Why did you decide to have Lexi ultimately side with her human family, rather than use her powers for the Espheni’s cause?
It just seemed like the show’s always been about family first. I said when I was initially meeting with everybody about it, “It’s a family drama writ large.” Before you say it’s sci-fi, before you say adventure, before you say action show, you say family drama, and it all emerges from there. So I feel like for Tom and Anne to have this daughter, I didn’t mind putting them through hell and punishing the characters as ruthlessly as I could possibly think of, but I certainly felt that in the end we should continue to believe that family is the most important and most critical weapon and sort of ideal that fuels the show and Tom Mason. I just didn’t want to see their daughter turn out to be something profoundly evil. She can make mistakes — she even killed somebody. But in the end, she opts for a choice that serves our larger theme of family.
What happened to Mira, the reeducation camp girl? Was she still alive on the ship when Lexi flew it into the Espheni power core?
I gotta imagine so. You didn’t really see her except that she sort of scooted away. From my standpoint, because she was on that ship when the ship completely immolated, we’ve gotta assume that Mira is no more.
Let’s talk about another character death — why did you decide to kill off Lourdes and kill her in that way?
Lourdes seemed perfect because she’s likable, and also because between the eye worms from season 3 and her assassination of the president to her shifting to Lexi’s side, clearly the character had a bit of a screw loose or a bit of a weak constitution when it came to influence, so I guess on that level she seemed like a fun one to kill too.
[Seychelle Gabriel] and I had a number of discussions about it, and of course she was upset and not happy ’cause she really loved doing the show. The most important thing for me was to make sure she knew it wasn’t a cliche of “you’re killing off characters because you don’t like the actor.” She was really one of my favorites in the cast. It was really hard. I can think of a thousand things I would have loved to do with Lourdes, but on the other hand, if all you do is kill extras, no one cares after a while.
I know before Lourdes’ death, the show was getting some criticism that all the main characters in this ensemble cast seemed indestructible, that the Masons especially were escaping death too easily again and again.
I wasn’t aware that that was a criticism, but to me, it seemed natural and obvious that when you’re doing a war show, you gotta every year basically pick somebody and kill them. In sci-fi, in a war drama certainly, if you don’t kill somebody meaningful and important from time to time, it starts to ring a little hollow. Certainly everyone involved in making an ensemble show with any kind of violence, anybody who saw the “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones was inspired by that.
Fans are still waiting to learn why the Espheni really invaded. Is the answer to that question pretty much the same as it was when former showrunner Remi Aubuchon left the show, or have you expanded on it at all?
Remi and I know each other. Remi was involved in co-creating Caprica. So he and I have actually created a show together, and we spend a lot of time together. I had several conversations with him about the show and about that question. I would say we’ve taken the essence of the idea that was there from the beginning about what motivated the Espheni to invade, and we’ve now not just added to it, but reformulated the show to support a more specific take on the original idea, which is what any show would do as you got closer and closer to the end. You have an idea of how it ends, but you start lining up the specifics and making little tweaks and changes and asking, “What if this was really the secret reason behind the reason?” All kinds of subtext and layers can come into play, which is fun, and which I think the audience is sort of expecting. If if we just said, “They need our water,” the audience would say, “Bullsh–.”
What other teases can you give us about why fans should be excited for season 5?
The tease I will leave them with is that whatever reason they think is behind the Espheni’s invasion is absolutely wrong. And I’m really excited about the depths that we’re going to explore in the culture of the Espheni this coming final season.