This week's episode of Smallville brings together Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Perry White (Michael McKean) for their first meeting, though Perry's return comes as a surprise to Clark as he shows up on the arm of his mother, Martha Kent (Annette O'Toole). TVGuide.com caught up with O'Toole and McKean — whose real-life married couple banter is hilarious — to get the details on the evolution of their characters since we last saw them and if they'll return for more next season. Plus: Who really is the Red Queen?
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TVGuide.com: The Smallville fans are very excited to have Martha Kent back on the show. How does it feel returning?
Annette O'Toole: It's so great to come back. I love the people up there and it was really hard to leave them originally. There was a lot of hugging and kissing before we actually started work. I haven't actually done any TV or film since then, I've only been doing theater, so I thought, "When they say action, will I know what to do?" I did. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Michael, we haven't seen you since Season 3. How does it feel getting to play this iconic moment of Lois and Perry coming together?
Michael McKean: It's great. I grew up reading Superman comics. Actually in Season 2, mainly due to my wife's incessant bitching, they were talking about casting me as the principal of the high school, and it didn't work out because I had a scheduling problem. I'm so glad because now I get to be Perry White for God's sakes! I'm in the Daily Planet office, with the globe and everything. It was pretty intense. Plus, the fact of coming back after six years and seeing that Tom Welling has not aged a day [Laughs], it's kind of infuriating.
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TVGuide.com: What you can tell us about how Lois and Perry will interact?
McKean: At first she's just this pretty girl that Clark has hooked up with, and gradually I start realizing that she's really sharp. She's the one-in-a-million kind of person who is born to knock over the ant hills and really see what's going on inside. She's a Woodward to my Bernstein, I guess.
O'Toole: You look a little more like Woodward. Taller.
McKean: I'm an old WASP is what you're saying.
O'Toole: Yeah, well. [Laughs]
McKean: There's a scene where I'm filling Lois in on something I'm working on and we realize there's a confluence there that maybe we're working on different aspects of the same story. It was a really fun scene to play.
TVGuide.com: Martha's role is definitely more than just being a mother now. She's a U.S. senator and a secret government operative. What do you think of this evolution?
O'Toole: It's fabulous! It's something she probably should've been doing all along. She was studying to be a lawyer, decided not to do that. She threw herself into her marriage and the farm, and then wanted to have a family, that didn't work out. She found this baby --
McKean: A super-baby! [Laughs]
O'Toole: Yeah, I love that she's always going to be his mother, and always going to put his interests ahead of everything else in her life, but she's got this other thing, too. When the kids grow up and leave, you've got to have your own life. She lost her soul mate, so I'm so glad that Martha has this. She's doing good things in Washington.
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TVGuide.com: Is being the Red Queen a good thing? The promos seem to indicate that it's Martha.
O'Toole: I can't talk about that, but I can say that Martha is a force for good. She'll go as far as she thinks is necessary to protect Clark's secret.
McKean: How far would any woman go to protect her child?
O'Toole: That sounds like a good blurb for a Lifetime movie. We've been in that movie, haven't we?
McKean: I think so. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: How will Perry and Martha's visit affect Lois and Clark's relationship?
McKean: It's definitely a turning point for Lois, and to a certain extent, it's a turning point for Perry as well. The impact will be seen down the line.
TVGuide.com: Is Martha against Clark revealing his identity to Lois?
O'Toole: No. She wants him to be happy. Martha's greatest wish is for her son to be normal and loved. She's not going to live forever, so she wants him to be happy.
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TVGuide.com: Would Martha rather he put his relationship first or save the world first?
McKean: Why can't you have both?
O'Toole: It's like, can't a woman be a mother and have a career? [Laughs] Why can't you save the world and have a girlfriend?
TVGuide.com: Because Smallville has been renewed for Season 10, would either of you return next year?
O'Toole: No one has said a word to us.
McKean: We're going to have to see how they approach Season 10 and then we'll know. We're not being coy, by the way; we really don't know. [Whispers] We have to pretend we're not interested so they'll get serious [Laughs]. We're just teasing. We both have things lined up that we're planning on doing and we'll just see what's possible.
Are you excited for Martha and Perry's return?