As we begin season 3 of Mythic Quest (with the first two episodes now live on Apple TV+ followed by a weekly rollout), the show’s writers and actress Jessie Ennis have created quite the challenge for themselves. Ennis’ character, Jo, is quite possibly the person most impacted by the events at the end of last season that saw Ian (Rob McElhenney) and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) leave MQ to start a new company and Brad (Danny Pudi) wind up in prison. Now, with only David as a wobbly pillar of power in the office, Jo feels the need to be, gasp, dutiful. Something that is clearly destroying her as she waits to unleash chaos.
“(She) only has so much restraint,” Ennis told us when we spoke recently.
Still, the actress loves playing the twin extremes of Jo, the waiting game for Jo to unleash chaos, the confidence that playing the character has unlocked in her, and she seems excited about fans getting the chance to see her interact more with scene mates that she hasn’t had the chance to work with as much previously. Before we get to all that and Ennis’ VR experiences, however, we start with the tough questions.
How are you doing? Can you tell that this is a dragon on a mountain? I was doodling.
Ennis: Lift it up a little. (Ennis considers the work of art before her on the Zoom call.) Dragon would not be my first choice.
My wife said the same thing. I think you’re both wrong. But I sent it out on Twitter. Let’s see what they say.
I appreciate your confidence.
Art is… it’s all very…
Exactly. So, Jo is going through an interesting phase in her life right now. There’s a different kind of energy this season. She’s trying to change and there’s a lot of restraint. What sparks that and how that is to play?
We really established in season 1 that Jo has this terminal drive toward power. She’s ruthless. And then in season 2, we watch where that leads her, which is this obsession that eventually leads her to crash and burn. So season 3 we pick up where she’s trying to be reformed. She’s a bit more invested in the menial tasks that David needs her to complete. So she puts as much intensity into making a cup of tea that she once put into bullying a 14-year-old online. She is told to track down a rodent and she tracks it down like it’s a criminal. There’s a lot to play with Jo. Because we’ve established so much that it’s easy to just go wild with the whole thing.
She wants to break free though, obviously. I mean it’s almost like she’s waiting to be activated so she can get back to classic Jo mode and be really evil and a little scary.
Yeah. I think something I revel in about Jo is that there are two really strong modes. There’s like the sweet school girl who still hasn’t really grown into her adulthood. And then there’s a full-blown raging psychopath. And if I can eliminate as much of the middle ground as possible, I feel like it’s funnier. So this season we really, really see her lean on the like, “I’m just sweet.” And so, when the rage shows up, it’s like we almost miss it. And we’re so thrilled to finally see her cut loose again.
What’s more fun to play for you?
The rage. I love the rage. It’s great. I mean, it’s not something I’ve ever had to do before on camera. And not something I knew I could do until we started shooting the first season. I love it. And it’s not that common that you see a cute girl who gets to scream horrible insults at people on TV. So the fact that I get paid to do it is a plus.
Do you see a lot of other roles coming now that are in that mode that are trying to typecast you a little?
Yes, definitely. And I try to be kind of selective. Ideally, I’ll get to play a bunch of different characters and you’ll be like, “that’s the same person playing those two characters?” So I’ve been turning down some stuff that feels a little bit too reminiscent of Jo. But she’s also just clued me into a confidence in my own ability as an actor and my range. So getting to play on this show the way that I have has just kind of opened up a billion opportunities for me, internally and externally.
How has it been this season with everybody kind of scattered at the start of the season and not necessarily having the same people to play with as scene partners?
It did feel like we’ve really shaken up the dynamics. I don’t think I have many scenes with Rob. I have a couple of scenes with him this season, which were always fun. I remember at one point I was like, “Oh, your facial hair is different.” He was like, “It’s been different for three months. What’s wrong with you?” I was like, “Oh, I guess you’re usually wearing a mask is also part of it.” But yeah. I mean I have a lot of fun stuff with Rachel and with Poppy this season, which was fun and new. And I remember last year people kept saying, if you could pair up with anybody, who would it be? And I was like, “I’d love to see the women of this cast come together.”
So we have a couple of episodes where we explore what it would be like for those three to bond, which is deeply unnatural if it’s something they figure out how to do together. The girls take Jo out to brunch, which is really not an environment in which she thrives. And so she decides to bring them to where she feels most comfortable, which is a demolition yard where they crush cars.
That’s awesome. I imagine that was a lot of fun to film.
It certainly was. Also very dirty and very dusty and incredible. I mean I can’t imagine being more different than Jo. The things that thrill Jo are so far from the things that I’m interested in. But that’s part of why it’s so fun.
The VR rig.
Yeah. That treadmill thing.
Do you get a chance to play around with that at all this season?
No. We weren’t even allowed to touch it. It was a look. There was tape around it all the time saying, “this is too expensive for us, don’t touch it.” It reminded me a lot of my childhood. No, I never stepped on it. I never even touched it. I just looked at it. But it looks pretty fun and when I saw it on the show I was like, “man, if I was rich I still probably wouldn’t buy that.” But I could consider it.
Are you into VR? Have you played around with an Oculus?
Yes. The thing I like the most is watching YouTube on an Oculus. I’m like, I am at this Kacey Musgraves concert! It’s pretty intense. Also Beat Saber. I’m a big fan.
Do you have people in your life who have been fair to you when you’re on the Oculus? People who aren’t taking videos of you with the headset on (and mocking you)? Because I have people in my life who have done that. It’s very harming.
I haven’t had that. But I was at a friend’s house and they had a guest over who was on the Oculus and he broke a lot of stuff in that room. And I have a video of that. He broke the light fixture. He broke something that was on a bookshelf. And he didn’t realize. I think because the sound was so loud, he just was breaking stuff and turning around and breaking more stuff. It was a scene out of a really, really broad silly comedy. And he just had no clue. So I have a video of that. Oh, you know what? He’s famous. It was Nick Viall from The Bachelor. He broke so much stuff playing with an Oculus once and I was there for it.
I will say capturing video of somebody breaking stuff on an Oculus perhaps without them knowing, that’s kind of a Jo thing to do, no?
Sure. This was long before I was playing Jo. She definitely always has her phone like an inch away, ready to document someone’s most embarrassing moment.
The first 2 episodes of ‘Mythic Quest’ season 3 are now on Apple TV+