[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 3, “The Thing in the Mines.” So if you don’t want to be spoiled, go help Lana with her political campaign!]
Superman & Lois put in the work tonight! Two weeks into its second season, the superlative drama gave us some very adult issues for the Lanes (Lucy is in a cult!), relatable teen angst (juicing jocks and a near-breakup!), and a Bizarro last-minute twist that had all of us who thought this season’s Big Bad was Doomsday going, “Wait, what?”
As always, it was all balanced with authentic emotion and cinematic action pieces. Furious that his teammate was taking “supplements,” Jon (Jordan Elsass) lashed out in a football practice flare-up that left Coach Dad (Tyler Hoechlin) in his crosshairs, while brother Jordan (Alex Garfin) realized that having superpowers of his own may not be enough to keep a romance with Sarah (Inde Navarrette) alive. At the same time, their folks were dealing with major life stuff. Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) struggled with both the trauma of her past and the current safety of her MIA sister and Clark…well, whatever was down in the mines was still messing with his head. And it was getting worse. Like, laser-eyes rage blast bad.
Here, Hoechlin — ever the enthusiastic ambassador for Superman and the show’s ensemble — talks about keeping the Kents relatable regardless of the comic-book crises facing them, what that final scene might mean and how the missing Lane sibling could stir things up in the future.
So how have you been? Because they’re throwing everything at you this season.
Tyler Hoechlin: It’s been a lot of fun, man. It’s been a good challenge.
Aside from the super stuff, the family stuff is so solid. Bitsie was incredible in the premiere, and now, the emotional lifting they’re asking you guys to do — we’ve never seen Superman like this before.
Oh, yeah. I think probably for people tuning in, it might be a little bit of a surprise. If they watched the first season, maybe not. But to see that it’s continuing to be that way, it’s so great. And that’s from early talks with [creators] Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing about what the show was really going to be and how it was going to be different. So, you know, for us, it’s just staying true to what we set out to do, and it’s nice to see that we’ve committed to staying the course.
I love how they’re approaching these stories, like whatever Clark’s job would be, he’s got something going on with work at the worst time possible because his family needs his focus as well.
And that’s what we wanted this to be. We want to be able to identify with him as much as possible. And so the idea that he’s a superhero, yes, that’s true, and it gives us exciting set pieces and action sequences. But really, it’s always about bringing it back to the idea that this is his job, and I think it makes it easier for people to go like, “Okay, I can understand that.” And now, as you said, he’s being pulled away at the worst possible time, so how can Clark make both of these lives work?
At the same time, the kids — who have dealt pretty well with the fact that their dad is Superman — are so normally “teen”: Everything they’re experiencing in high school is the most important thing that ever happened.
[Laughs] Oh, yeah, I definitely remember those days. And especially with shows like this, it’s nice to see the kids grow up, you know? It’s different than having a show that’s solely focused on the adults. And when you’re a kid, like you said, everything’s the most important thing ever. Also, things that happen in a month feel like it’s been five years. So it’s really great to be able to go on the journey with them. From Season 1, I’ve said how nice to see that it’s not a Superman origin story, it’s their origin story.
There was one moment that threw me so much, I had to go back and rewatch it. How was it filming the scene where Jon punched you?
[Laughs] Here’s the thing, I can ask you this: I don’t watch the cuts, so when he hit me, what happened?
You fall to the ground.
Yes! Yes! Thank God, that makes me really happy to hear. Because you never know which one they’re gonna use and I don’t watch the episodes — for me, I’ve got my own cut in my head, and I just move on.
Oh, he took you down.
Yes, I love that. I’m glad they used that one. That’s the kind of stuff I love. You know, for me, we’re not in Metropolis, so part of the thing for me that’s been really important is, “How do we keep Clark Kent as Clark Kent?” Because back in Smallville, he’s around a bunch of people he grew up with, so he wasn’t that clumsy, knocking-things-over-in-the-office kind of person, right? He was playing that character in Metropolis. Now that he’s back in Smallville, it’s still, to me, important to have those humanized moments, because I think that’s a lovable thing about Clark.
Because in all reality, he just took a haymaker from his son, and he’s not gonna feel it. It’s gonna be like a fly landing on his head. So it’s for me, it’s like, “Then you have to oversell it.” [Laughs] Clark has to really play this up, so I’m glad that we did that. It’s important to let Clark be Clark sometimes.
You really don’t watch?
No. I decided at the beginning of last season that it was important for me when I show up and I’m in a scene, if I have an instinct to do something or try something, I just do it. Once you see it, it just becomes a lot easier to critique it. You go like, “Oh, that’s what it looks like when I do that.” I don’t want to be tempted to be controlling it too much. Berlanti and Todd know that if there are things going on that they wanna talk about, they call me and we discuss it. Otherwise, I’m just gonna continue on this path that I’m on and as long as you guys are happy with it, that’s all that matters to me.
At the end of the day, it’s for the people who watch it. I’m committing to what I’m feeling on set, what I’m feeling when I read the scripts, and letting what’s written live that life. And then, you know, I’ll go back and watch someday down the road.
Now, how much did they tell you about the extra work you’re going to have to do this season? Now it’s Clark, Superman, Bizarro, and maybe Doomsday?
Right, right. It was definitely an earlier conversation. I was at home and talking to Todd, and he gave me the rundown of what the season was gonna be. Obviously, he said, “It’s gonna be a lot of work for you.” And I said, “Yeah, it sounds like it!” [Laughs] But it’s been a lot of fun. I think with TV, the greatest thing you can be gifted from the writers’ room and your showrunner is something new to play with every season. Because there’s always a chance that you just end up feeling like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. But they’ve done a great job of giving me not only new things to play with as Clark and as Superman but also just a completely different character. And to have the rules stripped away around Superman and who he is has been a lot of fun.
Can you walk me through what we saw tonight? Are we dealing with Doomsday or are we dealing with Bizarro as Doomsday?
Oh, man. It’s the classic “You’re just gonna have to tune in.” [Laughs]
Such a CW answer! But it definitely seems like they’ve put a lot of thought into Bizarro’s look. In the reveal at the end of the episode, you — or he, I guess — even look more gaunt.
Yeah. There’s definitely a great job done by our hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams. They’re doing a completely different look, but there’s also a collaboration with the VFX department, which is doing some pretty cool, cutting-edge stuff.
When do we start to learn about Bizarro — how long he’s been down in the mines and how he’s connected to Anderson (Ian Bohen)?
We do get into that at a certain point. Some of the episodes blend together in my mind, so I’m not sure the episode number, but I do remember that we shot an episode where we get into that.
Should we trust Anderson at all?
I mean, if you’re asking if you can trust Anderson, it’s always like a 50-50. If we’re talking about Ian Bohen, I’d say definitely not. [Laughs] Ian will appreciate that one. But no, I think it’s still hard to tell. It’s one of those things where, if you look at what the character’s trying to accomplish, I think he has good intentions. It’s just that, as with anybody, it’s really how you go about putting those good intentions to work, right? So we’ll see. I think it’s definitely a TBD.
And what is Lucy (Jenna Dewan) going to bring into the domestic situation? Because that’s a whole lot of mess happening over there.
I love the way they’ve chosen to introduce her. I think it sets up a lot of interesting things between her and Lois. And obviously, with Clark being there to support Lois, that relationship is something he’s gonna have to figure out as well. As if they didn’t have enough going on! Now we have a whole new dynamic and how that works, even with the kids, you know? Like, when’s the last time they remember seeing her? It’s a lot.
Especially with a superperson. Will Clark continue training Jordan? Or are you just too busy now with multiple Supermen around?
[Laughs] He needs guidance, right? Obviously, it needs to happen. But Clark and Superman are definitely in a state right now…so who’s to say that he is the best teacher at this moment? I think at some point or another, it’s definitely going to be something where he’ll have to step in.
Probably with Jonathan, too, right? It’ll be interesting to see how he handles getting his own pharmaceutically enhanced powers and what kind of side effects those come with.
Indeed. I would say they’re not conflict-free.
Superman & Lois, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW