This interview with John Pyper-Ferguson features details about Tex's return to The Last Ship in its latest episode, 'Legacy,' as well as the remainder of the current third season.
Parting ways with a unique character on one of cable television’s most compelling drama series is always a challenge for loyal fans. But audiences can be rewarded for their patience of being separated from their beloved protagonist when the quirky hero’s return benefits the overall scope of the story.
Viewers of TNT's acclaimed action show, The Last Ship, have been compensated for the departure of celebrated character, Ken "Tex" Nolan, during the first 10 episodes of The Last Ship Season 3.
The former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier officially returns on The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11, "Legacy."
The reemergence of Tex, who's played by John Pyper-Ferguson, comes after fans were first given a preview of his arrival when the drama premiered a trailer last month at San Diego Comic-Con.
On "Legacy," Tex reunites with Kara, who's continuing her quest with Jacob to prove that Allison and the regional leaders are responsible for the coup in the White House.
The military contractor reveals to the Deputy Chief-of-Staff that he has been providing private security to regional leader Rebecca Price. But he changed his mind about working with her after the disruption in the capital began affecting the country.
Pyper-Ferguson discussed the experience of bringing his celebrated character of Tex back to the small screen on The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11 during an exclusive interview over the phone. The actor initially mentioned that his experience of returning to the post-apocalyptic series was great.
"I was welcomed back with open arms. I really wanted to come back and participate, because I love Tex and who he is. He's different from the rest of the guys on the crew of the Nathan James," the actor pointed out. The experience of "getting to hang out with Tex again was awesome," he added with a laugh.
Tex became involved in working for Rebecca because he intended to do some good for the American people. "He was working with these regional leaders because he originally believed they were trying to get America on its feet again," Pyper-Ferguson explained
"But there started to be signs that something was amok. Tex, his daughter (Kathleen) and the men on his security force were aware of that, and started to do their own due diligence."
So when Kara then reaches out to Tex for help, "he doesn't even hesitate to become involved and do his part."
At the end of "Legacy," Tex, Kathleen, Kara and President Oliver begin driving away from the regional leaders' attack on them at the White House. Their decision to flee comes after the commander-in-chief refuses to go along with Allison's plan to deconstruct the United States' government.
Pyper-Ferguson feels that the new alliance helps propel the rest of the third season. "This is the new force that has to be stopped on the main land. Tex is going to be a big part of attempting to stop these forces from moving forward," he revealed.
Tex also has some intense action sequences throughout The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11, as he helps Kara fight the regional leaders. The performer revealed he loves working on the physicality as he films his fight scenes. "I like taking hits and falling down and getting back up again," he admitted.
He added that "It's super fun to play in that action world."
Pyper-Ferguson also divulged that "Further along in the show, I face off with a fairly infamous UFC personality, and that fight was a total blast. So there's more action to come."
Since Tex spends most of his time on "Legacy" reuniting and working with Kara, the performer also discussed his experience of working with actress Marissa Neitling, who plays the Deputy Chief-of-Staff. Pyper-Ferguson explained that they didn't have much time to rehearse together, since the shoot of a television series moves so quickly.
But the actor noted that collaborating with Neitling was "an absolute blast. It was so much fun to work with Marissa. She's a great gal."
Pyper-Ferguson added that "As a viewer, you get the sense that everyone is together on the ship, and we have all of these scenes together. But if you look back, you see that so many people are interacting." So many of the characters don't have the chance to form close relationships with each other.
Since many scenes in The Last Ship features interactions with multiple characters, working with Neitling "felt like having a new scene partner. We had never spent that much time together before," the performer admitted.
Many of the actor's scenes on The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11 take place in several different locations, including the gas station in Arkansas where Tex reunites with Kara, as well as the White House in St. Louis. Pyper-Ferguson revealed how he doesn't have an overall preference of filming at a real location or on a sound stage.
"But in reuniting with Tex, so much of his scenes take place on land. So we filmed at locations all over the place," which the performer enjoyed. "There's a ton of production value in the last three episodes of the season, and a lot of it takes place on land in the United States. My character is more comfortable with his feet on the ground, instead of on the ship at sea."
Pyper-Ferguson also explained how "During the previous seasons, it was interesting for me to talk to some of our advisors, who are former Navy SEALS who once worked on a destroyer or a ship. They told me how boring and dull it was for them, because their activity is off the ship. So the worst part of the journey for them was the actual traveling."
The actor also thinks "that was true in many ways for Tex, as he wasn't comfortable on the ship. He likes the freedom of land," so in his heart, he isn't at ease while working with the Navy.
The advisors are brought to the set of the post-apocalyptic series, because its creators, Steve Kane and Hank Steinberg want authenticity.
The advisors help the actors better understand their characters' military background, Pyper-Ferguson noted.
So the advisors "are always giving us tips about our actions, weapons and even how we may enter a room strategically by ourselves or with other people. A lot of times, it would become a what would they do situation."
The cast and crew also collaborate with the advisors on how they should film each scene. "So we have to find a happy medium between getting the right shots and keeping the scenes as authentic as possible," Pyper-Ferguson explained.
The performer added that he's "had so much training throughout my entire career. I have worked with weapons on set. I have fired hand guns and rifles on other projects. So it's all about the technique that you use, depending on what type of character you're playing."
Throughout The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11 Tex provides some much-needed humor that helps relieve the tension that he finds himself in as he's helping to bring down the regional leaders. "That has always been one of my favorite attributes of Tex," Pyper-Ferguson admitted.
"Tex can not only lighten up the audience a little bit, but also his compatriots in their circumstances, so that everyone stays alert. It also helps them recognize the danger, but not be overwhelmed by it," the actor pointed out.
Pyper-Ferguson also thinks his character's humor "is a great break for people watching the show. I also love that the fans have missed Tex as much as I did, and that he's being celebrated in his return. Who doesn't love being appreciated? It feels great."
The actor also mentioned that he thinks The Last Ship's fans "are going to be quite pleased with Tex's return. He's back to who he really is, and I think a big part of his personality is not being overwhelmed by circumstances. He really plows ahead with his sense of humor. He's a guy who's ready to stand up and take a bullet for his friends, if he has to."
Kane also expressed his excitement of Tex's return with Pyper-Ferguson. The co-creator sent the actor a note, which said, "I don't know if you know, but when you showed up on the Comic-Con screen, everyone screamed." The performer also divulged that his co-star, Adam Baldwin, who plays Mike on the drama series, also sent him an encouraging message.
"So how does that not feel great?" Pyper-Ferguson added with a laugh. "It's nice to know that you've been part of creating a character on a show that's so successful."
The performer also discussed much do he feels that his character has changed since the first season of the drama. During those initial episodes, he was stuck in Guantanamo Bay, and the other characters felt as though he couldn't be trusted.
"I love who and what Tex was," Pyper-Ferguson revealed. "He was a fish out of water on the ship, where he had some contraband. He wanted to get home, and the only way he could was to jump on the Nathan James. It was fantastic to get to know him at that point."
The actor also enjoyed the experience of building Tex's relationship with Tom aboard the Nathan James. "I think Tex is the only guy who has made Chandler laugh, if I'm not mistaken. That was in the worst of circumstances, during the episode where they were stuck in the water."
During the second season, audiences discovered "much more about Tex, including how he's a Renaissance man. He really had a poetic side to him. Now during the third season, we get a mix of the two. So I think this is the best Tex ever."
After The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 11, there are only two more episodes left in the third season, before The Last Ship takes a hiatus and returns for its fourth season during summer 2017. Pyper-Ferguson was able to provide some limited details about how Tex's upcoming storyline.
"Moving forward, Tex will be taking care of the mission. During this mission, you find out more about these people, including what they care about and what they do," the actor divulged.
"Tex has his daughter with him, which is awesome," Pyper-Ferguson also noted about Tex's return to the show. The performer also called Jade Chynoweth, who portrays Kathleen, "a great actress."
Overall, Tex, Kathleen, Kara and the rest of their allies "have to push forward and make things right. It's in the doing of that that more details get revealed. There's some kind of inevitableness that he runs into more people from the Nathan James."
Be sure to check out Pyper-Ferguson in the last two episodes of The Last Ship Season 3 when they air on September 4 and 11 at 9/8c on TNT.