A bizarre thing happened at the end of the last episode of "Supergirl" -- Kara Danvers bled.
It's a new experience for the Kryptonian, and the timing couldn't be worse. Next episode finds National City in danger just after the city's resident superhero has lost her powers. In "Human For a Day," an earthquake strikes, and Kara and her friends -- including James Olsen -- must rise to the occasion without the help of super strength.
We spoke with Mehcad Brooks about his character stepping into the hero role for the episode, how his family history has helped shape James' career goals, and the ever-evolving love triangle between him, Kara and Lucy Lane.
CBR News: James gets to take on a more heroic position than we're used to seeing in the next episode. What can we expect from him?
Mehcad Brooks: There's an earthquake that happens, and since Kara has lost her powers, James has to take over her job. There's people that need help here and there, all around CatCo and all around National City. They go around as a this three-person team -- James, Kara and Winn -- and James does a lot of the heroics. I loved it; it was so fun.
James is often in a more supporting role when it comes to heroics, traditionally as Superman's friend, and in this series, as Supergirl's confidante. Does his upcoming experience change his perspective on what Kara and Clark do?
I think that she's started seeing him in a new way, where he really is -- he's learned from the best, he's picked up a lot of tactics and pointers from Superman. But at the same time, he's also done his best to come into his own and to be his higher self, and I think that she sees a lot of that coming to fruition in the episode.
At the same time, James realizes that Kara is coming into her own, not only physically as a superhero, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally. She's able to do certain really heroic things without using her super powers. She doesn't even need her powers to be a superhero, and so there's a new respect, I think, between both characters. And I think it's a really beautiful thing. I love the lesson, because we're really talking to the audience at that point, and it's really cool.
You mentioned it was a fun episode for you fun -- did you get to dive into some stunts and action?
Yeah, I got to do some really, really cool stuff -- I don't know if I can say. I can say I love wire work. Wire work is fantastic, except for, after about three hours, you're like, "Please, get me out of this harness. This is crazy." I've been skydiving before, and it's kind of the same situation, but skydiving lasts like three minutes, four minutes. In the harness, you're just attached to a crane, so that can be all day. It was a lot of fun.
I loved just running around and acting like a big kid. That's who I am. It's like when you play cops and robbers, or Superman, or whoever your favorite comic book character was as a kid. You'd be running around, jumping off couches with towels wrapped around your neck and stuff like that. That's kind of what I was doing, just with a bigger budget.
When James isn't helping Supergirl, he works at CatCo, where he recently stepped into a leadership position while Cat was occupied. What are his career goals?
Funny you should ask that, because the episode that we're referring to sort of makes James realize that he wants to be more like the old Jimmy. He wants to be back out there in the field. He wants to get back on the beat. He wants to put the camera back around his neck, and he -- I think we can all relate to this. We put our heads down and work so hard to get to where we are, we forget to look up and think about, "Is this really where we want to be?" James is guilty of the same situation. He gets the right office and the right title and the right desk, and maybe a lot of that is for the right reasons, and maybe some of that's for reasons that we'll tell you in the show. But there is something calling him, and he sees it firsthand when he's out there in the field helping people.
I liken him to a war reporter. He can't stay home. He can't go to the office and have dinner at his house five days a week -- he's going to go crazy. He has to go be in the dirt, and he has to go get some mud on his boots. That's really what he wants again. It's a cool thing. I think it's great for the fans, because they're going to see a part of Jimmy they haven't seen yet, which is the guy with a camera around his neck.
Since we do see a lot of that in the present, will we ever learn more about James' past? About his family and his work before CatCo?
Yes. I'm glad that every character in the show has a really rich backstory, and then some secrets, if you will. We do get involved in Jimmy's past. He has some unresolved issues with his parents, like most of us do, and his are pretty prevalent. Kara tries to help him through that.
As he grows, he balances out the man that he was thinking that his father wanted him to be versus the man that he wants to be. I think we all can relate to that, and it's really kind of a cool thing that we're watching that happen on the screen. I don't really know a lot of shows that give you explosions, heat vision, flying and family. [Laughs]
James and Kara's friendship has come such a long way already; what you can tease about their dynamic in the episodes ahead?
I can tell you that things get complicated with the love triangle, and then things also become less complex. James is pulled back towards Lucy, and then he's pulled back towards Kara. I mean, it just gets complex, but then it gets simple and then complex again. This is why we have the "It's Complicated" button on Facebook. It's a modern-day relationship.
In our society, we have -- it's game theory. There are a lot of options, and I think if people aren't really sure about how someone's going to treat your heart, you leave it open because I think it's scary. The scariest thing is to jump back into something that already hurt you, and I think that's really understandable. I hope he doesn't come off as somebody who's trying to play the field; it's more like he's actually just really afraid of being hurt again by the same person. I think we can all relate to that.
"Supergirl" airs Mondays at 8 pm EST on CBS.