8:30am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Meet 'Supergirl's' "Unbeatable" New Villain Mister Mxyzptlk
Welcome to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on TV. Every Friday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl and Fox's Gotham and what it all means. Note: Gotham, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow did not air new episodes this week.
Say his name: Supergirl's newest opponent arrived smack dab in the middle of Kara's (Melissa Benoist) apartment at the worst possible time, interrupting her first official kiss with Mon-El (Chris Wood). He introduced himself as Mister Mxyzptlk (Peter Gadiot), which is most definitely a mouthful. "It's really funny. There was a constant discussion about how to say it," Gadiot tells THR. "I think there's more than one correct pronunciation, and so even on the very day that we were filming, there was still a discussion going on. There was a message from the showrunner Andrew [Kreisberg] back in L.A. that he wanted it this way and he sent a voice memo. But basically, I nailed it. I'm good at learning funny things like that. I didn't have a problem learning it. Someone on Twitter asked for a gag reel of how many times I messed up saying the name, but honestly, out of all the times I said it, I only messed up one single time. I'm quite proud of that. It's a very, very tricky name to say."
In fact, out of everyone on the cast, Gadiot was the only one who didn't struggle with his character's name. "Oh, they all had a hard time," he says with a laugh. "If I had to choose, I'd say Melissa [had the hardest time]. But Chris came up with his own quite funny but also quite rude synonym. I'm not going to say it, but it was amusing."
Who is Mxy? While comic book fans already know who Kara's new suitor is, for the uninformed, Mister Mxyzptlk, or Mxy, for short, is a trickster imp with the power to warp reality and an affinity for playing pranks on Superman. According to Gadiot, Supergirl's version is very much true to the comics with one major change. "They very much keep the essence true in that he's a devious, playful imp and he still has that cheeky, naughty quality of creating havoc but not in an evil way," Gadiot says. "He has the ability to morph and change. But the main difference is in the physical appearance. Traditionally he's like four-foot-tall, balding old-man type. I have a full head of hair. (Laughs.) So he's different that way. Greg [Berlanti], Ali [Adler] and Andrew very much wanted to have a look that wasn't funny. They wanted him to appear normal and almost like a legitimate potential suitor for Kara as opposed to a wacky appearance. The essence is the same, but the appearance is a new take."
Looking for love: Mxy's sudden appearance in Kara's apartment with his declaration of love is not a cover for anything devious. According to Gadiot, Mxy really is just an imp in love. "Mxy is someone who is very much powerful and doesn't quite see why anyone wouldn't fall for him. He hopes that Kara thinks he's kind of cute and a bit dashing," he says. "I don't want to spoil too much, but essentially he noticed her in the cosmos and he was quite taken by her obvious beauty and her unique powers. When someone witnesses someone so affecting, no matter where they are, he was compelled to follow this amazing creature and hopefully woo her. He thinks they have a future as a lovely romantic couple."
Supergirl's biggest challenge yet: But don't count him out as an opponent just because he's in love with Kara. "He's very, very formidable because he can't really be defeated," Gadiot says. "He's unbeatable. You can't kill him or banish him. His powers kind of supersede everybody's. There's no way of beating him in strength or any fight. It's frustrating for Kara because she can see that he's not a bad guy. He's just misguided in his ways of doing things. She's a very empathetic person with a big heart, so while she is frustrated and disapproving of his actions, she knows that he's not a bad guy. Really the only way to beat him is to out trick him. You have to be crafty and essentially play his game. If you don't play his game, then you're going to lose."
One messed-up love triangle: The biggest loser in the beginning is the potential relationship between Kara and Mon-El, as Mxy interrupted their big kiss at the end of this week's episode. Expect Mxy's continued attempts to woo Kara to frustrate Mon-El. "Mon-El and Mxy have similar desires in being romantically linked with Supergirl," Gadiot says with a laugh. "They're definitely butting heads and they're competitive. They're fighting for her. Only one of them can be victorious."
Mxyman: One of Gadiot's favorite moments from the next episode is when Mxy suits up in his own version of Superman's (Tyler Hoechlin) suit, if only because that allowed the actor to get his own supersuit tailor-made for him. "The special effects supervisor told me that very few people have worn the supersuit, but I'm the first person to wear the Mxy suit," he says. "It's awesome. It's really cool. There's so much history there. And these suits are so especially tailored to you, so to have one done was such an honor. I was the first one to wear that 'M.'"
Getting political: By opening with a graphic content warning before the episode even began, this week's Arrow was something completely new for the show, and possibly the network itself. Arrow has always been graphic and violent, but the latest hour was dedicated to the timely and controversial issue of gun violence. While the scenes with a lone gunman shooting up the mayor's office were unsettling because of the context, it wasn't any more graphic than the DC Comics series usually gets, but the rest of the episode focused on where each member of Team Arrow stood in the gun debate.
By episode's end, the local government came up with a mutually agreed-upon list of gun control policies ... which were never actually revealed. Taking a closer look at the episode: The CW series never actually took a stand on the issue itself. It's clear from the writing that the showrunners didn't want to make any kind of statement about gun control, other than that both sides have legitimate arguments. Even during a mayoral press conference, Oliver (Stephen Amell) made it a point to show that he refuses to take a side in the debate. If it's possible to make a statement about not making a statement, that's what Arrow chose to do with its first "very special episode," leading to the question that if the show didn't want to get overly political by picking a side, then why even tackle this political issue at all?
It was, however, heartening to see the show realize it couldn't "solve" the gun violence issue with Green Arrow suiting up and killing the shooter. It took Oliver Queen as Star City Mayor having a heart-to-heart, appealing to the gunman's humanity and emotion, to get him to surrender. With an issue as real as gun violence, no amount of escapism in the form of superheroes can fix it. It's a real issue that requires a real solution — albeit one in which Arrow has no clear opinion.
What did you think of all the shocking twists, reveals and mysteries on the DC Comics shows this week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox; Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW; The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW; Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW; and Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.