The women at the center of Motherland: Fort Salem found themselves in a unique position as the first season of their show rolled out last year. “We were in New York doing our first day of press, when the pandemic hit and the whole world shut down,” Jessica Sutton, who plays Tally, recalled for The TV Junkies. So instead of making the rounds and promoting the show, which follows witches Raelle (Taylor Hickson), Tally, and Abigail (Ashely Nicole Williams) as they learn to harness their magical powers while fighting as part of the United States Army, the Motherland cast rallied and began actively participating in live tweets with fans online to build their audience.
It worked, not only getting fans excited and engaged, but helped the cast as well. “It was like a lifeline,” said Sutton, of getting to hear and interact directly with fans each week as the Season 1 episodes aired. “The response that we were getting from fans was just so overwhelmingly amazing. When we finally got greenlit [for Season 2], it was just a continuation of that celebration.” Season 2 of Motherland will return to Freeform and ABC Spark on Tuesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. and despite the pandemic, Sutton said that she really enjoyed being back with her costars and shooting again. Also, thanks to the pandemic, Sutton said “there was no lack of intensity and feeling to draw from. It coincidentally happened that our season was darker and very much aligned with our reality.” She also said that “nothing prepared us for the subtleties and the nuance” they saw in the Season 2 scripts.
Motherland’s second season will pick up with the trio of young witches continuing to fight for the U.S. Army as they face a new threat from an ancient group of witch hunters called The Camarilla. Now promoted to attend War College, the girls’ magic, relationships, and beliefs will be pushed to the limits. This should come to no surprise to viewers who last saw Tally making the ultimate sacrifice to become a Biddy and save General Alder’s (Lyne Renée) life. Sutton says that Tally didn’t make the sacrifice for Alder, but to save her unit. “It was down to the necessity of the moment and that allowed her to see past whatever doubts and judgements she had placed upon Alder.” Sutton said that moment signified one of her favorite things about Tally because “when it comes down to love, survival, hope, these things are very simple to her. She can immediately access the core of that, somehow putting aside herself, and I think that’s empathy when you’re just connecting to another.”
For her part, Renée previewed for The TV Junkies that “the relationship between Tally and Alder changes significantly because she offered herself up to become a Biddy and saved Alder in the process.” Renée pointed out that “the connection that a Biddy has with Alder is something that goes way deeper than any human relationship one can have.” She said “it’s like becoming the right arm of Alder, but then also sensing it.” Tally and Alder’s new unique connection is also one that allows the series to reveal more of who Alder really is. “This season she has a lot more colors and you get to see her with Tally in a different way. You definitely get to see her put her guard down and what that’s like,” said Renée. Alder’s past will also be explored thanks to this connection with Tally. “It gives us an incredible opportunity to go and look back, through Tally, into Alder’s previous life and how she came to be. It’s a huge change.”
Summoning all the strength and backing she can will be of utmost importance to Alder in Season 2. “Alder will need all that strength now that the ancient enemy she thought was gone has come back. The Camarilla’s return means Alder is back at Square One,” Renée said. “She thought this was a chapter that was finished and parked and now she has to go back and delve into it.” The Camarilla’s return definitely means that “the stakes are really high as we start Season 2,” said Renée.
Unfortunately for Alder, she may face some opposition to her plans for taking down the Camarilla thanks to some new characters, including the Vice President, played by Victor Webster. Could Alder once again be butting heads with the leaders of the U.S. government? “I don’t think Alder has a problem with these people, it’s more that they have a problem with her. She doesn’t really understand why all of the sudden people don’t want to go along with what she’s been doing for all these years. She feels like that’s all being questioned and that’s a big point for her as well,” explained Renée.
So just what are Alder’s motives then? Renée said that, “In Season 1, people really questioned whether she was bad or not, and I hope they continue to do that. I want to constantly play with whether or not Alder has good or bad intentions.” Finally, she added that in Season 2 “we’re going to get to know Alder a lot more, in a more sensible way, where we see what drives her, what makes her tick, and what it is that broke her heart. We really start to see what shaped her to be the way that she is today.”
Motherland: Fort Salem Season 2 premieres Tuesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. on Freeform and ABC Spark.
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.