‘The Boys’: Jessie T. Usher Says Things Will ‘Get Messy’ in Season 4
[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Boys Season 3 finale, “The Instant White-Hot Wild.”]
The speedy Supe went through a rollercoaster of emotions and tribulations in Season 3 ranging from a rebranding ordeal at Vought and a conflict with abusive Supe Blue Hawk (Nick Wechsler) to acquiring a new heart from his enemy and dealing with familial tensions stemming from his brother Nate (Christian Keyes) being paralyzed. In other words, it was a lot to process, especially with Homelander (Antony Starr) remaining an unpredictable threat at all times. Below, Usher opens up about his character’s Season 3 journey and looks ahead to Season 4.
This season, A-Train felt like he was attempting to carve out a redemption path for himself. Is he trying to make up for the wrongs in his past?
Jessie T. Usher: I don’t know if he’s ever really considered making up for it, I just think he’s more so not wanting to make a bigger mess. So whatever’s in the past is in the past. He doesn’t seem like the type of person to kind of let those things live in his head. But he’s afraid of his situation getting darker. He is afraid of getting worse. He’s afraid of making more mistakes. He’s afraid of more innocent people getting hurt. And I think that’s his intention: just to not let things get even more out of control than where he is right now.
A-Train kills Blue Hawk in retaliation for paralyzing his brother. Your character walks away from the experience with a new heart. Does A-Train see this as a second chance?
Interestingly enough, we played around with that idea a lot in Episode 307, when he first realizes in the hospital that he has Blue Hawk’s heart. He has mixed feelings about it because he hated this guy, but now he’s the reason he is alive. So what do you do with that second chance? And how do you feel about the way you got it? The problem with A-Train is it’s not always getting to a destination. It’s how you get there. So although he’s happy to be alive [and] have a second chance, it comes from the person who has damaged his family the most, and that’s always going to live with him subconsciously. And he’s not really sure how to deal with it just yet.
In the finale, he has that conversation with his brother and he’s still figuring out what he’s going to do with his second chance. And I think that’s something that we’re going to have to just explore in Season 4. But I think at least, figuratively speaking, his heart is in the right place.
Speaking of that conversation with his brother, A-Train and Nate end the season on a bad note. Is there hope for reconciliation in the future?
Absolutely. I mean, I’d like to see how the dynamic comes together. I think as long as they’re both alive, there’s always room for improvement. There’s always room for reconciliation. They’re still family. They both have a very difficult time seeing eye to eye. Every day they grow further and further apart. But I still think at the end of the day, they view each other the way they always have. And now A-Train is opening up to his brother, and his brother is doing the same thing back. It could go haywire, who knows. They could be enemies in Season 4. But I think that there will be some type of new dynamic in their relationship. I just don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad, but I think it’s going to be prominent.
Much of your Season 3 storyline had to do with social justice and fighting back against police and authoritarian brutality. What was it like collaborating with the writers on A-Train’s story this season?
Storylines came as the show was progressing. Then we were able to discuss how that looked through A-Train’s eyes and his role in this whole world and then out of respect for the corporate control that Vought has over the whole thing, how it all gets misconstrued. Yet, the focus of A-Train has always been the same. At first, it started very surface-level, very much like, “I’m going to do this to make it seem like I’m doing the right thing or to at least appear to be on the right side.” And then when it got personal, it actually [changed for him].
So that process just naturally became like a tennis match. It was like, I hit an idea to them, they hit another one back, and so forth, and it was very liberating. It was nice to have that platform to speak on that particular topic. And the way that it played out, with the sacrifices that were made, it just seemed like the stakes were high enough to actually do that storyline justice. So I’m very happy with the way it turned out.
That wasn’t the only high-stakes aspect of A-Train’s story this season. There’s a terrifying “family meeting” of sorts between Homelander, A-Train, Ashley (Colby Minifie), and The Deep (Chace Crawford) in the finale. It’s clear by the end of Season 3 that Homelander has no limits on what he’ll do. Should A-Train be looking over his shoulder heading into Season 4?
Absolutely. Yeah. I think from the beginning of this show, they always should have and that’s, in large part, the reason why they end up in this position. They weren’t seeing the whole picture. Now everyone is forced to see it. And unfortunately, Homelander has all the control and all the power. And anything that makes him feel weak, he’s almost willing to get rid of, regardless if it benefits him or not. It’s just how he sees himself. And that’s a scary place to be.
So A-Train, having a second chance at life, is that going to be viewed as a threat? We don’t know. There’s a lot of emotion involved in what this story can be and how things can play out — especially within the Vought Tower. I think it’s going to get messy before it gets any cleaner.
What was it like sitting down to film that sequence between Homelander and the Seven in the finale? Was it as tense to film as it was for viewers to watch?
I mean, it’s fun for me personally, because I love working with my cast, and it’s nice to get multiple of us in a room. For A-Train, anxiety’s at an all-time high. You just never know how those things are going to go. And it seems like, at least in our past, there’s a trend of each of those meetings not actually ending the way that we intend them to, at least for us. We’re kind of walking in blindly, like, “All right, is this actually going to be a team meeting? Or do they have some dirt on somebody they want to exploit? How’s this going to go?” You just never know. And unfortunately, now being back in The Seven, with no one having the reigns over Homelander, each of those meetings is always going to be like that.
We never know what’s going to happen anymore. Homelander is completely astray. His mind is scrambled. So we never know what we’re going to walk into. It’s a nerve-wracking environment to be in. I personally don’t see A-Train being comfortable in that predicament, but we’ve seen him live in an uncomfortable circumstance [before]. So there’s no telling. He’s not a scared person, but he is aware of the risk.
By the end of the season, Annie, a.k.a. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) has fully defected from Vought and The Seven to work with The Boys. Do you ever picture A-Train making that jump someday? He seems closer than any of the other Vought Supes.
I personally don’t see A-Train ever being a team member because I don’t think he believes in what their initiative is. He can use them to leverage the weight of whatever’s happening with him. I think it’s always a selfish sort of a personal game, playing either side of the fence. But the initiative of The Boys taking down superheroes and destroying Vought, it’s just not his thing. When it affects him, OK, but at the end of the day, A-Train is looking out for A-Train. And he sometimes might think about looking out for his friends and family, but for the most part, he’s just looking out for A-Train. I don’t see him putting everything he’s lived for at risk for someone else’s purpose.
The Boys, Season 4, TBA, Prime Video