Character Profiling: John Young

What is Character Profiling?

Every week, I will profile some character in pop culture (either through films, books or TV) that deserves some further exploration for their dynamic nature.I shall also explain why this character breaks pop culture modes, creates their own archetype or works within their genre to change it. Basically this is a weekly look at some of my favorite characters,and why I like them.

This week’s character is The Tomorrow People’s John Young. 

 John Young (Luke Mitchell) from The Tomorrow People suffers from the Pacey Complex, as I’d like to call it. The Pacey Complex is when a male character does not know his self worth because of years of emotional, and/or physical abuse. The character is often caring beyond reason to those he loves. He usually has a male friend who he  believes is better than him, which is usually a false assessment. He feels an obligation to this male friend either from a false sense of loyalty or past mistakes. The Pacey Complex character was never intended to be the star of the show, but ends up stealing the hearts of the viewers from just being an overall more dynamic character than the lead.

The Pacey Complex character usually has a thing for women who he believes makes him better. But, in fact, he either makes them better or they compliment one another. He often falls for women who are almost as emotionally damaged as him, but also able to match his biggest defense mechanism. This usually comes in the form of quick wit or physical strength.

John Young falls into the Pacey Complex category more than many characters have in a while. The only thing that almost takes him away from this category is his leader status. The Pacey Complex character is supposed to start off as the sidekick to a male figure, and then transform into his own. Whereas, John seems to be doing the opposite. He started off on The Tomorrow People as a confident leader but as more of John’s past is revealed, he’s becomes more of a  sidekick to Stephen(Robbie Amell).

Because of his Pacey Complex characteristics,  there are a few defining traits that really make John a lovable character.

The first is his selflessness. The best example of this is when he found out Stephen and Cara (Peyton List) had sex behind his back. He pushes his hurt back and saves Stephen’s life and continues to work with him, because it’s what’s necessary to protect the group.

A second example is the fact that Cara continues to be hurt and shocked by his secrets, but John doesn’t keep bringing up the fact that she cheated on him. He has brought it up but only as a way to say, ‘we both lied, let’s move pass it.

Another trait is his empathy. The best example is when he goes on the trip with Russell (Aaron Yoo) to attend his father’s funeral.  John puts aside all his fears about interacting with humans, his troubles with Cara and his past to focus on being a good friend for Russell. He did this mainly because he understood how important family is, even if he never really had one.

His emotional strength.

Let us count the ways that John Young has been emotionally messed up in his life:

  • Orphan
  • Abused by adopted father
  • Trained to fight against his own kind
  • Became an outsider to his kind by being able to kill
  • Had to kill a guy who was once a good friend, when he became a psycho
  • Loses himself every time he kills, has killed at least three times
  • Killed a guy who was a father figure to him
  • Manipulated and used by another father figure
  • Girlfriend cheats on him the minute they have a little trouble
  • Kidnapped and tortured
  • Must be around a guy who serves as a constant reminder of his mistakes

That’s only the pain we know John has faced so far, we can’t imagine what else will be revealed later on. However, we never see John breakdown. He stays strong for the group.

The Tomorrow People may be one of the few shows where neither of the main male figures are necessarily jerks or bad boys. John falls more into the bad boy category than Stephen but he’s not the typical bad boy displayed in these type of shows.  You never see him abuse women, sleep around, or try to emotionally or physically hurt his romantic rival (not counting that one time). He’s more of a good guy than Stephen.