Luthor mansion. A fully-clothed Tess is in bed, asleep, frowning as she starts to stir. She gets up and crosses the room to the window. She throws open the drapes. There are metal grates on the window. Tess runs to the next window and finds it much the same. The quality of light is gritty and surreal and motions are jagged. She makes for the door, but finds herself trapped behind a vault. She lets out a cry of frustration and bangs on the metal. "What did you do to this place?" she screams up at a security camera. A man in black opens the vault, crosses the room, and backhands her into wall. He steps on her chest when she tries to get up. It's Maxwell Lord. "Where is the Book of Rao?" he asks. Commercials.
Kent house. A flowery apron has been laid out on the kitchen counter. Martha stares at it for a long time, this once-familiar relic from her past, her face etched with pain as she finally puts it on. When she hears Lois coming down the stairs behind her, she puts on a smile. "Gotta hand it to you, Mrs. K," Lois says. "Running senate committees by day, cooking rocking meals by night?" They have a chuckle over how Martha can do it all. Well, she has a lot of minions to help her these days. Oops, is that a spoiler for the rest of the episode? My bad. As they get down to peeling veggies for the evening meal, Martha asks Lois for the news on her and Clark. Lois, furiously whittling a carrot down to a nubbin, lies that she and Clark are doing fine. Martha, getting a whiff of BS, asks, "Perry mentioned you aren't writing together; is everything okay?" Lois: "...Yeah!" She takes a breath and asks, "Have you ever wanted to do something really important with your life?" Martha gives her a hilarious "duh" look. Lois remembers she's talking to a U.S. Senator. Martha, taking a cue from UB40, pours them both a glass of red, red wine. She talks about how hard it was to leave Clark, but she needed to move on. Lois beams: "That is exactly how I felt when I was talking to... this friend." She waxes nostalgic for the days when she helped this "friend" of hers and how she felt like she was saving the world. Martha smiles knowingly at her and remembers how she once wondered if she'd made a mistake, following Jonathan to Smallville. "I went from city socialite headed for law school to being a farmer's wife, marooned on an island of corn." She goes on to say she left for a while to intern for a federal judge, but came home one rainy weekend to find the river was flooding. She and Jonathan worked all night to sandbag the river. "When the sun rose, I got to tell 20 families that it was safe to go home again," she says. "I didn't know what my purpose was until that day. I just needed to look inside myself." The moral of the story is clearly that you don't have to make grand gestures to save the world; you can do it in small ways that mean just as much. But Lois, looking sad despite her smile, doesn't seem to be hearing it that way.