Previewing Moonshine: “Escape Goat”

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

In the second episode of Moonshine, some of the family secrets are unintentionally unearthed at the annual Goat Roast. Usually a a free-love, greet-the-first-summer-sunrise blowout that includes an actual goat eating the written-down sins of the attendees and then the attendees eating the goat, this year’s event takes a few unexpected turns.


When Bea is sidelined, Lidia and Rhian try to take over and that goes as wells as you’d expect. Lidia aims for a rebranding while daughter Eleanor aims for a less deadly outcome for the star attraction, and Rhian is having none of either alternative. Then the goat makes a run for it and things come to a very public, very violent head.

James Genn directs a script by series creator Sheri Elwood.

It’s another episode that navigates the very tricky tone established by the premiere episode, balancing love and hate and humor and heart. When I spoke with the cast, they talked about that.

“It’s in the writing. The stories are grounded in our pursuit to keep the Moonshine going. It doesn’t matter what our characters are all individually getting into,” shares series star Tom Stevens, who plays Ryan. “There’s this commonality between all the siblings and all the cast in this about keeping it going. And so, as much as we get mad at each other, or we piss each other off, we know that there’s always going to be that baseline there. I think that’s the family bond.”


“We [also] really just love and appreciate each other so much when we’re not acting. And we spend tons of time together when we’re not on set,” adds Alexander Nunez, who plays Sammy. “I really think that [is] reflected when we’re acting together. How can you hate any of these people?”

Anastasia Phillips, who many viewers may know from her recurring role in the final season of Killjoys, plays Rhian, easily the most visceral character, and she was thrilled to dive into the role. “Sheri is so funny and some of the things were so outrageous, but then they’re also very true. These people do exist,” she explains.

“These things are happening. We’ve accepted that as the reality, now, how do we ground it? And how do we make it believable in this world and then, who are these people that would behave in such a manner? And you have to really stretch your capacity as a human being to really anchor it.”


“And then when it works, because we’re in such capable hands, the comedy flies, but it’s rooted in something real. It’s so rich, it’s so satisfying. It’s so layered. I hadn’t come across material that asked that much of me as an actor. It was a delicious challenge. And I think we continue to be challenged by Sheri’s writing for us, in the best way.”

“We had a huge question mark, in the first few episodes, all of us felt this way. Our biggest question…at least once a day, one of us would [ask], ‘What’s the tone,’ because it’s written so uniquely. It’s like the comedy and the drama and how can you root it deeply,” shares Jennifer Finnigan, who plays Lidia.

“It’s grounded, but at the same time, you want to be able to go up into the comedy of it. The greatest part about the show is the true belly laughs. It was a challenge every day trying to figure it out. And I still don’t know. Maybe we created our own tone, but at the end of the day, I think what we all decided was [that] we just searched for the truth of the scene.”

“That’s the through line. We do some takes that are grounded, we do some takes that are broad. We trust the editors, we trust the words, and the end product is what you [see].”


Emma Hunter, who plays Nora, says they also trusted Elwood to deliver her vision. “We’re in such capable hands in terms of crew and post-production, that we can just act, with Sheri’s guiding eye. There’s these beautiful shots of Nova Scotia, like beautiful sweeping shots of the beach and these authentic snapshots of a beach town that could be any time, and there’s this through line of nostalgia,” she adds. “I think we all just trusted the crew and the post and the visionary behind it. And the end product is something that we haven’t seen a lot like it. We’re really hoping it carves out its own niche.”

Moonshine airs Tuesdays, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem. The season premiere is now streaming on both. Here’s a sneak peek of “Escape Goat.”

[Update 7/4/23 — Moonshine Season 1 will begin airing in the US at 9 p.m./8c, Fridays on The CW starting July 7th.]

Photos and Video Courtesy of CBC

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