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Jon Cryer, Azie Tesfai: 'Supergirl' finale packs in emotion

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Jon Cryer, Azie Tesfai: 'Supergirl' finale packs in emotion
Jon Cryer returns as Lex Luthor in the "Supergirl" series finale. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Supergirl stars Jon Cryer and Azie Tesfai said the series finale, airing Tuesday, packs in emotion as Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and her Super Friends face off against Lex Luthor (Cryer) one last time.

In the finale, Lex is motivated by love. He has returned from the future to help Phantom Zone villain Nyxly (Peta Sergeant) assemble the powerful AllStone.

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Lex tells Nyxly they are in love in the future. Cryer, 56, said the idea of Lex in love scared him.

"I actually was really uncomfortable with it," Cryer said. "I thought the Lex that they had built was a guy who's really driven by rage, entitlement and a real feeling that he'd been wronged."

Cryer said the casting of Sergeant convinced him Nyxly was Lex's type. Cryer said it also brought Lex's storyline full circle, since prior seasons had him leading the charge against aliens on Earth.

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"So they came up with this crazy backstory that doesn't actually count as a backstory because it happens in the future," Cryer said. " I did not see that coming."

Both Cryer and Tesfai joined Supergirl in Season 4. Tesfai, 28, plays Kelly Olsen, sister of James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks).

Brooks eventually left the show and Kelly took over his superhero alter ego Guardian. By the finale, Kelly and Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) are fiances, adopting a foster child, Esme (Milla Jones).

As the Supergirl finale begins, Lex and Nyxly have kidnapped Esme. Tezfai said losing their child makes Kelly and Alex feel vulnerable, even though they are superheroes.

"What does it look like when these two women have to push past not having control over their child's safety?" Tezfai said. "Not feeling empowered, and feeling scared as superheroes, because your child is in danger, is something that you don't see on TV."

Supergirl has mixed its foster system subplot with its superheroes. Esme struggled to find a home as different foster families kept sending her back.

When Alex and Kelly decided to adopt Esme themselves, they discovered Esme has super powers, too. Tezfai said Alex and Kelly trying to cope with Esme's special needs reflects the struggles of many parents to special needs children, even though Esme's special needs are of the comic book variety.

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"What's so great is that kind of stuff is never fully resolved," Tezfai said. "It's an ongoing process, but I think you leave Kelly, Alex and Esme knowing that they're a family and they're going to figure it out in good and bad. That feels really real to me."

Supergirl concludes with Alex and Kelly's wedding. Tezfai said it was her first wedding as an actor or a real-life bride.

"We did the dress fitting at an actual bridal store in Vancouver," Tezfai said. "So there was champagne and the dresses were out and it felt like I was really getting married."

Lex also has one last scene with his mother, Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong). Cryer said their final scene was more physical than emotional.

"We were shooting in a riverbed in Vancouver," Cryer said. "None of us had footwear that was in any way appropriate for where we were, especially Brenda."

Cryer said his original Season 4 run was only supposed to last three episodes. Lex's sister Lena (Katie McGrath) kills Lex.

The CW brought Lex back to life in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, so he has been able to guest star on Supergirl again. Cryer called it "a lovely, lovely surprise" to be involved with the series finale.

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Cryer played a Luthor in the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The 1987 sequel cast Cryer as Lex's (Gene Hackman) nephew, Lenny.

Superman IV suffered from budget cuts as production company Cannon Films ran out of money. Cryer said the film, Christopher Reeve's last as Superman, was as disappointing to him as it may have been to critics (although he said appreciates the fans who still like it).

"Having a chance to do it right and say, 'This is the contribution I want to make to the Superman universe' was a chance I was not going to give up," Cryer said.

Supergirl also portrayed a more menacing Lex Luthor than previous incarnations. Cryer said the Jesse Eisenberg portrayal may have gone that dark had he been allowed to continue after Justice League, but his own reflected the dark side comic book iterations have portrayed.

"They really let the scarier side of him show in this version," Cryer said. "We wanted to add that he was a guy who was not in control of his rage."

Prior to Supergirl, Tezfai had appeared on dramas like Jane the Virgin, Franklin & Bash and The CW's Melrose Place remake. Tezfai said the experience of playing a superhero will stay with her long after Supergirl.

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"You forget that you're a superhero until you see a kid walking by the set looking at you like you're Santa Claus," Tezfai said. "That will never get old to me that I got to have that experience."

The two-hour Supergirl finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.

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