When it was revealed that Lex would return to “Smallville” this season, an innocent child isn’t exactly what fans expected.
In the recent season premiere of the Superman-in-training series, acting chief executive officer of Luthorcorp Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) made a chilling discovery; a hidden lab filled with Lex clones all in various states of growth, mutation and decomposition. Among them was Alexander, a child version of Lex (originally played by Michael Rosenbaum) who may one day become the villain that Clark (Tom Welling) has always feared, who is now under the care of Miss Mercer.
However, according to Freeman, her character is determined to change the destiny of Superman’s greatest enemy and aims to turn Lex’s twisted experiments into something more positive … even if she has to keep his existence secret to do so.
“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 told TV Guide. “I think she wants control over this, and be able to turn it into something that’s good.”
It’s clear that Tess has always carried something of a torch for the billionaire tycoon (at least she did until she discovered her own hidden implants), but how much will her rocky relationship with Lex influence her decisions in taking care of little Alexander? Well, it looks like Lex’s technological violation has given Tess something unexpected: hope.
Unafraid that Alexander will one day become the secretive and morally desolate leader that Lex transformed into over the course of seven seasons, Tess will cling to the belief that Alexander can represent the good that clearly existed within Lex and she will do everything she can to nurture his inner good.
“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 said. “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.”
Her decisions will also trigger some difficult questions throughout the season, including which side Tess is really working for. Doomsday and Zod have been the villains of choice over the last few seasons of “Smallville” (with Darkseid joining their ranks this season), but Tess has proven to have the same knack as Lex Luthor and has straddled the lines between good and evil on a daily basis. So much so that even armed with the knowledge that Clark is The Blur she still remains an unknown player and her loyalties will remain just as vague throughout most of the season.
“She’s still going to be a mystery,” Freeman said. “She is complicated and she is human. 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.”
“Smallville” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.