Spoiler Alert: This interview contains spoilers for “Crown Vic,” Episode 5, Season 2 of “Power Book IV: Force,” now streaming on Starz.
With the shocking deaths of four characters in the latest episode of “Power Book IV: Force,” the tides have turned for the Flynn family and the CBI organization.
Under the new leadership of showrunner Gary Lennon, Season 2 of the “Power” spinoff series ventures away from its original story, with the potential for a new kingpin to take the throne in Chicago. But who? Leading up to the pivotal episode, which aired on Sept. 29, fans saw Claudia Flynn (Lili Simmons) plot with her brother Vic (Shane Harper) to stage a family coup taking down their father Walter (Tommy Flanagan) and take over their namesake notorious drug ring.
But it was Vic who ultimately pulled the trigger and killed his father, much to Walter’s surprise.
The plan was a shoot out — a paid hitman was sent to take out the Flynn patriarch. But, their Uncle Paulie (Guy Van Swearingen) and Brendan Doyle (Dominic DeVore) went down as collateral damage. With intel from Doyle, Claudia told Vic that their Uncle Paulie wouldn’t be harmed, but it was a lie. Paulie died out of loyalty to his family, but Doyle ends up killed by Claudia in an effort to keep her betrayal hidden. Which leaves Vic to double cross his sister by turning her in to police.
Across town and gang ties, the CBI organization sees an unlikely reunion between brothers Jenard (Kris D. Lofton) and Diamond (Isaac Keys). Prompted by the death of their father, the two reconcile their differences that originally split up their organization. But unbeknownst to Diamond, his brother’s drug habit has started to spiral out of control and the loss of their father sends him over the edge.
The bonds that bring families together continue to tear others apart in the “Power” universe even with Tommy (Joseph Sikora) and his mother, Kate (Patricia Kalember). After his efforts to clean up his nephew D-Mac’s (Lucien Cambric) mess go unheeded, Tommy sends D-Mac away to a new location in the hopes that he’ll finally be safe. And it costs him his relationship with Kate, putting another wall between them despite them trying to repair their relationship.
“Nobody is safe,” says director Lisa Demaine, who helmed “Crown Vic,” as well as the upcoming ninth episode of the season. She also serves as a supervising producer on the series.
While there’s no telling what’s to come from the rest of the season for a show like “Power” Demaine teases “there’s a lot of story from now to the end” with potentially a few more deaths to come.
What was your approach to tackling this episode?
There were three pretty big deaths in this episode, so it was giving them all their own flavor, and all their own moment of storytelling. But Walter’s the one that needed to be Shakespearean, in the sense of finally being taken down by his son. So approaching it, we made sure that we gave it the epic moment that it needed to have right. Paulie’s death was more one that I wanted to elicit feelings of empathy and sympathy for Paulie. So, getting that underwater shot when he hit the water and we’re in slow motion and the blood is spreading out — you see him floating almost Christ-like in the water. He sacrificed himself for Walter, which he said he would do. He said, “Anything for family, 1000 times over.” That’s what he said to Vic in the episode. Then Brendan Doyle’s death was much more a total shock and surprise when Claudia was almost caught in her lie. So, I want it to be brief and shocking. You don’t see it coming.
With Walter out of the way, Claudia thinks she’ll be left to take over the business. But she learns that the men won’t respect her. Without her brother’s support, what can fans infer will happen to the Flynn organization?
Claudia’s ambition is blind. I think that she is formidable in her ambition. I mean, she is ruthless. How many people has she killed, right? Like, do not cross Claudia. She is dangerous.
I think she thinks that she can take over and be the queenpin, because Vic doesn’t want it. And if Vic doesn’t want it, she knows the business better than anyone else. Because she’s as good and as smart as she is at running this business — because she’s run the books for years — I think she truly believes that she can do it, that she will convince them. She believes that in her heart. Because she is smart and strong that she will convince Dublin that she’s the right person for the job.
Not too many characters make it out when they say they do. Why wouldn’t Vic want the job?
I think the biggest challenge with Vic running the business is that he doesn’t want it, and if you don’t have the desire, it’s hard to fill those shoes, and he doesn’t want it. He has made it really clear, especially at the end of the episode. He doesn’t want it; he wants out. He wants to do what he promised Gloria [Gabrielle Ryan]. Vic’s never wanted it. He’s never really wanted the life.
But, wouldn’t that be the biggest plot twist? If I were to make any predictions, that would be mine.
That’s the thing about “Power” and “Force” — no one can say! And if this episode doesn’t demonstrate that, I don’t know what episode does. The fact that Walter Flynn is taken out in Episode 5 — no one is safe in this world.
Aside from the Flynns, there’s another story shakeup that takes place involving Diamond and Jenard as they say goodbye to their father. Tell me more about setting up this goodbye.
We wanted a real vulnerability with him to this whole episode. There’s familial longing that we see happening. There’s a longing for Diamond to have his daddy be what he should have been when he was eight years old. There’s a longing for Jenard to be back with Diamond, to be back with Pops. When Jenard comes in and sees that, he comes to the hospital, sees Diamond’s there with him. He cannot see daddy dying. It is the unraveling of him, and to go out and continue using — he goes deeper. He just cannot take the pain of growing up without a father, and so this longing and sense of loss is thematic throughout it.
I see it as well with Vic and Claudia being so wounded by their narcissistic father, that they could plot the death of their own dad. You see it, the longing with Tommy and with D-Mac, with Kate. Kate longing to be mom to D-Mac, because she sure wasn’t a good mom to Tommy or JP. So, she thinks that she can actually be a grandmother figure to D-Mac and undo some of the things that she did. Her confrontation with Tommy, and Tommy threatening her, and her losing her sobriety over it: Kate is amazing, and so vulnerable in that moment.
Tommy’s never had a family of his own, and yet it’s still so hard for him to fully be apart of their lives. Why is that still an issue for him?
He cares about D-Mac more than he can care for Kate. Kate’s a wound that’s really hard for him. She abandoned him. He’s tolerating her right now. He did show some some kindness to her in Episode 3 when he helped her. She brought in the ice cream and he helped her upstairs to go to bed and then tucked her in. He has a really hard time with her, but I think D-Mac is the glue. If everyone loves D-Mac, then everyone can be together. There’s that moment when Tommy has D-Mac kidnapped, and they’re dropping D-Mac off at the farm. When he’s on the phone with D-Mac and he’s like, “I’m watching you. Don’t try to get away. I have eyes everywhere.” He almost tells D-Mac I love you. And he’s like, “D-Mac, I —” and then he catches himself. You see Tommy being vulnerable for a moment. He longs to have a family, but the world he’s setting up, I don’t know how he’s going to do that without jeopardizing their safety.
Now that the show is under Gary Lennon’s leadership, what was your response to the direction he’s taking with the story?
Gary and I talked at the beginning of the season about what we wanted to do, and what he wanted to do for the season. We really wanted to take Tommy and put him squarely in his world. His world is Chicago. It’s no longer New York, so the feel, the city, the grittiness of Chicago — which is different than New York — how the gangs dress, how the gangs operate, what territories and how they divide turf, how they speak, how they dress, the Latin gangs versus the African American gangs versus the Flynn gangs. Gary and I, working with Jody [Williams], our DP, about what lensing and colors and how we want to show Chicago.
It’s still “Power,” but it’s now Tommy’s world, so giving it a new sort of feel and grounding it very much in where Tommy’s from.
With this being such a big episode that changes things for everyone in Tommy’s world, what can we expect from the rest of the season?
There’s a lot of story from now to the end. I can tell you that 209 is also epic and big and sweeping. The Stacy Marks task force is growing, and her reach is reaching out and seeping in. People die. The drug- dealing world is dangerous and dirty, and 209 is big in a different way.
This interview has been edited and condensed.