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SYFY WIRE Superman & Lois

'Superman & Lois' star breaks down Tal-Rho's return, what could be next: 'He always has an agenda'

Season 1's Big Bad is back for another round, but is he changing his ways?

By Matthew Jackson
Superman & Lois 202 SCREENGRAB Tal-Rho

One of the great joys of serialized comic book storytelling is the chance to bring back fan favorite heroes and villains any time you want, and that's definitely been true of the Arrowverse over the course of its ever-expanding run on The CW. If the writers like the idea and the actor is willing, you never know who might pop up again, and this week on Superman & Lois, fans got to experience that feeling through no less a character than the Big Bad of the show's first season.

That's right, Tal-Rho is back in the picture. Actor Adam Rayner returned in the second episode of Season 2, "The Ties That Bind," to have a little chat with his half-brother Kal-El from within the confines of his Department of Defense imprisonment. Now, Rayner is opening up on what the return means, what it was like to step back into the character, and what Tal-Ro might be up to next.

**Spoilers for Season 2 of Superman & Lois ahead.**

Kal-El's visions of destruction are still around, and they only seem to be getting worse, so in "The Ties That Bind," he decided to take his concerns to Tal-Rho, who despite his villainous ways last season is still really into the idea that he has a family member out there who might actually care about him. Tal's suggestion: Take the problem to the hologram of their shared mother, Lara (Mariana Klaveno). Of course, doing that only served to unleash Tal-Rho's lingering feelings of abandonment and anger over his mother. He tried, and failed, to escape captivity, despite his apparent genuine goodwill (of sorts) toward Kal. So, what's going through Tal-Rho's mind right now?

At least as far as he and his brother are concerned, Rayner sees things remaining a bit lighter among the Kryptonian half-siblings.

"Everything’s been stripped away — the weight of this huge mission, this destiny that Tal felt before, he’s been relieved of that now," Rayner told TVLine. "So he still has a spiky personality, but he’s not carrying this terrible burden, the hopes of an entire civilization. He is a bit more relaxed. The writing suggests that beautifully."

That said, of course, that "spiky personality" is always going to be a part of who Tal-Rho is, something we definitely saw when he confronted a version of his mother with Kal-El beside him. Still, even when it comes to Lara, Rayner sees hope for the character rather than despair. 

"Well, you have to have some sympathy for him," the actor said. "He had this terrible father, and he still feels rejected by his mother. He’s a mess, emotionally, so it’s no wonder he’s turned into a slightly psychotic character. But it’s a cathartic experience. He gets a lot of his chest. He says what he needs to say to her, and perhaps that means they can have a relationship in the future."

For now, Tal-Rho is back in his prison, still atoning for what he did in Season 1, but of course both his half-brother and his mother still seem to think there's some degree of good in him, something that could eventually convince him to fully reform and fight alongside Kal in the future. Rayner agrees... for the most part. On some level, though, Tal-Rho is still Tal-Rho. 

"I think there is [good in him]. But he can be bad or good, depending on what’s happening around him and what he’s motivated to achieve," Rayner said. "I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to that. He has the potential to help his brother, maybe even do noble things. But he always comes back to self-interest. He always has an agenda."

Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays on The CW.