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Following last week’s The Tomorrow People, which saw the powerful Ultra corporation gun down several Tomorrow People in an ambush at a nightclub after being tipped off from someone on the inside, the dangers surrounding the group are getting serious by the minute.
In the Nov. 13 episode of the supernatural drama, which recently received a full-season pickup by The CW, Russell — the comedic relief — learns that his father has died, and he grapples with whether or not he should go home. The Hollywood Reporter posed six questions for actor Aaron Yoo, aka Russell.
What’s the state of the Tomorrow People as we head into this week’s episode?
People start dying! Our writers are not shy about killing off characters and putting us in really tragic, emotionally true situations. Because of the premise, the show could easily spin off into absurdity — “We have superpowers, let’s float around and eat grapes!” — but the writers keep it grounded in the reality of people fighting their own inner demons and trying to make peace with their pasts like Russell does in this episode — or is forced to with his father passing away. The center of every episode is an emotional struggle for one or all of our characters, and there’s a couple in this one. There’s a lot of tragic family decisions that are made — not just by Russell but [Ultra agent] Darcy has a lot of things to sort out. You start to find out a lot about the Ultra agents and their crazy personal lives.
We’ve seen Cara’s backstory and we saw John’s origin, now it’s Russell’s turn. What’s Russell’s state of mind when he finds out about his father’s death?
The majority of this episode shows a different side of Russell that you haven’t seen at all in any episode up until now. Last week’s episode, you saw him maybe lose it on Kurt when he felt betrayed. This week, you see the kid that he was, which is a totally different person than the man he is now. You also see how deeply his father’s death affects him and there’s an inner life that he reveals over the course of this journey that he’s forced to make — the whole prodigal son returning home. [The story] is a little bit wrist-slitting [in its tone] in the best possible way.
How does Russell handle last week’s betrayal?
Russell is a clown a lot of the time, but that’s just what Russell does to mask a lot of pain. In the beginning of the episode you see him doing it again. The episode starts with Russell and Stephen hustling with pool. In a way it’s a cover for having to deal with being in the subway station and having to deal with everyone shell-shocked and three people gunned down and Irene in the hospital. It’s his way of dealing with pain.
What’s his relationship with John like?
It’s something Luke [Mitchell] and I have been exploring since the pilot. A lot of it wasn’t on the page, but we naturally fell into this big brother/little brother rivalry/antagonism. In a lot of ways it mirrors our real-life relationship. We really built that in, and I think the writers ran with it. They have a real brother bond between the two of them; they’ll spend their time smacking each other in the back of the head but when the time comes there’s a lot of real love between them. John goes on this journey with Russell mostly to keep him out of jail basically. But also partially because he wants to be there for this painful episode and he can sense that Russell needs somebody but he may be too tough to ask for any help.
Stephen revealed his teleportation abilities to Astrid at the end of last week’s episode. Do the Tomorrow People find out and how do they handle that?
That doesn’t happen quite yet. The secret doesn’t get let out quite yet. We take our time with that story. We are going to get to that. It does get very hairy; everything gets hairy. This episode is emotional. Starting from episode five, it’s the beginning of the ball rolling. Between now and Christmas, things get stupidly crazy.
What is Russell’s opinion of Stephen at this point in time?
What Stephen causes in our group is we start to second-guess each other. We had very fixed roles. Because Stephen is the thing that stirs the pot, he starts to move all of us around and as the story goes along, you’re going to start see us take stock in what we think about ourselves and what we think about the life we’re living and everybody’s opinions start to change. There’s a line in episode four when John decides he’s going to fight Killian McCrane that Russell’s like, “When did I become the voice of reason?” As the episodes go along, in some ways Russell is the glue that’s holding everything together because things start to fall apart.
The Tomorrow People airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
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