This Life showrunner Joseph Kay discusses the Season 2 premiere


*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the This Life Season 2 premiere episode “Stay Positive” ***

It was a battle for control during the second season premiere of the CBC drama This Life. After worrying that she was given the placebo drug as part of her clinical trial, Natalie Lawson (Torri Higginson) had to deal with having no control over her health, but thankfully by the end of the episode had started to feel some side effects that signaled she was given the real drug after all. She also waged a battle for control over her children’s future after their father David (Motive’s Louis Ferreira) returned and started fighting for custody.

Natalie wasn’t the only Lawson family member struggling in the premiere as Matthew (Rick Roberts) started to realize how damaged his marriage was and finally accepted his son fully into his life. Meanwhile, Maggie (Lauren Lee Smith) accepted an offer for a new living arrangement from one of her customers.

In order to break down everything that happened in the premiere, The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with This Life showrunner Joseph Kay. Kay wrote the premiere episode and previews what viewers can expect to see this season as Natalie begins her custody battle and other Lawson family members attempt to move forward in their lives.


The TV Junkies: The custody battle has already caused some pretty major bombshells to be dropped, such as Natalie saying David wanted her to get an abortion. Should we buckle in and expect an emotionally charged custody battle throughout the season?
Joseph Kay: It is emotionally charged, I think that’s absolutely right. There’s a built in important drama there in terms of us getting to know Natalie and the choices she’s made. We don’t do it in a straightforward way but we don’t drop it. It’s a big part of the season what happens there.

TTVJ: I adore Romy. What can we expect to see for her this season?
JK: There’s an exciting incident that happens for Romy (Julia Scarlett Dan) this season that takes her on a little journey. Romy is such an interesting person to think about and write and try to get in her head. Whereas Emma (Stephanie Janusauskas) would probably not think about custody and all that stuff if she didn’t have to, Romy can’t help but think about those very important questions. She’s not afraid to tell you what she wants, but she’s also got this very vulnerable mix of cynicism and not trusting anybody. Then you’ve got her optimism and connection with Oliver (Kristopher Turner), she’s the one that really brought her dad back and she wants to believe in him.

She puts herself out there and as a result things happen that cause her to go on a very Romy-like journey. We really wanted her and Emma specifically to go out in the world so to speak in the second season. They start in different places and the origin of their season arcs are coming from different places, but I think they go on really interesting journeys.


TTVJ: Now that Matthew has told his son the truth and vowed to be a major part of his life, can we expect to see him introduce him to the rest of the Lawson family?
JK: Yes. A huge part of Matthew’s story going forward is this is his life. In the first season he thought he could keep all of the lies at bay, but in the second season he thinks he can make it all work somehow. He thinks he can get Nicole (Marianne Farley) to forgive him and balance all this. He’s trying to do it in a more open way than before acknowledging his mistakes, but it’s really hard. Life doesn’t go the way you think it’s going to go for any of us and nor does it for Matthew.

TTVJ: Maggie finally seems ready to get her life in order somewhat and she has a new roommate, Raza (Hamza Haq). What is their relationship going to look like moving forward in Season 2?
JK: We see more of him and for Maggie we thought it was important because here’s a character that has her own really specific view of the world. She’s a 35ish year old woman who hasn’t grown up in her own singular way. We wanted to put her in situations that would–not in any way suggest that her choices are wrong because we don’t think they are wrong–get underneath Maggie in a way. She seems that she’s immune to emotion and we wanted to challenge her by putting her in situations that would destabilize her.

She’s a person who never made any kind of commitments. By moving her in the direction of one that we think is somewhat unexpected, we wanted to challenge Maggie and continue to ask her to take a look at her own life and wonder if the choices that she’s made or the things she’s told herself about her life are true. With Maggie she’s a mystery that puts a really brave face on externally, but internally she’s a very complex person.

Lauren Lee Smith is amazingly instinctive actor that’s extremely funny and capable of being both sad and happy at the same time. She can bring a lot of levels to a person that I think are believable but not consistent. It’s hard to pin Maggie down and we never really will. She’s instinctive and makes a decision and goes with it. She rarely allows herself the time and space to think about her mistakes and we want her to think about her mistakes. Really we want to mess with Maggie!


What did you think of the Season 2 premiere? Do you have any predictions about what’s to come? Add your thoughts in the comments below!

This Life airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBC.