'The Tomorrow People' boss on going 'head-to-head with Ultra,' more
After last night’s episode, things are already starting to shift in the second half of The Tomorrow People‘s premiere season. Stephen’s father is stuck in limbo, Cara is now first in command, and Marla’s new boyfriend appears to be a highly powerful telepath. So where does the story go from here?
We caught up with executive producer Phil Klemmer to discuss everything from the love triangle to unlikely alliances, and whether we’ll be getting another jaunt anytime soon:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The first half of the season revolved around the question of, “Is Roger alive?” What would you say is the question or driving force behind the second half of the season?
PHIL KLEMMER: Stephen will basically learn about what forced his father into this limbo, this exile. He’ll get two accounts of what went down. He’ll get one from Jedekiah, and he’ll get one from The Founder. We have these twin heads of Ultra – Jedekiah being human, and The Founder is obviously paranormal – they’re both sort of vying for Stephen’s loyalty, and they both realize that Stephen’s instrumental for [their] secret agendas. The fun of the back half is you have these two terribly untrustworthy, duplicitous, manipulative, dangerous dudes just trying to win Stephen over to their side, and the truth is he can’t really trust either of them. The stakes will become so much more than just bringing his father back. It’s a case of history repeating itself where Stephen will find himself placed in the same dilemma that his father was facing and realizing that his father basically arranged to fake, or in a way to actually stage his own death, in order to avoid this terrible plot. That will give you some notion of the stakes Stephen finds himself at the center of by the end of the season.
Last night’s episode really felt to me like we’re building to more of a head-to-head war. With this shift in power and Cara in a leadership role, how will that affect her relationship with John, as well as the dynamic of The Tomorrow People as a whole?
She is like a wartime consigliere and what we realized, just from a storytelling standpoint, was we couldn’t have our stories just be about playing defense and snagging breakouts and secreting them away to our subway lair. So the back half of the season is much more like going head-to-head with Ultra. There are times when we’ll find [The Tomorrow People] having unlikely allies in the form of having to work alongside even Jedekiah at times. Not that our guys would ever trust him. The interesting thing about Cara being in charge is there is this real tragedy that follows because her love for John is unfaltering, but in a way John was responsible for the demise of their relationship with secrets and the sacrifices that he made to keep The Tomorrow People together. The shoe will be on the other foot in the back half of the season, and Cara becomes much more sympathetic to the decisions that John made, and the fact that she’s in charge forces her to put the group in front of herself. I know a lot of people really root for them to be together, and there’s nothing more tantalizing than seeing people who want to be together who are forced to not be by circumstances. Which isn’t to say they won’t be together in fits and spurts, but trying to maintain a stable relationship in war time is impossible, and Cara will come to understand that.
But then again, there was also that great moment in the mid-season finale when John watched Cara panic over Stephen. It was evident that the love triangle is very much alive, so will that still be playing out in the upcoming episodes?
It will. The thing I really like about what we’ve done with it [is] it’s a very mature version of a love triangle. It’s not just binary. It’s not like you love him which means you don’t love me. I think there’s a strength in Cara that makes it totally believable that she loves both of these men in their own way. We have a connection through history with John and more of a psychic or spiritual connection to Stephen and this notion of inevitability and the fact that Stephen believes that they’ll be together. The new component that we explore in the back half of the season is John and Stephen becoming close as friends, and the idea that the fact that they’re romantic rivals doesn’t prohibit them from becoming really close to one another. I just think that’s what makes the triangle really interesting is that its’ very nebulous. There are no good guys and bad guys. It’s true, love is blindness.
We have to talk about my favorite twist from last night, the new man in Marla’s life. What can you tell me about him?
Peter is a guy who sort of appears as a man who’s too good to be true. The idea that Stephen would be jealous about any man dating his mom is understandable, but he’s actually worried that this guy is some sort of a mole or some sort of an Ultra spy who’s been sent in his life to do something nefarious. Up until this point, Stephen has been able to hide his secret life from Marla and from Luca — his mom and his little brother — but Peter’s introduction will make that more difficult and ultimately impossible. Two episodes from now, it will all come to a head as they do their version of a family camping trip. When you go out into the woods with a guy who’s a potential paranormal, sh– goes down. It’s actually one of my favorite episodes, so we’re going to find out the truth about Peter very soon.
Finally, can we expect more jaunting?
I will give you more jaunting. It was one of those things that I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but I got to say, I’m pretty fond of it as well. Watching Cara kick anyone’s ass is pretty exciting, and watching her fight with John – the first time we saw them sparring together, I really felt like that was the closest to pornography that I’ve ever gotten on network television, so I was pretty proud of it.
The Tomorrow People airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.