After Season 1 took viewers through numerous twists and turns, Season 2 promises to deliver more of the same. FBI agent Emily Byrne (Katic) — who was presumed dead but was actually being held captive for years — has returned to her life, or what used to be her life, and nothing is quite the same.
In this follow-up season, Emily continues to discover who she is and is still trying to find a way to live and be happy. There is a lingering darkness in Absentia, and starting right off the bat in Season 2, Episode 1, we’re already left with a cliffhanger.
Global News sat down with Katic in Toronto to discuss all things Season 2, Emily’s evolution and her relationship with her son.
Global News: How did you feel when you heard about the show’s renewal for Season 2?
Stana Katic: Awesome. [Laughs]
Was it like: ‘This feels amazing, I put in so much work into this, I’m the lead’…
I feel like, “Yay, I’m playing the protagonist!” but I also feel like this show is an ensemble piece. It wasn’t just a personal victory but a victory for the entire crew, the cast and creative collaborators.
This season, even more so. This season delves into a lot of the other characters’ personal arcs. I’ve seen all 10 episodes, and it’s exciting for me. I’m really proud of their work. I think audiences are going to enjoy the arcs of the different characters, and they’re going to relate differently to each of them.
In Episode 1 of Season 2, the story is very compelling, and it’s noticeably well shot.
The show has elevated, and that’s what we have to do, right? Elevate the storytelling. We have to challenge ourselves to raise the bar every season.
Absentia definitely has that complexity.
It is ultimately a psychological thriller, and we have to play to that. That is a challenge for us. First season, what we did was look at Emily from an objective perspective, especially through the first half. The audience, as a result, didn’t necessarily know her. Emily was a mystery in so many ways. As we moved on through Season 1, we began to experience more moments of, for example, intimately walking alongside the protagonist.
Then, this information bomb drops at the end of the first season; you experience it very intimately with Emily. In the second season, we walk alongside her much closer than we ever have before. Because of that, we’re given the permission to do these [David] Fincher-esque in-your-brain crazy moments.
As executive producer, is that approach more your brainchild? Or is this, again, a collaborative effort?
It’s not exclusively my brainchild but it’s definitely a part of the discussion. When we’re looking at directors for the possible third season, we think about the potential trajectory of the show, discuss with the writers… it’s very important that these directors can use that visual language of the psychological thriller.
Emily’s relationship with her son, Flynn, is arguably the most compelling. How can these two possibly find themselves and each other?
We’re going to explore that, for sure. In so many ways, they’re strangers, and yet they’re so familiar to each other. In the lead-up to filming some of these episodes and scenes, Patrick McAuley [who plays Flynn] and I sat and chatted about our approach. He was really clear about it. He said, “I’m little Batman, and you’re Batman.” [Laughs]
I thought that was really cool because from his perspective, there’s something heroic about his mother… yet dark. He understands it, maybe not consciously, but on a very DNA level. I feel like these two characters… there’s a silent understanding because of the genetic connection that not everybody could experience.
Aside from what you’ve already mentioned, what else can you tell me about Season 2?
Everyone would think now that everything’s buried, everything’s done, everything’s resolved at the end of Season 1. We start off with a character who’s identity and sense of self is completely shattered, and she’s trying to put the pieces back together. Part of the reason is she doesn’t remember a lot of it. She’s headed down that journey of trying to recall a past that is a fog in so many ways.
In Season 2, she’s trying to put those pieces back together. She’s trying to find her new normal. Part of the drive is she wants to have a relationship with her son, who is very much the fulcrum for this character — he’s the reason she was able to survive all those years in the tank. She needs to know if she’s safe for him, if he’s safe around her. So much of this hinges on her uncovering what happened in that tank and that time away. We unfold a lot of that.
Our story also moves to Europe midseason, and it’s… a season that’s fun to watch because all of these characters have really interesting journeys to make, separately and together. There’s a lot of grey area — where morality is concerned — for everybody.
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]Follow @CJancelewicz
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