Lex Luthor considers whether to turn an operative loose to obtain or fake damaging information against Jonathan to upset his Senatorial race. Yet when Lex is shot, he falls into a coma and is visited by his mother's ghost, who shows him what his life could be like if he frees himself from Lionel. Meanwhile, Clark helps deliver Christmas presents.
In the vision provided by his mother, Lex sees an alternate world where he and Clark are still friends, and Clark is enormously supportive of Lex's marriage to Lana, who is pregnant with their first child. (Clark's powers and abilities do not come into play in Lex's vision). A joyous Christmas celebration takes a dark turn when Lana becomes deathly ill, threatening both her and the baby unless Lex can get some expensive expert help. A plea to Lionel falls on not only deaf but contemptuous mocking ears, and Lex is crushed as his hopes for love and family die. He pleads to his mother to change this, but she says that part of being free of Lionel is facing things without money, muscle, and power to change them, sometimes at hideous cost. She argues that he should be happy for the time he and Lana had together. He horrifies her by coming to the conclusion that only by being powerful can he protect those he cares about, and embraces Lionel's path. As Clark rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas, the battle for Lex's soul has taken the worst turn conceivable.
- A few months later, in the episode "Void", Lex would again encounter his mother's spirit by accident, and they would argue over the events of his vision in this episode.