Well it was a lot.
You’re here because you just watched the incredibly tense Season 1 finale of Starz’s “Power Book IV: Force,” which effectively brings Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora) back to square one.
Not that he sweats. As we see towards the end of the episode, he is no longer interested in having his own involvement in the local drug trade: now he is determined to bring the entire city of Chicago under his direct control.
But to get there, he will have to deal with a new, extremely uncertain status quo. The show’s two family gangs — CBI and the Flynns — have fractured into opposing factions. Claudia (Lili Simmons) and Victor (Shane Harper) now run their own designer drug organization “Dahlia” in defiance of their father Walter (Tommy Flanagan), while Diamond (Isaac Keys) has severed ties with his brother – traitorous Jenard (Kris D. Lofton), with the two dividing CBI territory between them.
And as for Tommy, while he managed to save his brother JP (Anthony Fleming III) from the Flynns’ murder, and now seems to be closely allied with Diamond, his own family didn’t come out unscathed. Rest in peace, Liliana (Audrey Esparza), you will be missed.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that Tommy and JP’s mom, Kate (Patricia Kalember) is now in Chicago. Or the fact that the Serbs and almost certainly the real Irish Mafia are hunting him. Yeah.
Like we said, that’s a lot. To help make sense of it all, TheWrap had the chance to speak extensively with Sikora ahead of the season finale, and he not only explained where he thinks Tommy’s head is after all that happened. past, he also shared a major reveal about Tommy – and heaped praise on his co-stars, as well as the community that made “Power” such a hit.
“I think the closer we got to Tommy, so many good things were happening to him, you couldn’t touch him. He felt invulnerable in some ways,” Sikora told us. “And just when it seemed like everything was going well, things change. There’s an old Black Flag song, “I’m so mad/I feel so let down” and I think that applies here as well. There’s only one direction to go and that’s at the end of our season, where Tommy has nothing. And sometimes when Tommy has nothing, it’s “now I see clearly, now I see the way”.
How Tommy Works
We’ve been watching the character since the first season of the original “Power” back in 2014, and of course, if you have that too, you know Tommy is a violent, remorseless killer, but he’s not a sociopath in the sense of this word. is normally used. He has a code he won’t break, rules he sticks to, fierce loyalty to those he considers family, and a burning desire for structure.
We’ve also noticed throughout the series that at certain vulnerable moments, Tommy seems to miss certain clues and seems to attempt to navigate the confusion as to how others are thinking or feeling. In short, it reminded us of many traits that can indicate that a person may be on the autism spectrum.
It’s a riveting performance that’s even more front and center with Sikora leading ‘Force’, and when we spoke to him we had to ask him outright: does he play Tommy like someone on spectrum ?
“It’s probably time to say it,” Sikora said, adding that she’s never been asked that question before. “I’ve always played Tommy on the spectrum.”
Sikora said he was inspired by things he observed outside of his acting career and wanted to add to his performance what he described as “that beautiful shine” and make sure that “you can see the thought happening”.
“It’s not ‘normal’ like the rest of us, it’s special, I play Tommy as special,” he said, making it clear that this trait is absolutely not why Tommy is a criminal, but simply the reason he meets his world and relationships the way he does.
Goodbye, Liliana – and Tommy’s new family
Speaking of those relationships, a major theme of “Force” Season 1 is Tommy’s collection of a new family that replaces the one he lost when Ghost (Omari Hardwick) died in the final season of “Force.” Power”, and his ties to Ghost’s surviving family. were irrevocably broken in the first season of “Power Book II: Ghost”.
The unlikely keystone of this new family is Liliana, who hasn’t been seen since “Power” season 1, when Ghost and Tommy were debating whether or not to kill her. It turns out that she fled to Chicago where, after realizing that Tommy wasn’t there to kill her, she becomes his right-hand man.
Her death – she was shot by Claudia Flynn – hits Tommy particularly hard and even provokes the kind of terror and sadness we’ve only rarely seen in him when someone close to him dies.
“I think Tommy has always tried to find family, who his family is,” Sikora told Us. “I think it’s hard to prove your true loyalty to Tommy. I think we’ve seen that in a lot of ways, even with the whole bunch of Tommy guys [in “Power”] this to really show loyalty and put the idea of partnership above all else. Ghost is really the only one to have proven this to him.
“I think Liliana just proved her loyalty very consistently. And her unyielding nature, and Tommy appreciates the beast in someone. When they say ‘true recognizes true’, I think that’s true with Liliana When she took these Serbs out in this car, this big boy and stabbed him in the neck, she’s like this wild animal. And Tommy is like, ‘I appreciate that,'” he continued.
“And Liliana had a chance to fuck Tommy or hurt Tommy, and neither did she. She’s true to the game. And if anything has saved Tommy’s life in the past, and in the present and will continue to do so, it’s that Tommy sticks to loyalty to the game. Sometimes he’s not even loyal to himself, but he’s loyal to the streets. And Tommy always gives love to the streets because that’s what saved him,” Sikora added.
Chicago’s historical legacy – and ‘gratitude’ for black culture
A big change in tone in “Force” from the original “Power” is that it functions in many ways as an action thriller, something Chicago native Sikora says the city is particularly suited for.
“There’s a lot of action, I really enjoy that, I like that in the show. I think Chicago lends itself to that. There’s almost this urban wildlife going on. Chicago, even in the 1890s , in the New York Tribune where it was first coined ‘go west young man, go west’ and get rich,” he said.
“So there’s always almost that western vibe, shootings and stuff,” he continued. “I’m sure our showrunner, Gary Lennon, one of the most brilliant storytellers I’ve ever had the luxury of working with, is really going to use the Chicago background as a character.”
Along the same lines, as “Force” is set in the underbelly of Chicago, it has carefully avoided racist portrayals and presents Chicago’s criminal underworld as diverse as the city itself. Not that he avoids hard truths, like the city’s still highly segregated makeup, or genuine systemic racism.
Sikora notes that the way Chicago has grown has unfortunately made racism “part of the fabric of this city,” from the parochial system around which it was built, to the truly entrenched political machines that have found particular glory and power there.
Growing up in Chicago, Sikora said he witnessed this, and as a result, “I always try to do whatever I can to have a healthy, more open dialogue between whites and blacks. I’ve always had black people in Chicago who loved me, I know I’m lucky that way, that I’m so lucky to be employed by black culture.
“All the things I’ve learned and enjoyed, the respect I have for the black community in Chicago and the Latino community, growing up boxing, being part of the graffiti writing subculture, I have so much gratitude for black culture, so I think we can be very specific,” he added.
He notes that “even today with gentrification, even with the more amalgamated neighborhoods that have become more prevalent,” Chicago is still very segregated. “More than most big cities, Chicago is still like that and I think we can put a finer point on that”
But, he told TheWrap, the focus isn’t just on portraying those themes for them, but who those people are. Case in point is Irish mob boss Walter Flynn, who spends the season not only fiercely opposing his son Vic’s relationship with a black woman, Gloria, but also being a pretty nasty racist when it suits him. Sikora praises Flanagan, whom he calls a “brilliant strategist”, for deliberately taking the character in this direction.
“So I think Tommy Flanagan as an actor and as a brilliant character strategist of Walter Flynn, I think he brought in that racism, but he used the racism thing, you know when he was talking to Diamond and did the swearing, it was specifically to get a reaction from Diamond,” Sikora continued. “I think it’s really advanced acting. He could have said those words and thrown them out and then it’s ‘oh this guy is just racist’. But there’s racism and levels of racism, and I think he took that to Walter Flynn, saying it’s “I want to hurt you, hurt you with this”.
“I just thought it was a brilliant performance,” he added.
Sikora also praised co-star Isaac Keys, “the very special actor” who plays Diamond. “I think he takes his job seriously, but lightly, he’s a fun person to be around, he’s kind, he’s considerate, he really appreciates everyone from the restaurant business to Mark Canton the executive producer. , he treats everyone the same,” Sikora said. . “I think we approach life together that way, and I have a lot of respect and appreciation for him and look forward to working with him more.”
The season finale of “Power Book IV: Force” airs Sunday on Starz. The show has been renewed for a second season.