Superman & Lois star Emmanuelle Chriqui on that shocking family reunion: 'I was freaking out'
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Tuesday's episode of Superman & Lois.
Superman & Lois revealed even more secrets from the House of El.
Picking up where last week's episode ended, this week's installment, "O Mother, Where Art Thou," confirmed that Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) is indeed Superman's (Tyler Hoechlin) brother, Tal-Rho. Clark's Kryptonian mother Lara had Edge in her first marriage, to Zeta-Rho, before she married Jor-El. Not only that, but Lara is also responsible for creating the Eradicator technology, which is what Edge has been using to force Kryptonian consciousnesses into Smallville's citizens. Lara designed the Eradicator to preserve Kryptonian culture, but Edge perverted its uses.
You'd think that Superman could end things by just destroying the Eradicator, but that wouldn't bring everyone's minds back. So, Clark turned to the only person who would know how to reverse the process: his mother. Worried about her husband Kyle (Erik Valdez), Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) volunteered to get eradicated with Lara's consciousness, which led to a touching mother-son reunion. Horrified by her other son's actions, Lara helped Clark and the DoD restore everyone's personalities, thus making the Cushing family whole again. (Meanwhile, Clark is currently powerless because powering the Eradicator used up all of his solar energy.)
Below, EW chats with Chriqui about playing Superman's mother, what attracted her to the role, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In the beginning, what did you find most fascinating about Lana, and has that changed as the season has progressed?
EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI: Actually, it has evolved so much! I knew stepping into this project and world that there was going to be a really cool story arc to happen with Lana. You know, that sort of begins with this simple Smallville life and feeling unempowered and not really sure where she's at, to suddenly finding strength and purpose and stepping into her power in the relationship with Lois [Elizabeth Tulloch] as they become friends. That saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," definitely applies to the Cushing family. It's just been a really lovely, organic arc of getting to play this flawed but really kind, loyal woman who is trying to do her best under the circumstances.
What has surprised you the most about Lana so far?
I just love how bold she's become. I love that she goes from being sort of meek to suddenly being bold and fearless and full conviction. It's been an awesome surprise and wonderful arc to play for an actor.
That boldness definitely comes through in this week's episode when she volunteers to be eradicated. How did you react when you first read the script and saw that Lana, Clark's high school girlfriend, becomes possessed by his biological mother?
[Laughs] I was literally freaking out. I was like, "Wait, hold on, what?" I called [showrunner Todd Helbing] and I was nervous. I was like, "Oh my God. What am I going to do?" I just immediately started thinking this has got to feel right and organic. I was just initially nervous because I knew that once I figured out what that key was in the transition from being Lana to his mother, I knew I would be in a good place. It took a little second, but it's fun and exciting. That's what we as actors love to do. "Oh, here's a little challenge. How are we going to do this?" And it was really fun to explore.
What helped you figure out the transition?
It definitely was talking to Todd. We knew that we didn't want it to be some crazy unrecognizable situation. So Todd had said something to me that really informed so much and I kept at the forefront of my brain: "A mother on Earth is different than a mother on Krypton." So like a mother on Krypton is just not as emotional, right? It's way more even-keeled. That then started to inform how I was going to speak and there was going to be this almost soothing, monotone cadence to her voice; it was going to be very different than how Lana spoke or how I speak, and sort of a little bit more controlled. It just started to inform itself, and I think it was subtle and different enough that I felt like, "Okay, these are definitely two different characters here."
There's still some warmth in how Lara interacts with Clark, though.
Oh yeah, 100 percent. Imagine that moment when she puts his hands on her face: A non-Kryptonian mother [would] probably be crying. And a Kryptonian mother is just warm and exudes a huge amount of pride.
Both Lana and Kyle are freed from their Kryptonian visitors by the end of the episode. Where do the Cushings go from here because they weren't in a great spot before this happened?
Oof, yeah. I think that finally, at least, a bit of a breather. For a long time, it was almost like you just wanted Lana to say to Kyle, "Enough with this obsession with Edge! Stop it." But she couldn't say that. So I feel like at least now that's all out on the table and that chapter is done. And I do think that's exactly what happens. Also, Sarah Cushing [Inde Navarrette] knows the truth now and has just renewed compassion for her parents and what they've lived through. In a lot of ways, I feel like there's a reset that happens after this.
Lana has this line in the episode about how she thought all of the weirdness from when she and Clark were children was over. How does Lana finding out about this Kryptonian weirdness affect her moving forward?
It's so out of control. It's so weird, but this is their existence, right? I don't think that she's put two-and-two together. I don't think she realizes this has anything to do with Clark. It's just like, "Wow! They move back and s--- hits the fan again?" But I don't think she's placed it yet.
It must also be hard for her to look away after having the curtain pulled back on the Kryptonian stuff, though.
I don't think you can un-know these things. This has become part of the fabric of their reality. We're just entrenched in it now.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.