Superman and Lois’ Adam Rayner opens up about Tal-Rho’s latest win, suggests he’s not Season 1’s “real villain”


Superman and Lois walked the memory trail on Tuesday, making us fall in love with the titular couple again. But at the end of the hour, we were also more worried about them than ever.

Before we move on to our Q&A with the man of the hour (Adam Rayner), let’s recall what we experienced during Clark’s nostalgic journey: after seeing him training at the Fortress of Solitude when ‘he was young, we saw Clark returning to Smallville a man; Jor-El had instructed his son to reconnect with the human world in order to understand why he wanted to be the champion of the people. This brought him back to Lana, but he soon found out that she had moved on – with Kyle, duh – as he was honing his Kryptonian skills.

We then hopped on to Metropolis, where Clark was climbing the ranks of the Daily Planet under the direction of his most famous reporter. (Lois Lane, maybe you’ve heard of her?) But as Lois’ love for Clark grew day by day, her disdain for Superman also grew, as she felt the city’s obsession for his new hero diverted attention from more important. Questions. She finally warmed up with him after he helped her take down a neo-Nazi, even going so far as to name him before doing his very first TV interview. (By the way, how cute was that scene?)

The rest was familiar territory – from Clark telling Lois his secret to Lois finding out she was pregnant with twins – but something in the whole sequence only made it feel bad. As we soon learned, Tal-Rho had probed Superman’s mind, and now he was armed with enough information to completely destroy Clark’s world. And lest anyone doubt his cruelty, Kal-El’s estranged brother destroyed the machine responsible for managing Jor-El’s consciousness.

“Uncle Morgan” (scary?) Visited Kent Farm to threaten Clark’s family, prompting them to submit in exchange for their safety. At the end of the hour, Superman appeared to have been completely transformed by Zeta-Rho in Tal-Rho’s own Kryptonian fortress, prompting Lois to call her otherworldly husband, John Henry Irons, about this war that ‘he was trying to prevent. (Oh, and Sarah kissed Jordan. Yay!)

Below, Rayner talks about bringing Man of Steel’s maniacal brother to life:

TV LINE | Heard you had a big photoshoot last night. [This interview was conducted on June 18.]
Well, it was late. [Laughs] It will be an exciting part of it all down the line. I just had to stand still on a country road – to give nothing.

TV LINE | Quite a spoiler, I’m sure. You know, I thought I knew a lot about Superman, but this show constantly blows my mind. And you always seem to be at the center of these revelations.
I was a huge Superman fan when I was a kid, really. I accepted the job without knowing any of the revelations, so it was also a surprise for me to hear all of this early on. I thought I had just signed up to read some awkward type of media, so that was a lot of fun for me too. Sometimes the jobs aren’t quite what you hope they will be, and sometimes they turn into something even bigger than you expected, which ultimately happened in this case.

TV LINE | I feel like playing a character with superpowers is on everyone’s cast list. What was it like stepping into this costume for the first time?
It was great. I particularly appreciate the muscle combination. [Laughs] I try to keep in shape, but Tyler [Hoechlin] is in very good shape, and he’s 10 years younger than me. So I was relieved to have a muscular jumpsuit under my costume, just to give myself the necessary boost. Like a child running with his red [underwear] over his blue pajamas pretending to be Superman, it’s a childhood dream come true.

TV LINE | However, you probably never imagined that you would kill Jor-El. That’s what happened there, right?
It’s the implication, yes. Any kind of resurrection is possible, as we know, but that is basically what it does. This is bad enough.

TV LINE | I know he believes he serves a more important purpose, but is there really no part of him that is wondering if he’s the villain in this story?
If he’s there, he doesn’t really come out, as he’s buried under much of the mission he’s on. He also has his personal desires, a little twisted but also very human in the sense that he wants a family. We’re not going to have a mea culpa moment where he says he did everything wrong because he’s pretty committed to what he’s doing. And not for entirely bad reasons, but obviously the execution is pretty bad.

TV LINE | We also met Zeta-Rho this week. He’s about the worst, eh?
Yes, he might be a real alternate villain for the season, given that his personality and demeanor help somewhere to explain how [Tal-Rho] has become who he is. He’s a contender for the real mastermind behind it all.

TV LINE | I knew he was a villain, but his relationship with Tal-Rho seems
Yes, I’m not sure throughout the season that he’s showing a single positive trait or moment. He is always disagreeable towards his only son. He sees it as a tool towards what he sees as the greatest good, which is the resurrection of Krypton. Without getting too biblical about it, he sacrifices his son to do so. So even from his point of view, there is a kind of logic in there. But he is so unfriendly to his son and to humanity in general. It is difficult to find much good in him.

TV LINE | The final is only a few weeks away. What are we building towards?
It gets bigger and bigger, the scale of it. And just when you think “this has to be the finale,” they find a way to go back and start all over with even more surprises and on an even bigger scale. From now on, you will get a series of false climaxes before the massive final showdown. It’s quite a feat in building a crescendo.

TV LINE | So much has happened already, it’s hard to believe this is only Season 1.
I know! The writers have their job. Looks like they used so many good stuff, but this is a smart bunch. They will think of something.

Your thoughts on this week’s episode? Drop them in a comment below.

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