X Company Postmortem: Keep Your Enemies Close

CBC
CBC

*** Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of X Company, “August 19th.” ***

Just as it has done all season long, X Company turned in an emotionally charged and action-packed episode Wednesday night, capping off what’s been an exceptional second season. Despite the huge loss that was the battle at Dieppe, our Allied group of spies came away with some small victories (Faber turning!), but still suffered some major losses (Tom!). Thankfully, viewers will get to see the resolution and fallout behind some of these major story pieces as CBC recently renewed the drama for a third season to air in 2017.

“We have to start writing it next week,” series co-creator Mark Ellis tells The TV Junkies. We recently spoke exclusively to Ellis and co-creator Stephanie Morgenstern to discuss everything that went down in that finale. They reflect on the loss of Tom (Dustin Milligan), and how the team can possibly move on from the death and destruction they’ve had to witness. They also give some hints as to whether or not Faber (Torben Liebrecht) can be trusted as a double agent as they look ahead to Season 3.

Franz Faber: “I’m here for them. I’m here for my son. Tell me what it is you want me to do.”

The TV Junkies: Let’s start at the end and Faber telling the team he’s ready to work with them. When did you realize that was the turn you were going to take and can we trust him?

Mark Ellis: We decided that very early on in the story room. One of the first things that we knew about this season was that that scene would take place. We were looking for a scene that was going to mirror the end of Season 1, when Alfred and Faber face off and Faber leaves us with his line ‘You’re going to tell me everything you know.’ We wanted to construct that parallel, but just because he said that, don’t expect anything to be easy in Season 3.

Stephanie Morgenstern: This could either be the biggest can of worms and the most tempting trap in the world, or it could be genuine. We are going to spend a lot of Season 3 exploring the boundaries of trust, and that’s going to go in both directions.

TTVJ: How did you make the decision then to make Sabine (Livia Matthes) such an integral player this season?

ME: I think that a lot of it was that we were looking through the lens of Aurora. As effective as Sabine is in telling the story of who Faber is, she also helps us paint the picture of what’s going on for Aurora throughout Season 2. She’s isolated herself emotionally from her teammates, she’s been dealing with the death of Rene, she’s learning how to lead in a male-dominated world, and we thought it would be a really nice contrast for her character to enjoy an inadvertent friendship while that was going on.

CBC
CBC

SM: We really wanted to look at what does it mean to be undercover and what parts of yourself that are truthful can you play, even when in the big picture you’re lying to someone and representing yourself as someone that you’re not. At first we thought it would be interesting if she’s able to navigate around her and manipulate her, but then we realized we’ve got such a different space here–a feminine space, a friendly space–where she’s being a civilian among other civilians, and we realized this is an amazing opportunity to look under the surface of what it’s like to maintain the mask of leadership.

In a way this became a place where she could be more truthful than even among the people that she works with and trusts. As soon as we touched on that, then these two women found each other as confidants in the middle of a world that’s not always friendly, and we can see how desperately each of them needed that space to be themselves. Of course, there’s a ticking clock on it because it’s only a matter of time before the mask comes off and she has to tell her who she really is, and that didn’t go quite the way she planned. [laughs]

TTVJ: With Sabine knowing what she does now, is there any way those two women can still have a friendship one day?

SM: Those are one of the things we’re really looking forward to exploring because there’s a shock of having been lied to, but at the same time the foundation of their friendship was genuine. They were both suffering a loss, and everything they shared when they confessed to each other in the church, all of that was real, it’s just the names were changed. Sabine has huge doubts about the big picture, as she’s beginning to learn about what the Germans are up to. That doesn’t change either, it’s just the pain of that bandaid being ripped off so abruptly that this one person she trusted was actually lying to her.

CBC
CBC

TTVJ: We’ve always known this is war and no one on the team is safe. However, I still found myself shocked over Tom’s death. How hard was that decision to make and how did Dustin take it when you told him?

ME: It was not an easy decision. It’s incredibly painful to part ways with a character you’ve grown to love and to an actor that you love just as deeply, and who can do everything you give him. I think that we both understood, and Dustin understood, that we needed to put our money where our mouth is. You can’t say the life expectancy of an agent in the field is six weeks and not go there. Dustin was incredibly collaborative in constructing how his character might exit, and we knew from the beginning of Season 2 that this was going to happen.

TTVJ: Neil (Warren Brown) and Harry (Connor Price) are both obviously having a difficult time with Tom’s death. How do they move on from this and what they’ve witnessed in order to keep fighting?

SM: [laughs] That’s what we’re going to figure out!

ME: I guess the question is can they? We’ll have to see.

SM: We want to do justice to the reality that you can’t just close the book on the life of a character, and close friend and comrade, and move on as if nothing has happened. That’s one of the joys of being able to serialize as fully as CBC has allowed us to in the last little while. I think the burden of the choices they’ve made and everything they’ve witnessed, it would just feel wrong to not keep that alive, for them to walk away from that without caring.

TTVJ: It’s also obviously something that will affect Krystina (Lara Jean Chorostecki) moving forward, but will we see any of the fallout of her shooting Klaus come back on her?

ME: Our plan is to see lots more of Krystina in Season 3. We think she’ll be affected by what happened with Klaus, her connection with Sinclair will deepen, and we want to explore her desire to spend some time out in the field as well.

TTVJ: So is she going to be the new team member? They do have an opening …

SM: It’s not really going to have that tidy of a symmetry. We definitely want to throw her in some new situations and take her beyond the walls of the camp.

CBC
CBC

TTVJ: Miri (Sara Garcia) was another great addition, and we last left her in some pretty dire circumstances. Is there anything you can tell us about her fate and if we may see her again?

SM: We haven’t seen the last of her.

ME: We’re big fans of writing ourselves into a corner…

SM: [laughs] Onto the edge of a cliff and figuring out how to climb off.

TTVJ: Well I’m all for these women you have out there that kick ass.

ME: So are we!

TTVJ: Though I don’t think anything will ever top Aurora standing on top of the tank.

ME: That was amazing and that moment wasn’t scripted. Our director Jamie Stone pushed for that on a very, very tough shooting day to get that added dimension, and it’s one of my favorite moments in the entire series.

TTVJ: How does not only the team, but the Allied forces move on from a horrible loss like Dieppe? Do you have any idea of a similar type event planned for Season 3?

SM: There’s a lot that remains to be talked about with the writing room, but we don’t want it to be mirroring the pattern of Season 2. So we will not be gearing up towards an intersection with a major military event. I feel like we’ve done that. We’re facing the debris of a shocking loss, and we’re going to look really hard at what it takes to gather your faith and gather your strength after an incident like that. I think it’s fair to say we’re going to be operating on multiple areas of operation, but we’re not going to be gearing up towards another military drama in the same way. We’ll be getting closer to the espionage roots.

ME: We’re very interested in exploring the mythology of the double agents this year. We’re interested in breaking the team outside of Paris, and probably outside of France, for at least part of the season as well.

 

 

What did you think of the X Company finale? What are your predictions or hopes for Season 3? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

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