[Warning: The below contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 8 of Resident Alien, “Alien Dinner Party.” If you don’t want to be spoiled, go over to the punch bowl and Liv will hook it up. Also, tell do your friends a favor and get them into this damn show.]
There was a lot more than cake being served as the good folks of Patience gathered to celebrate the birth of Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk). Major secrets surfaced, harsh words were exchanged, a pregnancy was revealed, bathroom sex was had, and a newly hatched alien-human hybrid baby was running amok. Oh, and Harry was given an ominous vision by said newborn “humalien,” Officer Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) got more proof that she was surrounded by otherworldly activity, and the guy who ordered Human Harry to kill Sam Hodges met the business end of Asta’s (Sara Tomko) shotgun after he tried to kill Alien Harry.
And we’re only halfway through the season, people! Here, showrunner Chris Sheridan explains how we got to such an emotion-packed episode and what threats are just starting to simmer.
First off, how long of a break are we looking at before you guys come back?
Chris Sheridan: Um, we don’t know for sure when the second half of the season is going to air, there’s a lot of factors. My guess is probably summertime.
OK, good. Because you leave us with a lot. That final scene puts Harry, Asta, and D’Arcy (Alice Wetterland) in a really bad place.
Yeah. It’s one thing if it was just Harry and Asta, you know? Like yeah, something really bad just happened, she just killed this guy and you know that’s gonna reverberate, you know there’s gonna be an issue with that. It’s just such a huge moment. But then having D’Arcy come in and witness it? And now, what does she know? How are they gonna cover this up? What are they gonna tell her? Will they cover it up?
There’s a lot packed into this finale in a lot of ways. A lot of things wrapped up emotionally from the start of the season, but it definitely does spin us off into a different direction for the second half of the season. So I’m glad it worked out.
I will say, if there was anyone I would want in on this, it’s D’Arcy. She’s the friend that will help you hide a body.
What is it? A friend helps you move. But a good friend helps you move the body. Exactly. [Laughs]
And you gave us so many lovely scenes between them this season, we saw the depth of their friendship. So she’s probably the only one who can talk Asta down from the trauma of this.
You’re right. These two characters know each other well enough, you can only imagine how Asta is gonna spin out after killing someone. But her support system in this now is only two people: Harry and D’Arcy. Harry’s only gonna be able to do so much, but Darcy is the rock. Moving forward, she’s gonna try to help her out. She’s gonna try to fix it.
And it’s also interesting that she’s also the one who was there for Kate (Meredith Garretson).
Well, she did something very interesting in that fight, which was, “So what do you do? You go around trying to fix other people’s lives, inserting your drama into other people’s lives, because you can’t deal with your own.” And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It’s something that D’Arcy has to look inside about. She kissed Ben (Levi Fiehler) at the end of Season 1 — she shouldn’t have done that and if you look at it, she’s sort of complicit in inserting herself into this relationship. She’s friends with Ben and then becomes friends with Kate and she’s spending a lot of time dealing with their issues and not a lot of time dealing with her own issues, right? And Kate kind of called her out on that. And I think the fact that there is truth to what she said is what’s gonna make Darcy sort of look inside and realize that maybe she’s gonna make some changes.
And what about the Hawthornes? It feels like they’re headed in a direction that people might not expect. Especially after the dinner-party fight.
Yeah. Kate and Ben have had some issues with their honesty and their connection. But the biggest issue is they have an intimacy issue where, Ben, at least, has lived his whole life in fear and is afraid to be honest with Kate. He should have come home after that kiss in episode 110. D’Arcy kissed him and he did the right thing. He said, “No, I’m married. I can’t do that.” He should have come right home — well, maybe not right when he got home because he and Kate were beating the out of McCallister’s agents—but the next day, once he cleaned the blood off the walls, he should have said, “Oh, by the way, D’Arcy kissed me last night, she’s in a bad place, nothing happened but I want you to know, I love you, blah, blah, blah.” He should have said that. It would’ve been very easy to say that, but he didn’t say that because sometimes it’s just easier not to say anything. The problem is, he’s done that a lot and she’s done that a lot. She’s never really been that honest with him about how she doesn’t really like Patience. The truth is they don’t talk enough and so these things snowball. Resentments build up and it’s gotta come out eventually. So as bad as that fight was, at least they’re talking now.
So moving into the second half of the season, I think we’ll see a little more strength from them. This resort thing Ben is involved in is going to move forward and that’s gonna split the town a little bit. Ben’s gonna have to deal with that, but in the process of dealing with it, he’s gonna find a little bit more strength. And Kate is gonna have to deal with what it’s like to be with someone like Ben, who she wanted to be stronger. She wanted him to stand up to her and not to be afraid of her. So when he does and she doesn’t get her way anymore, is she gonna be like, “Oh, you’re stronger now and that’s great…but I don’t like this”?
The season has been such a blast and now, you mention a second alien race that is coming. Have we maybe already met them?
Ummm… I think I’m gonna say no. [Laughs] I don’t think we have? No, no, we don’t know them yet. We will. We will know what this race is, but we don’t know yet.
So it’s not like we’ve met somebody from this race that’s in hiding as a human?
No, no, no, no. Okay. At the beginning of this episode, we do see there’s clearly an alien…so when Goliath (David Bianchi) says there’s another alien race, that guy in the beginning is part of the other alien race. The one who was shooting at McAllister (Linda Hamilton). That is a character named Joseph and he’s played by Enver Gjokaj, who is just an incredible actor. He will be in the second half of the season and he’s gonna be another problem for Harry.
And how fast do alien babies from Harry’s race grow?
[Laughs] Oh, that remains to be seen. It’ll be a baby for a while.
Good, Because, I would imagine you wouldn’t age-up something after going through the trouble of designing it and having it built.
That’s totally true. I mean, it is a practical thing. It’s not cheap to build either a CGI asset of the baby or, which we also are doing, a practical asset of the baby. It’s not cheap, so let’s get the most out of it.
And also, by the way, our little alien baby is really cute so we should have that thing around awhile. Especially since one of the themes of this whole season is about parenthood, whether it’s Dan and Asta, Asta and Jay, or even Asta and Harry, she’s parenting Harry as a surrogate for her not having her child anymore, right? There’s a lot of these folks parenting each other—even Sheriff, Mike in a way—and people caring for each other. So in this theme of parenthood…going into the second half of the season, what happens when Harry has to take care of a baby?!
He tried to take care of the octopus…
And that didn’t go so well. [Laughs]
Is the octopus truly gone? No more Nathan Fillion?
The octopus is truly gone. But Nathan’s such a great actor, the advantage is that we only used Nathan’s voice. In my mind, I don’t know if he would do it, but it would be a dream to have him appear on the show someday.
With this looming new alien threat heading for the people of Patience, what would you say comes next?
Well, there are major threats looming. Harry will find out more in the second half of the season about what’s going on and he’s gotta figure out how to do something about it. There’s a lot of stuff coming up and you know, you have to ratchet up pressure and put situations in front of Harry that seem unfixable and then see if he can find a way to figure it out. The show lives on these two planes. One is the big kind of high drama about an alien race trying to take over the Earth and then the other is sort of the grounded character-comedy of the rest of the town. Making those two ideas work together is difficult, but it does create a tone for the show that feels different and allows you to live in this world where things are larger than life, but you still feel grounded to the Earth. And that makes it a little bit more terrifying because it feels like a real world where other big things are going on. Then you realize that maybe in our real world, other big things are going on and we don’t know anything about it, just like how the rest of these people in Patience are clueless to the things looming over them.
It’s interesting you say that because all of your smaller character stories seemed to collide in the finale’s dinner party in the finale. The resort. The kiss. Liv’s past. No matter who the camera was on, they all had some storyline that was actually very important.
Yes, and that was built from the beginning. I knew I wanted to end these eight episodes with a story in the cabin with everyone together. We finished Season One with a big sort of spectacle and a lot of stuff, between the Hawthornes’ fight with the Men in Black and Harry rushing to the warehouse to leave and blow up the Earth. So I wanted to have this first half of the season go out on something a little bit more character-based right. Not that there isn’t a little bit of spectacle at the end and the very beginning. We book-ended with high drama stuff, but in the middle, it’s really just character stories.
After all this, though, the party scenes had to be so much fun to film.
Out of the first eight episodes, that was by far the hardest one to conceive and to write, because it’s a delicate balance, there are a lot of things going on at once. But it also was fantastic to shoot because it was the first time that all of our main cast was together in one place at one time. Going into it, I had to tell them all, “Guess what? This entire week, we’re shooting in the cabin and you’re gonna have days where you’re sitting on the couch in the background and could have no lines…but you have to because you’re in the back of the shot.” And they absolutely loved it. They were all so excited to work together, they were like, “I don’t care, we’ll all be there in the episode.” After that fight, which took a half-day to shoot, or maybe the whole day actually, at the end of the fight when Harry suddenly pops the popper and says “Congratulations!” after Kate said she’s pregnant? That was his only line all day. Like, literally, Alan was on set that entire day and all he did all day was pop that thing and say “Congratulations.” And I took him aside afterward and said, “Do you hate days like this, where you’re doing nothing.” And he was like, “Are you kidding me? This is the great day in the world. I love this!”
They’re all great friends and they enjoy supporting each other and hanging out with each other. They were absolutely excited for that episode and they really did an amazing job.
Resident Alien, Season 2B, Coming Soon, Syfy