An odd twist of fate has led to Mary Harris’ (Caroline Dhavernas) life coming full circle since the death of last season’s nemesis Grady (Greg Bryk). First, his sister Olivia Bloom (Rachelle Lefevre) orders Mary to kill her husband Travis (Ian Lake), then when poor Mary is forced into the act through a powerfully convincing threat she runs into Ben (Jay Ryan), last season’s love interest and the man who almost threw her in jail. We last left off last week with the two coming face to face for the first time.
Wednesday’s episode of the Global TV drama picks up with Ben and Mary taking Travis to a remote location: Ben’s secret makeshift cabin in the woods. The TV Junkies were invited to visit Mary Kills People while filming on location in Scarborough, Ont., where we got to see Mary and Ben’s Season 2 relationship firsthand.
“Once Mary enters Ben’s world, it’s turned upside down again,” Ryan tells The TV Junkies during a pause in filming. “She has a power over him that breaks all laws and gravity. She really is more in control of the relationship this season.”
If you hadn’t already guessed, it’s quickly established that Ben is once again undercover, this time to take down Travis Bloom. “This season his undercover work is more offhand and he’s playing outside the ring a little bit,” says Ryan. “He doesn’t expect to see Mary at all.”
Not only is Ben taken by surprise, Mary’s appearance soon compromises his entire investigation, and his fake friendship with Travis. “They come together under false pretenses, and as the layers get stripped away they spend less energy pretending, and we get to see the true colours of who they are,” says Lake, shortly after filming a scene opposite Dhavernas where Mary is forced to patch him up after a fight breaks out between Ben and Travis.
“He inadvertently becomes a new link between Ben and Mary,” he says. “I consider Travis to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing. He’s the kind of guy who thinks he’s a big deal, but he’s really at the whim of more powerful people in the his life. Especially when it comes to his wife, Olivia, she’s a strong and powerful woman, and he’s second fiddle to her.”
The Ben we meet in Season 2 is not so different from Season 1, but Ryan says his priorities have shifted. “He’s putting the events of Season 1 past him,” he says. “Frank has told him that Mary’s trouble and he’s going to get in a lot of trouble too if he goes down that path, but he does.”
Mary and Ben’s relationship has always been complicated, and in Season 2 it’s no different. “They’re two people that like to play outside the rules,” says Ryan. “They play outside the realm of their occupations, and live on the line a little bit. Ben’s a lonely guy, he’s got his tail between his legs a little bit. I guess Mary is dangerous and he likes that about her, and it makes him feel more alive.”
So what are his feelings for Mary at this point? Ryan explains that even for Ben, the line between genuine love and the part he played while undercover is still blurred for him. “Being undercover, you engulf yourself in the world of the person you’re trying to take down,” he says. “You’re both human, so emotionally you get attached, but at the end of the day you have to arrest them–but that doesn’t stop those feelings. I think he’s a little confused if his feelings for Mary are real, or if they’re just a placebo effect of him doing his job.”
Both Mary and Olivia are powerful women at the centre of this season’s story, as opposed to last season’s power struggle between Mary and Grady. For Travis, his story is all about trying to reclaim power. “He’s a very crafty guy, always trying to see if he can manipulate the situation or get himself out of trouble,” says Lake.
In real life, Lake and Lefevre’s relationship is a lot more friendly. “Rachelle is a treat to work with,” he says. “She’s a very intuitive actor. She allows the organic relationship between characters to inform how she attacks a certain situation. I find actors like that bring the best out of everyone.”
Lake is a relatively new face to television, but has an impressive career in theatre, most recently playing the role of Macbeth at the Stratford Festival. For him, acting on camera is a very different beast than the stage. “In theatre we have weeks to rehearse and figure things out before we perform it, whereas here we’re doing it all between takes and making adjustments on the fly,” he says. “When it’s on camera, you can give the creators a number of options for how it can be conveyed to an audience.”
As a fan of the show before he was cast, Lake gives a lot of credit to the show’s creative team for how it portrays its female characters. “There are some incredible women in the film and television industry and Mary Kills People is one of those shows that represents that side of the business so well, creatively, talent-wise, all aspects of the show,” says Lake. “They’re telling stories that have these capable, confident, powerful women at the centre of it. It’s fantastic.”
What are your thoughts on Mary and Ben’s reunion? Are you enjoying Mary Kills People Season 2 so far? Sound off in the comments below.
Mary Kills People airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Global.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.