Power Book IV: Force's Joseph Sikora Heralds Return of the 'True Voice of Tommy Egan' as Power EP Gary Lennon Joins Season 2 as Showrunner
Warning: This post contains spoilers from Power Book IV: Force‘s Season 1 finale.
If Tommy Egan’s on-screen ride-or-die back in the day was Ghost, his off-screen equivalent was Power executive producer Gary Lennon.
“Courtney Kemp deserves and gets credit for creation of the character I’m grateful to play every episode,” says Joseph Sikora, who originated the role Starz’s mothership drug drama and continues it in the spinoff Power Book IV: Force. In addition, though, “Gary Lennon truly is the cultivator of that voice and that dynamic emotion behind the character.”
As previously reported, Lennon will serve as showrunner for the offshoot’s sophomore season, taking over for series creator Robert Munic. And given what happened in the Season 1 finale Sunday (read a full recap), Lennon, Sikora & Co. will have a whole bunch of possibilities for Season 2 story. TVLine chatted with Sikora Monday about reuniting with the executive producer, mourning Liliana and perhaps potentially “knocking boots” (his words, not ours!) with Claudia.
TVLINE | Toward the end of Power, Tommy was very into the idea of being solo, of not having the pain that comes with people being close to you. And he ends the season with two very strong allies, Diamond and JP. How’s he feeling about that?
Yes, that’s interesting, and they are definitely strong allies. But look at the loss. It’s almost like, be careful what you wish for. “I want to be my own boss.” You don’t necessarily have the foresight to see the dangers and setbacks that come with what you think you want. A lot of this season is that the grass is always greener. “If I could just get out of New York. If I could just get out of the shadow of my past. If I could just do this, if I could just do that. If I could just be alone.” But of course, Tommy falls back into a lot of his old habits. But we are seeing a slightly evolved character, for sure. Going down the same path that we do at our best as humans, that we don’t make the same mistakes as in our past… Yet we still fall subject to some of our old habits. Tommy can’t help himself with beautiful women. [Laughs] Tommy can’t help himself with his desire to be Number 1. He can’t help himself with his incredible hatred and rage problem, to leaping before he looks. But he has evolved into a much more deft strategist. But so did [Power‘s] Tariq. I think the death of Ghost opened up the spirit of the strategy that made a really complex gangster, and that is now Tommy.
TVLINE | I find it interesting that he wants to keep people at arm’s length, yet there’s all this family creeping in around him. Now he has a brother and a nephew, and Kate is in the picture again. As Claudia said, that’s a liability, a weak point, right?
Absolutely. There’s always a yin to the yang. Tommy has constantly and always searched for his family. We saw that in the original Power show with the St. Patricks not only being his support system but also his family. The true love of his life was Ghost. We already saw Tommy with Holly, played brilliantly by Lucy Walters, ultimately bringing her to her own demise because of his overriding love and loyalty to Ghost… We see him always looking for family. But he wants to create his own family. Now that family got sprung on him, his resistance to that and his confusion — again, careful what you wish for. When your deepest and darkest come true, I think he’s shocked in a lot of ways. He had a hard time processing the whole thing.
What I loved in the finale was that beautiful tableau that [director] Deon Taylor set up, of Tommy, D-Mac, JP and Kate in the hospital. And he left it on for a full second-and-a-half, two seconds without changing the frame. To me, it was really strong, directorially, to say: We’re establishing this for our story. Who knows where it’s going to go? But for right now, this is a family unit.
TVLINE | Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Kate was going on and on about how she was never going to get a grandchild from Tommy, there was a beat where it seemed like Tommy was thinking about how Holly was pregnant when she died.
That is a hundred million percent spot-on. That was a direct reference to that. The reaction is a whole, “If you only knew…” That’s the perfect Kate and Tommy thing, of Kate saying the exact wrong thing to her son at the exact wrong time.
TVLINE | Talk about a liability. That woman has a drug problem, loose lips and no filters. Is she a big worry for him?
I think it’s a constant worry for him. She’s a constant and maddening liability. The happiest day of Tommy’s life was when Ghost said, “I’m going to set up your mother in the suburbs, out in Long Island.” Omari [Hardwick] and I established that that was Ghost’s decision, that Tommy is frustrated in that way he can’t wrap his head around. She puts Tommy in a constant state of being 12. He’s not quite strong enough to take care of himself. He’s not quite capable to rule anything in any capacity. And she has that control of transforming him back to when he’s 12 years old… Kate is actually Tommy’s kryptonite in a lot of ways… He reverts to this childlike state where he doesn’t have the strength or the mental capacity to move forward.
TVLINE | Liliana’s death seemed like it hit Tommy harder than even he would have expected. Do you think he realized how much she meant to him?
Yeah, I think that’s exactly what it is. It was harder than he expected because there was a layeredness to the reality of her being dead. One was, Tommy is a street referee. He’s like, “You signed up for this life. That’s what you get.” And despite himself, he was feeling like, “Yeah, but she didn’t deserve this. She had my back. She played everything right.” But he still knew that she signed up for this life. I tried to play it that yes, Tommy is devastated and immediately wants revenge. But also: She did sign up for this. Almost like, there but for the grace of God go I. He recognized his own humanity in her death.
TVLINE | Not to mention, she had his back. She did some serious damage to the Flynns’ team in that scene.
Yeah! She could’ve killed him and she could have screwed him. But she claimed her loyalty and she stuck by her loyalty. It takes a lot for Tommy to believe in anybody’s true loyalty and to take them in as a true partner. Ghost is the only other one who’s done that. I mean, not even Diamond. Diamond is an associate, not a partner. And Liliana became, in a pretty short time and through her loyalty, a partner. It’s a devastating loss. In a lot of ways, Liliana, with a bit of a role-reversal, became his Ghost.
TVLINE | On our recap of the finale, a reader commented: “Tommy’s all ‘I’ll never forgive you Claudia!’ for Liliana, but we all know he’ll be knocking boots with her at some point next season.” Any comment on that?
[Laughs loudly] I think, and I don’t know, because our show is now in the brilliantly capable hands of Gary Lennon, who is now our showrunner. I’m overjoyed. The fans have got to be ecstatic… Now you have the true voice of Tommy Egan back. Gary Lennon is the cultivator of that… I could not be more excited about that. However, whatever Gary comes up with — and if that’s knocking boots with Claudia — I can only promise that, however twisted that is at this point, it will make sense.
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