The Luthors rise again! Smallville (The CW, 8/7c) pulls a Fringe tonight with a trip to an alternate universe where Lionel Luthor (returning guest John Glover) still lives, and his family looks very different than the one we've known for the last 10 years. Here, the superfabulous Cassidy Freeman talks about becoming the newest member of Metropolis' most messed-up clan and what we can expect from her Tess Mercer in the second half of the season.
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TV Guide Magazine: When I talked to you on set during "Homecoming," I asked if Tess could survive the season...and now they make her a Luthor!
Cassidy Freeman: I know. [Laughs] I knew they wanted to do this last hiatus. I was told that it was an idea and I was really thankful to hear that because I had sent out all of these rockets of desire, hoping that would come true.
TV Guide Magazine: So yay!
Freeman: Yeah, I am so glad this came to fruition because I think it's super-important for the character.
TV Guide Magazine: In tonight's "Luthor" episode, Clark is transported to an alternate universe. What's up over there?
Freeman: It's basically a huge "what if?" Think of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, going way back to the first meteor shower and someone chose Plan B instead of Plan A. It's an entirely different world, but all of the same players are in it. Each of us got to be a different version of ourselves.
TV Guide Magazine: What version of you do we see?
Freeman: This is Tess knowing where she came from, always being a Luthor and having a very different relationship with her past and her father than she has now...which is kind of not a relationship! [Laughs] For someone who has been in an orphanage and has had so many question marks in her life, you have to ask, 'how would she be had she known all of those things?'
TV Guide Magazine: Is she a mess? A power bitch?
Freeman: [Laughs] I'd say Tess in the real world is a bit of a power bitch, so we can be sure she's not like that! I don't even know how to explain her. She's more aware of where she came from but just as confused about what would make her happy.
TV Guide Magazine: And you obviously worked with John Glover, who's back as Lionel, right?
Freeman: One scene, yeah. It's more pivotal for the characters than for the episode as a whole. There is a lot going on in the episode and I think the basis of it is Clark being Clark Luthor, how that would change Superman — you know, the crux of the last 10 years of the show. [Laughs] The scene I share with John Glover is really informative to my character. It shows how she is different. It's not like we're snuggling on the couch watching Charlie Brown, you know? It's terse and it's difficult and that's the fun part of it.
TV Guide Magazine: And how is her relationship with her "brother," Clark?
Freeman: It is interesting....and he's not even her brother! It's interesting to have that, and to have all of us knowing that he's different. It's totally like "Small Wonder." [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: How is Tom as bad Clark?
Freeman: He is so good! Imagine having to play the goody-two-shoes for 10 years and the once in a while getting to sort of flip that. It was so fun. I was like 'who are you?!'
TV Guide Magazine: He gets a little sexier, right?
Freeman: I mean, whatever! Maybe? [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Folks on Twitter want to know if Tess and Lois will ever bury the hatchet.
Freeman: I think so. Unfortunately the focus isn't on Tess and Lois [Laughs], but I think they're both looking at the bigger picture and letting troubled water travel under that bridge. The fact that they all know about Watchtower and we're on the same team, it's time to play by the same rules. Or at least try to!
TV Guide Magazine: I'm guessing the reveal of her parentage is gonna refuel her issues with Lex, too?
Freeman: It definitely colors the relationship they had. I've read things where people are like 'Eww, they're brother and sister? Weren't they sexually involved?' and I'm like, Tess and Lex in the real world were never involved. He was always a mentor, someone I looked up to. It was never sexual.
TV Guide Magazine: Going forward for Tess, is she going to be a good Luthor or a bad Luthor?
Freeman: That hasn't been decided yet. I think she's going to try to be good, she's done a lot of work this season to get where she is and I don't think learning her DNA is gonna change that immediately. The Luthors have not treated her great, so she has no sense of familial connection there, so I think that she'll keep trying to bushwack her own path. Did I just say 'bushwack'? That is incredible. [Laughs]