A lot has changed on Supergirl since "Crisis on Infinite Earths". Earth-38, destroyed in the massive cosmic event, has joined with the other worlds of the now-lost Multiverse to create a new Earth-Prime finally bringing the heroes of National City into the same world with the rest of the Arrowverse's heroes. That shift, however, hasn't been without challenges especially for Querl Dox/Brainiac 5, played by Jesse Rath. Brainy, as he's affectionately nicknamed by his friends, has undergone some of the most dramatic shifts thanks to the new normal. No longer restricted by his inhibitors, Brainy is more himself than ever, but unfortunately has also had to enter into a complicated alliance with Lex Luthor to save the world from Leviathan.
It's that alliance that is starting to come to a head as Supergirl's season nears completion. As fans have seen, while Lex (Jon Cryer) is going after Leviathan, his motives aren't necessarily altruistic. It's something that's putting Brainy in an impossible situation where he must betray the people, he loves in order to, as far as he knows, save them. Ahead of Sunday night's penultimate Season 5 episode, "The Missing Link", ComicBook.com had a chance to chat with Rath to talk about Brainy's difficult situation and how it's starting to come to a head. We also broke down his character's new, comic accurate appearance, his heartbreaking relationship with Nia Nal/Dreamer (Nicole Maines) and even spoke a bit about what it's been like "sharing" a character with his real-life sister, Meaghan Rath, who plays a female Brainy.
Read on for our full chat with Rath about all things Supergirl as well as how he's getting through quarantine.
Passing Time in Quarantine
ComicBook.com: How are you holding up during quarantine?
Jesse Rath: I'm doing okay. Yeah. Trying to stay sane, playing a lot of Nintendo and watching a lot of television. It's great, it's as good as it can be. Yeah, we're surviving.
Anything specific you're playing on Nintendo?
I'm playing Mario Kart right now. I have this rivalry going on with my brother-in-law and we battle every day over online play and it gets really intense. I've also been playing a lot of Witcher 3. I'm very deep in that world. I thank God for Nintendo because it's really held my hand throughout this whole quarantine experience.
Working With Lex
Brainy's been through some stuff since Crisis. He's specifically been working with Lex Luthor because he thinks it's the only way to stop Leviathan, but he also knows Lex is a bad guy. He knows that firsthand. How is Brainy dealing with things as this distasteful partnership he's got going on is wearing on?
I think he's not doing too well. I think it weighs on him a lot, the fact that he feels maybe like he's betraying his family and friends. It's like he almost has to work against his own self-interest. Everything tells him that he should be trusting Lex but it's almost like he has to do the opposite of everything he thinks is right. He wants to lean into that friendship or alliance with Lex in order for things to work out in the end.
And it's what another Brainy from another dimension has told him so he has to blindly trust that he's doing the right thing for the greater good. It weighs on him heavily and I think he feels very guilty for all of these scheming that he's doing behind his friends' backs.
You'll see in this next episode, Episode 18, we'll find that kind of storyline comes to a head and the world starts crumbling around him. It's a pretty action packed episode. He'll be confronted by Nia and Supergirl about all of this Lex alliance. It's pretty intense, so I don't want to give away too much. It's all coming together in these next two episodes.
Do you feel like up to this point, like you say, he's going to be confronted and things are going to come to a head. Do you think at any point leading up into that, he's started to doubt Lex or maybe suspect that he's being played?
Absolutely. I think that Brainy is... I think deep down he's a good guy. He has a heart of gold and I think that makes him naive in terms of being manipulated by Lex. I think that that's definitely a factor, that's something that he factors in when dealing with Lex. He knows that Lex is actively manipulating him and so is the act of going along with Lex's manipulation, is that what is going to get him the best return in terms of saving the world from Leviathan, which is in his words, the greatest threat.
It's almost like, well we'll see what happens and, and we'll have to pick up the pieces after this is all done. But yeah, he definitely doubts. He has doubt, but I think that's all part of it. It's the act of working, doing the opposite of his instincts.
The Shortened Season
We know that because of the production shutdowns, because of the pandemic, we know Supergirl season's being a little abbreviated and we've heard some Jon Cryer before that the story has shifted a little bit in terms of Lex. How do you feel about where things end up for Brainy this season?
Now, instead of it ending with 20, we're going to end on 19 and that works out I think because 19 is such a strong episode. It's an epic episode and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Whereas, 20 we would take 20 to resolve and bring everything back down to earth. Things will also be up in the air at the end of the season and you'll have to wait for Season 6 to finally see how all the cards fell.
I'm happy with that because I think 19 is such a strong episode. It's a lot of cool Brainy stuff. You see Brainy's plan come to fruition in that episode. And my sister, Meaghan Rath, returns to the show in 19 so I'm happy that 19 will be the finale. I think that it's a strong episode and it'll do it justice.
Working With His Sister
What's it been like working with your sister and you're both playing versions of Brainy?
It's been a lot of fun. I always love working with Meaghan. I feel honored that she came and did this as a favor to me. She's very busy, especially at the time we were shooting. It was crazy hectic, the schedule, so the fact that she came down and we were able to make it work, it means the world to me. It's great. It's funny that we're kind of playing the same character. When we were figuring out what her character was going to be and how she was going to play it, there was a lot of... she toyed with the idea of maybe doing a direct impression of me as Brainy and I think in Episode 10 we realized that the way Brainy acts, his mannerisms, his voice and everything, it's almost a product of his inhibitors that was put on him.
The fact that the other Brainy didn't have these personality inhibitors meant that they weren't going to necessarily act the same as that Brainy. It ended up being nice... we ended up deciding that it was best for her not to try to do a direct impression of me and just more so the essence of the character. And I think it's awesome. I love it whenever I get to work with her, but this is especially special. I think it's awesome. I had a blast and I can't wait for you all to see.
Comic Accurate Look
Speaking of that, we found out Brainy, the way we first saw him, was a product that was those inhibitors. One of the really cool things we got in this season was to see Brainy in his truly comic-accurate form. What was it like finally getting to realize that version of the character and do you think we'll get to see that again?
Yeah. Oh my God. It was everything. Seeing all of that finally come to fruition, getting that comic accurate look just meant the world to me. I'm so happy with the final look. I love the color of the skin and the color of the suit and the design of the suit is awesome. Plus, I don't have to wear a prosthetic forehead and that's a world of a difference. It's a lot more comfortable just to be painted green and not have to worry about this full forehead that has lights and a wire running down my back and the thing that heats up and I sweat and it's a whole ordeal. I'm very happy with the new look of Brainy and you will get to see more comic-accurate green Brainy before the season is over. So I'm excited for that.
Brainy and Nia
Speaking of Brainy and comic-accurate, that's also when we got to see him and Nia kind of come apart. Is there anything you can tell us about what's coming up for their relationship as it currently stands?
It's weird now, because 20 is not going to be this season. There're certain things I don't know if we'll get until maybe the next season or what's going to happen with some scenes. In terms of the next episode, Episode 18, Nia... it's either 18 or 19, but Nia starts to have dreams about Brainy and premonitions about Brainy and she starts to maybe catch on to what's going on with them. He will be confronted by her in this next episode. In Episode 18 she confronts Brainy about his working with Lex and that storyline comes to a head there.
Working With Mitch Pileggi
Anything specific you can tease us about Sunday's episode? Anything special fans should expect, just in the grand scheme of things?0comments
We have a lot of cool Rama Khan scenes in this next episode. I got to work with Mitch Pileggi and I've been a fan of his for years from Exiles and Sons of Anarchy. There is a very epic action packed sequence with Rama Khan that I'm looking forward to seeing.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.