After weeks of barely holding things together, the walls officially came crashing down on Matthew (Rick Roberts) during this week’s episode of This Life. After a tense brunch at their daughter’s first communion, Matthew made a last ditch effort to win Nicole (Marianne Farley) back by taking her to meet his son, Julian. Ultimately, his attempt failed, and Nicole decided once and for all to move forward with their separation.
What was it about meeting Julian that finally made Nicole’s decision for her? How will both Matthew and Nicole move forward now that a decision has been made once and for all? To get the answers to these questions The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with Farley. The Montreal born actress also discusses the many shades of Nicole that we’re getting to see during Season 2 and why she’s excited for viewers to gain more insight into the character.
The TV Junkies: So first things first, just to make sure, I’m hoping this isn’t the last that we’re going to see of Nicole this season.
Marianne Farley: No. Absolutely not. After this episode she ventures out on her own for awhile and is just trying to find herself. That’s what’s really exciting for Nicole in Season 2, she’s becoming her own woman and detaching herself from Matthew and the family. She’s branching out, but they will still always have their daughter and there’s still love there. That was really important to Rick and I–that Matthew and Nicole still love each other–which they do, even though at this point they are no longer a couple.
TTVJ: Nicole seemed pretty definitive on her decision to move forward with the separation. Is there any hope for Matthew at this point?
MF: I’d say after Episode 4 there’s no plans to get back together. They are just trying to figure their stuff out separately. She’s looking for a way to figure things out on her own without being with Matthew and being the wife and mother.
TTVJ: Why was meeting Julian the last straw for Nicole?
MF: I think when she sees Julian she realizes that he’ll always remind her of the huge betrayal, even though she realizes it’s not Julian’s fault and that he’s a child. That’s why we played that scene so that she’s very loving toward him, and there’s no resentment when she looks at Julian, because she knows it has nothing to do with him. She also knows that he’s a part of their lives and she’s never going to be able to forgive Matthew for that huge betrayal that lasted seven years. For Nicole, it’s more about the seven years of lying and having a double life.
TTVJ: Nicole probably can’t take any more of those awkward scenes. You had so many awkward scenes this week from the party at Nicole’s sister’s to meeting Bea (Victoria Sanchez).
MF: I know! It’s horrible because she will always be the woman who got cheated on and the son will never be her son. She wanted to be a mother and have a child with Matthew but they couldn’t. Now he gets to experience that and that will always be their truth. When she sees Julian he will always be the child that she wasn’t able to conceive.
TTVJ: From what I hear the crew on This Life all really loves each other, so what is it like for you and Rick filming those scenes where you’re so mad at each other?
MF: It’s actually easier when you’re really close. The scenes at the end of Season 1 when he tells me he has a son and I’m screaming at him, that was very emotional and we would hold each other between takes because it was so hard emotionally. I feel that if you’re close to someone, friends with them and really trust them then you can really open up emotionally. If you don’t trust that person it’s harder because you have to fake it. So in a way, it’s a lot easier to go deeper.
TTVJ: We’ve gotten to learn a lot more about Nicole and really see things from her side much more this year. How excited were you to explore these new areas for Nicole?
MF: It was incredibly exciting because I think she was perceived in Season 1 as a control freak and a bit cold. For me, Nicole was always just someone who wanted to be loved, but she didn’t know how to get that in her life. She was very awkward socially with the family, felt like she was an outcast and she’d overcompensate. Now I have the opportunity to open her up and let her vulnerability come out. I always thought she was a very loving woman, but we never saw that in Season 1. In life that’s how it happens too, life changes you and forces you to become truer to who you are. I think that’s what Nicole goes through in Season 2.
TTVJ: What’s the fan reaction been like for you? Do they seem to agree with Nicole or are they angry at her for how she’s been treating Matthew?
MF: I think people are starting to get Nicole, but it’s been rough. She’s a strong character though so she may come across as rough. Rick Roberts just has that quality where everyone loves him. Matthew can do the worst thing on the planet and people are still going to root for him because he’s so lovable.
TTVJ: Anything else we should keep an eye out for this season?
MF: All I can say is that Nicole is going to try to exist without Matthew. She’s really trying to find herself and even Matthew goes on that path of trying to find himself. To begin with, I don’t think they had a strong foundation and it was very unstable in a way. She was really trying to hold the house together and she’s still trying to build it back up in a way until the end of Episode 204. Once everything collapses, there’s all this space to create the life they want to create and for them to be who they feel they need to be at this point, which is very exciting.
What did you think of Nicole’s decision? Did she make the right choice? Sound off in the comments below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.