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Deep in the Vancouver lair of the Smallville "creative" team, May 2004:
Al: I've got it!
Miles: Well, don't give it to anyone else.
Al: No, I mean I've got Season 4! In the bag, baby.
Miles: Bag, what, where?
Al: You know that desperation play we made in the last five minutes of last season? Where we tried to recapture everyone's attention after they'd gotten tired of us stretching out Season 3 like a cheap piece of taffy?
Miles: I was napping.
Al: We were all napping. I mean right after we woke up.
Miles: It sounds vaguely familiar. Was Lana in spandex?
Al: Shut up, shut up, shut up! Look, I figured it out: we're going to take all the things that people like about our show -- Lex having crazy adventures, obvious guest stars, Evil Clark, and sexy girls and mix 'em up! Look what I bought!
Miles: Is that...is that a blender?
Al: Not just any blender! It's the Blend-o-Tron 3550! It purees script elements and spits them out into slightly improved storylines! It even throws in CGI effects!
Miles: You're absolutely mad, Gough. Maaaad, I tell you! But goddammit, it just...might...work.
Welcome back, HoYay! playas and HoYay! playa-haters. It's the first episode of Season 4, and I already need a nap. Let's take deep breaths, adjust our memory foam pillows, and try not to get out boots too dirty as we wade through this.
Previously: I was having a margarita on South Padre Island. Then I came home to do this. Clark went bumblefuck and walked through a crevice in a wall. Papa Luthor got his head shaved. Chloe died, but not really.
Title card on a black screen: "Three Months Later." Chloe is speaking in voice-over from what sounds like a tinny TV set. She says she wants to provide some answers to what she's sure are the listener's many questions. "If you're watching this, it means I'm probably dead," Chloe says, as her fuzzy image appears on the screen of a familiar green flat-panel monitor. Chloe tells the listener that he or she is the one good thing in her life, and that she cares about the person more than he or she will ever know. We pull back from the Alienware monitor, housed in the offices of The Torch, to reveal a young woman with longish brown hair watching the video. "Please find out who did this, Clark," says DeadChloe. Wide shot of the newsroom as the young woman watches the screen. "You're the only one who can," says Chloe. Is it really such a good idea to put the onus of figuring out your own murder on Clark Kent? Dude can barely figure out how he feels in the morning. He's no Matlock, you know what I mean? The young woman looks conflicted. On screen, Chloe leans forward and shuts off the videocamera. It goes to static, which is absolute bullshit in this MiniDV camcorder age, but whatever.