Jedekiah Price: Hero or villain? That’s the question every Tomorrow People fan is asking – and one will soon be answered, more or less, according to star Mark Pellegrino. But first, Jedekiah is going on the run, and we’ve got a lot to learn about his relationship with Roger. Plus, what fun would the end of the season be if it didn’t include Jed making a few bad decisions?
We caught up with Pellegrino to talk about Jedekiah’s arc as this season comes to an end, from his “James Bondish” moment to what’s next for him and Morgan.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jedekiah is constantly fluctuating between hero status and villain status. How are you approaching him heading into the end of this season?
MARK PELLEGRINO: Well, first of all, I always approach any character I do as being right. Unless the character is suffering from tremendous self doubt or pangs of conscience, you have to get morally behind the character and their values. So I think first off that Jedekiah is right and I approach him from the point of view of someone that’s right. He’s evolved quite a bit, and information comes to light because the series is being created as we speak. It turns out that Jedekiah’s a lot more complicated than just simply a scientist with a very strong ideology that he pursues with total loyalty. There are very complicated family dynamics and loyalties that he’s trying to maintain in an almost impossible atmosphere. If you think about it, Ultra is like a living lie detector. You have to almost be Donnie Brasco-esque to walk through the halls; you have to be another person. I think Jedekiah has had to fortify his consciousness, so to speak, and act a particular way at work that lends credence to the reputation that he’s gathered, that he’s kind of a hardass, frightening, and [a] morally questionable character. But I think he’s done everything he’s done for an overall purpose.
Right, and he’s still working toward this purpose. We see in the promo for tonight’s episode that he pulls Luca into things. Is there a line that Jedekiah is not willing to cross?
Yes. There is a line that Jedekiah isn’t willing to cross, and you’re going to find that out.
But will I know who to trust by season’s end?
Yes, you will.
And at this point, he’s left Ultra?
Yes, Jedekiah’s on the lam. He’s not even living in his own apartment; he’s gone. He’s underground.
So are we going to see him with some scruff?
Yes, you’re going to see Jedekiah with a little scruffage. [Laughs]
You talked about him being this certain person within Ultra’s walls. So who is this Jedekiah who’s on the run? How is he going to differ from what we’ve seen, and the Jedekiah we know him to be?
I think there’s two distinct Jedekiahs: There’s the Jedekiah at Ultra, and there’s the personal Jedekiah. And now that the lid is fairly well blown off, he can allow more of his personal side to come to the forefront. So he’s not going to be the bureaucrat who’s dotting all the I’s and crossing the T’s and wanting things a particular way. He’s going to be about pursuing his own personal goal right now. It’s all personal. I don’t care how vast somebody [is], how big they become in the world, how much power they have. In the end, what really motivates them is something very personal. That goes for politicians who move countries to Jedekiah, who’s in this world of espionage and betrayal. He’s motivated by an intensely personal drive that’s starting to come out now. You’ve seen that he’s been harboring his brother’s body all along, that this fits into a plan down the line, and he’s going to need elements for that plan that he doesn’t have access to anymore, mainly Stephen. Because in 118, Stephen believes the Founder to be good and Jedekiah to be bad, and judging from the track record of Jedekiah, it’s not really hard to make that assumption. The Founder says all the right things, and Jedekiah’s done some pretty awful things to Stephen and to people that Stephen has loved. I mean, granted, when he sent the kill squad after Astrid, he was forced to do it. He had no choice, really. He was called out at Ultra and he could not go back even though I think he desperately wanted to.
About Jed not having a choice about sending the kill squad after Astrid: We know he does questionable things moving forward. Executive producer Phil Klemmer has talked about Jed pulling the trigger on someone we really care about. No matter what he does moving forward, do you feel that Jed can justify those actions?
No. I think in order to survive, he compartmentalizes a lot of this. In the episode where Jedekiah wakes up out of a nightmare of John getting the prime barrier broken down, he wakes up and Morgan talks him through an episode of PTSD. There is a section of that they ended up editing out where he gets up, goes to his coat, and pulls some pills out, puts them on the bureau, and at the very end you see me take a pill. You see a Jedekiah who is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain certain façades and to keep these compartments of bad from leaking out into the other compartments. It’s really tough. You saw it in the last episode, how exhausting it is to have the Founder in your mind, and how Jedekiah had to literally put himself through the physical ringer in order to keep his mind from being read. And you see how devastatingly overwhelming the world is that he’s in. He’s in an impossible situation all the time, and so I kind of admire Jedekiah’s ability to juggle all these balls at the same time. Occasionally, he loses one or two, and I don’t think he does necessarily justify all this bad to himself. I think he tries, but it’s an abstraction. In the end, he’s a man with feelings, and the things he’s done wear on him. They hurt him, and I think he said it to John – he had to train John a certain way, and then he says in the last episode, “Everything you felt, I hurt with you. I couldn’t show it; I can’t show it.” That’s what a dad has to be; they have to be the kind of person that gives you values and they can’t show you all the cracks, they just can’t. So he’s had to live with this strain of upholding an image to the world that’s overwhelming, and I don’t know that he can completely cope with it.
So for you, then, is this season or show as a whole about the unraveling of Jedekiah?
I think there’s a period of time here toward the latter episodes where Jedekiah does come unglued, yeah.
There was also a big moment in the last episode where he found out about Marla. Is that fact going to affect his plans moving forward? Will we see a new side to their relationship?
Well, it’s definitely a shocker. The relationship between Roger and Jedekiah, you’ll see how it really is. You’ll see what’s really going on between the brothers. It is a little shocking to hear that Marla’s a paranormal. It’s something you’d think ones you’re close to would divulge to you. But does it change our dynamic? Yeah. She’s definitely going to become quite an element in the battles to come.
Looking through the rest of the season, do you have an episode or moment you’re most looking forward to fans seeing?
I think I have a few of them. Jedekiah outside his domain at Ultra and being hunted, the kind of desperation that he’s going through, I think I want people to see the totality of it. But he does do something that’s kind of James Bondish in one of the episodes that I think people will like. [Laughs]
Is he really done with Morgan?
I’ll let you see how that plays out, but you’ll see what happens between Morgan and Jedekiah. It’s a terrible thing, right? He thought that Morgan was betraying him, and when you have so much riding on plans not being made public to anybody and suddenly the person that you’ve trusted more than anyone in the world is sweeping your mind – I don’t know that a normal person would react by strangling them, but Jedekiah is under a great deal of pressure, so hopefully the fans will understand why he freaks out.
Then again, a normal person wouldn’t be having their mind read, so we can’t judge.
That’s true. We’ve left the realm of normalcy a long time ago.
Will we be getting any more Jedekiah flashbacks?
Yes, you will.
Anything you want to tease about those?
You’re going to – well, wait a minute. Am I confusing it with the last episode that we saw? [In] 17 you saw flashbacks with Roger and I, right? In the lab?
Yeah, we saw you meet the Founder.
Let me think. Let me think. Let me think. I don’t know. I can’t recall any right now. [Laughs]
Someone has been sweeping your mind.
My mind has been swept by Morgan. [Laughs]
The Tomorrow People airs tonight at 9 p.m. on The CW.