'V': Showrunner Scott Rosenbaum teases 'rodent desire,' multiple pregnancies and more
ABC’s sci-fi series ”V” returns at the end of the month with new episodes, a new time slot and a new showrunner in former “Chuck” and “The Shield” writer Scott Rosenbaum. He assumes creative oversight on the Warner Bros. Television-produced series.
“I do hope that it’s not only a visceral, fun action ride,” said Rosenbaum of his vision for the series, which returns March 30 at 10 p.m., “but also, hopefully, intellectually challenging.”
We caught up with Rosenbaum for a one-on-one interview to discuss his plans for the final eight episode of “V” this season, the relationship between Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Anna (Morena Baccarin), the possible hybrid baby on the way, what’s coming up and much more.
Warning: Spoilers abound!
How are these next eight episodes of “V” different from the four that aired in the fall?
Every single episode of the show now, starting with Episode 4, there will be three or four huge, oh-my-God, wow ... I-didn’t-see-that-coming [moments]. ... I’m one of those TV viewers where I want to get information. I want to learn more about the Vs. I want to learn about why the Vs are here. I don’t want to wait 25 episodes to find that stuff out. ...
You’ll learn more about the Vs anatomically in my first episode back than you did in the first four episodes and get an understanding of how they work, why they’re different. Everything is like that. The plan, why they’re here. We’re really going to dive into that kind of stuff. ... That first episode coming back, just in Acts 5 and 6, there’s four huge reveals, just in two acts of that show alone.
What were the challenges involved with jumping in part way through the season?
Probably one of the hardest things was really just diving in and [understanding] what the mythology is. How long have they been here for? What are they here to do? What are they going to do once they’ve established their plan, how are they going to execute it? Once I had all that information, I could start giving some of it back to the audience. That was really a difficult thing to do at the beginning, just because knowing the way I wanted to tell stories, I knew I was going to need a humongous mythology to be able to draw upon.
After watching the first four [episodes], I didn’t feel like there was any real sense of conflict between our humans — and when I say humans, I also mean Ryan. It felt like they were completely united in a fight against the Vs. One of the things I wanted to do was, by getting into their personal lives a little more and understanding their own personal agendas, [look at] how that can complicate working as a team.
What should we make of the fact that adversaries Erica and Anna are both mothers?
I never was quite sure from the first four episodes what [the show] was really about, outside of just “Visitors have come.” What I told [the studio] about how I see it is that, at its spine, it’s really about two mothers and how far that they’re willing to go to protect their children. To me, Anna is the mother of all Vs. ... One of the things that I wanted to make clear in my version of the show was that Anna is not evil at all: Anna is simply an animal. She’s a mother and she just wants to protect her children, her species, and she doesn’t have anything against humanity. She’s not evil. ... We’re just something that stands in the way of her children’s future. In [that] way, Erica’s the same. ... Even though it’s just Tyler, her son, I feel, metaphorically, she’s the mother of all children.
It’s not just about mothers, though. It’s about parents protecting their children. It’s Ryan trying to protect Val and his unborn baby. It’s Father Jack trying to protect his flock. For me, it’s very much about what we would do, as fathers, sons and daughters, to protect the people we love and how far that pushes us.
It’s almost a Darwinian survival of the fittest. There’s no way these two species can necessarily co-exist in the long run.
This isn’t “War of the Worlds.” The Visitors don’t come here and just start zapping us. What’s really sort of fun and fascinating, and one of the things that I’m really enjoying and loving getting into, is [Anna’s] plan. ... If her plan was just to come in, kill us all and take over the planet, she could have done that already. What’s really been fun for me is watching her as this sort of master chess player, moving her chess pieces around and slowly, but surely, choking the air out of humans.
This is how I imagine Anna operates: If you take a frog and you drop a frog in boiling water, it’ll jump right out. If you put a frog in cool water and then you turn on the heat, the frog will get acclimated to the temperature the whole way through, and by the time it’s cooked, it won’t even realize it. That’s what I imagine Anna’s plan is and the way she’s going to do it: We’re not going to know what she’s doing, but she’s turning up the heat. By the time we realize what she’s doing, it’s too late.
Will we see Anna and Erica face off before the end of the season?
Those two [are] like two prizefighters in the ring, and they’re circling each other, looking for each other’s weaknesses and then — boom — the fight happens. The way I’ve designed the next eight episodes is keeping them in each other’s orbits and slowly moving them closer to a point where finally — like Hulk versus the Thing — two immovable forces [collide], and then they have to have at it.
At the same time, they’re really smart women… Although they’re becoming aware of each other and… each other’s plans, they’re also both very smart not to show their cards, so that neither one of them can completely know the truth. It is this sort of like dance between the two, where they both think they know something, but neither of them can prove it. It allows them to co-exist without having to have a huge confrontation in every episode.
What’s coming up in these next eight episodes?
The [resistance] will be getting a new team member. Anna isn’t playing by the rules, [and] Erica is going to cross a pretty big moral line in order to recruit the member onto the team, who will prove to be an important, valuable member.
One of the things that’s going to be really fun is Val’s pregnancy. ... Without saying what exactly is inside her, there’s an accelerated gestation period. ... We’re going to see signs and hints of what this baby really is, and then, ultimately, the baby will be born. I think the pregnancy story is a really fun story and weird and twisted but also very grounded and emotional. ... And there will be multiple pregnancies. ... Val will not be the only one who’s pregnant.
You’re going to see Anna’s true colors, her true faith so to speak, sort of as a nod to the original series. You’ll see rodent desire. We definitely do a nod to that, and then I think we top it. We trump it by one, all in the same episode.
You’ll find out a lot of interesting things about the Vs. We’re going to introduce what a V soldier is. … All the Vs that you’ve seen are essentially worker Vs. So, we’re going to introduce what a V soldier is and the threat of them. We will meet John May [Michael Trucco]. I’m hoping that you will be shocked and surprised about the relationship between John May and Ryan and the Fifth Column. We came up with a pretty interesting spin on that.
-- Jace Lacob (Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)
Photo: Elizabeth Mitchell's Agent Erica Evans faces down a Visitor threat on ABC's "V." Credit: Jack Rowand / ABC
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