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The Torch Years
Chloe first met Lionel Luthor during an investigation into a robbery. She was surprised that Lionel knew her name but he reassured her that he had been following her career for quite some time and claimed to be impressed by her. Although she was clearly nervous to be in the presence of someone as powerful as Lionel, she felt encouraged by his praise of her work and felt able to ask him questions for her investigation.
Lionel was aware of how to use the press to his advantage and dodged any of Chloe's questions that he was not happy to answer. Lionel's intrigue into Clark Kent led him to approach Chloe to try to get information out of her. A master of manipulation, Lionel offered to make a donation to the school specifically earmarked to rebuilding and updating the journalism department. He also offered her a column in the Daily Planet. Chloe was suspicious of Lionel at first and, despite repeatedly asking why he was so interested in helping her, Lionel kept his cards close to his chest.
Deciding that she couldn't turn down such a generous offer, Chloe put her trust in Lionel, although she quickly realized her foolish mistake when Lionel informed her that her first assignment was a complete investigative profile of Clark Kent. Chloe was upset with Lionel for manipulating her and refused. However, shortly afterwards, Chloe saw Clark kiss Lana Lang and, feeling betrayed by Clark, Chloe reconsidered Lionel's offer. Lionel was delighted and the two of them formed an unlikely alliance to uncover the truth about Clark.
Lionel became forceful in making Chloe get to the bottom of the mystery and she soon regretted her decision when she reconnected with Clark. Her feelings for Clark made her decide to hand in her resignation at the Daily Planet and confront Lionel. She insisted that her relationship with Clark was too important for her to persist with their investigation, but Lionel then showed his true colors and threatened to sack her father if she did not keep up her end of the bargain. Chloe felt trapped and resigned herself to the fact that she was at the mercy of Lionel Luthor and their once amicable relationship broke down.
Chloe inadvertently implicated Lex as a meteor freak during her investigations into the unusual happenings in Smallville. When this put Lex's life in danger, Lionel threatened Chloe and warned her not to investigate any member of the Luthor family again. Not knowing about Lionel's threats to Chloe, Clark asked Chloe to inquire about Lachlan Luthor. Chloe was clearly nervous about the risk of getting on the wrong side of Lionel again. At this point Chloe was clearly scared of the power that Lionel had over her family, yet her willingness to help Clark caused her to question Lionel, nevertheless. Lionel was surprisingly open to Chloe, as he confessed that he had made up the story about Lachlan being a hard-working entrepreneur descended of Scottish nobility in order to win friends and influence people during his rise among over-achieving Ivy Leaguers. This honesty was clearly provoked by Lionel's trust in Chloe, as he felt that he had so much power over her that she wouldn't dare to double-cross him. Nevertheless, Lionel insisted that he had not lied about Lachlan's death and both Lachlan and his wife were killed in a tenement fire.
Chloe remained suspicious of Lionel and his past and decided to find proof that he had in fact murdered his parents with the help of Morgan Edge. When Lionel discovered this, he became even more aggressive with Chloe but, when Clark discovered that she was working with Lionel, she decided to cut her losses and insisted that she would no longer provide him with information about Clark. As a result, Lionel canceled her column at the Daily Planet and sacked her father and blacklisted him to prevent him from getting another job. In retaliation, Chloe threatened to write a story about "an eccentric billionaire with an excessive interest in a Kansas farm boy" but Lionel warned her to be careful with threats. Nevertheless, Chloe persisted with her investigation into Lionel's past, as Chloe and Lionel became sworn enemies.
Chloe used her temporary meteor power to uncover the truth about Lionel's involvement with his parents death. She then threatened to blackmail him with this information that she had recorded to make him re-hire her father. However, Lionel insisted that he did not respond well to blackmail. The effect of the meteor infection risked Chloe's health, although Lionel remained unconcerned about her safety and was clearly focused on retrieving his recorded confession, which he did, much to Chloe's disappointment.
Thinking that he had put an end to Chloe's investigation, Lionel went to her for help to find Emily Dinsmore. Chloe was surprised that Lionel chose to come to her, but it was clear that Lionel had little choice as, despite the animosity between them, he acknowledged that she was the best investigative reporter available. Nevertheless, he still underestimated her, as the build up of resentment towards Lionel sustained Chloe's desire to prove that he killed his parents.
After joining forces with Lex, Chloe was able to gather proof to send Lionel to prison for his crime. This led to Lionel seeking revenge by making an attempt on Chloe's life through a paid assassin. Lionel was disappointed when this failed and he remained in prison for some time. After this, Chloe tried to stay out of Lionel's way, as she was fully aware of the dangers that were connected with a relationship with Lionel. She even warned Clark about getting too involved in Lionel's games, when Clark relied on Lionel's help to exonerate Lex.
However, during a brief escape by switching bodies with Clark, Lionel-as-Clark took the opportunity to play mind games with Chloe, asking her what she would do if Lionel were to get out of prison. He then started going on about how he found her fascinating and leaned in to kiss her but pulled away at the last minute and whispered "Don't you wish" before sauntering off. This was Lionel's last attempt at revenge and it was effective as Chloe burst into tears and, not realizing that it was in fact Lionel, Chloe's relationship with Clark was subsequently damaged.
The Daily Planet Years
After Lionel was released from prison and became Jor-El's vessel, he became a changed man, which seemed to have a positive influence on all of his relationships. He tried to leave his troubled past with Chloe behind them when he offered her flowers and his warmest congratulations for making a career for herself at the Daily Planet without his help. He seemed to be proud of her and offered her information about a superpowered being at Central Kansas University. She remained wary of Lionel although she was polite and friendly to him. She still thought of him as a "moral pigmy", but followed up his lead to discover Milton Fine's true identity.
She often relied on Lionel's information for her stories, especially regarding insider information on Lex's campaign to run for State Senator and Milton Fine's reappearance in Honduras. Nevertheless, Chloe didn't completely trust Lionel and was clearly nervous when she discovered that Lionel knew Clark's secret, having experienced what lengths Lionel would go to to uncover it. She helped Clark investigate Lionel when a vision of his father told him to kill Lionel. Despite her rocky relationship with Lionel in the past, Chloe was uneasy about the prospect of Clark killing him, although she was quick to assume the worst of Lionel when she discovered Lionel's emails regarding a "weapon" that she summarized that it referred to Clark and then discovered that Lionel had met Jonathan shortly before his death.
After this, Chloe was shocked that Clark was working with Lionel to interpret Jor-El's warnings that Zod was coming. Trusting Clark's judgment, Chloe began to trust Lionel, as she realized that he was able to help stop Zod. She relied on Lionel to save her during the Dark Thursday riots and he was surprisingly protective of her. Chloe's trust in Lionel was reaffirmed when she realized that he was even prepared to kill Lex, who was the Kryptonian vessel of Zod, in order to save the world.
They both attended Thanksgiving dinner at the Kent house and sat next to each other, indicating that they had turned a corner in their relationship. However, when Chloe received information to the whereabouts of Lex's most recent illegal experiments, she arrived to discover that they had disappeared. Chloe suspected Lionel was responsible, but he brushed off her questions.
Lionel was extremely concerned for Chloe after she used her healing power to save Lex and subsequently fell unconscious. Believing her to be dead, Lionel held Chloe in his arms and was clearly upset. After she recovered, Lionel kept Chloe's trust by keeping her power a secret.
Chloe went to Lionel for help when Clark was kidnapped. Although she initially suspected him, Lionel came up with a plausible story that Lex was behind the kidnapping, which she believed. However, her trust in Lionel was broken when she discovered that Lionel had been lying to her. She was clearly only prepared to trust Lionel as long as he was loyal to Clark as, after this, she refused to believe a word that he said, despite his desperate efforts to warn her about an imminent threat for Clark. She gave him a look of disgust as he persisted with what she believed to be false claims. Desperate for her to believe him, Lionel trusted her with the Veritas key and hid it in her desk for her to find later.
Chloe's opinion of Lionel only changed after his death, when she found the key and discovered his true motives were to protect Clark. She praised his dedication and seemed saddened by his death and guilty that she hadn't believed him.
|Chloe Sullivan in Smallville|