‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Boss on Tally & Alder’s Connection, the Camarilla and More
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Motherland: Fort Salem Season 2 premiere, “Of the Blood.”]
Fortunately, Motherland: Fort Salem doesn’t make us wait long to see the Unit — witches Raelle (Taylor Hickson), Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams), and Tally (Jessica Sutton) — reunited in Season 2. But even as they celebrate being together again (and heading to War College!), the premiere leaves us with so many questions about them.
After all, General Alder (Lyne Renée) finds a new Biddy to replace Tally and give up her years. But Tally remains connected to Alder in some way, which manifests itself in a dream of sorts about the general’s past and scars on her body when she emerges. Raelle and Abigail have some sort of new power they can’t explain (but don’t keep to themselves). And there’s the common enemy of the Camarilla out there to unite the witches of the army and the radical Spree (which includes Raelle’s mom, Willa, played by Diana Pavlovska).
TV Insider turned to creator Eliot Laurence to find out what’s next.
Did you always know Tally wouldn’t stay a Biddy for long?
Eliot Laurence: Yeah, part of it is practical. It’s a lot to get that done and it’s tricky and the actor has very sensitive skin. We wanted to do away with that but retain an aspect of Biddy-ship, which is that psychic connection. That becomes sort of a conduit for Alder’s PTSD in a really gnarly way and Tally’s big story for the season.
So Tally’s dream is connected to Alder’s PTSD?
Totally. In [Episode] 110 last year, they were in the cave and Alder and Tally were having this intense face-off and Alder said, “You know what? I’m a general and I have made these decisions every day in my life, and this is what I do. And I stand by all of them.” Season 2, this Tally storyline is this question — maybe not all of them. Maybe there was one that got away. … It’ll become even more clear in Episode 2 that this is not a dream. This is a buried history.
What can you say about the marks that it’s going to be leaving on Tally? Are we going to see a lot more of that happening?
Not so much physical, but psychological, absolutely. Because this is a kind of a faucet that Tally can’t turn off and that Alder can’t turn off and it’s just flowing through. It’s like PTSD wants to be processed and Alder’s not dealing with it, so it kind of goes to Tally.
Raelle and Abigail do tell Alder and the others about their new power. Will they come to regret that or is this the only way they’ll be able to figure out just what happened?
They need some help in mastering it and figuring out what happened. Raelle, in that moment, is helping Abigail out because it’s very important for Abigail to add this to the Bellweather collection of brilliance. All of that gets messed up, though, because that’s what we do.
How is this new power going to change their relationship with each other and to everyone else this season?
It can be kind of isolating. It sends mostly Raelle off into a new place where she’s kind of this A-list asset that she’s never been before. She’s always thought of herself as an underdog. The power itself — what is that about and where is it from? We’re going to learn a lot more about that mycelium contact that Raelle had in Season 1 and what the mycelium is and how old it is and how it’s really not so much of a mushroom as it is a goddess.
Will Abigail and her mom’s relationship be a bit different? They had that really sweet reunion.
She tries but then she becomes Mama Bellweather all over again because that’s life. But she definitely tries. With the threats against the Bellweathers, with them taking out Charvel and coming after Abigail — and we’re going to see more of that this season — it becomes very important for the Bellweathers to encourage Abigail to find an appropriate mate and continue the line. And that’s not what Abigail’s interested in.
What does Raelle and Scylla’s [Amalia Holm] relationship look like in Season 2? They’re very much apart right now and there’s the secret of Raelle’s mom being alive…
They are the celestial bodies of the show on the love frequency, and as writers, it was about, how do we get them in the same orbit again? They are on opposite sides of the fence in such a huge way ideologically, but also in terms of their history and betrayal and truth and all of that. But they’re incredible, and the fans love them and we love them. It was just about finding the way to get them back, but that’s where we’re heading.
Speaking of Raelle’s mom, we’re very much seeing the Spree part of her, not the maternal side. Is there going to be a balance when mother and daughter are reunited?
We’re going to get deeper into Willa —why she joined the Spree, why she disappeared, why she hasn’t reached out to Raelle even though she could. We’re [also] going to learn much more about the Spree than we’ve ever learned, too, which is fun.
Willa talks about the leadership in the premiere and how part of it was wiped out. And then she said something about the rest of the leadership not being happy.
Yeah. We’re going to learn that the Spree is not some neat monolithic thing and that they’re all these cells and they each have their own agendas and it’s kind of a mess. Their big argument, of course, is conscription, right? There might be another thing, the Camarilla, that might be a little more pressing for us to be focusing on. And that’s the kind of wake-up call that everybody’s going to get this year.
Speaking of that common enemy, it’s impossible to imagine the army and the Spree able to come together to fight them without an underlying “as soon as this is over, we’ll turn on each other.”
Or will they? Or will the revolution that we start to plant the seeds in this year kind of remake the wheel and maybe it won’t be back? I’m hopeful that it won’t go right back to normal.
How does that affect their ability to work together against the Camarilla?
It’s going to be about the mutual recognition that this squabbling that we’ve been doing for all of these years has been at the cost of our security. The Camarilla has stealthily been assembling and infiltrating power structures and institutions the whole time, and they’ve got us right where they want us. They kind of have no choice at a certain point.
When we spoke after the Season 1 finale, I had mentioned the visual of the device on the ground during the fight with the Camarilla and you said, “That’s going to pay out big.” What can you tease about that in Season 2?
The one other nice thing about the Camarilla this year is we’re going to put a face on them and wait ’til you see this terrifying dude. He’s so incredible, the guy who plays Alban Hearst, the Camarilla mad scientist. He’s the one who has been creating these devices that crudely replicate witches’ vocal powers, and this is an abomination to the witches. They find this to be a sacrilege on top of being so disgusting and crude. But we’re going to see the Camarilla building their arsenal and more and more being able to approximate what we consider to be witches’ territory, which is weather magic and stuff like that.
What are the Unit’s biggest challenges at War College?
One of them is, we’ve seen more combat than anybody else who’s sitting around us. So what are we doing here? And then, to be honest, the epic plotting of the season kind of starts to even obliterate War College in terms of a place where we’re spending [time]. We’ll spend some time [there] and we’ll see them do some really cool training, but it’s such a tumultuous season. This idea of new witches, [the Vice President’s daughter] Penelope Silver [Mellany Barros] testing positive for witchhood, and these families who don’t want to relinquish their daughters into this life of servitude becomes so big that we don’t spend a ton of time at War College, but we get some great campus moments for sure.
What challenges does the fact Penelope is now a witch bring for her, her father [Victor Webster], and everyone involved on every side?
For her father, it reminds me of a queer story that’s so much a part of a lot of queer people’s lives when their parents see them differently suddenly when they find out or when you come out. There’s the angle of, what is a witch and maybe I’m one and maybe you’re one? All of a sudden that is torn open in a way that it’s never been. It’s been very locked down, down the maternal line. Now that’s up for grabs in a way that really scares people. Not only that, these new witches are incredibly vulnerable to the Camarilla, who wants to get them before the army does. It’s a hot, dangerous mess.
What about any power struggle between the Spree and the army over them?
Absolutely. The Spree is always recruiting and looking for talent. It’s a mad hunt to get to these people and to get to them before the more dangerous people get to them.
What else can you tease about this season?
There’s just a lot of new magic. There’s some very brutal, brutal attack magic that Alder’s going to see sent her way. And again, the mycelium as this sort of biological supercomputer slash goddess slash sentience emerging in the mythology of the show and funneling some of its power into Raelle. We’re getting deeper into this Spree. We’re going to learn how the Spree started.
Motherland: Fort Salem, Tuesdays, 10/9c, Freeform