When last we saw our heroes, they were having a post-funeral snooze in Egypt. The next thing we know, it's weeks later and Lois has returned to Smallville, having been released by the government goons who were apparently responsible for their predicament. She's been trying to track down Clark, but no one will admit to having him in custody. Then, out of the blue, he returns home without powers. The only thing he remembers is being experimented on... by Chloe. Oliver, too, is released, but his memory of being seemingly tortured by the woman he loves sends him straight to the psych ward. Chloe materializes out of the wall to help him, which doesn't exactly convince him of his sanity at first. Then she explains that he and the others are actually being held by the VRA and everything they see around them is a computer-generated reality, designed to block and manipulate their abilities. She created an avatar of herself to lead them to safety. Also, her avatar is a kick-ass fighter and handy with guns, too.
Oliver trusts her and follows her to the top of the Daily Planet building, from which they leap in order to pass through a midair portal back into reality. Clark is not as trusting when offered the same route to freedom. He has some heretofore unmentioned trust issues with the way Chloe left them, but then Lois gives him a pep talk about trust and faith or some such and together they take the plunge. (They also have a nice little flight around virtual Metropolis, which, you know, time is of the essence so hurry up.) Turns out Chloe is now in command of the Suicide Squad, having convinced/blackmailed them into working with her. They and the newly revived heroes fight off the VRA and Tess, entirely off-screen, works her magic at Watchtower so that the good guys can return to their normal lives. For the time being, anyway.
Dinah's also in the mix, and quick to blame Chloe, but we'll get to that and more in the full recap. Stay tuned!
Previously on Smallville: Clark proposed to Lois and she accepted; the Vigilante Registration Act came down hard on Clark and the other heroes; in response, they shut down Watchtower and went underground; Rick Flag led a group of outlaws called the Suicide Squad; having seen the future with Fate's helmet, Chloe traded herself to the Squad in exchange for Oliver's freedom; Carter Hall/Hawkman died and all the heroes took his body to Egypt, where a mysterious obelisk zapped them all into unconsciousness.
Currently on Smallville: Lois stands in the Kent farmhouse kitchen, looking lost. She holds a glass of water without seeming to realize it's there. The kitchen table is strewn with scrawled notes and pictures of her and Clark as a couple. "The Blue Danube Waltz" plays over the speaker phone. A chipper recording breaks through the reverie: "Your call is important to us! Please stay on the line, or you can reach us on the web at www.VigilanteRegistrationAgency.fed!" Lois looks like she's about to cry. Being put on hold makes me emotional, too. The Strauss starts up again, but then an actual human voice cuts in. A woman says she's checked all the databases and they don't have a Clark Kent in any of their facilities. Lois lunges for the phone so quickly that the glass slips from her hands, shattering on the floor. The woman on the phone suggests Lois check with the Justice Department. Lois, fuming, says she's done that. She's tried a whole bunch of other departments, too, and they referred her to the VRA. "Ma'am, don't get huffy," says the object of Lois's wrath. That just makes Lois even huffier, although she proclaims the opposite: "I am a general's daughter! I don't even know how to get huffy, OK?!" I'm not following her line of reasoning. Maybe being on hold for so long has messed with her mind. To prove just how un-huffy she is, she calls the VRA drone a bitch and threatens to come after her. That earns her a dial tone.
Lois gives a long, shaky sigh and starts to sweep up the shards of glass on the floor, as much to just keep her occupied as anything else. She hears the front door open and runs over to see who's there. Why, it's Clark! He's wearing khakis and a gray tee, and carrying a duffel bag over one shoulder. He stands in the sunlight that streams through the front window. Sweeping music plays. Lois runs into his arms. She tells him she was released a couple of days ago and has been trying to find him ever since. "Lois, it was the VRA," he says. Who else would it have been? Lois is furious, because the VRA's full of lying liars who lie about not being involved. Clark suggests they deal with all that tomorrow, and just be happy for now. He looks pretty unhappy, though, so Lois is worried something is wrong. He insists he's fine and follows her into the kitchen for a nosh. He sees the broken glass and bends down to pick some up with his bare hands. Just as Lois asks why they would suddenly release Clark, he cuts his finger on a piece of glass. He holds up his bloody digit to explain his freedom. "They took away my powers," he tells her. Lois doesn't want to believe it. "How could they?" she asks. He doesn't remember about his time in captivity and neither does she.
As he pokes around in his memory, the room around him begins to shake. Lights flash. He sees himself strapped down inside some kind of laboratory chamber. The images are grainy with more quick-cuts than a McG action scene. Hands hold him down as he struggles in the chamber. Someone forces a tube down his throat. A huge syringe plunges into the side of his neck. A woman's face peers down at him from the darkness. She is blond, pale-skinned with worried eyes. She is Chloe Sullivan. "Put him back under," she says. A lid slides shut over the chamber, sealing him in like a coffin. Back in the Kent kitchen, Lois is holding his face in her hands, trying to bring him back to the real world. He blink-blinks a few times. "I was having some sort of flashback," he says. "Someone was experimenting on me." "Who was it?" she asks. He allows for an appropriately dramatic pause before answering: "Chloe." Somebody save him! At least get him a bandage for that finger!
LuthorCorp. Oliver stands outside his office, wearing khakis and a tee like Clark. He stares for a long time at a sign that's been plastered over the door, warning trespassers away from a "VRA investigation site." Oliver decides that he's not going to let a little piece of paper stand between him and his office and tears it down. Also, how sad is it that this is the first place he goes when given freedom? He has no home! He doesn't even have his silly jet anymore. With shaky hands, he pours himself a tumbler of scotch and drinks it down in one gulp. Ah, burns so good. He spies his cell nearby and picks it up. A cozy bedroom picture of Chloe greets him. He flashes back to his time in captivity. As in Clark's memory, he's strapped into a cylindrical chamber, wires affixed to his head. He sees Chloe injecting him with a syringe and then shoving a long plastic tube into his nose. Back in his office, he brings both fists down on a glass table, shattering it. Why does anyone buy glass tables on this show? They exist only to be broken into itty bitty dangerous shards. He staggers into a corner and slumps to the floor. Maybe he's upset because the VRA took away his giant vase of lemons and limes.
Watchtower. Clark walks into the ghost town that was once their superhero hangout. All the computers are covered with plastic sheeting. "Don't move," a woman says behind him. He recognizes her voice: "Dinah, it's me." She looks different since the last time she was on the show. Maybe it's the longer hair or lack of raccoon eyes. She has a double-ended blade in one hand and scoffs lightly before putting it away. "Not that I could do much with this except shred your threads." Clark points out she could damage more than his clothing, seeing as how they took away his powers. Dinah frowns and touches a scar in the hollow of her throat. "You, too?" Clark asks her what she remembers from the last three weeks. She describes flashbacks like Clark and Oliver have had. She also tells him she saw Chloe standing over her. Clark admits he saw her, too. Dinah thinks that Chloe is working with them, telling them how to take their powers. Clark refuses to believe that, so Dinah reminds him of Chloe's "dirty dance with Doomsday." This episode is brought to you by the letter "D," kids. Clark still doesn't believe Chloe is involved, but agrees with Dinah that they should find her. "Clark, if we find out she's turned on us, are you prepared to do what needs to be done?" Dinah asks. He makes a sad puppy face. Before he can answer, Dinah's cell beeps. She gets a text saying Oliver is at Met Gen. The music races with urgency while Clark looks at Dinah for a while. Feel the urgency!
Met Gen. Swaddled in a straitjacket, Oliver huddles against the wall of the world's worst "observation room." Seriously, the walls appear to be made of concrete brick and there are fairly low-hanging light fixtures and big expanses of windows. You could do yourself quite a mischief in there, straitjacket or no. Oliver, luckily, is suffering his insanity quietly. He stirs only slightly when Clark walks into the outer room and calls his name. Oliver looks lost, and sounds it, too: "Clark, they win." Clark promises to keep fighting, but Oliver doesn't see how. "They've taken my friends, stripped me of all my weapons, messed with my equilibrium, and now they're in my head, Clark." He walks over to the glass window that separates them. He says, in a whisper, "They got me thinking that Chloe's behind this whole thing -- I saw her." He describes his flashback of Chloe performing an experiment on him. Clark's look of sad recognition prompts Oliver to ask if Clark saw her too. Clark doesn't want to answer, because he doesn't want to believe it. Oliver presses for an answer, but Clark only says he hasn't given up on Chloe yet. He promises to find out what's going on. He leaves with Oliver's pleas trailin