Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes to Boyd with a plan while Tabitha huddles with Victor to better understand exactly what his mother was doing and where she was going when she died.
Jade decides to investigate the tunnels for himself as he grapples with more moments of what is real vs. what is not. The Matthews keep vigil over Julie and Kenny keeps Kristi company as she sits with Marielle. Ellis and Fatima seize on an opportunity for normalcy when so much around them is anything but just as Reggie becomes increasingly unhinged about the loss of his wife. Ultimately, Boyd and Tabitha follow separate quests into the woods, each seeking answers and a way home.
This week, I had the chance to chat with Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders again about the season. I’ll have post-finale thoughts from them Sunday night after the linear premiere, but first, we chat about some of the season’s big moments so far.
Victor has had several significant moments this season, and McCord says he was just as surprised as we were to find out about Eloise. “When we get these scripts, we don’t know what the milestone events are for the season. I had one moment with John Griffin this season where we met and I said, ‘I have a feeling I know where this is going,'” he laughs.
“And I told him, and he has this poker face thing that he does where he listens to your theory and then he goes, ‘Huh,’ and that’s all he gives you. And so I didn’t know if I was right or wrong. But I thought I was right. And then I opened up episode eight and I read that storyline and I was floored. I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s not what I was expecting.’ I liked Jeff [Pinkner] and John’s idea better [than my own].”
The friendship between Victor and Ethan has also changed a bit this season, as the two had their first quarrel and then reconciled, but then Ethan lashed out in a moment of fear in last week’s episode [breaking my heart in the process]. McCord has enjoyed playing that arc, and seeing the growth for Victor as he’s been accepted by the Matthews family in very short order, within the timeline of the show, when he was still very recently seen as a threat.
“I think for Victor and Ethan, it almost seems like Ethan can stand up and be the little man sometimes. And it’s Victor who’s actually acting like the child a little bit, or who has his ways of getting Ethan’s attention. Like, ‘The orange marker was a bad gift, but please don’t go,'” he explains.
“Now that I’m inside a house with the Matthews family…my wife and I were watching and there’s a moment where Jim comes in and I said to my wife, ‘I think this is the first time that Jim and I have seen each other since I was out in the woods with Ethan and a gun.'”
“The world keeps changing, and so much of it has to do with that reveal of Eloise. And I think that as controversial as that repressed memory subject and trauma is, although I believe in it fully, when those memories start to come up and they start to manifest in whatever way that they do, everything that happens to us, [affects] our physiology, our body, and we change.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about just even in those moments in the house, playing the games with Tian Chen and all that…Victor’s comfort level and how he tries in that moment with Ethan, to give him something that his mother told him. I was trying to do it a little differently than Victor would’ve ‘normally,’ for lack of a better term, done. I’m excited to see, [if we get] season three, what change Victor’s going to be going through now because of being part of a community and giving himself over to that collaboration.”
Looking back on the scene in “Lullaby,” McCord enjoyed the relationship with Jade evolving. “It was great to throw us in a scene together because energetically, he and I both are on different vibrations, and we’re trying to find each other,” he says. “But taking him to the car graveyard, I remember having this thing with him where it was almost like a kid bringing him to his secret fort. As scary as all that is, there’s this part of Victor that John has created, that’s still amazing, that is looking for those connections.”
“There is definitely an approach that I’ve used and I’ve always felt, that it’s almost like the people in the town would be ghosts to Victor, in a way, and very transient. That certainly plays into his investment in anyone, because they could be gone the next moment.”
That thread of relationships resonated with Saunders, whose character, Donna, also left her comfort zone this season and regularly ventured beyond Colony House. And despite the pragmatic way in which she views the world, she still looks for the greater good, which gave Saunders a wonderful array of scenes in Season 2.
“I think this new dynamic is about seeing the facets more deeply, like, ‘Oh, that connects to there,’ whether it’s love, fear, exhaustion, frustration, or having someone like Randall, I think she has a deep belief in human beings,” she shares. “Even if she may not have a belief in the individual or their character, she believes in the animal, the human being on the planet, and that all life has value.”
When the Matthews have the canning party with Donna at Tian Chen’s, it begets a lovely quiet basement scene between Donna and Ethan, and Saunders loved getting to play those moments with Simon Webster. “First of all, when I got the script, I was like, ‘Thank you for this scene for the show and for Donna.’ I love that we got to see her see [Ethan as] a child, to see the young man,” she recalls.
“He’s not just another individual in the town that we’ve got to take care of. He’s a little human being who needs to be taken care of. And Donna can see that; not all adults can see that. And not just in our show. He’s old enough to know that something is awry. He’s not so young that he’s missing it. I thought that was a really insightful piece of writing.”
When Fatima shares her news with Donna about her pregnancy, Donna’s downright buoyant about it, which is a rare response for her. “I think we are in the midst of an actively trauma-causing time and then Donna is responsive to this spark of potential,” Saunders explains.
“There are some people who would go straight to, ‘Oh dear, how are we going to handle this?’ I was really interested by the fact that John made her responsive the way she was. I don’t know what I’ve learned about Donna in that yet. I haven’t processed it myself. But I thought it was a really interesting response that she wants to go with the joy, she’s allowing herself to go with the joy.”
New episodes of From start streaming at 3:01 am ET Sundays on MGM+ online and via the app and on Prime Video, where you can watch the first nine episodes this season so far. New episodes air linearly on MGM+ Sundays at 9 pm/8c — join the cast for the weekly live Tweet! All ten episodes of Season 1 are streaming online on MGM+ for free here.
In Canada, you can stream Season 1 and the latest episodes on Paramount+ via Prime Video subscription channels. If you missed any of our conversations for Season 1 and my new chats for Season 2, they’re all here. Here’s a sneak peek of the finale.
Photos and video courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
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