‘Roswell, New Mexico’: Heather Hemmens Directs ‘Massive Payoffs’ & Fun Challenge

Director Heather Hemmens on Roswell, New Mexico set
Q&A
Michael Moriatis/The CW

Heather Hemmens steps behind the camera for a second time on Roswell, New Mexico (after Season 3’s “Goodnight Elizabeth”) with the August 22 episode, “Follow You Down.”

The Scooby gang is facing a couple challenges as the series approaches its finale. Just as Liz (Jeanine Mason) begins to see the error of her ways, she must make a difficult decision when faced with a new threat. Meanwhile, Michael (Michael Vlamis), who was last seen walking through the portal into the liminal space in order to hopefully find Alex (Tyler Blackburn), begins losing hope of that reunion. Plus, Max (Nathan Dean) finds himself in an intense standoff.

Here, Hemmens previews the episode, takes us inside directing the liminal space scenes, and teases how the series ends for Maria.

Preview the episode. How is Liz doing and how is everyone handling what she’s been up to with that mist?

Heather Hemmens: Liz is going through withdrawal from the mist, so she’s really, really struggling and she needs it to continue doing her research. She’s trying to convince the gang that she should acquire some more mist and they want her to stop altogether. There’s a little bit of an intervention that happens there and it doesn’t really go well. The whole team is on board though, so that’s nice to see everyone in support of her, but Liz is prepared to fight. So she puts up a struggle when they’re trying to get her to wean off the mist.

Then there’s Michael trying to find Alex. What can you tease about his search? Because last we saw, he walked through that portal.

Yes, he’s going in, he’s on the hunt. It is going to be such a ride following Michael down into the liminal space. He finds a lot of things there that reveal a lot about our show and even reveals some about their home planet because there’s a little bit of mimicking that happens in the liminal space. So he finds a lot of things there, but I can’t specifically say who or what or even what time they’re in. It’s a very interesting space and I was so happy to explore the liminal space more in my episode.

Michael Trevino, Amber Midthunder, Lily Cowles, Heather Hemmens, Jeanine Mason, Nathan Dean, and Michael Vlamis on Roswell, New Mexico

Michael Moriatis/The CW

What about this episode excited you as a director?

[Laughs] This is a teaser. There is a moment in this episode that I feel like myself and the fans have been waiting — not just this whole season, but this whole series — for a couple things to culminate. And this being our 50th episode, I was so excited when I got the script, because I feel like we have really, really special moments for the entire show that come through in this episode. And it was such an honor to be able to direct those. Everyone’s gonna have to watch and see what they are, but I can tell you that there are massive payoffs in this episode.

How did your approach to directing the liminal space scenes differ from the rest of the episode?

That’s an interesting format that we use. Most of the lighting is done in post. We shoot all of the liminal space during the day and then they darken it with a filter in post, which gives it almost a black and white hue. And so the trick with the liminal space is definitely the lighting, like the candles or any flashlights or anything that we were using had to be adjusted for the liminal space. So that was something that the DP, David Daniel, and I talked about extensively before we were shooting. Because it was only introduced in the episode before mine, so it hadn’t been fully established yet so that was something that we really had to plan out thoughtfully. And it was really fun to have that challenge.

Director Heather Hemmens on Roswell, New Mexico set

Michael Moriatis/The CW

Maria’s had quite a journey so far when it comes to her abilities, then this season she had to grapple with possibly losing them only to gain something new. How is she feeling about all of that at this point?

She was pretty dejected for a little while. She was really bummed that this skill that she was just beginning to be able to control and enjoy and explore and made her feel like a part of the team was suddenly just yanked away from her. Liz was just trying to help, but the treatment that she gave her really took away some of that capability. So now that she’s found another way to get back in the game, she’s really happy to explore this side. And she found the liminal space, she found the portal, and so she’s really feeling like part of the Scooby gang again.

What’s going on with her love life? Gregory’s (Tanner Novlan) not around, but then there could be something going on with Dallas (Quentin Plair) maybe…

Yeah, maybe. [Laughs] There is a slight flirtation there, so we’re gonna see which direction that goes, but it’s a really nice way to have a connection to someone becoming friends first and we’ve really seen their friendship blossom. They’ve become teammates through this whole experience. And so they’re thinking that they’re just buddies, but it is starting to take shape to be a little bit more flirtatious than that.

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Whatever happens with her love life, it’s just so much less complicated now.

Yes, Maria is really focused on her friends, on finding Alex. She’s not letting romance distract her as much these days, which I think is a very empowered place to be. And I like that she’s taking care of herself. She had a really difficult time losing her mother and trying to maintain some thread of connection there that she can’t find in her mother’s afterlife. So Maria has a lot going on and it is nice for her to not be focusing so much on the romance.

What can you tease about how the series ends for Maria?

There is a moment where you go, oh, that’s nice. Maria has it all. She has it all. She gets it all. Even after all the difficult things that she’s been through and the heartache and the tragic loss, it really ends on a high note for Maria.

Roswell, New Mexico, Mondays, 8/7c, The CW