Tess forces Oliver to come to a Queen Industries gala to put the Board at ease, but things go awry when the Toyman shows up with a bomb and a plan to take revenge on Oliver. The Toyman tells Oliver he must confess to murdering Lex or he will blow the place up. Meanwhile, as part of his training, Jor-El gives Clark the ability to hear other people's thoughts.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 9x04
A hostage situation occurs in a textile factory in the garment district of Metropolis, where a man seated in a chair wearing a cracked doll head and a belt rigged with explosives watches over several hostages who are bound and gagged. Outside the factory, the Metropolis police and fire department arrive on the scene. While the police set up a perimeter trying to evaluate the situation, Clark as The Blur arrives on the scene to help. Super speeding into the building undetected, he rescues the hostages, whisking them to safety in mere seconds. He then burns his calling card emblem into the floor with his heat vision and turns his attention to the bomber, telling him not to detonate his explosive belt. Clark tears off the belt and then sends the bomber flying into a wall with a super smack. This tears off the mask and reveals he is also bound and gagged. The timer-detonator in the mask activates and Clark acts quickly to use his invulnerable body to absorb most of the blast from the explosion, while the remainder of the blast blows out the factory outer wall and sends a policeman flying through the air. Clark recovers to experience a short temporary loss of hearing, followed by a ringing in his head which leads him to hear the thoughts of the people around him.
Outside the factory, Clark uses a nearby Phone booth to change from his Blur attire back into his work clothes just as Lois arrives in her car and almost hits him as he exits the phone booth. Lois asks if she missed him and Clark assumes she was referring to almost hitting him with her car. Lois clarifies that she was actually asking about the Blur. Clark informs her that when he arrived, the Blur had already left and he just tried to call her from a pay phone. Lois inquires how Clark got to the scene so fast since her contact from Met P.D. didn't inform her of the story until recently. Lois climbs on top of the police car bumper to get closer to the scene, but slips and starts to fall, but before she can fall, Clark grabs her in his arms and when she feels his arm around her she thinks "Hello sailor!", which Clark hears as if it had been spoken. When he asks her what she said, Lois says for him to get his hearing checked but when she turns and walks away he 'hears' her think "Hot stuff!"
Returning to the Daily Planet to file the story, Clark continues to hear the thoughts of Lois, which consist of her second guessing her current wardrobe. Lois appears to be in a good mood until she expresses to Clark her disappointment in not getting to interview the Blur for more details on the story. Clark says the hostages being saved is all that really counts. Lois tells him there is more to the story especially with the word on the street being that the main suspect bomber wasn't the one who activated the detonator because it was on a timer. Clark asks why the bomb would be on a timer, and Lois says she's not a mind reader and the whole hostage situation is unusual since no demands were made. Once again, Clark hears Lois' thoughts which are now about the Blur who hasn't contacted her since their last encounter. Clark, concerned about Lois' feelings, hears her thoughts concerning her wish for the last maple donut that the intern Jeff had taken. Clark uses his super speed to swipe the donut out of his hand and hands it to Lois, who's very grateful. As the two of them investigate further into the story, they discover the textile factory is owned by Queen Industries. Clark thinks this should have caught Oliver's attention and then he hears Lois think "If Oliver's sober enough to care". Clark says he agrees which confuses Lois.
At the metro coffee shop, Clark meets with Chloe, who tries to test him by asking him what she's thinking, but Clark says that so far he can only hear Lois's thoughts. Chloe asks if this might be his Super hearing on the fritz. Clark explains that, as loud as Lois is, even she can't speak without opening her mouth. So Chloe suggests that Clark ask Jor-El. As Chloe leaves, Clark begins to hear the thoughts of the people all around him on the street.
Arriving at the Fortress of Solitude, Jor-El informs Clark that he planted a seed for his telepathy as part of his training and Clark must have been reasoning like a human to have activated it. Its function is to teach him to nurture his Kryptonian intuition rather than allow his humanistic assumptions to cloud his judgment.
Inside Met Gen hospital, Lois and Clark interview the hostages from the incident. A woman refuses to speak and Clark uses his telepathy to hear that she's an immigrant who fears deportation and believes they're INS staff. Clark reassures her they're not INS, and she answers their questions. Next they see a man who exaggerates everything he's telling Lois in the hope of attracting publicity. Clark informs him that giving them false information could get him into trouble and the man admits he didn't see anything. Lois is very impressed by Clark's performances. Out in the hall, Clark gets a report from the receptionist at the desk. Lois returns with a doughnut (after taking one bite out of it), to repay him for his kindness earlier. Clark informs her that Mr. Murphy, the puppet bomber, is still unconscious after his surgery. Lois believes they've hit a dead end in their investigation and is ready to call it a night, saying she has plans. Clark hears her thoughts and discovers she doesn't really have anything planned, so he suggests they grab some dinner. Lois ponders whether Clark is asking her on a date and, 'hearing' her thoughts, he quickly assures her that this isn't a date, just something like a date. Lois points out that they won't get in anywhere since almost everything is booked on Saturday night. Clark hears Lois' thoughts on the current monster truck rally at the Metropolis Colosseum and suggests that one place they could go would be the rally, and a pleasantly surprised Lois agrees, 'subject to the usual protocol' that they take separate cars so that there'll be no drama at the end of the night.
Elsewhere, Oliver Queen is seen stumbling into a small Mexican bar, where he attracts the attention of two sexy señoritas, so he orders drinks for the three of them. Oliver's flirting with the two señoritas lands him in trouble with three local tough mobsters who approach him from behind. One of the men accuses Oliver of messing with his wife. Oliver takes a sip of beer before insulting him by asking "Which one is your wife? The short one? Or the ugly one?" One of the men punches Oliver square in the jaw. Then someone enters the bar and fires a gun into the air and tells everyone except Oliver to clear out of the bar. Oliver's savior is Tess Mercer.
Back in Smallville, Chloe arrives at the Talon apartment to see Lois preparing herself for a date by using a pair of scissors to cut some old jeans to make herself a pair of cutoffs to match her sleeveless plaid shirt. Lois informs Chloe she's going to see the monster truck rally. Chloe thinks it's more than that, because of Lois' obvious desire to make her attire perfect, and asks who her "Prince Charming" is. Lois says she is surprised to hear herself saying it, but it's Clark Kent. Lois tells Chloe that they've been on the same wavelength all day and Chloe replies sarcastically "I'll bet. Sorta like he's been reading your mind?" Lois confirms that and continues to explain how she and Clark have become more than just partners over the course of their relationship, and how she's gotten so used to "carrying the load" all by herself in her previous relationships of the past but maybe now she doesn't have to. "Who would've thought? Clark and Lois versus the world," Lois says with a smile, before she gives Chloe a hug and says "Don't wait up!" as she leaves.
Clark is still at the hospital, and overhears Mr. Murphy's thoughts that "He forced me to do it. It wasn't me. I'm innocent!" Mr. Murphy continues that a "short and fat man" strapped the bomb on him, talking about toys, and wanting Oliver Queen to "pay for what he'd done to him." Clark deduces from this that the identity of the mysterious puppet master is none other than Toyman.
Somewhere in a toy workshop on a desk is a copy of the Daily Planet front page headline of Winslow Schott when he was revealed as the bomber responsible for Lex Luthor's death and still at large. In the background shadows, the voice of Winslow giggling maniacally.
Back at the now abandoned Mexican bar, Oliver sits at the bar, drinking. Tess watches him from across the room. He says she didn't give them a chance. Tess tries to find out why Oliver has plunged into this extreme drunken depression. Tess also tells him that one of Queen Industries' subsidiary factories was just recently blown up and he doesn't seem to give a damn about it. Oliver continues to drink and says she wasted the jet fuel if she just came to lecture him. Tess tells him that his company is currently failing and his shareholders are very upset. Oliver tells her to just admit the truth, that she can now take over his company as she's always wanted. Tess, seeing that her tough love approach isn't working, tries a softer tone to try to find out why he's punishing himself almost as if he has a death wish. Oliver remains quiet as she comes up behind him and touches his shoulder. Oliver is touched but when he turns to face her he hides that feeling and asks her what she really wants? Tess reveals she wants Oliver present to address a shareholders' meeting she is to host at the Ace Of Clubs. Tess turns and leaves Oliver alone in the bar to meditate on her words.
Back at the Daily Planet, Clark walks in and hears Chloe thinking: "It's a good think he can't hear what I'm thinking, or else -- " He finds her waiting at his desk and cuts her off. Chloe addresses Clark on taking advantage of her cousin Lois with his temporary telepathy powers. Clark looks confused as he explains to Chloe that it's not a real date. Chloe informs him that he's obviously totally oblivious to Lois's true feelings for him and she doesn't want to see him break Lois' heart, which he seems to be doing right now by standing Lois up. Clark reveals that his intentions were good and he had asked Lois out before he discovered that the suspect bomber was in fact an innocent man, and shows a newspaper headline of the real villain to Chloe. Clark says that's why he didn't call Lois back, fearing that she'd show up here and follow him into harm's way. Clark figures that now that the Toyman has lured Oliver out of hiding he's going to strike that night at the black tie gala at the Ace Of Clubs. Clark asks Chloe to wait at the Watchtower to help, should her assistance be required.
Arriving at the outside entrance of the gala, Clark dressed in a tux stands in line with a bunch of other guests from Metropolis' social elite. Clark uses his telepathic abilities to find a name on the guest list to assume the identity of. Clark refers to himself as "Kennair" to the security guard. The guard checks the clipboard and asks if "Mr. Kennair" has a "plus one." Before he can answer, a gigantic monster truck rumbles to a stop behind Clark. Lois climbs down from the passenger side in a gold evening gown dress. Clark asks her what she's doing there. Her thoughts answer, "Standing in the shadow of six-and-a-half feet of handsome," then chides herself not to let him off that easily. Lois accuses Clark, out loud, for standing her up on their date and for not telling her about Oliver's return to society so that he could scoop her on the big story. Lois implying that's how she found out about the event.
Entering together, Clark pretends he's only interested in the story, much to Lois' dismay. He hears her thoughts: "When are you going to learn, Lois? This was nothing more than a story. He's not interested in you." Lois then leaves, deciding that Clark can "fly solo" on the story. Clark watches her for a moment seeing her heart-broken. He then turns his attention and starts listening in to the shareholders' thoughts. They are very worried about losing money and about Tess ruining the company among other things. Suddenly, Tess stands at the podium in a blue cocktail dress and introduces Oliver to the crowd as their "fearless leader." There's a small applause from the crowd. Oliver takes the podium and starts reading the teleprompter. He trails off when he realizes what he's saying. He looks down at his screen, then tries to play it off like his speech writer has a sense of humor. Some people in the audience chuckle. The screen tells Oliver to use the earpiece, which he does, causing some feedback in the mike. Everyone grasps their ears in pain, including Clark, who now finds that his telepathic abilities have gone.
The Toyman's voice comes over Oliver's earpiece. Toyman explains that he enjoyed their game of 'Hide and Seek' and now he's ready to play a new game called 'Toyman says' and the rules are simply to read everything that's on the teleprompter, that he himself has written, or die. "If you move one muscle, I will kill everybody in this room." Toyman tells Oliver with an evil laugh that the podium Oliver is standing on has a pressure plate rigged to explode. Toyman continues to laugh with great delight.
Clark realizes as Oliver continues to read his speech, confessing to his sins, that Toyman is pulling the strings. Oliver pauses, but the Toyman goads him on. Hesitantly, Oliver continues to read, declaring he's put his own selfish needs ahead of those of his employees and company, and that the only thing he's been selfless enough to part with is the blame for a heinous act he committed.
Clark calls Chloe at the Watchtower and tells her his telepathic ability has gone and he needs to find The Toyman fast. Chloe hacks into the building's security feeds. Meanwhile, back at the podium, Oliver continues to read. He hesitantly trails off, unable to read the words on the screen that call him a murderer. Toyman shouts at Oliver through the earpiece for framing him for the murder of Lex Luthor.
Clark uses his X-ray vision and sees the bomb under the pressure plate beneath Oliver's feet. Clark tells Chloe on the cellphone that they need to get everyone out because of the bomb. Oliver continues to hesitate over his speech while Toyman screams at him in the earpiece to confess. Meanwhile, Chloe gets into the security system and activates an alarm system that gets everyone scurrying out of the hall to safety.
As the crowd leaves, Clark sees Toyman standing on the outside balcony of the Ace Of Clubs. Clark grabs him and demands to know how to disarm the bomb. Clark insists this isn't a game and that a man's life is at stake. Clark thinks about it for a while and realizes that Toyman would have to know that Oliver wouldn't have let all those people die. Toyman seems very impressed by Clark's knowledge about his work. Clark figures out using his Kryptonian intuition that Toyman doesn't allow for humanistic error, that he has to control the outcome, and that's why the timer was on the mask at the factory. Clark realizes the pressure plate Oliver is standing on is fake and that the real bomb is on a timer just like before.
Clark holds Toyman over the edge of the balcony's railing, intending to scare him through intimidation to divulge the location of the timer. Inside, Oliver still at the podium, keeps focusing on the word "murderer" on his teleprompter. He looks down at the plate, takes a deep breath. Back at the balcony, Clark pulls Toyman up and realizes the real Winslow would want to live. Just as he starts counting down, Clark uses his heat-vision, melting the face of 'Toyman' to reveal that it's a robotic duplicate of Winslow Schott housing a time detonator which Clark deactivates with his heat-vision.
Oliver steps off the pressure plate just as Clark enters from the balcony and inquires how Oliver knew the bomb under the pressure plate was a fake. Oliver simply says he didn't know and had waited until everyone had left, being prepared to commit suicide, knowing that the explosion from the bomb wouldn't kill Clark.
After the authorities have left the scene, Clark shares with Oliver that Chloe tracked down the real Winslow thanks to the feed from the earpiece and that he's already in custody and on his way to Stryker's Island prison. Oliver prompts Clark to say what's on his mind. Clark expresses how he's been so busy saving others that he hasn't really paid attention to his friends and he apologizes for not having been there for him when he needed help. Oliver confides that ever since he was only five when he lost his own parents, everything that he believes that defines his character has been a façade or mask. Just then, a police siren goes off so Oliver encourages Clark to leave, which he does. Alone on the club terrace with his drink in his hand, he thinks he sees Lex Luthor where his reflection should be in a window and hurls his glass at it.
Inside an interrogation room, Winslow Schott, wearing an orange prison uniform, demands to see his lawyer. Tess enters the room and Winslow instantly recognizes her and sarcastically apologizes for intending to kill Oliver Queen, whom he refers to as her boyfriend. Winslow realizes that Tess is there for revenge. She proceeds to fire a gun into his left kneecap with a warning to leave Oliver alone. Winslow pleads in pain for help from the guards, only for Tess to reveal they had an agreement to make it look like Winslow tried to escape and Tess shot him to stop him. Winslow explains that he's afraid that they'll put him in solitary confinement. Tess reveals that is a part of her plan since she wants him to work on a "new toy"—really to study how Corben's Kryptonite heart matrix works. Winslow is delighted to be able to examine a new toy in solitude.
The next day at the Daily Planet, Clark is making copies when he sees Lois coming into the office. They stare at each other through a window. In an effort to make amends for standing her up, Clark has shared the byline with Lois after asking her help to finish the article. Clark apologizes for letting her down and Lois accepts. Clark asks how someone might get a second date after messing up, to which Lois replies, "hypothetically speaking", to wait for a slower news day. Clark assures her that "hypothetically speaking", he would get it right the next time.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer
- Callum Blue as Zod (credit only)
- Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen
Special Guest Star
- Ayron Howey as "Lex Luthor"
- Kurt Max Runte as Police Officer
- Timothy Paul Perez as Man at Bar #1
- Daniel Boileau as Male Hostage
- Michael Jonsson as Doorman
- Cynthia Mendez as Woman in Bar #1
- Paula Giroday as Woman in Bar #2
- Evan C. Schulte as Jeff Hage
- Marina Allen as Imigrant Hostage
- Kirtsen Buch as Nurse
- David Beairsto as Man in Bar #2
- Patricio Castillo - "Magia Negra"
- An echo is a reflection of sound.
- The title refers to Clark's new ability to hear other people thoughts.
- In Greek mythology, Echo was the nymph who assisted Zeus by distracting Hera with her chatter. To punish her Hera made Echo unable to speak except to repeat another's last words. Echo then fell in love with Narcissus but was rejected. She pined for him until only her voice remained.
- Antagonist: Winslow Schott
- Major Zod does not appear in this episode.
- This is the first time that Jor-El has given Clark an ability, albeit a temporary one. Usually Clark has had to learn his powers and abilities on his own. (X-Ray, Heat, Whisper, and Sneeze)
- This is the first time that Clark has ever received a power that was not part of Superman's common canon abilities from the Post-Crisis comics. A Golden Age issue had Superman developing telepathy but it was limited to projecting thoughts into others' heads.
- Trivia, going by Lois's thoughts she was wearing a thong the day Clark had mind-reading powers.
- Though Clark was searching for Toyman in Requiem, this is the first time he confronts him.
- This is the second time Tess has sported straight hair, the first was in Turbulence.
- Lois says "Hello Sailor" in her mind referring to Clark; Clark said "Aye aye...sailor" to Lois at the end of Exposed.
In Other Media
- Toyman using a robot duplicate is in the manner of the comics version.
- Clark being able to hear Lois's thoughts may be a reference to the "Can you read my mind?" scene in Superman: The Movie.
- Clark uses a phone booth to change out of his Blur attire and back into his reporter attire. similar to how Clark would usually use a phone booth as his signature way of transforming into Superman in the mythology.
- Winslow Schott was last seen on the run in Requiem.
- Clark last learned a new ability in Sneeze.
- Tess shows Winslow the kryptonite heart taken from John Corben. It was last seen in Metallo.
- There was a very brief image of Lex, who was last seen in Requiem.
- Tess and Oliver have been in business together since Bulletproof, although Oliver has not been doing his share of the work since he went missing in Doomsday. This is the first episode that Tess has criticized him for checking out of his work.
- This is the second time that Clark has stood Lois up. The first time was in Infamous.
- When Clark is in the Fortress, some of the crystals are still black, which is the direct result of Brainiac's infection in Abyss.
- Jor-El has given people abilities before. He gave Jonathan Kent the abilities of a Kryptonian in Exile and he gave Lindsey Harrison similar abilities in Covenant. He also restored Clark and Kara's abiltites in Hidden and Traveler respectively.
- Clark refers to Jor-El directly as "Dad." Something similar first happened in Abyss, although that time he called him "Father."
- This episode marks the 4th appearance of Clark's "black" Blur outfit.
- Jor-El was last heard in Savior.
- Oliver (around age 29) tells Clark that his parents died when he was five years old. However, this is not consistent with the Smallville timeline saying that Robert and Laura Queen died in 1989, leaving Oliver orphaned at the age of nine. Oliver was in the same grade as Lex in Reunion.
- Lois's overheard-thought mentioning "Lifetime" refers to the Lifetime cable TV network(s), for which Erica Durance has done some TV movies between seasons or episodes of Smallville.
- Chloe: So the question is: how do we know that this isn't just your super hearing on the fritz?
- Clark: As loud as Lois is, even she can't speak with her mouth closed.
- Chloe: Good point.
- Clark: What are you doing here? (hears Lois's thoughts)
- Lois: Standing in the shadow of six-and-a-half foot of handsome. No, Lois, he doesn't get off that easy. Kick his ass!
- Oliver: Speak your mind, Clark.
- Clark: I haven't been paying enough attention to everything. There's been danger all around me that I haven't seen... warning signs I haven't noticed... and people in need that I've neglected. I didn't realize how bad things are. I haven't been here for you. I'm sorry.
- Oliver: Well, with all due respect, Clark, I'm not sure I'm worth your concern. You know, when I was reading that speech in there, when I decided to, uh... that speech wasn't just a laundry list of all my sins. It was... it was a fact sheet. Ever tell you how old I was when my parents died? Five. I never really knew them very well. Everything about my life is not really mine. It's theirs. I didn't earn it... and it's all a lie. You of all people know what it's like to wear a mask, right? That's all this is: the Queen name, Green Arrow. Masks! And I just realized there's nothing underneath them.
- Clark: There is something behind those masks. You're just afraid to face it. You're not running away from who you are. You're running away from who you think you're becoming. But you don't have to face it alone. Just because you've given up on Oliver Queen doesn't mean I have.
- Oliver: Thank you.
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