With just three episodes left, The CW’s freshman sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People is working hard to earn a second season. From shake-ups at the villainous organization Ultra involving its mysterious Founder to the seeming alliance between Robbie Amell’s Stephen and his antagonistic uncle Jedekiah, the show is upending its status quo as it races toward the finale.
But perhaps the biggest change coming to the series arrives tonight when Jeffrey Pierce’s Roger – the long-missing father of Stephen – returns from a cryogenic sleep with information that could mean the death of Ultra and a destiny for the Tomorrow People.
Ahead of tonight’s “A Sort of Homecoming” episode, Spinoff Online spoke with Pierce about his long-gestating role, the perils of spending your days on ice, the clarity and chaos of Roger’s return, and why The Tomorrow People’s finale is working to justify a second season pickup.
Spinoff Online: It’s good to see that they’ve thawed you out at last! What’s it been like to play a part in a show where you have to be either cryo-frozen or just covered in ice while so many action scenes are acted around you?
Jeffrey Pierce: [Laughs] There is a certain hallucinogenic quality to being trapped in that chamber. What you don’t know is that in order to get the smoke in there without it being toxic, they have to make it exceedingly cold. So laying there in the smoke with a piece of Plexiglass two inches away from your face is a fairly intense experience when you’re doing it for hours on end. I was very grateful in the last episode when they were fighting on top of it that I have a fantastic stuntman named Joel who’s really good at his job who split the time with me. But you just have to find your Zen and stay calm … and not fall asleep.
Your character Roger has been a part of the show since the pilot, and while you’ve continued to play a role in flashbacks and video clips, your return this week is something of a Rosetta Stone for the mysteries in the series. Did discuss with the writers what your full knowledge would be from that early stage?
We talked a bit about it early on and came up with a basic understanding of Roger and the backstory there. More became clear as Simon [Merrells] came in to play the Founder, and the relationship became much more crystalized over time. I wasn’t getting that many spoilers that people didn’t have, but the basic relationships and the nature of Roger and Jedekiah’s struggle as brothers we talked about a lot early on.
So what’s it like to finally be a full, flesh-and-blood member of the story at last?
Fortunately, we all did the pilot together a little more than a year ago, and I’d get up there a lot even when I was doing one or two days of flashbacks or “frozen Roger” scenes. So my relationship with everyone was strong from the beginning, and they are as generous and talented a group of people as you could hope to work with. They’ve made me feel at home.
In terms of the story, you hold a lot of cards in terms of ramping things up for the finale. In the last few episodes, we’ve seen allegiances change and people switch sides often. Can Roger throw an additional wrench in all that?
I think that Roger’s arrival brings clarity and chaos at the same time. His relationship with John and their shared history is really painful for both of them. There’s a lot of regret from Roger in terms of what he and Jedekiah put John through in terms of turning him into a killer. The choices the two brothers made were perhaps for the greater good, but they can’t be termed necessarily as “good over evil.” They did what they felt they had to do, and there’s a lot of gray area that Roger regrets much more than Jedekiah does in terms of his own sense of right and wrong.
That impacts Jed in many ways, too. Jedekiah is forced to confront his past by his brother’s return – forced to confront his misdeeds at Ultra over the years when Roger was gone. It starts at murdering and continues from there. And this is also tough on Luca – my youngest son – who is faced with a father he felt he was abandoned by. That’s to say nothing of how tough this has been on [my wife] Marla, who has been the fulcrum of this family for all these years only to have Roger walk back in and go about trying to save the world again. That’s awful for her.
But for Stephen, this is great for him. In many ways, Roger represents the bridge that he can cross in order to become a man instead of a boy. Mythologically, that’s really important for the story. Meanwhile, the Founder is going to have to face Roger, which is not something he’s looking forward to. So he brings a lot of trouble with him, but he also brings potentially the solution to stopping the Founder. That’s something that’s just about impossible for Stephen to do without him. So he’s a great card to throw in especially in Episode 20.
As for the impending finale, the show has really worked over the episodes that have already aired to up the level of sci-fi world building and just straight out action. Do you feel there’s an overriding effect the last few will have in terms of carrying the show into a second season?
I think without question. If there’s a theme for these last three episodes, it’s “death.” And by that, I mean death as a transformation. There’s not a single character on the show who won’t face the death of a part of them – some in positive ways and some in negative ways. That transformation means that everything will spin off in a different direction come Season 2. And this show deserves a Season 2 with the way we ramped it up here. It’s a really powerful way to end a season, and I’m excited to see people’s response to it.
The first part of The Tomorrow People’s three-part season finale airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on The CW.