What would it be like to be a teenage superhero? Would it be fun? Exciting? A nice boost to your confidence? It’s got to be pretty great to be able to speed-read your textbooks, fly wherever you need to go and know that you’ll never have to worry about bullies, right?
Maybe, but we suspect that if we asked Superman & Lois’s Jordan Kent what the life of a teen hero is like, he’d pick a much different word to describe it—stressful. In the year or so since he’s developed his powers, Jordan has been kidnapped and brainwashed by a Kryptonian uncle he didn’t know he had, accidentally injured his brother, got himself in trouble for using his powers to save Jonathan and Candice, got himself in trouble for secretly training with his grandfather and got himself in trouble with his girlfriend Sarah, who responded by breaking up with him. (He gets himself in trouble a lot.)
It turns out being the son of Superman isn’t all cool costumes and global admiration. It’s actually really difficult…and this was before Superman disappeared, leaving Jordan and John Henry Irons left to fill the void the best they can. It’s a lot for a guy who also—lest we forget—has social anxiety disorder and up until recently was always in his brother’s shadow. So, with Superman & Lois returning this week after a four-week hiatus, we thought we should check in on our young hero—or more accurately, actor Alex Garfin—to see how he was holding up. In the process, we asked Garfin where he feels Jordan has room to grow, how serious he sees Jordan’s relationship with Sarah and whether he’s ready to cape up, much like his closest comic book counterpart.
Adding kids to a superhero show is always a risky proposition, but pretty much everyone seems to have really fallen in love with Jordan and Jonathan. In your opinion, what makes the characters so irresistible?
I think dynamic between the two makes them very irresistible. A lot of people really love, in their entertainment, two contrasting voices that kind of become one. Jordan and Jonathan are extremely different, and we’re twins. They have that idea of being a unit, but they’re also extremely contrasting. That draws people. Think of Lennon/McCartney—there are all these great examples of two contrasting voices coming together. When it works, it really works, and the writers have done that very well.
We’re only two seasons in, but Jordan has already grown considerably as a person. I’m curious, though. What’s one area where you feel he still has a lot more growing and maturing to do?
He has a lot of growing to do overall, but mainly in his relationships. He needs to understand that maturity isn’t getting over things, maturity is knowing the line of what hurts you and other people, and knowing how to react to that in an appropriate way. We see Sarah tell him that she kissed someone else, and he gets over it quickly because I think he thinks it was the mature thing to do. People are telling him it was the mature thing to do. But that hurts him and affects him, and him being hurt on some level also had to affect Sarah and the people that he loves. That’s something you find out in life. You’ve just got to find out how to navigate hurting yourself and other people.
We saw Jordan really step up recently and protect Jonathan and his girlfriend from a powered-up drug dealer. Are we going to see Jonathan using his powers to fight crime and injustice a bit more going forward? Or is that not something he’s interested in?
I think it’s fair to assume that we’re going to step that up. If you can look at the past and project the future, you can definitely see that coming. Let’s look at the circumstances, though. It was out of necessity, right? In the next episode, it was also out of necessity because no one was there to save his ex-girlfriend’s dad. No one would have. John Henry was not there. I was there. So, whether he starts to do that out of necessity or out of a desire, that remains to be seen. And it’s an interesting, important story, giving the kid that’s a little more shy the superpowers, because I think if it was Jonathan, he’d be saving people all day.
Do you think Jordan understands why Jonathan’s made the choices he has this season? And in your opinion, what does Jordan think of Candice? Do you think he approves?
I think that Jordan doesn’t know what to think of Candice. Initially, it was like, “This girl is a drug dealer.” I think he understands where Jonathan’s coming from. They do have a deep understanding of each other. You kind of see it in episode seven, when Jonathan gets busted and Jordan comes around and kind of pokes fun at him. I think he understands the position that Jonathan’s in. I also think that he’s a little bit like, “Well, man, you kinda did this to yourself. I was telling you what’s going on and this is what happens.”
So, there’s a mix of those two emotions going on. As for Candice, Jonathan’s tried to explain Candice’s situation—the socio-economic factors that go into her decision making. I just think that Jordan doesn’t really know what to think.
Let’s switch to Jordan’s relationship now. Sarah just broke up with him, but I’m curious how you see their relationship long-term. Is she Jordan’s Lois? Or is she more like Jordan’s Lana Lang—an important relationship, but not the love of his life?
I think it would be ironic if Sarah turned out to be Jordan’s Lana Lang. Maybe it just runs in the family with them.
No, I think comparing them to either would probably be a little false. Yes, it’s Jordan’s first love, but at the same time, I don’t know how that relationship will go all the way into the future. Clark and Lana are still very, very close to this day, and obviously, Clark and Lois are married. Clark Kent is an interesting guy in that he’s really only had two girlfriends. (laughs) I’ve had three full girlfriends in my life. When you’re a teenager, you go through them. It happens.
There’s also the issue of Jordan’s secret and the way it’ll affect any relationship. I feel like having to keep this big thing from anyone he’s dating would make dating really hard for Jordan.
It would make dating extremely hard for Jordan! He can’t reveal a big part of himself, and he also can’t give that part up, no matter what. Ian Samoil said something really beautiful. He’s the director of our last episode. He related it to working in film and other really busy jobs. Your spouse loves you, but you have all these hours where you’re working that a lot of times your spouse can’t understand. Eventually, they’ll get fed up. “Why are you not spending any time with me? You’re always at work!”
But the tragedy is that if Jordan didn’t have that part of himself, like if the people who work in this industry didn’t have that part of themselves that loves this and wants to work those hours, if they had to give that up, they wouldn’t be the person that the other person fell in love with.
So true, and such a good comparison.
It’s personal. You know?
On a similar note, do you think having superpowers would make high school easier, or just make it more difficult? I always thought it was the former, but Superman & Lois has really made me rethink that.
I think it would make it a lot harder. It’s like your dad being the president, or maybe a senator or even a CIA agent. You’re in this vulnerable position all the time and no one can relate to you. You can’t tell them what’s going on. Maybe you’d have this really cool part of your life and you’d get to do things that no one else gets to do, but at the same time, you don’t get to do the other things that other people get to do, which are these really normal, basic things that make people what they are.
Superman’s son in the comics has now taken on the role of Superman himself. We don’t know if the show will do the same thing, but if it does, are you ready to put on the suit?
Oh man, yeah! It would be great to put on the suit. It would mean I’m contributing to this ethos even more than I already am, and it’s an honor to do this. I can’t even imagine the weight of that.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW, or catch up on season one now on HBO Max! Looking for more on the Family of Steel? Visit our official Superman & Lois show page.