Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Promos don’t lie: Alura Zor-El is alive!

As revealed in a sneak peek at next week’s Supergirl, Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-E (Chris Wood) travel into deep space to find a rock that could theoretically be used to separate Sam (Odette Annable) from Reign. However, they’ll be shocked to discover that the rock is the resting place for Argo City, which survived the destruction of Krypton. Not only that, but Kara’s mother, Alura (Erica Durance), is still alive! EW was on set for Monday’s upcoming episode, so we sat down with the Smallville alum to get the scoop:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know when you signed on to take over for Laura Benanti as Alura that she was actually going to be alive?
ERICA DURANCE: Yeah. They came to me and wanted to know if I would do the part, and just some of the parameters, some of the backbone of the show, because I wasn’t completely familiar with it. They were telling me there would be this massive, huge surprise for Supergirl’s character, that her mother will be coming back. They didn’t say in what capacity, they just knew it was going to be this big surprise for everybody, and specifically for her, and then her dealing with what that means to have this mother of her birth alive and come back to her, and in what way. Now it’s unfolding for me, the capacity with which I help, and it’s pretty exciting.

Argo City still exists. What’s been going on since the destruction of Krypton?
From their point of view, they’ve been struggling for survival. They’ve been on the edge of destruction countless times and sacrificed again and again for it. And Supergirl’s family did, specifically — Alura had to send her only daughter away, then she loses her husband to saving the world, basically their world, Argo. So it’s been a war-torn time. All of a sudden, she’s here and she’s on this planet, she’s trying to make a life for herself, and she comes around the corner, and it’s her long-lost daughter that is there. She’s trying to put the pieces together and find out what she can do to help her. And of course, it comes down to the big black rock.

We’ve really only gotten to know the hologram version of Alura. Is it safe to say the woman at large is quite different than what we’ve seen?
The hologram is a reflection of that part of Alura that was this regal woman, that was in charge of this whole system. She was very, very powerful, and so some of those things that you see in the couple of scenes that I did, I think that it’s still there. But of course, she’s real, and because she’s changed so much, she’s much more relatable.

What kind of dynamic will Kara and Alura have, considering her daughter is all grown up now? Is it a bit awkward trying to find their way?
I believe yeah, they find ways of connecting that you do just on a base level, of connecting with that person that is your person, or your family. I know for sure that that is there, but it’s not the person that you sent away. It’s a whole different evolution of the daughter she had hoped to see, had hoped would exist. Kara’s become so much more than she even imagined she would be. And Alura, because of the tragedy that she’s faced and the things that she’s lost, she has learned that not everything is black and white and easily disposable. People aren’t disposable, that things are gray, and things are difficult, and life is about love and forgiveness and all of those things. But she’s leaned that at a great cost.

Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

How does Alura feel about Kara running around with a Daxamite?
I think she has her reservations, for sure, but also recognizes that this is a daughter that is very strong on her own, and has become this very independent woman. She’s not the young girl that she sent away. That’s a little bit of the loss, that you lose that control over where that child is going. So it’s her daughter, and yet it’s this woman that she doesn’t quite know, that’s with this person. But I think that the things that Alura has gone through, the losses that she’s had with her people and with her life, I think has made her less judgemental about those things.

How will Alura deal with the news that Kara needs this black rock — that effectively it’s a choice between her people or saving Earth from Reign?
I think it’s pretty devastating when she finds out that the one thing that her daughter needs is the thing that keeps her and her people alive now. She may not be able to help her. But of course, it is her daughter, and so she finds a way to support her the best way she knows how, and try to help her attain what she needs. She gets behind her, and they go on this journey together.

Is there talk of having these Kryptonians come to Earth?
This season? There’s always talk of everything. That’s what I love about doing shows like this. Never say never, right? You could end up on Earth, you could end up on Argo, you could end up fighting unknown enemies, you can be one character and end up being another. It’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty fun, as an actor. You never quite know what exactly you’re getting when you sign on.

Will you be back next season?
Well, I am always grateful for work. I will say that, right? I think there’s so much that they could do with her if they needed to. She’s an important character, just to reflect off of Supergirl and her mother and all of those things. Whether they can fit her into the mix, we’ll see. But I know that for this year, so far, it’s been a really fun experience, and I know I’m going to get to do some pretty cool things in the next couple weeks that I’m excited about.

Does it feel weird stepping back into Superman lore, but in an entirely different way?
It’s a bit Twilight Zone-y for me. Yeah, it’s a bit like The Twilight Zone. You come back and now all of a sudden I’m wearing the crest, and I’m from there, and I’m kind of embodying all of the things that I was never apart of in Smallville. It’s a little odd, just like talking about Clark’s name and this and that. And of course, it’s a completely different world and zone. Yeah, so it’s a bit of a laugh, but I’ve enjoyed it, and they’ve created such a nice story here.

This story doesn’t have a Lois Lane yet. Would you like to see your Alura act opposite whoever they may eventually cast in that role?
I think it would be really interesting. I always think it’s cool when they come up with a new incarnation of a character that hopefully reflects where we’re at in society. And any time there’s something that provides a platform for another woman to come in and play a strong character and put her spin on it, I think it’s refreshing. It’s good. So yeah, I look forward to it.

What’s next for you?
Oh gosh, a couple of other things that I’m wanting to pursue, but it’s just whether my life will allow me to do that. So I have one foot firmly in raising some very, very young kids, and the other that’s kind of seeking out some independent creative endeavors. So we’ll see where we go. But right now this is a nice fit because I get to come and be part of something interesting and fun, and I still have time to help with the little men, as I call them.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

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