|Broadcast Date||February 4, 2011|
| Previous Episode: Icarus
Next Episode: Beacon
Clark, Oliver, Lois and Dinah are released by the VRA after being captured at Hawkman’s funeral, but each of them have flashbacks of Chloe holding them against their will. When Chloe returns, Dinah warns the others that Chloe may now be a traitor. Oliver dismisses her concerns, but Clark is unsure if he can trust Chloe after she disappeared without an explanation.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 10x12
Lois waits in the kitchen of the Kent house, listening to soft instrumental music while on hold on the telephone. When an operator finally picks up, she rushes over to the phone, knocking a glass of water off the table. She picks up the phone to hear the operator tell her that no record of Clark or Oliver has been found in the government database. Knowing she is getting the run-around, Lois threatens the operator, resulting in the operator hanging up. Lois then attempts to clean up the glass as she hears the front door open. Hopeful, she rushes over to the door to find Clark, and, after a moment, she runs to him and embraces him. Clark informs her that it was indeed the VRA who captured them at Carter's funeral, but that they will wait until the next day to investigate.
Clark then mentions he was worried about her. Lois replies she has been on the phone trying to find him. Clark mentions it was the VRA at Carters funeral, and she says that the VRA said they had no involvement. Clark suggests they get answers tomorrow but for now they should be happy the VRA let them all go. Lois wonders if 'Smallville' is okay. Clark claims he is fine. Lois says she is going to get him something to eat as they walk into the kitchen. Clark stumbles a bit, but states he's fine once again. Lois wonders why they released him now. Clark then picks up some broken glass off the floor and grunts a little. Lois is surprised and turns around. Clark shows Lois his finger which has a cut with blood coming out of it without healing. Clark mentions the VRA took away his powers. Lois doesn't understand how they could do this. They both realize they don't remember anything from the VRA, that it is all hazy.
Clark then has a flashback, seeing Chloe plugging Clark into the machine as she says 'Put him back under.' Lois asks if Clark is okay, and Clark says someone was experimenting on him. When Lois asks who, he replies "Chloe". Oliver goes back to his home, finding the government had taped it shut. When he arrives, everything is normal. He pours a glass of wine, and drinks it. He looks at a picture of Chloe, then has a similar flashback of Chloe experimenting on him. He smashes the glass table, and sits on the floor, troubled.Clark arrives at Watchtower, finding Dina, protecting herself. She explains to him that she had a flashback with Chloe in it, in which Chloe was experimenting on her. Clark and Dina are both troubled, wondering if it is true. They talk about how Clark lost his powers and that no one remembers anything. They plan to find out why Chloe was doing it. They discover that Oliver has been diagnosed as a dangerous schizophrenic, and has been taken to a facility and locked up. Clark visits Oliver, who has been put in a straight-jacket, and asks him about the visions. Oliver admits having the same flashback about Chloe, but doesn't believe Chloe would do that. Clark leaves, and Oliver calls after him. Oliver sees the lights go out, and the walls change shape. The shape of the wall forms into a human, and Chloe Sullivan emerges from the wall. He doesn't believe it is really Chloe, but she tells him he isn't insane. She tells him that she is also trying to save him, but he doesn't believe it due to the visions the other 3 heroes have been seeing. Chloe asks him if he would believe she did that. Oliver asks her what the real story is. Chloe explains to him that the government trapped their minds in a virtual world to find out how to control their powers. She also explains that she was trying to pull them out when she found them, but when she did their bodies shut down. Since she had to put them back in, she hacked into the computer and created an avatar for herself. Chloe tells Oliver that if he believes everything is fake, then he'll have powers again. She demonstrates her power by opening the locked door. Oliver makes the straight jacket disappear, and Chloe explains that he was the one that did it. Chloe leads Oliver out of the building and explains that there are virtual avatars that will kill them if they find them. Two cops see them. Chloe asks Oliver if he trusts her, and when he answers yes, she pulls out two guns and shoots the cops. Oliver and Chloe head out. Back at the Daily Planet, Clark, Lois, and Dinah talk about the possibility that Chloe would actually experiment on them. They find a camera, and see Chloe and Oliver escaping. Dina tries to explain that Chloe isn't on their side when they find another taping of Chloe shooting two men. Lois asks Clark what he thinks, but he gets a text from Chloe to meet on the top of the Daily Planet. Clark finds her there with Oliver, and Oliver and Chloe explain what is happening. Chloe tells him that they're experimenting with blocking his powers in the virtual reality so they can do it in real life, forcing the heroes to work for the VRA. She can only get him out if Clark believes her assertion that they are in a virtual world. She tells him that they have to jump off the rooftop into the portal below, and asks if Clark trusts her. Clark wants to know where she's been, but Chloe says that he has to trust her and offers her hand. Clark starts to take it, but then loses his nerve and says that he can't. As the troopers break down the door, Chloe and Oliver leap off the rooftop and disappear into the portal. Oliver wakes up in the VRA facility and finds Chloe waiting for him. Two men arrive: Rick Flag and Deadshot. Chloe tells them to stand down and they obey. Oliver realizes that Chloe is working with them, and she says that she did what she had to do. Flag has Green Arrow and Deadshot cover the facility perimeters against the VRA troopers coming in. Meanwhile, Chloe re-enters the virtual world to rescue the others. Chloe goes to an alleyway to find Black Canary, who refuses to believe Chloe's explanation and attacks her. Chloe's mastery of the virtual world lets her repel Black Canary's martial art strikes and blade attacks. When the heroine throws a blade, Chloe stops it in midair, and asks where Lois can be found. Black Canary now realizes Chloe is telling the truth. Lt. Trotter orders her men to move in. Black Canary overcomes them and emerges from her tube. She joins the others to hold off the VRA forces, so that Chloe can go to free Clark and the others.
Before she goes, Black Canary apologizes to Chloe, and Chloe assures her that it's fine. Chloe worries that Clark has lost his trust in her, and Oliver notes that it's because she left them. Clark finds Lois, who tells him that Chloe contacted her and explained everything. He refuses to accept her explanation of the virtual world and, because Chloe left without explanation, Clark rationalizes that therefore he can't trust her. Lois realizes that Clark has been hiding his resentment and points out that Clark expected Chloe to trust him all these years even when he was keeping secrets. She figures that Clark's heart is telling him the truth and that he should listen to it. Clark now starts to accept that he's trapped in an artificial world. Only Clark can decide to reject the virtual reality.
Chloe is working at the computers when the VRA breaks in and Trotter knocks her out. She has one of her men take over Chloe's avatar. It goes to the Planet as Clark and Lois prepare to jump into the portal. The fake avatar insists they're suffering from post-traumatic stress and asks how Clark can let Lois jump to her death. Lois realizes that the avatar is under someone else's control and punches her through the office, knocking it out. She then grabs Clark and heads for the elevator. Trotter gets word that the transport is ready for her and Chloe. She tells her man to keep Clark imprisoned and then goes with her men as they escort Chloe out. Flag opens fire and Trotter orders her three surviving men to kill Chloe.While she runs off, two of the soldiers prepare to open fire. Deadshot kills them first, while Green Arrow subdues the third man. Black Canary avoids Trotter's fire until she runs out of ammo, and then knocks her out with her Canary Cry. Clark and Lois get to the rooftop of the Planet but find the Chloe avatar waiting for them... she boasts that Clark is the one who has always refused to accept his abnormalities and let go of what ties him to normalcy. Clark walks past her as the avatar warns him that if he doesn't 100% reject the virtual reality, he'll kill himself. Multiple Chloe avatars appear and Lois tells Clark to trust himself and make the leap of faith, just like he trusted Lois to keep his secret. Clark grabs Lois, crouches, super jumps, and flies into the air, accepting that he can fly in the virtual reality. He soars around the Daily Planet with Lois, and then shoots down into the portal and returns to the real world. Later, Chloe comes to see Clark at the farm and admits that she's been out of touch. Clark admits that if she had been there, she would have been captured with him and the others. Chloe explains that she reprogrammed Flag's missile program and then threatened to turn Flag over to the government unless he worked for her. Clark asks her how she managed to trust him even when she suspected he had a secret, and Chloe figured that he was lying to protect her, and she trusted him. Lois arrives and passes on a message that Trotter and her men are trapped in the virtual reality, ensuring Clark's secret identity. Lois asks Chloe to be her maid of honor at their upcoming wedding, and Chloe accepts. Later, Chloe comes to see Oliver at Watchtower. He gives her flowers and admits that he stopped looking for her because he thought that's what she wanted. Oliver notes that she could have called him, but Chloe explains that the Fate helmet warned her to stay away. If she had reached out to him, she would have given in and stayed. But she's always dreamed of returning. She assures Oliver that she's staying for a while, and they kiss. Clark is in his loft reading through Carter's book when Lois comes in. She assures Clark that Carter would have been proud of him, and Clark thanks Lois for letting him believe that he could fly, at least in cyberspace. They kiss and Lois admits the experience was amazing, and Clark hopes they'll fly in the real world. Lois believes he can do the impossible and says that one day he will.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer (credit only)
- Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- Dinah Lance/Black Canary - Alaina Huffman
- Rick Flag - Ted Whittall
- Deadshot - Bradley Stryker
- Lieutenant Trotter - Lori Ann Triolo
- In lending agreements, collateral is a borrower's pledge of specific property to a lender, to secure repayment of a loan.
- The word "collateral" is otherwise mainly used as a synonym for "parallel" or "additional" in certain expressions.
- In the military, collateral damage is damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The term means "unintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not be lawful military targets in the circumstances ruling at the time".
- This could refer to Hawkman as collateral damage in the battle against evil.
- Collateral also means descended from a common ancestor but through different lines.
- The title refers to Chloe and the agreement she made with the Suicide Squad.
- Antagonist: Lieutenant Trotter
- Despite also being a victim of the VRA at Carter's funeral, Stargirl, Cyborg, Impulse, Zatanna, Aquaman and John Jones don't appear in this episode and only Arthur is briefly mentioned by Dinah, however Chloe stated they were also in the virtual world, saying she would need twenty minutes to get Clark, Lois and the rest of the team out of the "pixel postcard".
- Tess Mercer does not appear in this episode, but is briefly mentioned.
- A lot of elements of this episode are similar to scenes and plotlines from The Matrix, Inception, and Wanted. The curving of the bullets that Deadshot fires is just like the curving bullets in Wanted. The virtual world is similar to both the Matrix and the dream world of Inception. The fight between Chloe and Canary, where Chloe is blocking every one of Canary's moves and stopping a projectile weapon in mid-air is very similar to the final fight between Neo and Agent Smith in the Matrix. Also, when multiple avatar Chloes appear around Clark and Lois, the way they escape and fly off is very similar to the way Neo flies off in The Matrix Reloaded when surrounded by Agent Smith copies. The exit point of the virtual reality is similar to the "Kick" from Inception. Clark's leap in the virtual world is almost similar to Neo's first jump in The Matrix. The concept of trust in artificial reality is also used between characters in The Matrix and Inception as well. Chloe's expertise with dual pistols and white wardrobe in the virtual world is also strikingly similar to the lead character in Equilibrium.
- Also, similar to The Matrix, those in the virtual world seem to possess superhuman abilities if they know it is fake. Oliver was able to manipulate reality briefly to get rid of his straitjacket, and Lois even demonstrated super strength when she slapped Chloe's hijacked avatar right through a wall in the Daily Planet.
- The lighting in scenes set within the virtual world is odd. Even at the very beginning of the episode—throughout the episode, lights that come from outside or even from artificial lights all appear extremely bright, and some scenes that are inside and should not have lights like that seem to be coming from nowhere. The lighting in scenes set in the real world is more standard to the usual Smallville lighting (scenes set in Smallville/Kent Farm are colorful, everywhere else is 'dark').
- Chloe returns in this episode to help rescue the heroes after the events of Icarus. Chloe returns in this episode after missing 10 episodes.
- Clark flies in this episode, but only in the virtual world, and at the end of the episode he admits that he still can't willingly take flight in the "real world".
- The scene where Clark flies himself and Lois off the Daily Planet rooftop in the virtual world is somewhat reminiscent of the Superman/Lois flight in Superman: The Movie.
- This episode was scheduled for Friday the 28th of January, but was pushed back a week. This is the first time no episode aired in January.
- This episode is similar in theme to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 3 Episode Virtually Destroyed where Lois and Clark are trapped in a virtual reality world created by the illegitimate son of Lex Luthor.
- At the end of the episode where Clark and Lois were discussing about the flight in the virtual reality world, Lois mentions that she has a meeting with Perry.
- Rick Flag was last seen in Ambush.
- Deadshot was last seen in Shield.
- Chloe returned in this episode after her departure in Lazarus.
- Dinah mentions Chloe's "dirty dance with Doomsday" almost destroying the league.
- Lt. Trotter was last seen in Icarus.
- Chloe refers to Rick Flag's crimes which happened in Ambush.
- Hawkman's death was mentioned. This occurred in the previous episode, Icarus.
- Chloe looks at the Homecoming picture of Clark and Lois crowned as Homecoming King and Queen. Homecoming.
- This marks the fourth episode where Chloe carries a firearm. Other episodes include Season Six's Zod, Progeny, Season Nine's Savior and Season 10's Fortune.
Homages to Previous Seasons
- Clark being in a dream world is similar to Season Six's Labyrinth.
- Another reference to Labyrinth and possible Season Three's Asylum is that one of the main characters (Oliver Queen in this case), is in a straight jacket locked into an asylum.
- Lois giving Clark hope with her words, and then him taking off into the air is similar to the climax of the Season Eight's Hex. The main difference is in that episode Lois was really Chloe but hexed to look like Lois.
- Clark's leap with Lois from the Daily Planet rooftop is very similar to the Super leap he had with Lois while under the influence of red kryptonite in Season Six's Crimson. The only difference is that this time he flew around Metropolis with Lois rather than leaping over the city skylines with her .
- Lt. Trotter, trying to follow Slade Wilson's goals on her own, is similar to what Regan Matthews did when Lex went missing in Season Eight's Odyssey.
- The Justice League teaming up with The Suicide Squad is a little similar to when they teamed up with the Justice Society of America in Season Nine's Absolute Justice.
- Lois: No I am not getting huffy. I am a general's daughter. I don't even know how to get huffy. I do happy, I do sad and I do stop giving me the runaround bitch or I will come for you!
- Lois: (to Clark) Do you know why they finally released you? I mean besides your fiancée going all Erin Brockovitch on them?
- Chloe: You're not hallucinating, Oliver, and you're not insane. Trust me.
- Oliver: Really? Well, that's kind of hard to believe, considering you just materialized out of a wall.
- Chloe: I've got to get you out of here.
- Oliver: Chloe? Hate to rain on your program, but I'm in a straightjacket. I'm in a cell in a lockdown wing of a hospital. I-I'm not going anywhere.
- Chloe: Only if you believe that's true. Simple mind over matter. Because I believe everything I see is fake, I'm not limited by it. I have power. The sooner you believe everything you see is fantasy, the sooner you can manipulate it. Break free of it.
- Oliver: (straightjacket disappears) How'd you do that?
- Chloe: I didn't. You did.
- Lois: Well, you look energized Dinah. How does it feel to be on the run from the war hawks you rallied behind?
- Lois: Chloe would never hurt Oliver.
- Dinah: Not unless he got in her way, like these guys. (they watch a video of Chloe gunning down VRA guards)
- Lois: Well, I can't be right. And I hate to crash on your tea party, but my cousin is no Benedict Arnold.
- Dinah: She's taking out operatives in cold blood, Lois! I don't know whose side she's on, but it's not ours!
- Lois: Not everybody switches sides as easily as some of us. And let's not forget, when we first met Black Canary, she was nothing more than Lex Luthor's little organ-grinder monkey. I mean, did you ever look to see who the bad guys really are before you start throwing knives and spin-kicks there, chickadee?
- Dinah: Violent criminals deserve to fry. And if your cousin's one of them, well, that's a campfire that I'm not afraid to sing around.
- Lois: Clark, I get it. You've known her longer than almost anyone. From the Torch, to summers at the lake, to the planet and Watchtower. She's always been there for you.
- Clark: How'd you do it? Trust me, I mean - back then, before you found out.
- Chloe: I had my suspicions.
- Clark: But that's what I mean. You knew I was lying to you, and still you looked me in the eye every day and you trusted me.
- Chloe: I guess that's the true test of believing in someone -- knowing that their lies are there to protect you. It's not really trust if you ask someone to explain themselves.
- Clark: But that's hard.
- Chloe: It's really hard.
- Clark: You never gave up.
- Chloe: And I never will.
- Clark: I've been thinking about what you said -- that I should shut my eyes and ears to the outside world to figure what's true. You made me believe. And you got me to fly. Even if it was just in cyberspace.
- Lois: Well, I have to say Smallville, that soaring over the Daily Planet and the spires of Metropolis was amazing.
- Clark: Well, who knows? Maybe one day, we'll get to fly in the real world.
- Lois: I've always believed that you can do the impossible, and one day you will.
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