Cassidy Freeman and Justin Hartley, Smallville

Might Tess Mercer and Oliver Queen start making a little more love and little less war? Last Thursday's episode of Smallville (8 pm/ET, on the CW) offered a glimmer of hope. TVGuide.com grabbed a few minutes with series newcomer Cassidy Freeman to discuss the LuthorCorp boss' bad-ass behavior, Michael Rosenbaum's Lex appeal and more.

TVGuide.com: That was some "interesting" foreplay between Tess and Oliver last week....
Cassidy Freeman:
[Laughs] I know. I personally get all my dates by challenging them with sticks and such.

TVGuide.com: Is that the technical term for those weapons — "sticks"?
Freeman:
Staffs, maybe? But I prefer "sticks."

TVGuide.com: How much rehearsal time went into that fight scene?
Freeman:
A lot. Justin [Hartley, Oliver] and I had a lot of off-camera rehearsals to choreograph all that.

TVGuide.com: Any bumps or bruises to show for it?
Freeman:
Not from that scene. We got bumps and bruises form the boxing scene in the previous episode. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Why do you think Tess is keeping Oliver at arm's length? Is it because he hurt her that badly in the past, or because she's afraid of hurting him in the future? Maybe he doesn't quite realize what she has become?
Freeman:
I think she's made her decisions born out of her hurt. Their relationship was not a normal one in that it wasn't like they met at a party and dated for a while. They came out of grief together. When someone who has been through that with you hurts you, it's very difficult to trust them again.

TVGuide.com: Is it a bummer to be working for Lex Luthor but not acting opposite Michael Rosenbaum?
Freeman:
Absolutely. You can't believe the wonderful stories I have heard about him. It's a great role to take on, but it is a bit of a tease.

TVGuide.com: Do you think we might see — or hear from — Lex at some point this season?
Freeman:
I hope so, but I honestly don't know. If it was up to me, yes!

TVGuide.com: Tess and Lois have had some fun face-offs. Do you and Erica Durance get a kick out of raising each other's hackles?
Freeman:
Erica and I have a great time on set. We're both the same height, which is odd for two actresses. [Laughs] We get to look each other in the eye! We have a wonderful rapport.

TVGuide.com: How was it joining a show that's been on the air for several years?
Freeman:
I was very excited to get to know how it all works. As long as you come in with a respect for the fact that they've been there for that time without you, and that you're there to add onto something that's already great, it's an incredible opportunity to meet a "family." They were very welcoming to me as the "new kid." We all hang out outside of the set, so that's nice.

TVGuide.com: You've been schooled on all that Vancouver has to offer?
Freeman:
I'm learning! My odd hours sometimes leave me not able to, but it's a beautiful city and I'm actually excited to be out of L.A. for a bit.

TVGuide.com: I understand that, to put it lightly, you're a "dog person"?
Freeman:
[Laughs] From who are you understanding this?!

TVGuide.com: "Well-placed sources."
Freeman:
I am a dog person, very much so. I have one on the couch with me right now. Her name is Shasta, and she's a rare breed of Swiss Mountain Dog called Entlebucher Sennenhund. They were Alexander the Great's dogs, "back in the day." She's the tricolored, 50-lb. love of my life.

TVGuide.com: Are you going to get her a cameo on Smallville?
Freeman:
I'm trying! [Laughs] Tess has a black dog, so I don't think it'd be too off for Shasta to be her lapdog.

TVGuide.com: Care to share one last Tess tease?
Freeman:
She likes to get in fights — and there will be a few more in her future!