[Warning: Spoilers for the Coroner Season 2 finale.]
Tonight’s Coroner season finale was full of surprises and moments of heartbreak, happiness, and peace. We’ll get into all of it in the second part of our chat with executive producers Morwyn Brebner and Adrienne Mitchell, who wrote and directed the finale.
First up, Robbie was still alive! Which begs the question, who was helping Kelly? “I think Kelly’s very good at making friends. The baby was fine. The baby was safe. Kelly did have an accomplice, who maybe didn’t know everything that Kelly was up to,” laughs Brebner. “It’s a mystery at this point. Kelly’s not necessarily a closed door.”
Robbie being alive meant there was still a dead child, and we learned that he was Noor’s son. That completely blindsided me, but Mitchell says there were clues that she was mourning a loss other than those of her husband and her missing friend.
“In Episode 2, there are scenes in there where she’s trying to reach her husband. And there’s a lot of grief happening there. We just didn’t want to convey what it was, or the mystery was revealed early. So she is grappling with it,” says Mitchell.
“It is there in that character. I think in other situations, she has to be concentrated and be effective in helping the women. So, we did touch on it, but she’s someone who likes to keep going and keep moving through things.”
“I think it was very much intentional in the sense that she couldn’t let herself go there because if she [did], then she wouldn’t be able to do the things she needed to do in the present. [So she pushed] away the deep sorrow that she had. She was concentrating always on the present to not feel it. And then when her husband was back and free, then she’s … really able to feel [everything].”
The episode also allows Donovan to reconcile his affection for Noor and help get her husband released to Canada. “Roger [Cross] is so amazing and you see all the feelings he’s feeling. It was beautiful to make those moments for those two particular actors who were so incredible,” shares Brebner.
“[Donovan] is a romantic. He is a deep soul, and [we wanted to show] what it’s like to be that person in the middle of also doing this job where you can’t have those feelings. It was really great to be able to give him those moments.”
Liam finally reaches his breaking point, and of all the people around him who could see it, another surprise was that Gordon recognized it. “Gordon is really an astute man, and despite the fact that his memory’s going and he’s not always knowing exactly what’s going on, that takes a really smart, astute guy. A little bit of the acute emotional intelligence that Jenny has, I feel like he has, too,” explains Brebner.
“It felt important to us that he’s a person with agency, that Gordon has his strength as well. [Despite the] fading parts of him, he is also really alive to the world. He’s in some ways very alive … mentally incredibly alive.”
Gordon’s arc and the arc earlier in “Unburied” of the man who lost his wife and broke from reality on just that one thing, which led him to murder, are two example of the show leaning into stories about the aged, done with compassion. “It’s very complex … what you have to navigate, for the one who’s needing care,” Mitchell shares.
“You’re sort of assuming more of a parental role of your parents yet at the same time, you can’t infantilize them and take their power away. Those are all the themes that we’re dealing with. They’re very, very tricky to get through.”
Once Liam has his break and Ross gets him back to the house, Jenny is summoned home. In a really lovely, multilayered scene, they talk quietly while sitting on the bed, as moments of the intimacy it has held weave in and out of the frame.
For me, it captured the moments where the relationship always clicked. Things got tricky out in the world when they battled the emotional messiness beyond the bedroom. Mitchell was going for something more nuanced than that, working closely with her cast and production team on capturing those moments as a representation of the fluidity of the relationship, and time.
“It took a while to figure out how we were going to do that scene. One thing that all of us were conscious of is, ‘How do we do this?’ We don’t sort of say, ‘Oh, we’re going to break up and we’re going to make love,’ because we know that’s just sort of boring. And plus, we know the result. So we wanted to figure out how to create a sort of element of suspense, an element of understanding all the little moments that led up to this moment,” she explains.
“Maybe a question of, ‘Can they get over this? Can they actually find it back in this moment or not?’ We wanted it all to not be so linear and conclusive. There is a scene in the Red Riding trilogy. It’s a British series, where they worked with time and it was also kind of a breakup scene.”
“I gave everyone the clip and we were vibing off of that as an approach. [Teresa de Luca] did amazing job editing this. It was edited in a very nonlinear way. Those clips could be fast forward as well as moments from the past. We could be saying that what we’re seeing is them making love after they’ve had this discussion, or it could also evoke the past and we wanted it to be this sort of nonlinear scenario with time. It’s a very fulsome and unique way of telling the breakup.”
As the season closes, we see Jenny and her family enjoying a bit of peace, with the boys hitting the road and Jenny joining Donovan at his sister’s wedding. Looking at a possible Season 3, Brebner and Mitchell want to continue on that path of recovery, for the characters and maybe even their home, which mostly survived the fire.
“There are so many ways to pick your life up. We’ve really tried to point to, at the end of the season, a sense of Jenny having really gone down into the truth of herself and how she feels. And now, having gone down there, maybe she’ll be able to go out into the world with different energies and different feelings and even explore new ways of being,” says Brebner.
“It’s really interesting to think about her relationship with that house. Is there a way to be in that house without hiding [from the world]? I think there’s hope for the house.”
“I feel like we want to just see them unleashed. We want to see them living life, surprising themselves. Having been down into the depth of loss and sadness, and we want to see them really being alive to life, which I think would not make everything [this season] go away, but if Season 2 was about depths, let Season 3 be about just going out into the universe and seeing what there is.”
“I think what’s interesting about our series is that we’re dealing with how people move on after a great trauma. And that’s not a short time span. And sometimes one addiction takes the place of another addiction,” adds Mitchell.
“Sometimes [you have to try different things] to move forward. And it’s such a long life journey to get to a place where you’re kind of fully in peace. What [would be] exciting in Season 3 would be the next chapter of how everyone’s dealing with the trauma that they’ve experienced and what the next phase is going to be like for them.”
“That’s how we are as humans. We need to use what’s convenient. Sometimes what’s convenient is sometimes what we think is going to work and, and it’s a very interesting roller coaster ride. That energy would be in Season 3, I think.”
“And with all of that, I’d like to let Jenny have a little fun along the way for a little bit, maybe. We’ll see,” says Brebner.
You may have noticed at the end that the season finale is dedicated to Tyler Faulkner. He was a member of the Coroner production team who died suddenly. “He was one of the grips and was also just a very dear presence on the set,” says Mitchell. “He was hard working and really very funny and always coming up with interesting apparel on the set.”
Photos and Videos Courtesy of CBC