Fortress of Solitude. I just noticed that some of the ice pillars are still black. Is that a bad sign? Or is it just a sign that the props department didn't have the money for new pillars? Clark calls out to Jor-El, asking if this new mind reading thing is one of his trials. Jor-El's voice tells him: "I planted within you the seeds for this trial, designed to self-manifest when it was most needed." Jor-El thinks an error or mistake in Clark's judgement triggered the ability. Clark seems unphased by thoughts of his dad planting seeds in his stupid head without telling him. Clark doesn't think there was an error, because he saved everyone in the factory. Jor-El tells him that "assumptions are flaws" and part of Clark's adopted human instincts. "They are beneath you," the pompous alien intones pompously. Clark is supposed to nurture his Kryptonian intuition. If Kryptonian intuition keeps him from stealing people's spittle-moistened donuts, I'm all for it. Jor-El tells him that understanding humans will help him better protect them, which, I dunno, sounds like Clark should be nurturing his human instincts, in that case. Would you tell Jane Goodall that she needs to think less like chimps in order to understand chimps? I think not. Jor-El tells him the ability is only temporary and that he must learn to focus: "Perception can be the difference between life... and death." Clark stares around for a while as ominous music plays.
Metropolis General Hospital, our home away from home! Lois and Clark are in an injured hostage's room, where Lois is trying to badger this poor woman into giving a statement. The former hostage says nothing. Clark uses his new ESP to hear the woman worrying in accented English about being sent away. Clark assures her they're not with the INS. Lois gives him a WTF face until the woman starts talking about the man she saw. Some time later, they're talking to another hostage. This one's got sort of a Steve Buscemi thing going on, except with straighter teeth. He gives conflicting information about the bomber and pointlessly refers to Clark as Lois's "boyfriend." His thoughts betray him: turns out he's just milking the experience for excitement. Clark lectures him about how lying to them might be OK, but lying to the police will land him in jail. "Is that understood?" he asks sternly. Buscemi Lite admits he didn't see anything. Lois looks at Clark like her thong just combusted.
Later at the nurse's station, Clark's new ability lets him overhear a nurse who's just given him a patient's chart. She thinks Clark is cute, but worries about getting fired for helping him. Lois shows up to give Clark a donut to replace the poop-tainted one he gave her earlier. They walk together through the hospital and talk about how the "Mr. Murphy", the guy with the bomb, just got out of surgery but is still unconscious. Clark calls him "the mystery man's puppet," so it sounds like he's finally realized this guy is not to blame. Also, did this guy need surgery as a result of Clark hitting him? Wouldn't it be nice if they didn't leave this kind of thing so vague? Because it makes Clark look kind of bad for flirting with Lois while some innocent guy he mangled lies unconscious in a hospital bed. Anyway, Clark and Lois have a long, awkward scene where Clark asks her out to dinner after her thoughts say she's got no plans besides eating ice cream and watching Lifetime. There's lots of pausing and staring back and forth. It's a date, but not a date. There will be no dinner, but there will be a monster truck rally that Lois has been wanting to go to, according to her inner dialogue. Lois agrees to meet him there, but they'll be taking separate cars to avoid "drama." Good luck with that. It's already too late to avoid creepiness, which is what Clark using her thoughts to woo her really is.
Over thirteen minutes into the episode and we're just now getting to Oliver's part of things. There's a seedy bar in Mexico, judging by the faded flag painted on the inside wall. You know it's seedy because at least one of the patrons has a gun blatantly tucked into the waist of his pants. Oliver walks in looking like he's mistaken it for an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog shoot. His toes are well-manicured in his flip-flops, his jeans are artistically distressed, and his white button-down is carefully wrinkled. He staggers and bumps into stuff to show us he's drunk. Two senoritas immediately descend upon him and he orders them all drinks with a big wad of money. The barkeep looks like he wants to spit on Oliver, but he doesn't get a chance because three local toughs walk into the bar. One of them, who appears to be the leader, accosts Oliver for messing with his wife. The music becomes frantic. Oliver drinks and then, clearly possessing a death wish, dickishly asks the guy in Spanish, "Which one is your wife? The short one? Or the ugly one?" One of the toughs throws a punch, hitting Oliver square in the jaw. Then someone behind them shoots a gun at the ceiling, getting their attention. It's Tess, fully recovered from her zombification last week and wearing a completely awesome leather shoulder harness/vest thing that I immediately wish I owned, but know I would never wear. She levels her gun at the toughs. "Really?" she asks Oliver, who's face-down on the bar. Tess sends the toughs and their ladies scurrying out the door with a flick of her gun. Oliver pulls himself up and pours himself a drink. "You know, Mercy, if you wanted more face time, all you had to do was ask." She crosses the room towards him. "This is me asking," she says. Fantastic.
Talon apartment, night. I wish they would just reestablish the location of Smallville so I could stop wondering why people are driving hundreds of miles every day between there and Metropolis. Lois is taking a pair of scissors to some old jeans to make herself a pair of cutoffs to go with the mannish, sleeveless plaid shirt she's wearing. Chloe walks in and teases Lois: "Why so fancy?" Lois says she's going to see the monster trucks. Chloe thinks it's more than that and asks who her "prince charming" is. Lois is surprised to hear herself saying it, but it's Clark. Chloe does a double-take. Lois gushes about how they've been on the same wavelength all day. Chloe: "I'll bet. Sorta like he's been reading your mind?" Lois goes on about how she and Clark are more than just partners, and how she's gotten so used to "carrying the load" all by herself but maybe now she doesn't have to. Girl, don't be talking to your (essentially) widowed and friendless cousin about being alone. "Clark and Lois versus the world," Lois says, smiling like a dewy-eyed school girl. Chloe stands behind her looking like a piranha has just spontaneously started eating her intestines. Lois gives Chloe a quick hug and says, "Don't wait up!" Chloe looks after her as she leaves. The piranha starts in on her soul.
Clark is still at the hospital. He's walking around replacing the charts he's been looking at. You know, one time I tried to get my own chart from one of those door hanger thingies, and a nurse was all up in my face in about a nanosecond. Clark overhears a man's thoughts saying, "He forced me to do it. It wasn't me. I'm innocent!" Clark frowns and follows the thoughts to the aforementioned Mr. Murphy's room. Murphy, despite still being unconscious and most likely doped to the gills on pain meds, is an excellent and detailed expositor. His thoughts explain about someone strapping the bomb on him, talking about toys, and wanting Oliver Queen to "pay for what he'd done to him." Clark nods and whispers, "Toyman." He zips into action.