, titled "Cold," would've introduced Clark's arctic breath. The young hero would've come down with flu-like symptoms, and his sneezes would accidentally freeze things.

The setup of Clark causing havoc with his breath was too good not to use, so instead of unintentionally freezing things, the writers reworked the template for season 6. In the episode titled "Sneeze," the hero develops super breath, which he uses to push objects out of the way or put out fires. After this discovery, Clark must have tested his powers offscreen to see what else he could achieve, although there's no direct mention of that in the series.

The first time Clark uses arctic breath comes in the season 9 episode, "Rabid," where Metropolis looks like the opening of 28 Days Later. In the first few minutes, Clark needs to distract Lois so he can sneak out as the Blur. To leave unnoticed, he chills her coffee with arctic breath, forcing her to leave and make a fresh cup. It's a brief moment, but Lois' reaction demonstrates how well his power functions: "Clark, this is ice cold."

Later moments in season 9 show arctic breath's full potential as a Red Kryptonite-infected Clark whips up a snowstorm before working with Major Zod to completely freeze the villain, Metallo. It's not the most important step on the road to becoming Superman, but after nearly a decade of episodes, audiences would believe Clark Kent could learn another power.