Moving on from a failed relationship is never easy, especially when you didn’t want the relationship to end in the first place. That certainly proved to be the case for Matthew (Rick Roberts) on this week’s episode of This Life, “Scanxiety.” Now that Nicole (Marianne Farley) made her decision once and for all to separate, Matthew was forced to find a new place to live and move forward with his new life. Even with all the turmoil going on in his personal life, Matthew did prove he can still be there for Natalie (Torri Higginson) and her kids as she finally received the results about her clinical trial.
The second season of the CBC drama has been a very tough one for the older Lawson brother, as the walls of his seemingly perfect life have come crashing down all around him. To gain more insight on what’s next for Matthew and how this emotional season has affected Matthew, The TV Junkies recently spoke with Roberts. He let us in on what it’s like filming those emotional scenes and whether there’s any hope for Matthew in both his marriage and relationship with sister Maggie (Lauren Lee Smith).
The TV Junkies: Matthew is having a pretty hard go of it this season and as a viewer it’s sometimes hard to feel sorry for him, knowing he brought this on himself. How do you approach that and do you have to justify his actions at all in order to play him?
Rick Roberts: Matthew does make a lot of bad decisions but I also recognize those bad decisions. I always say ‘I hope I wouldn’t do that,’ but also have to acknowledge that maybe I would. It’s a series of bad decisions over the course of seven years since he cheated on his wife and in Season 1 that hit a critical mass. So I understand it in terms of somebody scrambling to keep their life the way it is and not hurt people. Then you just compound that with bad decisions to not have to face that moment of reckoning when you’re exposed as a flawed human being.
I really understand wanting to keep the facade especially when you’ve invested so much in being capable, a great father and brother, the successful one of the family. It would be very, very hard to let that go, so I do understand scrambling and making terrible decisions. I do understand that idea of wanting to appear a certain way or having people count on you and to let them down would be brutal.
TTVJ: He does seem to have accepted Nicole’s decision to end the marriage and even moved into a new apartment, but do you think there’s any hope for him at this point to save his marriage?
RR: It doesn’t look good. At the beginning of the season when Marianne and I were asking where they were headed that was how the writing went, ‘we’d like them to but we don’t know.’ That really is how the writing is approached and you really feel that in the scenes. There’s an ongoing decision that comes to a particular and awesome final scene at the end of the season.
TTVJ: You and Marianne have had some pretty emotional scenes together. I know you two are close off screen so what’s it like filming those?
RR: It’s a real treat because we have a great amount of trust with each other. I really admire her as a person and an actor, and for me, it’s always a nice feeling when you see your scene partner really in the zone and firing on all cylinders. You just really want to be there with them and it’s challenging, but a great challenge to have. When you’re both playful in that way–even the hardest scenes require a sense of play–to have a partner you trust like that is pretty rare. To have the writing that demands that of you has also been an awesome treat.
TTVJ: It was really nice to see Matthew finally tell Julian the truth earlier this season and he even told Natalie he has plans to bring him to his new apartment. Can we expect to see Matthew really have to manage having both children in his life this year?
RR: Yes. His commitment to that part of his life and his other family is important and becomes part of his relationship [with Nicole] and a huge difficulty in it. With separating this actually becomes more possible because as hard as it is, there’s actually more space for them to have.
TTVJ: This week’s episode finally voiced a big concern I’ve been having, which is whether or not Matthew is still the best person to take the girls should something happen to Natalie. Do you think he’s still in a good place to do that?
RR: If he had to he’d be there for sure and he’d make it work, whether anyone else wants it or not. Ultimately at his core he’s a stand up guy and he’d definitely go to the mat. Part of his problem is that he goes to the wrong mat or he’s still on the mat when no one wants him on it. It’s such a huge driving force in his life–being there for Natalie–and seeing her family situation is a reason he wanted to reconnect with his son and hold his family with Nicole and Abby together. I think he’d go anywhere he’d need to be to make that work for them, and then fail at it in some weird way. [laughs]
TTVJ: Matthew and Maggie are still in a pretty bad place. They’ve discussed their problems a bit but it seems like they only did that because they were forced together at different family events. How’s their relationship look going forward and can they move past this?
RR: It does move forward and that relationship definitely evolves. It has to do with the constant theme of the show which is pushing against family, reaching out to family and if someone is in crisis the way the other people come to help. When you have someone in different points of need you just want to help that person.
TTVJ: Someone who seems like they are going to need a lot of help is Oliver (Kristopher Turner).
RR: Yes, Oliver’s journey in the next part of the season is pretty huge.
With Maggie and Matthew they started out the series on opposite ends of the spectrum. He’s a family man, career man, successful and straight down the middle of the road in our culture where he’s checked all the boxes. Maggie has checked none of the boxes. As their lives move forward you start to realize Maggie has a few more boxes checked and maybe Matthew should erase some of the boxes he has checked. So there are more places of commonality between the two than they could’ve seen back in Season 1.
What do you think of Matthew’s journey so far this season? Will he be able to work things out with Nicole? Share your thoughts 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.