Tess creates an elaborate hoax in order to kidnap Oliver/Green Arrow, and delivers him to the shady head of the secret society Checkmate, Amanda Waller, who tells him that that the ... See full summary »



(character created by: Superman), (character created by: Superman) | 5 more credits »

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



Episode cast overview:
Lois Lane (credit only)
Zod (credit only)
Paul Brenner (as Jonathan Lloyd Walker)
Edward Lott
Checkmate Guard
Doug Cameron ...


Tess creates an elaborate hoax in order to kidnap Oliver/Green Arrow, and delivers him to the shady head of the secret society Checkmate, Amanda Waller, who tells him that that the government is recruiting him to serve his country. However, Green Arrow escapes before they can learn his identity. After Oliver brings Clark and Chloe up to speed on what happened to him, the three investigate and Clark is surprised to find John Jones investigating Oliver's kidnapping too. Clark senses that John is keeping information from him. Oliver and Clark are shocked when Tess reveals that Amanda is after something called "Watchtower," which is Chloe's code name in the Justice League. When Chloe is captured by Checkmate agents, Waller threatens to kill Chloe unless Clark gives her the names and locations of the rest of the Justice League. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 April 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Amanda tells John Jones that he has phobia to fire, it's alluding to the fear of Martian Manhunter to fire because his planet was destroyed by fire. See more »


After Tess rolls over the hood of a car during the fight early on in the streets, the driver tries to open the door and Tess kicks it closed breaking the glass window on the driver's head. The glass shatters into many large shards of glass, but auto glass is made of tempered safety glass that is designed to crumble into small granular chunks of similar size and shape instead of splintering into random, jagged shards. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury. See more »


Tess Mercer: You buried an arrow into my chest, Oliver.
Oliver Queen: Actually it was a Taser.
Tess Mercer: Well, it bruised.
Oliver Queen: Well, better bruised than dead.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Writing black holes but captivating story, inconsistent but creative direction, interesting chessboard metaphora and eclectic players, convincing acting and great VFX
11 April 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

With such a title Checkmate could only be a pivotal and intense installment. However considering how strong some of the previous episodes were I wasn't expecting it to be a mix of light pros and dark cons. The two major disappointments were the writing inaccuracies and wobbly direction. The very first minutes I knew something was wrong because it just didn't seem like Smallville.

The slow motion visual effect used in action scenes ? I have been watching and reviewing the excellent Spartacus : Blood and Sand for weeks now and I know how impressive the effect can be when it's wisely used and well directed. But it wasn't nothing like it and I even found some scenes ridiculous, specially considering the character involved. In fact they even reminded me one of the worst choreographed film I have ever seen, Batman Begins. But if you worship Christopher Nolan then you should be blown away by the intimate close-ups. So I wasn't surprised when I found out that it was Tim Scanlan first directing job on Smallville. He probably watched films like The Matrix and Equilibrium a thousand times and played way too much Max Payne. However it wasn't a complete disaster as one black and white scene with The Blur was more creative and believable. The budget was well spent and I think they found the right solutions to the post-production problems they had to solve in time.

As for the writing they were so many plot holes that I quickly stopped counting them. Does the name John Chisholm ring a bell ? Well like for Scanlan it was his first episode and I'm surprised they let a newcomer to work on such an important episode. From the whole Oliver & Tess mumbo jumbo to the castle of the death incident there were plenty of elements to fill the trivia section of your favorite website. Don't get me wrong the story itself was captivating but its writing wasn't strong enough, like if they took us for granted or something. I like to consider some viewers are demanding and we can't just accept so many mistakes. Wasn't the script checked by the head writers ? However beside these annoying issues Checkmate was still entertaining and even interesting at times. First the story focused more on Tess and I found Cassidy Freeman quite convincing at the beginning. Moreover considering her dual profile, both delicate and fierce, she was the perfect player for such a chessboard game, a fascinating metaphora but far too literal. Second Lois was missing but all the other characters of The Watch Tower team were involved, even if some of them are definitely not strategists. I specially enjoyed how the Martian Manhunter behaved, confident and secretive, and he definitely made the story more exciting and some of Phil Morris lines were both insightful and intriguing. Third the acting was convincing, specially thanks to Morris, even if I think the wink links were Allison Mack and the white queen's actress. The chemistry of the first with Justin Hartley wasn't so authentic for example. As for the last she didn't make her character grow on me and I didn't find her believable. Fourth the production was great, from Green Arrow action scenes to the special abilities of our favorite superheroes. Fifth and not least the story was also heavy on character development. Its dramatic events strengthened some relationships but weakened others.

To sum things up my opinion is mixed. If you disconnect your brain you'll probably think it's mind blowing entertainment but if you pay attention to all the tiny details I pointed out then the experience should be less memorable. I think that the goal set for the ninth season is just out of reach. The creative team behind Smallville is not ready to take a wide world conspiracy involving double agents, reporters and aliens. Digesting the fact that no one has recognized The Blur nor found The Watch Tower so far is already hard to believe but after everything that happened in this episode you'll be sure of one thing, that the story could become a confusing gibberish if the upcoming episodes are in the same vein. However with all the other excellent directors and writers they have on the show I don't worry at all about Smallville's future ! But let's hope they'll improve their teamwork because the less skilled members could benefit from the experience of their peers.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: