→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 6x20
Jimmy has set up a film projector in the empty basement of the Daily Planet for a private screening of The Big Sleep with Chloe. Chloe is more amused that Jimmy knows every word, but their romantic moment ends abruptly when they hear a gunshot. In the elevator lobby, they see a figure running up the stairs. Jimmy takes a photograph with his cell phone. Chloe is shocked speechless to see a woman's foot caught in the elevator door. The door opens to reveal Lana Lang, dressed in an evening gown, unconscious and bleeding from a gunshot wound to her shoulder.
The scene is soon filled with police and EMTs. Lionel is there and whispers to Lana that he's sorry he got her caught in all this and that he'll find whoever did this. Lex arrives shortly afterward and demands to know what Lana was doing with Lionel. Lois is also at the scene, trying to get the scoop for the Metropolis Inquisitor, but the detectives won't let her near. Standing next to the roped-off elevator, she notices the contents of Lana's purse scattered on the floor, including a silver cigarette case. She dumps her own purse onto the floor and while apologizing profusely, scoops her belongings up, snagging the case as well. Clark arrives and feels guilty that he wasn't watching over Lana, but Chloe remarks that Lana must have had a specific purpose for being at the Planet in the middle of the night. She asks Jimmy to download the photograph of the attacker.
With the movie playing in the background, Jimmy proceeds to download the photo. Suddenly, a figure emerges from the shadows. He strikes Jimmy over the head and he is knocked unconscious...
Jimmy wakes up in a black-and-white world of Metropolis on May 3, 1940. He is the Daily Planet's star reporter and Chloe Sullivan is his assistant. He then meets another reporter, bespectacled Clark Kent, who is clumsy and bumbling. Jimmy is confused in this alternate reality, but he is soon immersed into it when he takes a call from a woman who wants to report a murder—her own.
Jimmy meets the caller, Lana Luthor, married to Lex, the most powerful man in Metropolis. She believes her husband is trying to have her killed. Lana is compelling and persuasive. She pleads with Jimmy for his help, so he agrees to follow Lex. She gives him a silver cigarette case with gardenias engraved on it. Inside is a large amount of cash and a matchbook from the Talon, a lounge.
Jimmy goes to the Talon, but he can't get past the bouncer until Clark Kent appears. He is suddenly suave and put-together and ushers Jimmy into the club. He doesn't give details on his sudden personality change, only asking Jimmy what story he's chasing. Jimmy plays dumb, but Clark knows that he must have a big scoop. However, the owner of the lounge, Lionel Luthor, approaches and asks Clark why Jimmy is with him. Clark just says that Jimmy is down on love.
The three men stop their conversation when the star of the lounge takes the stage. As she sings, Lionel and Lex talk about what Jimmy and Clark are up to. Clark catches Jimmy eyeing Lex and realizes that Jimmy is after him. He claims that he'll help him, but Jimmy is skeptical. When Clark leaves, Lionel tells Jimmy that every night, Lex makes a big exit but he isn't really in his car. Jimmy watches Lex leave and when Lex secretly ducks into a car, Jimmy follows him into an alley. He sees Lex approach the lounge singer and listens as she complains that they'll never be able to be together. Lex remarks that they can continue their affair when his wife is "out of the way." Jimmy snaps a photograph of them kissing and speeds away. Lex chases him down, but he gets away.
Jimmy takes the photograph of Lex with the singer to Lana Luthor and confirms that Lex is planning to get rid of her. Lana feels trapped because Lex will either kill her or chase her. Jimmy offers to take care of Lex and she gives him a pistol, to "protect himself." Jimmy meets Lex, who nonchalantly says that he'll have Jimmy killed. Jimmy shows him the photograph and says that he has proof that he was trying to kill his wife, but Lex counters that he is simply going to divorce her. He warns that Lana is deceitful and reaches into his jacket. Jimmy impulsively reacts and shoots Lex. With his last breath, Lex mutters, "gardenia."
Lex's death by an unknown suspect is the main headline and Chloe knows right away that it is Jimmy. She finds him at The Talon drowning his sorrows. He confirms that he did shoot Lex, but Chloe thinks he was set up. She reveals that Clark Kent has also been calling Lana Luthor. Lionel overhears their conversation and calls Lana to warn that they are onto her. Lana remarks that it doesn't matter anymore because Lex is dead. It is revealed that she is indeed having an affair with Clark Kent. She puts a gun in her purse and exits. Jimmy confronts Clark at the Planet but is shocked to discover that it is Lana. She admits that she orchestrated the whole set-up, then shoots Jimmy. Suddenly, another gunshot rings out and Lana is shot from the back. Clark appears and as Lana dies, she says she did it all for him. Jimmy recovers enough to realize that the cigarette case deflected the bullet and he is unharmed. He looks on in shock at Clark, who then reveals himself to be an undercover detective. Detective Kent states that he was sent to watch Lex, but accidentally fell in love with his wife. The dream ends as Detective Kent hauls Jimmy to the authorities.
Jimmy awakens in the present to a concerned Chloe. She says the photograph of the attacker has been deleted, but Jimmy, remembering the dream, theorizes that Lana had ulterior motives for being at the Planet. He notices the cigarette case is missing from the scene. They use the elevator memory to find out what floor she visited—the floor for political correspondence. They break into Brennan's office, the only reporter that was still on the floor at the time of the shooting. Brennan appears shortly afterward and they question him. They know that Brennan was the one who struck Jimmy. Brennan admits that Lana contacted him, but before their meeting, he heard a gunshot and ran away. He knew police wouldn't believe his story, so he erased the photo. He is then shot dead through the office door. Jimmy runs after the gunman while Chloe calls Clark. They fight in the lobby, but the gunman gets the upper hand and knocks Chloe off the balcony. She falls down the middle of the spiral staircase but Clark catches her just before she hits the floor. He sneaks away just as Jimmy arrives. Jimmy has knocked the gunman out and Chloe hugs him.
Lois arrives home to find Lionel waiting for her. He demands that she give the cigarette case back. Inside is a flash drive, but Lois says it is empty. However, Lionel opens it and views a video file in which Lex is conversing with Senator Burke about Project Ares. Lois realizes that even Lionel did not know that the senator was involved. Lionel simply remarks that whoever shot Lana wouldn't hesitate to kill her too.
Chloe goes to visit Lana at the hospital and informs her that Brennan was killed. Lana claims she doesn't remember anything but Chloe presses until she reveals that Lionel is forcing her to spy on Lex. She intended to give the evidence to the papers to incriminate both Luthors and says it was her only way to get out from under them. Chloe is still confused that Lionel is using Lana against Lex until Lana admits that she married Lex and is spying on him to protect Clark. Chloe reminds Lana that Clark can take care of himself, Lana interjets and reminds her of his weakness and is afraid that if she stops helping Lionel that Clark's weakness will be used against him. Lana still doesn't understand fully Clark's secret or what his weakness is, she is merely afraid for his safety.
Clark is frustrated that all leads to Lana's attacker have met dead ends since the attacker was killed while in police custody. He is highly agitated when he realizes that Chloe is purposely not investigating and correctly guesses that she knows something she's not telling. He gets upset and storms away determined to find Lana's attacker with or without her help. Chloe stops him and points out that he's kept his secret from Lana for years in an attempt to "protect her", Clark asks is she is doing this to protect him? Clark states that Lex wouldn't put Lana in a compromising situation and decides that there is only one other person who would be able to control her: Lionel.
Lex is leaving the hospital when his bodyguard informs him that the gun that shot Lana belonged to Lex. He speculates that she was carrying it for protection, but Lex doesn't know from whom?
Chloe meets Jimmy outside the Talon. He announces that he has been promoted and is leaving Kansas on assignment, but wants to take a photograph with "his girl" before he goes, and they part on an optimistic note.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent (credit only)
- Richard Kahan as Brennan
- Audra Ricketts as EMT
- Ben Ayres as Jason Bartlett
- Kelly-Ruth Mercier as Operator
- Peter Kelamis as Police Tech
- Kasper Michaels as Policeman #1
- Gardiner Millar as Bouncer
- Shaw Madson as Officer Phil
- Billy Mitchell
- Mike Dopud as George
- Keith Dallas
- "The Finger Points to You (Instrumental)" - Maxayn
- "Somebody Else" - Erica Durance
- Noir refers to film noir, French for "black film". Film noir was a crime drama movie genre usually featuring murder under suspicious circumstances. These black-and-white films were extremely popular in the 1940s.
- Jimmy's dream was in black and white, and appeared in the noir style.
- This is one of the two episodes in which Jimmy is the main protagonist. The other is Sleeper.
- It seems certain that the unnamed gunman was acting on someone's orders, but it's never revealed whose. If Burke's conversation in the following episode, Prototype, alludes to this episode, it's possible the gunman was hired by Burke to find the mole in Lex's organization, but acted on his own initiative when he discovered it was Lana.
- The Big Sleep is the second Warner Bros. movie or short to appear on Smallville. The first was the Bugs Bunny cartoon High Diving Hare in the Season One episode Craving.
- The Daily Planet building's address is given as 1000 Broadway.
- The shot of the 1940s Daily Planet signage is from the 1950s TV Show The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves.
- Chloe seems to have had the Toyota Yaris she drove in Wither and Subterranean painted from light-blue to slate-gray, reason unknown. Oddly its auto-body color returns to light-blue again the next year in Traveler. It is also possible that she traded-in her vehicle to the dealer twice.
- Martha Kent does not appear in this episode.
- This is Jimmy's last appearance as a recurring character for this season. He is a main character in Season Seven and Season Eight.
- This is the first time that Lionel Luthor has been seen without a beard. He is clean-shaven except for a well-trimmed mustache.
- This is the first and only episode that features Lex and Lois having an intimate relationship, something which is more common in other depictions of Superman.
- Detective Kent's badge is in the familiar Superman pentagon shape.
- Lana's shoulder wound switches sides in the time between being shot and moving to the hospital. It moves again in the next episode Prototype.
- During Jimmy and Lana's conversation in the 1940s, the Vancouver SkyTrain can be seen in the background as speedily-moving lights. The sound the SkyTrain usually makes is masked with the sound of a regular train, making it part of the scene.
- When Chloe shows Jimmy his picture in the Daily Planet, the photos on the front page change when the viewpoint shifts. The first two pictures are a headshot of Jimmy and a distance shot of the police, but when a close-up of the paper is shown, the photos are now of Jimmy shaking hands with an official and of the gunman in police custody.
- Jimmy´s prolonged dream is another "alternate-reality-story" on Smallville. Other episodes featuring this kind of storyline are Slumber, Crisis, Lexmas, Reckoning, Static, Labyrinth, Apocalypse, Infamous and Pandora.
- Jimmy marvels about his dream, which had "Clark Kent leading a double life as a reporter by day and crime-fighter by night." This is an allusion to Clark's future life as Superman.
- In this episode, Clark wears glasses and a smart suit in his brief scene in the Daily Planet. He fumbles with them much like in the Superman movies. He also has a mild-mannered personality which references what he will eventually become in his real future.
- In the scene where Lois is singing, it was actually Erica Durance singing, much like Teri Hatcher did when Lois went undercover as a lounge singer for a story in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season One episode "I've Got a Crush on You".
- The kiss between Jimmy and Chloe in the last scene is reminiscent of the famous VJ Day Kiss.
- Lionel Luthor refers to Jimmy Olsen as 'Boy Wonder'. This is a name used to describe Batman's sidekick Robin.
- While having been on the show since Season Four and having a background in singing, Erica Durance had to audition for director Jeannot Szwarc and producer James Marshall, to prove that she could sing.
- Alluding to his mild-mannered reporter disguise he wears as Superman, this is the second time Clark is shown wearing eyeglasses; the first was in Whisper, Clark would also be seen in a reporter disguise (glasses and suit) in Apocalypse, and be seen wearing glasses, claiming that he's nearsighted, in Idol. This is also the second time that he has been portrayed as a professional reporter in someone's dream, the first being in Lex's dream in Lexmas.
- Jason Bartlett, the Project Ares supervisor, also appeared in Combat, Nemesis, Prototype, Static and Phantom.
- This is the first episode since Crimson that Lois appears in where she isn't in any physical danger.
- This episode marks the 56th appearance of Clark's red jacket & blue shirt outfit, which he wears frequently throughout the series.
- Jimmy was last seen in Freak.
- Chloe and Jimmy are watching The Big Sleep, a 1946 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It is a classic example of film noir.
- Jimmy also mentions Cagney and Stanwyck, two other stars of the noir genre.
- In Jimmy Olsen's dream, Lana Lang calls to report her own murder, a plot point made famous in another film noir, D.O.A.. Another possible allusion to the film is when a policeman calls Lex "Dead on arrival".
- The word "Gardenia" is repeated throughout the episode. "Gardenia" is said in the 1941 noir film The Maltese Falcon, to announce the arrival of Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre). Private detective Sam Spade (another noir detective played by Humphrey Bogart) is given Cairo's business card, which he notes a scent of perfume on. Spade's secretary identifies the scent as "Gardenia". This was done to hint at Cairo being a homosexual, while getting around the Hays Code, which banned references to homosexuality.
- Detective Clark Kent: (to Jimmy) Relax, I'm one of the good guys.
- Detective Clark Kent: I should've known better. Rule number one-- never get mixed up with a girl. Not when you're on the job.
- Jimmy: On the job? (Clark shows him his police badge) You're a cop?
- Detective Kent: Undercover unit. I was sent here to watch Lex Luthor. Falling in love with his wife, that was... that was my mistake.
- Detective Clark Kent: (to Jimmy) Someone should've told you, kid. There are no heroes in Metropolis.
- Clark: You're holding back something from me, aren't you? Chloe, I can't believe you'd lie to me!
- Chloe: I can't believe you didn't hear the deafening irony in that statement.
- Chloe: When did you learn to do that?
- Jimmy: Some girls go for sports cars. I figure you're more of a lock-picking kind of girl.
- Chloe: (in Clark's arms after he catches her) You didn't have to wait until the last second, you know.
- Clark: What fun would that be?
- Jimmy: You know, it was so weird. I mean, half of it made sense. Lana and Lionel working together and Clark Kent leading a double life as a reporter by day and crime-fighter by night... You know, it's funny what your mind will cook up.
- Jimmy: I figured you could use an escape from your real-life soap opera.
- Chloe: What do you mean?
- Jimmy: Well, if you live it every day, but from the outside. Your real life's got Cagney and Stanwyck written all over it. You've got your billionaire mogul, you got the confused damsel who chose money over love, and the mysterious best friend who shows up everywhere because he can't seem to get a real job. Not to mention the steadfast dame they all depend on.
- Chloe: Wow. A real glimpse in the mind of Jimmy Olsen. FYI, um, "dame"? Not so flattering.
- Jimmy: I didn't peg you as the kind of guy with a secret identity.
- Detective Clark Kent: And you're never gonna.
- Bartender Lionel: You stroll in here with this crackerjack kid... You trying to land me in the cooler?
- Detective Clark Kent: Cool your jets, Mack. Jimmy's here just a little down on love. Ain't you, Jimmy?
- Bartender Lionel: Poor sucker. Man, dame's his poison.
- Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum: Erica Durance (December 15, 2020)
- The Celluloid Closet (1995)
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