EPISODE REVIEW: Smallville: "Collateral" (Season 10, Episode 12)

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After last week's false start, Smallville finally returns to explain exactly what it was that happened at Hawkman's funeral.  We also get the return of Chloe: Is she Doctor Fate or a probing alien… or both?

Well, don't just sit there, click through to read the spoilerific recap and my trenchant insight.


After being missing for three weeks, the heroes who were at Carter's funeral return home, but things are not normal.  Clark and Dinah are missing their powers, Ollie is slightly nuts, and all of them are having flashbacks of Chloe experimenting on them.  After Ollie is put in a rubber room, Chloe comes to visit by morphing through a wall (Seriously interesting effect…)

Oliver converses with Chloe, even though he thinks she's a hallucination.  Turns out, he's sort of right.  She says that they are all in a virtual reality system.   The flashbacks of Chloe that they were having were her trying to break them free.  

Ollie and Chloe escape his particular prison.

Dinah and Lois bicker while discovering Ollie's escape.   Clark gets a text to meet Chloe on the roof of the Planet.  They try to convince Clark that the world was fake, but he has trust issues. Chloe and Ollie jump off the roof and land in the virtual reality lab, where Ollie figures out that Chloe's now part of Flagg's Suicide Squad.

Chloe goes back in to rescue the Black Canary, and to prove her point, they get into a fight.  (It's the superhero way, after all). 

Lois and Clark discuss the virtual world and his trust issues.  

Suddenly, in the lab, the VRA goons conk Chloe on the head and take over her avatar in the virtual world.  It takes about 30 seconds for Lois to see through fake Chloe.  

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Suicide Squad and the Justice League take down the VRA soldiers with a maximum of carnage.

Fake Chloe tries to discourage Clark from making the leap that will get them out of the VR world, but Lois convinces him to overcome his lack of trust.  He crouches and then springs into flight, Lois in his arms.  They orbit the Daily Planet for a moment, then plunge into the portal that takes them back to the real world.

Clark and Chloe share a moment to talk about trust.

Ollie and Chloe talk about a different kind of trust.

Lois and Clark take a moment to page through Carter's diary, and talk about flying. 


At this point in the season, they always need to set the players back in motion- and this episode does the trick.  Unfortunately, we've seen this before.  It was extremely derivative, almost self-consciously… okay Definitely self-consciously, of the Matrix.  Right down to the evil duplicating Chloes mimicking the army of Smiths in the Matrix,  tonight's ep just felt 'been there, done that'.   It felt like we moved past the central mystery way too fast.

There was some mention of Chloe's dalliance with the Helmet of Fate, and interestingly enough, she's still mostly sane.  Well, as sane as anybody that puts themselves in charge of the Suicide Squad could be.  It is an interesting development, though.

It was good to see that Black Canary utilized well- for those of you who aren't familiar with the Smallville utilization of the character.  In the S'ville 'verse, Dinah is a conservative radio commentator in addition to donning the ol' fishnets and throat lozenges.

Clark's flight was nice, and had some (again, self-conscious) nods to the classic 'Can You Read My Mind' section of Richard Donner's Superman.   

Not a bad episode, but not great.

Next week, all manner of Luthor higgaldy piggaldy, and the return of Martha Kent.

Will Conservatives Like This Episode?

Well, with a prominent heroine played as a prominent Conservative, yeah!  It more than makes up for Lois's attempt at a Tea Party crack.