- "I just felt trapped. By this town, by this family. Everything was getting so bad, and I just never saw myself escaping. It's like the only future that I saw for myself was a life that I didn't want."
- —Sarah talking to her mother about her suicide attempt[src]
Sarah Cushing, also called Sarah Cortez (born 2006) is a resident of Smallville. She is also the daughter of Kyle Cushing and Lana Lang Cushing, the older sister of Sophie Cushing, the ex-girlfriend of Sean Smith and Jordan Kent, and a friend to Natalie Lane Irons and Aubrey.
After Morgan Edge's defeat, Sarah and Jordan kept dating till Sarah went to camp and met Aubrey. Aubrey and Sarah kissed making Sarah feel weird about her relationship with Jordan. After telling the truh to Jordan, Sarah and him continued their relationship with various struggles throughout the way. At Sarah's quinceañera, Sarah learned about her father's affair and continued supporting her mom with the elections. Due to feeling alone, Sarah contacted Aubrey and resumed their friendship.
Sarah was born to Lana Lang and Kyle Cushing, and she has a younger sister, named Sophie Cushing. She was raised in Smallville. When Sarah was a child, Sarah befriended Jonathan Kent and Jordan Kent when they stayed with their grandmother, Martha Kent one summer.
Sarah's childhood was fairly happy, but as she got older she became increasingly aware of the serious problems affecting both Smallville and her family. Feeling trapped by her life and seeing no way to escape, she impulsively attempted suicide by swallowing a handful of her mother's sleeping pills. Her life was saved and her mother insisted on her attending regular therapy which Sarah felt she did not need, and was annoyed by Lana’s attempts to portray the family as happy and functional when they were not. Following the incident, she began seeing Dr. Lawrence at her mother's request.
Return of the Kent family
When Martha Kent died, Sarah went to the funeral with her family. There, she met Jonathan and Jordan Kent again. Sarah said she was sorry for their loss. When her parents left, they talked about the summer they met. Then Sarah asked what had in the Kent farm barn, so the twins accompanied her there. While in the barn, Sarah said that almost anything there could kill them and that Smallville sucks.
Sarah then asks for a phone number from one of them, Jonathan thinks it's his but actually Jordan's. She then picks up the phone and says that there will be a bonfire tomorrow and he can go. Jordan tries to impress Sarah by climbing on the scaffold without a ladder to reach the router, but he falls hard on the ground when the straps that hold the steel beams are broken. Jonathan then tries to save his brother from the steel beams by jumping in front of him. So Sarah runs off and tells Clark.
At night, Sarah goes on a bonfire with her boyfriend. There, she meets Jordan. She told him about her own mental health struggles. While they talk, Jordan's attraction to her becomes overwhelming and he kisses her passionately. Sarah reveals that she has a boyfriend, just as he appears to fight. She tries to stop the fight but Sean's friends show up and beat Jordan and his brother. Then suddenly the fire explodes. So Sarah's father is called to put out the fire. The next morning, Sarah goes to the Kent farm to see how the twins are doing. They talk about what happened the night before and later she gets in the car and leaves.
The next morning, Sarah meets Jon and asks where Jordan is, and he says he didn't go today because he is sick. Sean and his friends see them talking and enter the conversation to intimidate Jon, Sarah then apologizes and goes with them. Sarah was with her sister when Morgan Edge arrived in the city meeting. When Sophie painted her nails in her home, she meet the twins. After talking, Sarah took Soph to the barbecue.
Sarah left the cheerleading squad at school after arguing with her mother in the middle of training. Later, Sarah met Jordan and Jonathan Kent at Victoria May's. They talked until Lana arrived and took her away. Sarah questioned her mother for denying and hiding her family's problems instead of facing them before leaving. That same night, Sarah reconciled with her mother and reassured her, saying that she would not try to commit suicide again.
The next day, Sarah invited Jordan to go with her to the Smallville Harvest Festival, which he agreed to. That night, her father came home drunk after one of his firefighters was injured during a fire. Sarah briefly agreed to stay to look after him, but rejected Kyle's attempts to bond with her and went to the festival.
At the Festival, Sarah and Jordan were creating a relationship, but the moment was ruined when Jonathan, Timmy Ryan and another boy arrived drunk and mocking the two. Disgusted by their behavior, Sarah left furiously. The next day, Sarah told Jordan that she was not ready to have another relationship at the moment, but she wanted them to remain friends and he agreed.
The next day at school Sarah saw bruises on Jordan's face, which the twins unconvincingly claimed was the result of an accident. Sarah planned to go to the Crows’ big game against Metropolis but stayed behind to babysit her sister to allow her parents to go out to celebrate Lana’s promotion. Tag Harris, a friend of Sarah’s who had suddenly left town weeks ago, came to her house. Tag wanted to talk to her but he lost control of his powers for a moment and scared her, then accidentally knocked her unconscious when she tried to run away from him. Tag kidnapped Sarah and took her to his hideout in Metropolis. He told her about how he had gained superpowers and showed her a clip of the night the bonfire exploded, including a flare travelling from Jordan to the bonfire right before the explosion, and explained his theory that Jordan was responsible for his powers.
Superman arrived to rescue her, followed shortly by a squad of soldiers sent by the Department of Defence. The soldiers attempted to shoot Tag but Superman stopped the bullets. Tag was taken into custody and Sarah was returned home. The next day Sarah told Jordan Tag’s theory and assured him that if something was going on he could tell her. Jordan told her he had no idea what Tag was talking about but she was unconvinced.
Because she could tell Jordan was hiding something from her, Sarah was standoffish with Jonathan the next day, asking why Jordan had not come to school. Jonathan told her that Jordan had been attacked by Tag and was suffering severe headaches, explaining the bruises and Jordan's absence, claiming that Jordan didn't tell her so she wouldn't worry about him. Sarah felt guilty about assuming the worst and for not asking Jonathan about his broken wrist. Later she apologised to Jonathan and teased him over his attraction to Tegan Wickhem, one of the most popular girls in school, warning him to stay away from her. The two had a friendly conversation, which Jordan overheard with his super-hearing and mistook for Jonathan making moves on her, leading to an argument between them when Jonathan went home. The day of the revue, Jordan suddenly ran out of school and did not return. Sarah was too scared to perform alone but Kyle accompanied her on his guitar as promised. Kyle walked out shortly after Sarah’s performance and disappeared for hours, eventually coming home late at night claiming to have woken up in a field with bruised ribs and no idea how he got there.
Bonding with Jordan
Assuming he was drunk again, Sarah told Lana she should kick him out and stormed out when Lana defended him. The next day, Jordan and Jonathan told her that her father had been possessed by an alien consciousness and was being held prisoner by the military. Jon was able to convince their grandfather General Lane to let her visit Kyle. The Kryptonian possessing him mocked Sarah, telling her that her father was dead, and Sarah felt terrible that the last thing her father heard her say was her calling him a drunk. Jordan tried to comfort her and encouraged her to hold onto hope. When the Subjekts were all activated and attacked Superman Sarah did not seek shelter like the rest of the town, but went to Kyle’s cell to try to reach out to him. Kyle and the rest of the Subjekts were depowered by Superman and Sarah reunited with her parents.
Lois and the twins took the Cushings home. Sarah thanked the twins for being honest with her and told them she hated how families kept secrets from each other, unaware they were still not telling her the full story. She asked Jon to give her and Jordan a moment alone, and when he did she kissed Jordan and told him she wanted to be more than friends.
The Cushings were ostracised by the town, who blamed Kyle and Lana for what had happened, but this shared adversity brought the family closer together. Sick of the treatment from the other students, Sarah walked out of school and Jordan followed her. She took him to a lake she used to visit with her grandmother and they kissed, but they were caught by a sheriff’s deputy and arrested for trespassing as they were technically on private property. They were let off with a warning and handed over to their parents.
Over the next three weeks, Sarah and Jordan's relationship blossomed. Her parents planned to leave Smallville but she assured Jordan that would not happen as they had only a received a single very low offer for their house. Sean invited Jon and Jordan to a party and noticeably snubbed Sarah. Jordan did not want to go without her but she encouraged him to, as she already had plans with her sister. Later that day, Kyle and Lana announced to the girls that Kyle had accepted a job in Bristol County and the family would be moving. Sarah did not want to leave and called out her parents for giving up on Smallville so easily, and blamed them for the damage Edge had done. She stormed off to the party and told Jordan what had happened. Jordan wanted to try to keep their relationship going long-distance but Sarah was unsure if they could make it work.
That evening, Sam tracked Jon and Jordan to the party and took them home, bringing Sarah along. Morgan Edge appeared in front of their car and they hit him, but they were thrown off the road while Edge was unharmed, much to her shock. Jon tried to shoot Edge with Sam's Kryptonite gun, however Edge was too fast and easily dodged the bullet and kidnapped Jordan. Just before he was taken, Jordan told Sarah he loved her. Jonathan told her to go for help.
Sarah ran home and told her parents what had happened. They drove back to the wreck, helped Jon and Sam out of the car and patched up their injuries. They took Jon and Sam back to town and found the townspeople protesting the DoD. Faced with the choice to either leave or stay and help with the evacuation, the Cushings decided to stay. During the evacuation, Kyle rescued a woman from a burning building, winning back the respect of the town. He was offered his job back and the family decided to stay in Smallville. At a victory party at the Cushing’s house after Edge was defeated, Jordan reaffirmed to Sarah that he loved her, and she replied that she loved him too.
Relationship with Jordan
However, over the summer Sarah and Jordan drifted apart and Sarah felt overwhelmed by Jordan's attempts to keep their relationship going. While working as a summer camp counsellor, she kissed a girl named Aubrey. Natalie Lane Irons advised Sarah to be honest with Jordan and she told him what had happened. Jordan was upset by this and at school the next day said he did not know how their relationship could continue even though Sarah insisted she loved him and the kiss meant nothing. That night Jordan came to her house and told Sarah that he loved her and wanted to be with her, and gave her a pendant which his grandfather had given his grandmother when they were teenagers, and they reconciled.
Emily Phan warned Lana that Mayor Dean was digging into her family's past and had been asking questions about Sarah. Lana and Kyle were worried that Dean would reveal Sarah's suicide attempt and cause her to backslide into depression. However, Sarah assured them she had overcome the problems that led her to try to kill herself and she was not afraid.
The Cushings held a quinceañera party for Sarah's fifteenth birthday, where Sarah was planning to announce that she would return to her family's original Spanish surname "Cortes". She and Jordan left the building for a while to get some air and they overheard her father talking to a woman named Tanya, learning that the two had had an affair. Sarah had a panic attack during the father-daughter dance and ran out. Kyle and Lana followed her and Sarah told Lana about the affair. Lana told Sarah not to let what had happened ruin her night and they went back inside, where Lana gave a speech telling Sarah how much she loved her, and how her daughter's strength inspired her.
Lana kicked Kyle out of the house, and he repeatedly tried to call Sarah but she was unsure if she should talk to him. She wanted to discuss the situation with somebody but believed Jordan would not be able to help as he had a very positive relationship with his father. She decided to reach out to Aubrey, whose parents were divorced. Aubrey told Sarah that when her parents split, she had refused to speak to her father for a full year, but eventually realised that she was only hurting herself and him. That night, Sarah went to see Kyle.
Kyle and Lana agreed to a co-parenting arrangement, allowing Sarah and Sophie to spend time with Kyle. A week later, Sarah told Jordan that she had been talking to Aubrey and told him that she wanted the three of them to be friends. She invited Jordan to hang out with them after school and he agreed, but Sarah sensed he did not want to and he ultimately did not show up.
The elections and breakup
Sarah is a good-natured girl, a caring and responsible older sister, and a supportive friend to Jon and Jordan, often attending their football games to cheer them on. She shows compassion and understanding toward Jordan's mental health struggles, though is guarded about her own depression and suicide attempt. She appears introverted, as she doesn't have many friends besides Jon and Jordan.
Sarah is honest about dysfunction within her family, such as her parents, Kyle Cushing and Lana Lang's marital problems, her father's drinking and self-pitying ways, and Sophie bullying her classmates, calling her mother "full of crap" for being in denial about these problems. She does still love her parents, as seen when she offers to skip a major football game to babysit Sophie so they can have a night out.
After reconnecting with Jordan, Sarah chose to dump Sean and date her childhood friend instead, since he always cared for her.
- Singing: Sarah is an excellent singer as demonstrated when performing Amos Lee's "Little Light" for her audition with Jordan and later in the talent show with her father.
Superman & Lois
Superman & Lois
- Sarah's sexuality is unknown, but she kissed a girl and it was implied that she did not resist, making her feel awkward with her relationship with Jordan. It's possible that Sarah is either bisexual or pansexual.
Behind the scenes
- The subplot of Jordan keeping his super abilities a secret from Sarah is reminiscent of Clark Kent and Lana Lang's long problematic relationship in Smallville, where Clark refused to tell Lana the truth about his Kryptonian nature for years.