Superman & Lois boss on Jordan's 'painful' evolution, Lois' new partner, and more
Showrunner Todd Helbing reveals the cut story line that's being held for season 2.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from Tuesday's episode of Superman & Lois, "Broken Trust."
The Kent-Lane family was rocked by several developments in the midseason premiere of Superman & Lois.
First off, Tag (Wern Lee) returned to Smallville looking for answers about how he gained his powers. After failing to get anything out of Jordan (Alex Garfin), he decided to kidnap Sarah (Inde Navarrette). Luckily, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) showed up in time and defused the situation before things went south between Tag and the Department of Defense. During the standoff, however, Clark discovered that his father-in-law, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh), has a stockpile of Kryptonite weapons, which is worrisome to say the least.
Elsewhere, Jordan suffered another power flare-up during a football match against his and Jonathan's (Jordan Elsass) former Metropolis high school. Again, Clark was on hand to literally take the heat for Jordan. Unfortunately, that didn't solve the problem because Jordan collapsed in pain at the end of the episode, motivating his father to fly him to the Fortress of Solitude to figure out what's going on.
Below, Superman & Lois showrunner Todd Helbing breaks down the midseason premiere. (Also: Check out what he had to say about next week's Captain Luthor origin story episode.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The moment that stuck out to me was Jordan's heat vision blasting Clark's hand on the football field. That felt like the right mix of superhero action and family drama. Was there anything in particular that inspired that moment?
TODD HELBING: [Co-executive producer] Michael Narducci pitched that. It sort of sprung out of when you're a parent… It's like showing up at school and seeing your kid about ready to cry in front of all of his friends for whatever reason and sort of taking him aside so the other kids don't see your son or daughter crying. That was the inspiration for it. How do we do the Superman version of that? Everyone on the field, they see him just as this hurt kid, but they don't what is actually happening.
The episode ends with Jordan writhing in pain. How dire is Jordan's situation right now? How worried should the audience be?
They should be pretty worried. It's similar to a little bit how they did this in Man of Steel, briefly. When he gets new powers, things are different with Jordan than with Clark. Clark showed up here and had powers. This kid is developing them. So sometimes it's a little bit more painful or confusing or erratic than it would be for him.
How does Clark handle guiding his son through this change?
I think that's one of the interesting things in the show that we're trying to do: As a parent, certain things came easy to you or taken for granted, but your child is trying to do the same thing as you and it's a completely different scenario and more taxing, how do you deal with that? How do you explain to somebody that things are going to be okay when you aren't exactly sure what they're going through? For Jordan, this one in particular is very painful, and Clark has never really felt pain his whole life, so how do you empathize with your son in that way? That dynamic is always interesting to us.
How does Clark learning that the DoD has been stockpiling Kryptonite weapons rock his relationship with Sam going forward?
It's like the scene at the end, "Now I know." Sam is always going to put what he thinks his job is above everybody else. The fact that Superman is his son-in-law is secondary to the fact that he's Superman and [Sam] has a job to do, and if there's a threat out there, that's first and foremost. It doesn't matter if it's Tag, if it's Superman. We're building toward what that is going to mean for their family when that stuff starts to come back on General Lane.
After this episode, is Clark more wary of his father-in-law?
There are a couple of other things that happen in the future too that really get under Lois' [Elizabeth Tulloch] skin, and it's all in the same ballpark.
When Tag was sent off to the DoD, Clark offhandedly mentioned he was going to a school for other superpowered kids. Do you have plans to show that school in the future?
Originally for one of the stories, the boys were going to go there and then it got changed just because it didn't really fit thematically, but yeah, we have plans for everybody to see that school.
Is that coming this season or in the next one?
Not in this season, but I think we'll go there in season 2.
Sarah was already sort of suspicious about the Kent-Lane family, and she comes very close to finding out their secret in this episode. Do her suspicions start growing after this episode?
There's a couple more things that start to happen in the town that sort of, fortuitously, help Jordan out in that way. She gets pretty close, but I think there's something else that happens and Sarah mistakenly thinks that's the reason he's been shady.
How does Lana [Emmanuelle Chriqui] and Lois' partnership unfold?
Lana is going into the lion's den. She gets pretty close to Edge. She's kicking all of this information to Lois, and the two of them are working pretty closely together. It's a lot of fun. They both kind of, in classic Lois Lane fashion, get in a little too deep.
What do you find most compelling about putting these two characters together?
When we first started talking about the show, having Lana be in Smallville, that's sort of what I meant by "We found this interesting." It wasn't that there was this romantic part of it. It was really about putting Lana Lang and Lois together and having them become friends, and slowly trusting each other and working together, and getting in bad spots together. In the lexicon of the show and the mythology, it just felt like a great opportunity.
The Flash's Tom Cavanagh is also coming over to direct. On The Flash, he directed some of the more comedic hours and some big time-travel ones, like season 3's future episode and the 100th episode. What does he bring to Superman & Lois as a director?
Tom is one of those people who can kind of do anything. He's crazy-smart and talented, and I think our sensibilities are very similar. He directed our 100th on Flash. I think he finds a way to elevate the material every time. I can't say enough good things about the guy, so I think he's perfect for our season 1 finale.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.