I'm going to bypass the obvious Matrix comparisons, and get right to the good stuff. Although in a nod to 'The One,' I am going to refer to Cyber Chloe as "Chleo."
"Collateral" was a fascinating episode, as we examined the trail of tears Chloe left behind after her abrupt and silent departure, and the impact it had on those in her wake.
Each had their own unique response, completely in line with their character and personalities. Dinah was immediately suspicious of Chleo, ready to vindictively shank her at the first opportunity. Lois, true to form, was her most loyal supporter and had no qualms about trusting Chleo, full on.
Oliver and Clark both took Chloe's departure the hardest. Oliver, for obvious reasons, was heartbroken. It was evident, here, that he was still harboring feelings of pain with a tinge of resentment, but was able to ultimately move past them and trust Chleo enough to take that leap of faith.
Clark on the other hand, had the hardest time believing in Chleo. Lois was right, as she usually is, when she said that Clark knew her better than anyone else, and was the most pained by her leaving without so much as a goodbye. Her reasoning, too, was not only spot on, but also perhaps indicate, at least partly, why Chleo turned first to Oliver, instead of Clark, during her rescue effort.
Clark couldn't trust Chleo, because, simply put, he still struggles with trusting himself. Hardly news, because that's practically been the theme of the series up to this point. How many times have we heard people tell Clark to trust himself - his parents, Chloe, Lana, Jor-El, Lois - they've all at one point or another had such a conversation with him.Clark, though, has only ever been able to fully trust that which he is able to control. When he is in control of the situation, he doesn't have to worry about the unexpected and the chain of events that follow his actions; what could go wrong if he fails to make the right choice.
Clark chooses to think with his head, rather than his heart, because in the past when he's relied on his heart, it's often come at a devastating price. His unwitting trade of his father's life for Lana's comes to mind. Even though, as we learned this season, that was a choice that Jonathan made, and not Clark's fault, things like that still haunt Clark and are not easy for him to move past.
What he has failed to fully realize to this point is that he really has grown, and the perceived mistakes of his past do not define him, but only serve to strengthen his character and hone his judgment. Chloe made a good point, during their post-cybernetic conversation, that real trust means not having to ask for an explanation. Yet that is what Clark constantly demands of himself. His inner monologue is always active, over-analyzing every situation, trying to avoid making that fatal mistake. He needs the details, and cannot function effectively without them because, after all he his been through, he still lacks the confidence and the ability to trust his heart.
As Lois accurately explained to him, though, Clark's heart is usually right - it certainly was in the case of bringing Lois into his confidence - and it was as if an epiphanic light went off in Clark's head as he took her into his arms he leapt to the skies, "even if it was only in cyberspace."
I am believing more and more that, at least within the confines of the Smallville universe, the love Clark and Lois share is tightly entwined with Clark's destiny. Without her, I don't know that he would ever have become the man we know he will be soon. I'm really enjoying watching Lois help Clark take the final defining steps in this journey.
Elsewhere in the episode, it was great to see Black Canary able to flap her wings a bit, with the all-to-brief return of her Canary Cry, even if it wasn't exactly critical to the story. Her fight sequence with Chloe was great fun! I also found Chloe's explanation of her absence intriguing, as she now appears to be heading up the Suicide Squad.
It will be interesting to see how that piece plays out, especially since as Chloe indicated to Oliver, she'll be sticking around for a while.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.