We finally know what’s been making that ruckus in the Shuster Mines — and it’s not what, or rather who, most fans expected.
Appropriately titled “The Thing in the Mines,” Tuesday’s episode of Superman & Lois finally revealed the identity of… the thing in the mines. Following its escape from the underground, the mystery creature got into a scuffle with the Man of Steel, during which we discovered that it’s actually — wait for it — Bizarro Superman!
Though Bizarro has taken many forms over the years, he’s generally depicted as an inverted version of Superman, hence the reversed symbol on his chest. Bizarro traditionally takes on a villainous role in his various incarnations, but he also has a certain antihero quality about him. Just for fun, here’s how the character was famously introduced in Superman: The Animated Series:
But before we discuss that pivotal moment with Tyler Hoechlin, let’s quickly recap what else went down in Smallville this week: Following a slight stumble in her campaign, Lana regained her confidence as a political animal. And Jordan forgave Sarah for kissing that girl at camp, then practically proposed using the necklace his grandfather gave his grandmother in high school.
Meanwhile, Jonathan learned that Candice has been selling Timmy those homegrown ‘roids; Natalie came to terms with John Henry joining the fight, but she insisted on upgrading his suit; and Lois set up a meeting with Lucy, only to be blindsided by cult leader Ally Allston in her place.
OK, now for Hoechlin’s thoughts on Bizarro:
TVLINE | As soon as I realized that I was looking at Bizarro, I released an audible gasp. What was your reaction?
I remember the conversation I had with Todd Helbing, our amazing showrunner. I was insanely excited about it when he told me. With TV, there’s always the fear that sometimes you’ll get locked into doing the same thing over and over to the point where you feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day. This was a really cool chance to do something different — an opportunity to play on set and really let go.
TVLINE | And now you’ll be pulling double duty.
Well, we call it triple duty around here, but yes. [Laughs] I’ll be doing a little mano a mano with myself for sure.
TVLINE | Actually, if you count Clark, Superman, Bizarro and Superman from John’s earth, you’ve actually played four roles.
The list is growing!
TVLINE | Did you get a chance to see a cut of this episode? I imagine it must be weird watching yourself fighting… yourself.
I actually decided last year when we were shooting the pilot that I wasn’t going to watch any of the episodes. It was just a decision I made with the character, to make it easier to go into work and continue to commit to what I’m doing. I’ve told [directors and producers] that they can let me know if there’s anything I’m doing that’s not working, or if I need to go in a different direction. But I’m not going to be watching any of the cuts, so I won’t be able to spot anything. For me, it’s just a way of not judging it and being so critical with what it is. There may be something that I don’t like seeing myself doing, but if it works for the character on the show, that’s the important thing. It really doesn’t matter what I think. Maybe when the series is wrapping up at some point in the future, I’ll consider going back and watching them. For now, I’m going to let Clark and Superman live unimpeded by my opinion of them.
TVLINE | You really need to do a watch podcast when this is all over.
Oh, I know. That’s actually a good idea, that would be kind of fun.
TVLINE | OK, back to Bizarro. How much of his look is done with makeup vs. added later in post?
There’s a bit of a mix going on of practical and what they can do with VFX these days, which is amazing. The moment you don’t see yourself in the mirror is a really freeing experience. You realize that one else is seeing you, either. They’re seeing this character. So it gives you the freedom to be a little more cavalier and just let go. That was really cool. Our makeup, hair and wardrobe teams collectively did a great job with this.
TVLINE | Now that we know it was Bizarro in there, should we be putting all this talk of Doomsday to bed? Was that an official misdirect?
When it’s a movie, it’s a lot easier to say yes it was this or no it was that as the actor. On these shows, I never want to say anything definitive because I don’t know. There are certain things they keep from us too. I think it is what it is at the moment, but who knows what it leads to. Only Todd and the writers have that answer.
TVLINE | We rarely see Clark at any sort of extreme, so watching him explode at the boys this week was a lot. How intense was that to film?
There are certain constants with Superman that also bleed into Clark. We really are playing with things that haven’t been dealt with by this character. Moments like that always stand out to me. Like, Clark would never do that. It’s not who he is, and it’s not who Superman is. He has the patience we all wish we had. So to see him lash out in those moments, when you first read it on the page, you think: How far does this go? Why is this happening? A lot of questions go into that because it’s so out of character for him.
TVLINE | It’s been fun watching you and [Teen Wolf co-star] Ian Bohen together again. How has that experience been?
It’s so much fun. I call him Bo. Bo and I have been really good buddies for a long time now, so to have him up here and to be across from each other on the screen has been fun. Squaring off against him is always great. We hold it together during the takes, but it’s usually a laugh fest afterwards. He has a great character to play this season. I’m excited for everyone to see where Anderson goes. We’re really lucky to be able do this.
TVLINE | And will we be lucky enough to see you two again in the Teen Wolf reunion movie?
[Laughs] That I can neither confirm nor deny. We’ll see. There are a lot of things going on, but I don’t have any confirmation at this point. In this world, anything’s possible.
Your thoughts on Bizarro’s surprise entrance into the world of Superman & Lois? Drop ’em in a comment below.