"I was gonna sew an 'S' on the chest. Is that tacky?" -- Lois Lane (Erica Durance)
Seriously? The last new episode felt like months ago, and I had to double-check that my last Smallville recap actually was in the month of April. Outrageous! Anyway, after a respectable recap to get viewers up to speed, "Stiletto" cuts to a red carpet event in Metropolis at the "Edward R. Murrow Press Society" gala. Heavy-handed with the journalistic integrity much? But Lois Lane is not gained entry due to zero recognition for her work. She's lacking that "news flash" that puts her on the journalistic A-list (never mind "Infamous," since that never happened). Chloe rescues her from NOT crossing the velvet rope and they venture elsewhere discussing Lois' recent slump. Lois joneses for the Red/Blue Blur (even with an open letter apparently posted on the Daily Planet). When Chloe gets carjacked shortly after, Lois handles the two thugs, one getting away, and the impression she makes on the guy she apprehends inspires her on the spot to adopt the heroic identity of "Stiletto." Yes, it's as cheesy as it sounds. What "Superwoman" wasn't available??
After credits and a whole bunch of green ads (thanks to Earth Day this week), we're at our second favorite hospital -- in every show, it's either here or in Smallville -- Chloe is fixing to bail after her mugging-induced concussion, and she cuts short a call to Davis as if he's a dog ensuring his masters that he's stayed in the cage. To date, Chloe has totally kept this under wraps and a secret to everyone. She refuses to stay for the night despite doctors orders. Clark shows up just in time to visit and it's evident that he's been blown off by her in recent days. Chloe claims it's Watchtower duties, but you just know it's her harboring a potentially lethal Davis Bloome in her basement. Clark's up to speed on the Watchtower, but obviously not about Davis, who claimed that he could keep his rage under control when she's around. The problem that presents itself post-mugging is that Chloe's laptop loaded with Justice League intel is MIA thanks to the carjacking. The agenda for "Stiletto" is set.
At the Daily Planet, Lois' Stiletto idea is marginalized by the editor due to lack of photo. It'll go a long way if she can get some photographic evidence of this new hero to Metropolis. Talking with Clark at the office, she claims to have a lot of info on Stiletto chock-full of quotes, but Clark needs real details to track down Chloe's encrypted yet vulnerable laptop. Lois offers the mugger she knocked out as a guy who can help.
Elsewhere, at the Ace of Clubs nightclub, Jimmy (a rare instance we've gotten him in the last several episodes) pops up, tending bar there, post-divorce with Chloe. The customer we see him serve is the guy who got away from Chloe's botched carjacking, but in conversation over a stiff drink to kill the pan of his Lois beatdown, comic book fans will notice that it's none other than Intergang staple "Ugly" Mannheim, a Superman staple dating back to before I was born ('72, full disclosure). After taking a double-shot -- and getting hit up by Jimmy for scratch due to his post-Doomsday injuries and depression that has prompted a painkiller addiction -- Ugly's called in to report to an angry boss in an office that's sifting through A LOT of presumably laundered cash. Shortly into the discussion, Bruno gets the gumption to take out his boss over their agenda dispute, and he sees himself immediately, in a Greek or Shakespearean way, as the natural heir to the throne. How sad is this gang's situation that there's virtually no one to stand up to him in the situation?
Cut to a corny "make the costume" montage (Michelle Pfeiffer did it more compellingly in Batman Returns), and Lois is solidifying the Stiletto identity, unaware that Bruno's first mission is to take her out. Later in a random city alley, Jimmy is waiting to make some sort of connection, and he is jumped by Stilletto. Immediately he knows it's Lois, but she explains her plan after he first assumes that he's getting hit on. No passion play here, she just wants a story to put her on the front page of her newspaper (Speaking of newspapers, you have to wonder how this staple of Superman lore is going to be covered in months and years to come in light of the current economy and the decline of that particular industry).
Clark and Chloe are busy at the Isis Foundation sussing out clues on her missing laptop. Clark is shocked to find message boards and fansites devoted to his heroics as the (lamest name EVER) Red/Blue blur. Chloe gets him up to speed on the following he has, including many female admirers. He shuns the romance, but she suggests that having a peer at least in Stiletto would be good for him. Of course at this point neither of them knows who is wearing these 6-inch heels.
When Clark returns to the Planet, his interaction with his colleague Lois is holding her up from disappearing to go out in her new identity. There is a total butting heads on who will give first, but a legitimate call-in sends them both on their respective agendas. Jimmy, back at Ace of Clubs, is approached by Mannheim and the new boss snags his camera and thumbs through the pics, mocking him on his failed marriage, only to find Stiletto images. Jimmy takes a bad beating cuz he doesn't give up anything on Lois. To cover all bases, Mannheim wants the laptop hacked and his goons to hit Chloe.
Later, at a jewel robbery scene, Lois is on the case first in her Striletto guise. She gets confronted by Clark (after he actually took care of the thieves first, unknown to her). She simultaneously channels Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow by using a fake British accent for a moment before getting called out by Clark who totally recognizes her. After a bicker session they realize who they've been involved with, crime gangs over petty criminals. In the UNWISE move of the episode, they split up AFTER they figure out who is behind most of the last day's drama with the intention of addressing it.
Chloe gets ambushed by Mannheim's stooge at the Talon. Bad idea for the guy to attack Chloe at her home. He gets gobbled up (offscreen) by Doomsday who's going a respectable job staying put in the basement. Quite a pet she's keeping there. Not long after, Lois shows up to see Chloe (brushing her encounter under the carpet, figuratively, and covering up scratches) and confesses her creation of Stiletto when she's looking for Jimmy. Chloe almost looks like she'll confide in Lois about Davis, but all she does is tell Lois about where Jimmy worked as a lead. Chloe would've been WAY more judgmental on Lois's fake move were she not harboring a killing machine, I must say.
Following his leads, Clark goes to the club and finds Mannheim's team unlocking Chloe's laptop. He tries to bust it up in his usual superspeed method only to hit a kryptonite brick wall. The gang's counterfeit money press is conveniently powered by kryptonite (to what effect, I have NO idea) and all the bills in the room are contaminated. Clark's quickly knocked out, but not before finding Jimmy in a similar predicament. Lois shows up to the club with the tip that Jimmy is in trouble. Mannheim, not a guy who can hold his temper AT ALL spazzes out again, but not before Lois crashes the party in a manner reminiscent of the 1989 Batman movie. Subduing most of the crew, she saves Clark and he does so in kind, taking in a bullet for her in his weakened state. Wounded, Jimmy and Lois help Clark get out of the room to safety.
While they are busy in Metropolis, Chloe takes gangsta remains in trash bags to the Talon dumpster and finds blood on her hands, literally. She quickly realizes what a deal she made with the devil. In easily the most dire scene, maybe of the season, Chloe's clearly recognized her horrible decision to harbor Davis/Doomsday. Not that she had much say in the matter prior, but this trumps her Brainiac possession and then some. Lord, when the others find out.
Things have mellowed somewhat at the Daily Planet a day later, and Clark's injury was ruled a flesh wound, and Lois ladles on the help after she feels responsible for much of the drama. In a seedy neighborhood, Jimmy makes a drug deal (thanks to some crime gang cash), so it's clear he's got some issues still to work out. As much as he's gotten beaten up lately, part of me can't blame him all that much. Clark visits Chloe and she blows off his concerns. He (in a solid Tom Welling moment) offers himself as the shoulder she clearly needs to lean on, but she blows it off halfheartedly.
Back in Metropolis, Lois is on the job and she gets a call on a payphone. It's the Red/Blue Blur on the other line, and he's throwing her more than one bone as far as information. It IS Clark on the other line (and did any other hardcore Superman fan catch the "Can you read my mind?" reference??) Genuinely NOT angling for a byline, she asks him what he needs to do his job better, and it gives Clark pause, but not before he gives her a lot of encouragement. He gives her the option to come up with a better name over the ever-so-uninspired "Red/Blue Blur." I wonder if that name she comes up will ever be uttered on this show. Clark is very Superman-like in his pep talk to her. Despite the whole remote angle, this DOES make up for the time he stood her up via text message.
So, viewers, did "Stiletto" step it up for you? Personally, I was cringing about the premise with Lois in-costume leading into this episode, but found myself riveted by the big ideas introduced. Is Clark getting any closer to the red and blue tights -- and are we closer to the merciful end of the "Red & Blue Blur" moniker? Are we going to see an emergence of Intergang in Metropolis that'll take us into the next season? Did Lois look sufficiently hot in that outfit?