Lionel is a shrewd businessman who makes decisions based on profits and productivity rather than the human element involved—his decision to shut down the factories in Smallville come from them not producing enough revenue for him to consider keeping them open. He miscalculates severely the emotional impact this will have upon the people of Smallville, leading one man to take the factory (and later, his son) hostage in retaliation for his nefarious schemes. Again and again, he and his son fall prey to the consequences of his brutal decision-making, when those with ‘ruined lives’ attack them. He always has an end game in mind, and is often ten steps ahead of his son—as Lex laments ruefully in one episode, “While I have been playing checkers, my father has been playing chess.” He knows what he wants his son to be and is attempting to mold him into it, always finding ways to challenge him, circumvent his logic, and go behind his back to ‘one-up’ him (this is also because he’s an 8). Lionel senses his son is getting up a “coup” against him, and quickly countermands it, by buying out his supporters. He is also adept in taking advantage of situations as they arise, sensing dissent among the men holding him hostage, and offering to double whatever their boss is paying them, to let him keep the files in the safe. Pretending to be blind longer than his illness so that he can watch the people around him. Making various moves on Martha, in order to keep her close and learn more about his son. He has an active sex life, and cheated on his wife numerous times, even initiating a relationship with his son’s ex in the first season. He outsmarts his son in bidding wars and is constantly trying to force him to become more ruthless, but as time and the show goes on, Lionel begins to nurse his Fi more and more, in learning to connect to things of value, and even attempting to mentor Clark in subtle ways.

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Lionel is aware of the power in the room and who has it. He dominates his son ruthlessly, seeking ways to exploit his weaknesses and them shame him for them, in an effort to “mold him” into a “man.” Lionel gets a kick out of being the one with all the power, to the downfall of others. He manages, successfully, to make no less than a half dozen people mad enough at him to want him dead at any given time. Lionel sneers at human emotions as weakness, and denies his son any form of affection other than high standards. He’s a deeply unhealthy 8, who is all about controlling rather than protecting. His 7 wing routinely denies personal responsibility and escapes the negative side of life through pleasure-seeking (affairs, romantic entanglements, expensive trips).