'Siren' EPs Reveal What Lies Beneath the New Threat in Season 3
[Warning: This interview includes MAJOR spoilers for the Siren Season 3 opening episodes, so ya might want to swim back to safer, less-spoilery land until you've seen the episode.]
The Bristol Cove crew is back and rocky waters await the small coastal town's central throuple—mermaid Ryn (Eline Powell) and marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola)—now that a new threat has surfaced. But is Tia (Tiffany Lonsdale), a ferociously anti-human mermaid all bad? And what is up with the environmentalist who has his sights set on Maddie?
We baited executive producers Eric Wald and Emily Whitesell into giving us some key info about Season 3 and, truth be told, we're hooked!
It felt like you were kind of ramping it up last season, but this time you go right out and say “War is coming.”
Emily Whitesell: Go big or go home! [Laughs]
Eric Wald: Right. We wanted to introduce a really strong antagonist for Ryn and as people have seen in the previews, Tia is coming and she’s a mermaid who’s far more sophisticated than Ryn. She might be more powerful, has been on land longer, speaks better English, she's just on a whole other level. So Ryn really has her work cut out for her with this one.
The good thing for Ryn is that she also has Team Human with her.
Whitesell: That’s right. Yeah I think what we’re getting at too is that there’s a humanity that can help you through some of the darkness...that's the theme underneath that we’re trying to push forward and I think it's what people will love Ryn for in the end. Hopefully she’ll triumph.
At the same time, you’ve got her sister carrying the stolen baby of hers and it's aging rapidly in utero.
So how does that all impact the dynamic? One throuple and a baby?
Wald: [Laughs] The baby has really become sort of a key part in this much larger story with Tia so obviously there’s a lot of emotion with this arrival of the baby for Ryn. But also, [the baby] is thrust into what is going to be a very complicated and dangerous situation and she really becomes one of the pawns in all of that. Emily, you were going to talk maybe about the throuple a little bit too?
Whitesell: I was. There is just a little bit of a reset, which is sort of the natural progression of relationships I think, you know? The audience is navigating that with us in terms of the fact that this great love the three of them feel for each other is very real and will always survive on some level. But life takes its toll on people and relationships change and so I think we’ll also be navigating that.
Wald: At the very end of last season, Ben and Ryn were underwater and made this very big choice about letting the reporter Ian Sutton die and we saw a very small glimpse at the end of Maddie sort of sensing that something was going on there. Obviously, right in this very first episode, we dive into that and the implications that that has for the throuple in the relationship. You know, as Emily said, they have this great love, that will never go away. But it might get weakened a bit this season.
And it almost looks like you might be introducing a fourth quadrant to this?
Whitesell: Yes, that is true.
And this environmentalist Rob Wellens (Deniz Akdeniz)...I immediately for some reason do not trust him.
Whitesell: Ah! Interesting.
Wald: A shady environmentalist?
Well I think in the world today, we’re starting to see some people who claim to have a good motive are wrapping it around a bad one.
Whitesell: Right. The thing about Rob is, it’ll be interesting because there are things to not trust about him, but they won’t be morally reprehensible things that you can’t overcome. He’s a very interesting and multifaceted character in many real ways, which is again what we’re always trying to say: Nothing is black and white. He’s hiding things and yet there’s also goodness…
Wald: And he was based on an actual guy, an environmentalist who has done a tremendous amount for cleaning the oceans. From the very beginning, the environmental thing was so important to us. And without hitting people over the head with it, we want to always keep that alive and at the forefront. That is very important to us.
And so you’ve introduced Tia, I’m assuming we’ll get to meet her tribe? Anyone else we should look forward to coming in?
Whitesell: Those are the two main characters that we’ve brought in, the environmentalist and Tia. But there is a cast of characters that will weave into this bigger story about Tia’s tribe and there's also other tribes that you’ll meet.
Wald: We’re expanding our world of mermaids, so we’re going to get tribes that we haven’t seen. There’s a tribe from the Arctic that we’re going to meet and then definitely Tia’s tribe which, as you’ve probably seen, has a very different design and look than Ryn’s. We separate them, we call them the “blue eyes” and the “purple eyes,” that's how we distinguish their very different looks…
I also love what you’re doing with Helen (Rena Owen), digging into the mermaid mythology even more by going into the spirit realm and giving us a supernatural edge.
Whitesell: That’s right, we do also dive into a lot of that, the mythology of what happens to mermaids after they die and the whole world that they live in as well, which people seem to be always fascinated by. Some of it is based on real mythology and then we add our own kinds of twists and layers to it. We love and obviously everyone loves Helen so much. She is that great balance between the human world and the mermaid world and all of her people as well, so we have given her that story as well to help us with what’s happening with Ryn and the baby and everything.
You always do such a nice job of servicing the characters outside of the main three and now, you're bringing Ben’s dad (David Cubitt) almost into the loop. He’s starting to realize that there’s more out there than just fish.
Whitesell: Oh yes, for sure. So the mythology that we started with, the story of Charles Pownall, that’s obviously Ben’s family story, so it seems very natural to bring the family back into that and go back with the story. So, in Episode 3 you’ll see a lot of the mythology come to life as well.
Nice, so you kind of get to do the more of the flashback period-piece stuff?
Whitesell: I think you’ll see some of that, yes.
Nice. And does the bringing his family into it more help Ben sort through the guilt that he has about Ian?
Wald: That’s definitely something that Ben is wrestling with, although it’s so interesting to see the debates online, where a lot of people felt like “Well, that was a choice Ben had to make.” So to Emily’s point about things not always just being black and white, I think what was so interesting about the choice he had to make at the end of the last season is that there’s definitely an argument for what he did. In the same way, Tia’s whole plan this season is like, "Yes, what she’s wanting to do is sort of horrific and dangerous, but there’s also a logic to it." She’s not a pure bad villain, there’s a motivation, at least in her mind, that makes a lot of sense.
Whitesell: Yes, she even has the conversation with Ryn about why this is so simple to her: These humans cannot be trusted with this planet, clearly.
With the introduction of new characters and getting into your third season, have you been able to expand production? Did your tanks get bigger?
Wald: We’re doing so many more underwater scenes, it’s insane. We have so many more visual effects, we’re going to different locations underwater that we haven’t seen. And again, we're introducing new tribes so we’ve designed a whole batch of new mermaids from around the world. So yeah, we’re majorly expanding our scope and the time we spend in the water.
And I need to say, for all of great scary stuff you pack in, I think the most disturbing image you have delivered so far Ryn's marshmallow chicken.
Wald: [Laughs] We’re going to have to cookbook out very soon as a companion! And by the way our actors on set? They had to do multiple takes and it was so funny because they took huge bites of that and at first, Alex and Fola were like “Oh it actually tastes really good.” By take five, they were like “Okay no, this is gross.” And you see that Ryn made a salad, a banana and carrot salad...and she did not peel the bananas. Literally, Eline takes a giant bite of banana with the peel and just shoves it right in her mouth and it’s one of my favorite moments.
Siren, Thursdays, 9/8c, Freeform