Watching Tommy Egan navigate a brand new world was one of the coolest parts of Power Book IV: Force Season 1.
We’ve seen so many sides to Tommy, but taking him out of his hometown, without any allies to lean on, and watching him start over again was fascinating. Tommy has most certainly left his mark on the streets of Chicago.
TV Fanatic was able to grab a few minutes with lead Joseph Sikora as he talked about what Tommy was thinking at the end of the season, what Liliana’s death could mean for him, and what surprised him most about the twists and turns of the first season.
Tommy ends the season much like he spent most of it, looking out over the Windy City.
“I think that it takes a lot for Tommy to find somebody that he trusts and truly trusts,” Sikora replied when asked about what he thinks Tommy was thinking about during that final shot.
“I think in the Power show, there was really only Ghost, because finally at the end, Tariq and Tasha betrayed him, he felt. And his mother obviously betrayed him, and it was really just Ghost. And then, he lost Ghost.
“And I think that we saw the evolution of Tommy's friendship with Liliana by the end, that they truly trusted each other, and they were all in this partnership for the right reason. So, to lose her, I think that was devastating to him.
"So, I think there's a lot of revenge on his mind, and that set the final shot. But, there's also the hope and the future with the family.”
And speaking of Liliana and revenge, we wondered how her death would affect Tommy, as the two made quite the dynamic duo throughout the season.
“I feel like, Tommy, hopefully, he doesn't allow his emotions to get too much in the way," Sikora remarked. "We see him sometimes get overwhelmed by his rage. And, I think, that'll take him off the mark. I think if he's overwhelmed by his emotions, then it's going to be a lot harder to exact revenge.
“And I think that revenge is on his mind. I mean, that's his main thing. Tommy is a big believer in an eye for an eye. Because Tommy's, 'No, that's what's fair. That's what's right.' Rather than, he's not a forgiving guy.
“He's an exacting revenge type guy. You take from me. I take from you. You kill one of mine. I kill one of yours.”
Another dynamic introduced to Tommy this season was the one with Diamond.
Though the two weren’t always on the same page, things do end with them seemingly ready to team up. And what is it about Diamond that Tommy connects with?
Sikora explained, “I think that Diamond, in a similar way, that Ghost was very complimentary to Tommy. Diamond is slower and more methodical, and he keeps the cool head.
“He keeps the cooler head to Tommy, and I think Tommy just organically finds people who are complimentary to him to keep around. I think again that Tommy is very low to trust or at least trust fully.
"So, I think that I'm very curious about the evolution of that partnership between those two men because they're both obviously very strong and determined men.
“So, very interesting partnership. Plus, I, in real life, just love working with Isaac Keys. I think he's a really strong and dynamic actor. And I really like working with him because he's also a good human being.”
While we saw Tommy a bit outside of his element, it showed us some different sides to him. And that was something we were eager to ask Sikora about.
“It was fun to think about Tommy being exhausted,” Sikora stated when asked about what he learned about Tommy throughout the first season, now that he was in a new environment with new variables and new dynamics.
“I never thought about that before. And there were times where art imitates life, where we had long days or had many consecutive days, with decently long hours, or something like that, which I loved. I love every second I'm on set, very grateful for it.
“But there were times where I was just thinking about Tommy and everything he has to go through. He was planning all of this stuff out. He's running all over town, doing all this stuff. Also, Tommy is, I think we established this in the Power show, as well.
“He's a bit of an insomniac. Runs on these fumes. He doesn't get a whole lot of sleep. He runs on the sips of coffee and cocaine a lot of times. And that's not super successful.
“So, I just thought about the exhaustingness, how exhausted he must be at all these different times. And that was fun, as well. It's funny when you play, or I would, even with makeup, we had an incredible makeup department who, Amy Lipper, the head of our makeup department, was always game.
“And, I was, 'You know what? Little less makeup here. How about we let the bags under my eyes show more?' And, she's like, 'Hey yeah. All right, great. Right.' So the storytelling, I had a fun time with that and complimenting that.
“So, the exhaustion of Tommy was something new that I discovered in the first season. That was fun.”
And Tommy undoubtedly felt that exhaustion when Kate blew back into his life during Power Book IV: Force Season 1 Episode 10.
Kate was hellbent on visiting D-Mac and JP, and she got her wish when she spent some time with them in the hospital as D-Mac recuperated from his gunshot wound.
Towards the end of the hour, there was a fantastic shot of the three laughing while Tommy looked on from outside the bubble.
When we asked Sikora what he thought Tommy was thinking at that moment, he replied, “Is this real? How can I trust in this? I think Tommy is, when something goes right, it's likely to lose him because he's so used to things going wrong—and then fixing the wrong.
“So, when something goes right, it's really difficult for him to trust. And I saw there was a lack of, is this real? That's what was going through in my mind. And I love how that was set up.
“Deon Taylor did an amazing job at that finale. Every shot was coherent, and he did just a really beautiful job. Especially, he and Jody Williams, the cinematographer, worked so well together and came up with just some killer images in that finale.”
In a season filled with emotion, action, and everything in between, we wondered if there was anything that surprised Sikora about the first season.
Sikora responded, “Well, I was so surprised at how fast Tommy was able to connect everything in Chicago. I was surprised. It was a lot of very lucky things happening for Tommy, which I enjoyed.
And then we set it up for, I was almost, 'Oh God, are we going to jump the shark?' But then, just when we started filming together everything, the bottom fell out, and he lost everything because there was really no other direction that he could go.
“And so, that was interesting to me, just how he was able to put together by the third episode, which is about, I don't know, three days, four days, six days, less than a week, in being Chicago and having drug dealers in the entire city sitting down at a meet.
“I thought, 'Oh wow, this is too good to be true.' It's like it was, but it wasn't too good to be true. So, there was always the Ying and the Yang.”
And that’s Tommy. A lot of smarts and a little bit of luck have always been the keys to his survival. But what is it about Tommy that allows him to succeed even when the odds are stacked against him?
“I think there's a certain manicness to Tommy,” Sikora responded. “His determination is not that of most normal people. He's just this determination and steadfastness.
“It's almost despite himself. He doesn't even know where it comes from. It's just the determination of not getting. I think that's one of the attractive things about Tommy is that he gets into this mode. A lot of people call when Tommy's in beast mode or on demon time.
“And he really is. It’s the spirit that, it's the spirit within. I mean, I guess that's the definition of inspiration, right. And he's inspired to dominate, to take over. And it's this otherworldliness about him that is really interesting.”
Power Book IV: Force was one of the most anticipated spinoffs from the Power universe. Each hour expanded upon the one before truly creating a fascinating and captivating look at Tommy Egan’s journey outside New York.
And the fans responded to this spinoff, which is something Sikora was delighted by.
“Super pleased with the reception from the fans,” Sikora said. “From breaking the records for the network in the premiere, which was really so grateful. The fans showed up because they love the Power Universe, and everything is for the fans.
“The fans are just phenomenal. They're steadfast. They're smart. I tried to make sure to, not always successfully, get it across to people that you can't; you have to be consistent with the fans. You cannot negate what we already established in the Power show because every single fan has watched it.
“Now we even have fans that haven't seen the Power show. It's like we owe it to them for this consistency and specification to details. And now that Gary Lennon is running the shuttle, he's a very detailed oriented writer. So, I can't wait to see what he develops and the payoff for them further on down the season.”
You can catch up on Power Book IV: Force by reading our reviews on TV Fanatic.
***This interview has been edited for clarity and length.***
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.