Warning: Spoilers Ahead
I liked season 1, but I’m loving season 2 so far. I’ve seen tonight’s “Reunion”Â and it’s surprising and exciting in ways you can’t even imagine. TV Goodness participated in a press call last week and we got some great intel from series star Neil Napier and EP Steven Maeda. The most surprising part of the call — at least, for me — is when Neil was asked if he’d miss being one of the monsters this season. Neil said he wasn’t sure Peter wasn’t “one of the showâ€™s monsters, but definitely in episode one, aesthetically heâ€™s not.” I love that answer and he and Steven expand on that in the interview below. They alsoÂ discuss the Immortals, dueling timelines and what we can expect this season.
On where the show is going this season.
Steve Maeda: “What we want to do with the show is really do a little bit of reinvention with it every season. So that was always our plan from the get go.Â Weâ€™re jumping ahead in time to this very remote area in the Pacific Ocean, 20 [hours] away from Seattle. It felt to us like a very different place to have the show, but also a place where we could still play trapped, play claustrophobic.”
On if the new location affects the tone and mood of the show.
Steven: “In a huge way. Just being able to go outside and shoot is a nice thing. We’re going to maintain the horror elements. Weâ€™re going to keep the things that made Helix Helix from last year. But definitely, the show will have a different look to it.”
On the upcoming interactions of the season 1 characters.
Steven: “Everybody will be meeting up at some point. It will definitely happen before the end of the season. The challenge for us was trying to keep the storyline moving ahead in a way that was hopefully satisfying and is an interesting thing to watch even though weâ€™re watching both storylines from the same episodes going kind of different direction.
But yes, we are definitely planning on bringing everything all together. I think that the reunions be they happy or sad, are going to be very rewarding when they finally start happening.”
On Peter’s journey.
Neil Napier: “It is quite transformative for him. Itâ€™s a transcendent and transformative experience in season two for Peter. There are a lot of twists and turns for everyone in this season. Nothing is really ever what it seems. All the characters are learning a lot about themselves and about the reality they inhabit. Itâ€™s a pretty wild ride. You guys are going to love it.”
On if Peter Farragut is a good or bad guy.
Neil: “I would say conflicted guy, rather than good guy or bad guy. I always think of Peter as a guy whoâ€™s trying to do the best he can and live up to certain expectations he has for himself, based on his relationship with his family of origin, the relationship with his brother Alan that we get to see a little bit in season one. In season two, weâ€™re going to explore more of the relationship between Peter and Alan.”
On the relationship between the Farragut brothers.
Neil: “We get to see a little more of what makes these two men who they are and the nature of the rivalry between them, where their love stands, where their jealousy stems from. We really get to see what makes Alan Alan, and what makes Peter Peter from a family of origin perspective. I love the stuff that Iâ€™ve got to do with Billy [Campbell] this year.”
On preparing for season 1 vs. season 2.
Neil: “As we came out of the end of season one, we see Peterâ€™s cured. I donâ€™t know how much residual effect from his ordeal in season one is carried through the season two â€“ I mean, I know, but I’m not telling you. But spiritually and emotionally, mentally, thereâ€™s a lot of baggage that carries over from season one into season two.”
Steven: “Itâ€™s a rebalance in a sense because some people are still doing the same job they were doing last season. Having Peter on the team, I think, adds something different. Matt brought a completely different flavor to it. Not having Alan on the team at the start, not having Walker on the team â€“ those are things where you’re just forced to deal with a whole new set of relationships by virtue of people being absent.
But then when we find out where they are and what they’re doing, itâ€™s going to be very interesting and hopefully will be surprising and fun and take the show in some new direction.”
On Brother Michael’s group.
Steven: “It really is a cult. They espouse a very kind of different worldview. They have been living in isolation on this island for generations and bring a new set of obstacles to our people. Then, of course, there will be certain characters who have much more going on than letting on initially.
It’s an interesting challenge, to parachute down into a group as we did season one and suddenly have to deal with an existing power structure as if in political situation and establish relationships and be the new people there who are upset the upper card and you know push things around and start poking around in all the dark corners.”
Neil: “It keeps all the CDC characters who are coming and starting to interact with these people, really off-balance, which keeps it really exciting, because we donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen at any given moment.”
On the Immortal storyline playing out all season.
Steven: “One of the things that we wanted to do is go to a different place and location and to let the show have a different look to it and be dealing primarily with a new pathogen, but at the same time bring along our characters and bring along the vast story from season one.
So itâ€™s not a complete reinvention. Weâ€™re not American Horror Story where we completely reinvent the wheel every season. But we do reinvent something and bring other pieces along. So yes, absolutely, we will be learning much more about the immortals this season.”
On the dueling timelines in the show this season.
Steven: “The main part of it was that we wanted to be able to actually see immortality, which is a very difficult thing to see when you stay in the present. This season we decided to play with structure as well. Weâ€™re going to see Walker in the future, weâ€™re going to see Walker in the present, we may even be doing some flashbacks, so we really wanted to play with time and play with immortality in a visual way.”
On the time jumps.
Steven: “There will be some interesting jumps, but primarily there will be some interesting one-off storytelling where we jump back a couple of months — so where we jump back maybe a couple of hundred years. But primarily the show is going to be dealing in two time periods.
Weâ€™re going to be in the present day with our CDC team and weâ€™re going to be with Walker as she does the investigation and the future on the island, which is not to say that weâ€™re not going to see here in the present as well,. But those are the two time periods weâ€™ll spend most of our time.”
On the time frame of the season.
Steven: “The idea was to do a similar storytelling device, which is to use the one day episode structure. Yes, we are flashing to some different places in time, but of the most part, weâ€™re doing that same one day at a time structure. The plan is that the Coastguard comes back by the end, but perhaps they will [come back] earlier.”
On maintaining the horror in season 2.
Steven: “We spent a copious amount of time trying to come up with what are the most horrible things that we can actually show on television. But we also want to make them interesting. We want them to feel organic to the story. Itâ€™s definitely a horror show and itâ€™s very dark, but at the same time hopefully darkly funny.”
Edited for space and content.
“Reunion” synopsis, from Syfy:
As the CDC team continues to investigate the island, a sick child appears. After the child’s miraculous healing, Jordan suspects that not all is right in the abbey. Meanwhile, in the future, Walker and Caleb dig up Alan’s grave and make a discovery that furthers the mystery of the island.
This season on Helix:
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