Jesse Rath, Brainy on ‘Supergirl,’ says Season 4 deals with ‘rising anti-alien sentiment’

Canadian actor Jesse Rath, who plays Brainiac-5 on 'Supergirl.'. Getty Images / Showcase

Supergirl Season 4 is coming to Showcase on Oct. 14 and Canadian actor Jesse Rath landed a spot as a series regular playing the Legion of Super Heroes’ Brainiac-5 (Brainy).

Season 4 will follow 12-year-old Kara (Melissa Benoist) who has escaped the doomed planet Krypton and was sent to Earth where she was raised by a foster family. Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin, Superman, in order to keep her identity a secret. Years later, Kara was living in National City and still concealing her powers, when a plane crash threatened Alex’s life and Kara took to the sky to save her.

Now, Kara balances her work as a reporter for CatCo Worldwide Media with her work for the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), a super-secret government organization whose mission is to keep National City — and the Earth — safe from sinister threats. As Kara struggles to navigate her relationships and her burgeoning life as a reporter, her heart soars as she takes to the skies as Supergirl.

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READ MORE: Transgender activist Nicole Maines to star as TV’s first transgender superhero

Global News spoke with Rath about becoming a series regular, which types of characters he prefers to play and much more.

Global News: How does it feel to be promoted to a series regular for Season 4?
Jesse Rath: It feels great. When I joined last season, everyone was nice and I was such a fan of the show. It’s really a dream come true. Getting the chance to stay on as a series regular has been great because the cast and crew is amazing and everyone’s been so accepting.

Can you describe what your character goes through this season?
Initially Brainy decides to stay in the 21st century because he thought it would be a safer place for him because of the dangers in the future right now for artificial intelligence. But he’ll slowly come to learn that it’s not as safe as he expected. He’ll also learn that there’s a difference between knowing history and experiencing it firsthand. The 21st century will present its own challenges for him. Not to mention, the awkward fish out of water aspect of Brainy being in the past working at the DEO. You’ll see that he struggles with getting along with his coworkers but I think it will be fun for everyone to see him find his rhythm back in the past.

Is there a theme for Season 4?
The rising anti-alien sentiment that’s going in National City right now. It kind of mirrors what’s happening in the world in a way. It’s tricky because there’s no clear villain like last season where there was one force that they were trying to fight against. With the character of Agent Liberty, he kind of bred this sentiment amongst all the citizens of National City so the villain becomes harder to track down, like who the villain is. It’s more of an idea they are fighting rather than a person. It’s a really great season, I think you guys are really going to enjoy it.

What do you think fans will love the most about your character this season?
One thing I love about this season is that we’re getting to see Brainy get into some of the action more than he did last season. There will be some fight scenes that Brainy is involved with. He will be using his flight ring that we didn’t really see at all last season. It’s been a blast shooting those scenes.

Did you do your own stunts?
I did but the thing is, without giving so much away, the way Brainy fights is intellectually-based. It’s not like he’s personally doing these crazy flips or anything. He kind of fights in a way that he gets people to hurt themselves. That being said, the fight scenes are very character-based fight scenes. I was able to do the fight scenes myself because I didn’t have to do a crazy backflip or anything like that. There are some well-choreographed scenes. We have some very talented stunt people on the show.

I was on another show before this called Defiance and I was in a lot of the fight scenes but the only thing then was that a lot of the fight scenes were my character getting beaten up for most of the time. I was always very proud of those fight scenes because I was like, ‘Hey, look how I fell in that shot.’ (Laughing) It’s really cool to be on the other side of the fight this time around.

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Is it fun to play a character who is half computer or would you rather play a human?
It seems to be my thing now to play aliens. In terms of getting painted every day, I enjoy it. It’s like putting on someone else’s skin and wearing a mask. There’s more freedom in it. You can take more risks and it’s liberating in a way.

In terms of the computer, it’s funny because when I was first trying to figure out the character that was the big part of it. But now it’s like, I don’t really think about it like that. I don’t think Brainy sees himself as a computer. I think he is techno-organic, not a robot. He has feelings just like everyone else. He just has cybernetic elements about him. I think it’s great and it adds to the complexity of the character. It’s really fun to play and it makes it exciting for me.

What’s the atmosphere like on the set of Supergirl?
It’s great, the whole crew is such a well-oiled machine at this point. It’s all business but we all have such a great time. I think everyone gets a kick out of the fact that we’re telling these Supergirl stories and it is kind of like playing. We get to dress up and play and tell these larger-than-life stories. I think everyone is happy and grateful to be doing that. It’s a really great set to come and join.

If you could describe this season in one word, what would it be?
It would be #HopeVSFear.

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[This interview has been edited and condensed.]

The season premiere of Supergirl airs on Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Showcase.

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