Cassidy Freeman

Lex Luthor has returned to Smallville — well, a younger, cloned version of him.

As far as we know, Little Lex is the last surviving clone, as the creepy older version burned down the lab in the season premiere before his demise. Now, Tess (Cassidy Freeman) is keeping the little tyke in her care in hopes that he won't grow into the monster Lex Luthor is known to be in the mythos.

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"She feels more hope that maybe at a young age, it won't turn into something horrible, that she can have some control over this very innocent child," Freeman says. "She takes a liking to him and she has a mothering quality to her that she's never really been able to share."

"It's like, how do you throw a puppy out even if you know it's going to turn into a mean dog? It's just so innocent that you hope maybe you can have an impact on it."

Tess is known to have hidden motives, though. So what's her deal this time around? "Honestly? Being loved and loving someone, and knowing that she can do good," Freeman responds. "I think she believes that if she can make this kid good, that she will have redeemed herself in some way."

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Tess won't be revealing her new houseguest for a while, however, in fear of the consequences. "People would be really worried, and would want to have their hands in it in a scientific way and I think that scares her," Freeman says, adding that Clark (Tom Welling) wouldn't be able to kill him because of his own morals. "I think she wants control over this, and be able to turn it into something that's good."

Redemption also won't come easy, as Clark and Oliver (Justin Hartley) still find it hard to trust her. "They're going to realize that ... she [has] only done good recently for them," she says. "I think they're going to realize they need her nonetheless. She's still the head of Luthorcorp and she still has a lot of power. She's kind of a key that they need."

But don't be misled, Freeman says, there will be no romantic entanglement between Oliver and Tess. "I think her relationship with Little Lex is pretty important to her and maybe she's going to start trying to create relationships outside of sexual ones that mean something, which I think is a good step for Tess."

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Despite Freeman noting that Tess will genuinely smile this season, it's still a mystery as to whether she's good or evil. "She's still going to be a mystery. She is complicated and she is human," she says. "I think she struggles with wanting to be wanted and wanting to be liked and wanting to have a family and have a friend, and sometimes that goes by the wayside, and so do her morals."

With the relationship growing between Little Lex and Tess, does Freeman hope to get some screen time with Smallville's original Lex, Michael Rosenbaum?

"I'm really am hoping," Freeman says, adding that she's never even met Rosenbaum. "I wonder what it would be like for Michael and I to be on screen together."

Do you hope Michael Rosenbaum returns to Smallville? Sound off in the comments and maybe, just maybe, our dreams will come true!

Smallville airs Fridays at 8/7c on the CW.