This week brings us an episode with no dopey subplots, virtually no comic relief, and a plot that moves forward with plenty of action and not too much exposition. It's like we dropped into an alternate universe where Smallville is awesome! Things start off with Tess doing Agent Waller and Checkmate's bidding by staging an awesome fight sequence in the streets of Metropolis. It's all a trap to capture the Green Arrow when he shows up to break up the fight. As it turns out, he's not the real target, but a means to an end. He manages to escape, but they grab Chloe, aka the Watchtower, who is their real target. It's all a part of Waller's plot to recruit heroes to fight against the alien invasion, and she needs Watchtower's intel to do it. Her tactics leave the good guys less than enthused. Even Tess ends up going underground in an effort to get away from them, since the only other way to leave is in a pine box.
With a good deal of teamwork, Oliver, Clark, and John Jones manage to save Chloe from Checkmate's castle headquarters. A reunited Oliver and Chloe share a sweet moment, but there's blessedly zero mope-filled romance this week. Meanwhile, John destroys the alien blood sample Waller stole from Lois a while back, effectively wiping out her evidence of alien life. He also wipes Waller's memories of the team's identities, but he has secrets of his own. It seems like he's working for some other mystery player, but he's been working in secret in order to try to keep the team off Checkmate's radar. At the end, Clark realizes he needs to work with Chloe instead of around her. In fact, they realize they all need to work together... which probably won't last long, but let's enjoy it while it lasts.
What would happen if the Amazing Race took a detour to Smallville? Would they be able to get through Chloe's dialogue with a straight face, or would they opt to bale hay instead? Get our take. Check back soon for the full recap.
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Previously on Smallville: Oliver showed Chloe how to handle his arrow; the Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. John Jones) had his powers restored by Dr. Fate; a crazy doctor collected blood samples from aliens; Lois got one of them but it was promptly stolen by Amanda Waller; Sylvester Pemberton found Chloe (a.k.a. Watchtower) and was promptly killed by a baddie named Icicle; Sylvester's dying word was "Check!"; Tess (a.k.a. Agent Mercer) has a history of working for Waller; an army of superheroes was growing mostly off-screen and being collected by Waller for Checkmate and/or the Suicide Squad.
Currently on Smallville: A castle sits at the edge of a lake in a green valley, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The castle towers are reminiscent of chess pieces. Also, this isn't supposed to be Kansas anymore, is it? Ominous music plays as we swoop toward the castle, through one of the windows, and into a sterile-looking hallway. The Checkmate symbol is emblazoned on the black floor. The last time we saw this place was in "Absolute Justice". The camera zooms through a closed door and into a room with black-and-white checkered flooring, pausing briefly over a chessboard that seems to be in mid-play. A woman sits at a desk by the arched windows. She stands up and walks over to the chessboard; it's Amanda Waller. She studies the board for a while, makes a move, a knocks over a white Knight with her white Queen. Is that a legal move? The angry elephant trumpets a note of confusion.
It's night in Metropolis, and Tess is just entering her Daily Planet office when she sees the white Knight piece sitting on the edge of her desk. She drops everything she's doing and goes into action, as if she's been expecting whatever the piece's presence signifies. She presses a red button on the underside of her desk, which opens a drawer behind her. Inside is a tray in which pieces of a gun are nestled. Tess expertly assembles the gun. [If that were my emergency gun, I would keep it assembled. - Zach] James Bond-style music plays as she goes to a cabinet in the wall, grabs a needle-tipped weapon and a small duffel bag. A bookcase moves to one side, revealing a shiny, metal-lined escape chute. Tess tosses the bag down, then hops into the chute, feet-first. By the time Tess lands in the alley outside, she's somehow changed from her office attire to a black leather outfit with a short, smart trench coat. Maybe the chute made a detour into Saks or something. She's also wearing a flattering black wig, cut straight across the brow. Tess walks through a crowded city street and winds up pausing in front of a florist's shop. She focuses on the lady shopkeeper, who's wearing an earpiece, and seems just as intently focused on Tess. Tess starts down the sidewalk and the shopkeeper follows. Tess runs into a man who levels a gun at her. Before she can react, the shopkeeper grabs her from behind. Tess swings the shopkeeper around in front of her, using her as a human shield when the man shoots. Shopkeeper goes down. Tess kicks the newcomer square in the abdomen. The action periodically slows to a crawl, giving us comics panel-style frames of the fight sequence. Tess punches him like they're in Raging Bull and gives him another kick that sends him flying backwards into a hapless bystander.