Who is Tess Mercer? Since her introduction in season 8 Cassidy Freeman has been a mystery upon mystery in her role as Tess. In episode 8 “Abandoned” her childhood is revealed, linking to two major players in the mythology of the show. Along with that, Lois finds a video her mother made before she died. Played by Teri Hatcher, a former Lois Lane, she gives Lois some advice which she applied to Clark’s relationship with Jor-El.
Tess had a dream that leads her back to an orphanage she was in as a child. It’s there where we meet Granny Goodness, a minion of the darkness, whose name was now mentioned in this episode, Darkseid. We also meet Desaad who corrupts the flesh, Godfrey is now the prophet and Granny Goodness trains the young girls to be her furies, a group of women who kill for Darkseid. Mad Harriet also makes her debut in this episode. What I found interesting is how the producers found a way to make each of the alien girls weapons Earth based. Mad Harriet was played by Lindsey Hartley, real life wife to Green Arrow Justin Hartley.
Lois watches a home movie her mother made for her while in the hospital. In the video Ella Lane tells her daughter when it comes to love and parents she cannot hold on to the memory of a dead parent to prevent her from starting her own life. Lois takes this and travels to the Fortress to confront Jor-El about his treatment of Clark. At first he suspends her, Clark arriving and helping her, ready to leave but she encourages him to talk to him. This causes a message to be played, Jor-El’s and Lara’s farewell message to Clark. Julian Sands and Helen Slater return as his parents. We see such emotion in this scene, Clark seeing Jor-El display something he has never seen, compassion, a sense of humanity, love for his son. It’s a moving scene, one that is escalated by the performances. This encounter allows Clark to ease on his dislike for his father, to realize Jor-El didn’t want him to carry his mistakes, to push Clark to be better. Allowing him to the courage to propose to her, though not yet.
After confrontation Tess finds out who she is and where she came from. Tess’ real name is Lutessa Lena Luthor, daughter of Lionel Luthor, stepsister to Lex, and was left at the orphanage because she was the result of an affair he once had. An heir to the fortune, which finally clears up why she was placed in charge.