Episode: Smallville 9.04 – “Echo”
Original Air Date: October 16, 2009
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty.
We open with a montage to remind us that
- Clark has begun his training with Jor-El to learn about his Kryptonian powers
- Oliver killed Lex (or so he believes)
- Oliver’s big enemy is the toy man
- Oliver is going through so much self-doubt that he still acting like a self-destructive playboy trying to drink himself to death.
So, this story will mostly be about Oliver. Do you smell a spinoff? I do. If the producers of Smallville are smart (and they’ve been pretty smart so far), they will create a spin-off based on the Green Arrow character. He’s an interesting character, the actor is getting a strong fan base, and with Smallville quickly running out of excuses to continue the “no flight, no tights” rule, they’ll need a replacement.
But enough of that. Let’s get to the plot: Clark shows up at a warehouse where a bunch of bound and gagged people are being held captive, and a person tied to a chair has a bunch of dynamite attached to him. Clark super-speeds into the warehouse and removes the hostages in the blink of an eye. He returns to defuse the bomb: “Don’t even try to trigger the bomb,” he states. But he is too slow, and the bomb goes off. It doesn’t kill anyone, but causes a bunch of damage.
In the resulting explosion, Clark gets the ability to read Lois Lane’s thoughts. We’ll learn the reason later, but in the mean time, we get to hear Lois’s thoughts, which fly at us faster than the Flash after downing a six-pack of energy drinks. It’s both annoying and endearing at the same time. It’s exactly the Lois we have come to expect.
I have to admit that the banter between Lois and Clark is getting pretty good. If we are to believe this woman is Superman’s soul mate, the show will have to be very careful about how they develop her character. Presenting her pushy, hyperactive, in your face personality, but doing it in a way that endears her to us and also makes us hope she and Clark end up together, is a tricky task. So far, it looks like Erica Durance (who plays Lois) is up to the task. So, kudos to her.
But poor Clark. He complains to Chloe, “I wish I could bypass Lois’s inside voice.” Chloe rushes off to see if she can find out why Clark has this bizarre new power. Clark heads to the Fortress of Solitude to ask Jor-El if this is another bit of Clark’s Kryptonian training.
Jor-El is like “Yeah, I did it. Sorry to mess with your brain, but I planted the seeds of this power in case you royally messed up something. Obviously you screwed up and triggered this ‘trail.’ I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe the problem was when you assumed that the guy in the warehouse was using a remote device to trigger the bomb instead of using your X-ray vision to spot the fact he was using a timer. So, try not to be such a loser next time.” Clark responds that Jor-El is totally messing up the Superman canon because mind reading is not a Superman power.
“Relax, Junior,” responds Jor-El, “it’s temporary. I planted it to teach you that perception is important, and making assumptions is totally lame. So if you are going to be a hero, you need to know why these humans do the weird things they do instead of making Kryptonian assumptions about logical behavior.” Clark refrains from pointing out that growing up in Kansas has already taken care of that.
So the point is that Clark can now read everyone’s mind. When he and Lois go to the hospital (what is it with this hospital? It’s in every frakking episode!), he uses his mind powers to trick people into answering Lois’s questions truthfully.
He also turns into a jerk and uses his powers to ask Lois on a date and trick her into believing he’s totally on her wavelength. Where’s the date? The monster truck rally, of course. This is Lois we are dealing with.
Now it’s time to check in with Oliver. He’s drunk in Mexico, trying to get married women drunk so his vomit breath won’t bother them. The husbands are about to beat him to death when Tess shows up at the last minute and saves him. She convinces Oliver to come back to the USA and reassure stock holders. It is a very good scene that shows off Justin Hartley’s acting skills. Oliver is totally messed up in the head. No topless scene this episode. Sorry ladies. But he will wear a tux later, so we’ve got that on our side.
Meanwhile, Chloe walks in on Lois getting ready for her date. Chloe is understandably pissed to learn that Clark is using his mind reading powers to seduce Lois. Normally, Clark is not this creepy.
Back at the hospital, Clark reads the mind of one of the hostages, and realizes that the Toy Man is behind it all. He speeds to Chloe’s place to figure out what to do. Chloe gives him an earful about how lame it is to read people’s mind in order to get them all excited about the possibility of true love and then treat them like yesterday’s kryptonite. Clark comes up with an excuse about trying to keep her out of danger, but it only pushes him more into the creep category.
But Chloe is used to being Clark’s doormat, so she lets it go, and uses her computer skills to figure out how to deal with Toy Man while Clark heads to the night club where Oliver will address his shareholders (you might be asking yourself why the CEO of a company would address his shareholders at a night club, instead of, for example, a board room. The answer is that this is a CW show).
Lois shows up to give Clark an earful for standing her up (you didn’t think she’d go home and eat ice cream while crying at rebroadcasts of The Thorn Birds, did you? This is Lois we are talking about). Clark gives some excuse about wanting an exclusive story, but Lois ain’t having it. She storms off, but in the process, Clark reads her mind and realizes how hurt she is due to his creepiness. Just as Lois leaves, he loses his mind reading powers (which is good, because it’s a Martian Manhunter power, not a Superman power).
Meanwhile, Oliver takes to the podium. The Toy Man has taken over the teleprompter, which tells Oliver to use the earpiece. Toy Man talks to him through the earpiece, explaining that he has a bomb hidden under the floor where Oliver is standing. If Oliver doesn’t read the speech Toy Man has prepared exactly, then Toy Man will blow everyone to Hell.
Clark spots the bomb with his X-ray vision. Chloe uses her computer hacking skills to lead Clark to the Toy Man, who is sitting in the back of the room, proving that even X-ray vision is no match for simply turning around and looking behind yourself.
So Clark confronts the Toy Man and tells him to disarm the bomb. But he realizes something is wrong. He remembers that Jor-El told him in the first act that misperceptions can be fatal. So he thinks about what happened in the beginning of the show (the bomb in the warehouse was on a timer), and he thinks about how the Toy Man operates (he likes timers), and he realizes that the Toy Man meant to kill Oliver all along. The bomb is not connected to the floor plate under Oliver’s feet. It is on a timer and will blow up regardless of whether Oliver reads the speech word for word.
He also realizes that the Toy Man would not put himself in danger, and this Toy Man must be a robot. So he melts the Toy Man’s face, revealing that it’s a robot replica. The melting of the face trick somehow deactivates the time bomb.
With everyone out of the building, Oliver tries to commit suicide by stepping off the platform. Clark is like “How’d you know it was on a timer, not a pressure plate?” Oliver is like “I didn’t you moron. I was trying to kill myself. Didn’t you see the last three episodes? I’m going crazy here.”
Clark gives him a little pep talk, and speeds off to save more people.
We’ve been focusing on Green Arrow’s back story too much, so it’s time to get back to Clark’s. Tess shows up in the cell where the Toy Man is being held. She shows him the kryptonite powered heart that kept Metallo alive two episodes ago. She wants him to figure out how it works. For those of you keeping score, this has to do with the Major Zod story arc.
There’s one loose end. Clark apologizes to Lois for being a jerk. They probably won’t go on any dates any time soon, but there’s room for a close friendship. And after that, who knows what will happen?
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars