Jonathan: [re: baby Kal-El] Sweetheart, we can't keep him. What are we going to tell people -- we found him out in a field?
Martha: We didn't find him. He found us.
October 1989 -- While a small spacecraft and a cluster of meteors head straight for Earth, billionaire Lionel Luthor descends upon Smallville, Kansas in a private helicopter with his young redheaded son, Lex, who, as it turns out, has a fear of flying. In town, meanwhile, childless couple Jonathan and Martha Kent step into the local flower shop to purchase some tulips, when they spot 3-year-old Lana Lang dressed in a fairy princess costume. The shop's proprietor and Lana's aunt, Nell Potter, is babysitting while Lana's parents are at the local high school's homecoming game, along with "everyone else." Fairy Princess Lana asks Martha to make a wish, then waves her plastic wand around. Later, outside the shop, Jonathan tells his wife that he knows what she wished for, and Martha admits that all she's ever wanted is a child. Meanwhile, as Lionel finishes up a business deal, Lex wanders into a cornfield, and comes across Jeremy Creek, a teenaged boy whose been stripped down to his boxers and strung up like a scarecrow. Just then, a meteor strikes nearby, engulfing the field in dust, while the rest of the town is similarly bombarded. When the meteor shower is over, Lionel is shocked to find his son bald but alive, while elsewhere, the Kents, whose truck overturned on their way home, are approached by a naked toddler, who simply smiles at them. Wrapping the toddler in a blanket, the Kents try to figure out where he came from, and come upon the spacecraft the boy arrived in. Jonathan points out that they can't just tell people they found him in a field, but Martha counters that the boy found them.
October 2001 -- The boy, now a teenager named Clark Kent, asks Jonathan to sign his permission slip for football tryouts, but Jonathan refuses, despite his son's protests that he can be careful. Then, when Clark leaves to go to school, he finds he's missed the bus, and instead, is forced to use his superspeed. At Smallville High School, Clark catches up with his friends, Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan, the latter of whom mocks the other two for wanting to join the football team. Pete then reveals to Chloe that every year before the homecoming game, the jocks take a freshman, strip him down to his underwear, and string him up in a field like a scarecrow, and explains that by joining the football team, he and Clark hope to avoid the "years of therapy waiting to happen." Just then, Clark notices his crush, Lana Lang, and goes to talk to her, but trips on the way, dropping his books in the process. As Lana helps him pick up his things, they get to talking about Nietzsche, until her jock boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, appears and asks her to look over a paper he finished at two in the morning. Meanwhile, Jeremy Creek, locked in time since the day of the meteor shower, breaks into the school's trophy case and steals a picture of some football players, while elsewhere, Lex Luthor arrives at the LuthorCorp Fertilizer Plant in Smallville. Later, Clark watches Lana during her cheerleading practice, and daydreams that he's a star football player with Lana as his cheerleader girlfriend. While walking home after school, Clark stops to daydream some more on Loeb Bridge, just as Lex speeds towards the bridge in his Porsche, distracted by his ringing cell phone. He looks up and quickly swerves to avoid something in the road, but ends up barrelling into Clark, sending both of them into the river below. Clark, apparently unharmed, pulls Lex out of the car, drags him toward the shore, and performs CPR.
Later, Jonathan arrives on the scene and angrily tells Lex to "drive slower," before taking Clark home. That night, in Clark's barn loft, Clark positions his telescope to spy on Lana as she hangs out on her porch. She's soon joined by Whitney, and eventually, she lends him her necklace for good luck during the homecoming game taking place later that week. Meanwhile, at Frank's Auto Repair, Jeremy surprises Frank, a former Smallville High football player, and electrocutes him. The next day, Clark returns home to find a new truck in the driveway, and learns that it's a gift from Lex in gratitude for saving his life. However, Jonathan refuses to let him keep the truck, even after Clark offers up the compromise of driving the old truck while Jonathan drives the new one. When Jonathan tells him it's "normal" for Clark to be upset at his decision, Clark sticks his hand in a wood chipper and is left unharmed, before declaring that he'd "give anything to be normal." Later, Jonathan explains that Clark's birth parents are from another planet, before taking him to the storm cellar and showing him the spacecraft Clark arrived in. Clark, angry that his parents didn't tell him sooner, superspeeds away.
That night, Lana runs into Clark at the local cemetary, and 'introduces' him to her parents, who died during the meteor shower. The two talk for a while, then Clark walks Lana home, where, unknown to both of them, Whitney spies on them from the porch. The next day, Clark pays a visit to Lex's mansion, interrupting a fencing session to return Lex's gift. Lex points out that he got a second chance at life when Clark saved him, then declares his intentions for them to be friends. Meanwhile, in town, Chloe, Pete, and a small crowd watch as a former jock, the third that week, is wheeled out on a stretcher. Noticing Jeremy among the onlookers, Chloe and Pete take his picture, and later, identify him through a yearbook from 1989. They explain to Clark that Jeremy was in a coma for twelve years, and the reason he hasn't appeared to age in all that time is due to a "massive electrolyte imbalance." They add that there was an electrical storm a few days ago that somehow awakened Jeremy, and that he's getting revenge on the jocks that made him the Smallville High scarecrow in 1989. Then, Chloe shows Clark her Wall of Weird, which documents "every strange, bizarre, and unexplained event that's happened in Smallville since the meteor shower." When he sees a picture of Lana that was taken shortly after the meteor shower, he immediately blames himself for the death of her parents, and leaves. Outside, Whitney and his fellow jocks ambush Clark, declaring him to be "this year's scarecrow." Clark tries to fight back, but he's weakened by Lana's necklace, which Whitney places around Clark's neck. As Whitney and the other jocks load Clark into the back of Whitney's truck, Jeremy watches nearby.
That night, Jeremy finds Clark strung up in a field like a scarecrow, and comes to the realization that the tradition "never stops." So, Jeremy leaves Clark where he is, insisting that Clark's "safer [t]here," and heads to the homecoming dance. As Lex is driving by, he notices Jeremy leaving, and recognizes him from twelve years before. Upon investigating, he finds Clark and gets him down, and in the process, Lana's necklace falls off. Immediately feeling better, Clark assures Lex that he's fine, then grabs his clothes and takes off after Jeremy. At the homecoming dance, Jeremy prepares to set off the sprinkler system with the intent of electrocuting everyone in attendance, when Clark shows up to stop him. Jeremy tries to electrocute Clark, but when that doesn't work, he then tries to run him over with a truck and ends up crashing through a water main. When Jeremy comes into contact with the water, he gets electrocuted, then when Clark goes to check on him, he finds Jeremy's aged twelve years and doesn't remember him. Afterwards, Clark checks in on the dance attendees, and catches Lana and Whitney sharing a kiss. He starts to leave, but then notices Whitney's truck outside and gets an idea; later, Whitney finds his truck stacked on top of two others. Back in the barn loft, Clark tells Jonathan that he's glad the Kents were the ones that found him, but Jonathan counters that Clark found them, and leaves. Clark then daydreams that Lana comes by to dance with him, just as the real Lana arrives home from the dance. As he watches her head inside, he thanks her for the dance, to which Lana stops and looks around, as if she heard him.