‘Superman & Lois’: Alex Garfin on the Superson’s Latest Save and What’s Next
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Superman & Lois Season 1, Episode 12, “Through the Valley of Death.” So if you don’t want to be spoiled, go hide in a desert fortress until it’s safe!]
Having a superhero in the family must be as handy as being related to a doctor or mechanic. We always need one, eventually. So it’s a bonus that the Kents have two heroes to count on because, the way things are going in Smallville lately, one just may not be enough. Especially since Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) spent most of the July 13 episode under the control of his evil brother Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner), aka business d-bag Morgan Edge.
Forced to submit to save his loved ones, Kal was zipped of the Fortress of Tal-itude and basically tortured for not wanting to rule mankind until he embraced the dark side (or so it seemed). At the same time, a desperate Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) reached out to John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) to warn him that badness was about to go down and met with Arrowverse OG king John Diggle (David Ramsey), while son Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) coached his supertwin Jordan (Alexander Garfin) on how to reign in his super-hearing in hopes of figuring out where their father had been taken.
As usual, the show juggled action and emotion with aplomb as Lois and Jonathan made impassioned pleas (and one major confession) to Irons to stop his deadly plan to neutralize a villainous Superman. It also used the Dark Kal twist to expand Jordan’s heroic journey and deepen his very human connection with Jonathan.
And that has always been S&L‘s secret weapon since the pilot: The brotherhood of two kids, played by terrific young actors, with the most iconic parents possible and the most relatable relationship with each other. Here, Garfin (who also voiced Linus in The Peanuts Movie!) opens up about establishing that bond, previews what’s to come, and — since Elsass couldn’t make what was supposed to be a joint interview — engages in a little good-natured tattle-telling on his on-screen sibling.
I am so here for the Kent brothers. I love these two. We spoke with Jordan a couple of weeks ago and he said you guys didn’t really even know each other when you started.
Alexander Garfin: Yeah. No, we didn’t at all when we first started. He’s from Texas, I’m from New York. We’re two opposite personalities. He has his gold car with his name on the license plate. [Laughs] But we eventually grew to be best friends in real life, which was really cool over the course of the season. We really wanted to make that chemistry right from the get go, we wanted them to have 14 years of history, you know what I mean?
It reads. It’s also nice how they’re writing these characters because it would have been so easy to have them be antagonists to one another. But they care about each other and they have each other’s backs.
Yeah. I think it’s rare to have enough good story that you can have characters that genuinely love each other like two brothers would in real life., Yeah, they fight as brothers do and they bicker, but they don’t laser each other’s heads off and I’m very happy that Jonathan still has his head. [Laughs] I think the fact that they wrote these teenagers with maturity is what makes it so possible for teenagers viewers themselves to relate, but also for adults not to roll their eyes. The fact that it’s almost like they’re young adults. They’re adults that haven’t made all the mistakes yet. I think that’s such a better way than just throwing drama with two fists.
So in this episode, it almost feels like if Jordan was an athlete, Jonathan would be like the agent who encourages him to get the job done.
I love that! We need a dramatic pep talk speech with the camera slowly moving around us. [Laughs]
He came through with helping locate his dad tonight and I know that Jordan, your character, is going to factor very heavily into end of the season, as far as what Zeta-Rho wants to do. What can you tell me?
Well, without too many spoilers, I think that Jordan, along with the rest of the family, starts to become intertwined with how this main story progresses. But we also get to see a little bit of a reprieve from the fast-paced first part of the season. And again, I think it’s a testament to how the writers are writing the show that they have three shows in one. It’s a teen drama at some aspects, it’s a family drama and then it’s a superhero show. So even when all three of them start to braid into each other, you can still usually pull another thread and it doesn’t seem forced at all. So this episode is a natural reprieve between everything else that’s gone on.
Jordan is growing into his powers, but I am waiting for the father-son flight moment.
Oh, well, it’s bound to happen I’m sure. But personally, yes, the powers are there and all of that, but I think the biggest change in Jordan’s life was not the powers, it was mainly moving to Smallville. It was the fact that he came from this very intense, high-energy place that he felt like he was no one to this more relaxed place where he finally felt seen and understood. It’s still Jordan, but we’re really starting to see the best version of him. And we’re really starting to see how he is coming into the point in life when that child in you and the adult that’s been growing in that child really intersect.
And what does all of this do to him? Because that’s a lot of pressure for a young person: He’s got to help save his town, his family…his dad. That’s a lot to take on.
Well, there are people at his age that are dealing with that pressure in real life. And there are plenty of child soldiers. You can go into the pantheon of people that are dealing with what Jordan’s going through. But yes, it’s a tremendous amount of pressure. And there’s a lot of shame that goes on with it. There’s a lot of shame in the last episode that aired, in the fact that he wasn’t able to save his father and that he’s too weak to do it at the moment. That amount of pressure on someone who already suffers with anxiety is immense and it’s causing a lot of self-doubt.
And what is it like working with Tyler and Bitsie? They’re wonderful humans, so have they become very protective of you guys?
Maybe a little bit. There’s certainly a little bit of a blend of the fake parent-real parent thing going on. I’d sent them texts on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. [Laughs] And yeah, they’re just both great. It’s so cool to be in a group of people, especially being the youngest, and feel like you have more than just a say, that you’re actually an equal. We’re all equals doing our part and we’re all doing this thing and we’re all working together and we’re all putting our all into it. And they are absolutely great team leaders for that. Tyler’s just such a great human being all around. Also, he is Superman in real life. He is. Just don’t him I told you that. There’s a phone booth right outside his apartment, it’s a whole thing. [Laughs]
I always suspected that! So where do we go from here after this? Because now that we’ve got Edge in DOD custody, you have the worst grandfather in the world—honestly, that man is constantly trying to kill your father. What is coming next?
I think we start to see the impact of all these things. We start to see the toll it takes on the families and all of that. We also start to see Smallville become the center of the entire world when it used to be the middle of nowhere. The pressure of all of that is immense, as well as the fact that Morgan Edge is starting to come into his own as a bad guy. Everyone is starting to see that and what does that mean for all the people that root for him?
Sweet. Now, Jordan Elsass wasn’t able to join us today, and you guys are such good brothers, I want to give you the chance to do what I would do to my own brother: Humiliate him. So what’s the most embarrassing thing about Jordan?
Oh, no! Don’t even get me started on this. He made a diss—he’s going to kill me for this—but he made a diss track, I think maybe when he was my age, or maybe a couple of years younger, about some kid that he hated and he played it for us one time. And I think even went like “J-Sass coming at ya!” or something like that. It was amazing. The entire set heard it at one point or another. It was the best thing that I’ve ever heard in my life. [Laughs]
Superman & Lois, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW