How did Stephen not know? Why did Marla keep it a secret? What’s coming next? Zap2it got some answers in an interview with Clarke.
Zap2it: When did you find out that Marla had powers too?
Sarah Clarke: We started thinking about it about halfway through this season. There were always a lot of questions about how much I know about my husband when he was working with Jedikiah. And I was constantly grilling the writers of just how much denial I was in, in terms of what he could do or was it something I knew about but was just keeping from the kids.
So when it went to the next level, it actually made more sense to me. It was still a shock — because I didn’t know they were going to go in that direction — but it definitely made the whole relationship with Roger make a lot more sense.
What comes next, now that Marla has revealed herself?
The main thing that we’re working on right now is reconciling her relationship with Stephen [Robbie Amell] and his powers and how he’s been dealing with them and how she’s been helping him cope. … Because I think it’s been a protective mechanism for Marla, to stay hidden and to live in the real world — or, I guess, the normal world — and not be found out. It’s definitely been a life choice. It’s something that she felt was the best way to survive.
But now that she has been compromised, more or less, by saving Astrid [Madeleine Mantock] and her dad, she has some big … she has to figure out how she’s going to move forward from now on. That’s definitely what we’re revealing in the next couple of episodes.
Their worlds are going to cross now. I think it’s interesting the way they show it.
How does this affect the Marla-Stephen relationship?
I’m hoping, I think it brings them closer together. Certainly there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered, and we talked a long time about this — in terms of a mother’s coping skills and then how she translates that to her own children. Because ultimately, a mother’s children are an extension of her. It’s hard not to treat the children the way she treated herself. That’s how she dealt with her breakout, using drugs to suppress it, because she didn’t think it was something she could use and be in the normal world.
It’s also talking about the relationship with Roger and why it fell apart — and why she chose, for the sake of the children, to live in hiding. I think she really was helping her child by doing that. It’s a good thing to show that Marla may have made mistakes, but she’s doing the best she could. There is some regret there, because Stephen is almost becoming an adult. And it’s not just about keeping him safe and in the dark. He’s breaking out and needing to break out.
How much does Marla know about what Stephen has been doing all this time?
I think she knows everything. Certainly, there’s things going on with the Tomorrow People and underground that she doesn’t know about. But certainly in his powers and what he’s capable of.
It remains to be seen how much she knew with Roger and what he was working on. I think there was a conscious choice — and they’ll get into this in later episodes — why the family fell apart was that Roger wanted to do one thing and Marla didn’t want to with their powers. So she made a conscious choice to say “No, I want to raise my children in a normal environment and keep them safe. Because what I’m seeing, this isn’t a life I want them to lead.”
So when I say she knows everything, I don’t think she knows missions that Stephen is doing, I think she thinks he’s just sort of grappling. But I also think she thinks her drugs were working. She did think he was taking them. It’s one of those things she wanted to trust and believe her son. The fact that I break out and show him her powers, there’s now this, “OK, I’m gonna help you break out.” But I don’t think she knows he’s been doing all the things he’s been doing.
The idea is, Stephen knows how to teleport and do these things — I think she expects that. It’s like when you know your kids are going to party a little bit to experiment, and you hope they do it safely, you hope they’re responsible enough not to be stupid about it. You try to instill in them certain boundaries. But I don’t think she has any idea what he’s doing with the Tomorrow People.
Does anyone at ULTRA know about Marla?
She stays completely off the radar. That was actually a big discussion at one point, because I was like, “Wait. Jedikiah would know that I have powers!” And it was like, “No! He does not.” That would just be too much of “OK, we’re going to leave her alone.” It was a way of keeping myself safe. So when Roger started to work with Jedikiah, I told Roger that I was kind of going under, so to speak. Repressing it, because it was a choice I made for the kids.
“The Tomorrow People” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.