Blake Ritson has a lot on his brain, as might be expected when one is playing a godlike hyper-intelligent alien android under five hours’ worth of makeup, and prosthetics. But while the actor is immersed in thought about his portrayal of classic Superman villain Brainiac, he is in exceedingly good spirits about the character’s arc during Krypton season 2. But perhaps the other characters on the show facing off against Brainiac be a little less at ease.
“If you do the intellectual tango with Brainiac, you can expect to get your feet trampled on,” Ritson says.
To be fair, Brainiac trampled some feet in the first season as well when he showed up in Krypton’s past to bottle the city Kandor. Time travel shenanigans occurred, and misfit hero – with a dubious grasp of history — Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), arrived from modern-day Earth to enlist the help of Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe). Sure, Seg trapped Brainiac in the Phantom Zone, and got sucked in there himself, but it may have been all for naught since Earth’s present was affected, and it was revealed Brainiac also managed to return and bottle Detroit – oh, and Superman never existed, and General Zod from the future is now calling the shots on Krypton. We wrote more about the time traveling weirdness of that season finale right here.
In the season two premiere, it’s revealed both Seg and Brainy escape the Phantom Zone, but the android is not operating at full capacity.
“The Phantom Zone has a very strong visceral effect on his being, and we see him in a compromised capacity,” Ritson says. “During the course of the season he is forced into an uneasy alliance with [Seg], which develops into a strategic dance to outmaneuver one another.”
When Seg tries to stand toe-to-toe with Brainiac, Ritson said the villain sees something intriguing in the Kryptonian’s boldness that makes him “a worthy adversary in terms of that strength of spirit.”
Moreover, Brainiac and Seg take a trip to the former’s home world Colu, where audiences learn more about his backstory. And beyond Seg, Ritson teases that Brainiac has a “certain interaction” with new baddie Lobo (Emmett J. Scanlon), stemming from bad blood between them, and “a long standing grudge.”
On the topic of Lobo, the “main man” of the DC Universe joins Brainiac, Doomsday, and Zod (Colin Salmon) as antagonists this season. And Ritson says Brainiac fits into the mix in a unique way.
“Doomsday is this unkillable weapon who feels nothing, and wants to destroy, whereas Brainiac’s impulse is to curate and save. And Lobo is this foul-mouthed, vicious, intergalactic bounty hunter — in many ways the absolute diametric opposite to Brainiac.”
“I always thought of Brainiac as wielding his godlike power in a philanthropic manner, and he wants to save planets from their eventual destruction by rendering them eternal,” Ritson says.
Meanwhile, the actor says Brianiac would have more understanding of Zod, and his political ambition. As a strategist, he said the Coluan android would “applaud” Zod’s sense of order, and attempts to manipulate the politics around him.
But that doesn’t make Zod and Brainiac allies. And Ritson promises interesting developments and interactions for the character in – even though Brainiac’s drive this season remains basically the same: maintain control, and continue his work of absorbing all of creation.
“His quest this season is to get back on track; he’s been sidelined, and he’s trying to get back to the skull ship, and business as usual,” he said, before adding, “He is so used to maintaining absolute control over everything that it is almost like a form of obsession, and the threat of losing control would be somewhat terrifying to him.”
Just because he is a control-obsessed super-smart alien android doesn’t make Brainiac devoid of emotions, however. He is simply not governed by them, and can compartmentalize. The concept of transcending emotions seems appropriate for an actor who has to sit for five hours each day for makeup applications.
Ritson says Krypton’s makeup effects artists Charlie Bluett and Clare Ramsay have reduced the time slightly, and also made it more expressive. The actor says he has gotten used to it, and utilizes the time to transition into character. He is also aided by a Brainiac music playlist that includes appropriately dark songs such as “I Put A Spell On You” by Marilyn Manson; “Nobody’s Fool for Death” by Dan Penn; “War Machine” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; and “Little Drop of Poison” by Tom Waits.
With music like this, fans can certainly expect some badness from Brainiac, and Ritson teases one of his favorite moments from the new season.
“I really enjoy something that happens in episode 8 that is so utterly unexpected, and makes you realize Brainiac can play a game 12 chess moves ahead of every other character in the show.”
Add to that the sense that anything can happen this season because the show is now in a divergent timeline where present-day Earth has exploded — and Ritson says he is excited to watch it play out.
“None of the characters are safe this year, no superheroes or supervillains; there is a sense of real jeopardy, and you never know who is going to survive, or what will happen next.”
Krypton season 2 airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on Syfy.