'Motherland: Fort Salem' Boss Breaks Down Those Major Finale Surprises & Teases Season 2
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Motherland: Fort Salem, "Witchbomb."]
It was one surprise after another in Motherland: Fort Salem's Season 1 finale.
Just after witches Raelle (Taylor Hickson), Abigail (Ashley Nicole Williams), and Tally (Jessica Sutton) graduated from Basic Training, General Alder (Lyne Renee) took them to rescue the Tarim witches in hiding. But as they were leaving, everything went wrong: their ancient enemy, the Camaria, returned, and attacked, using warped versions of the witches' own powers against them. In the battle, one of Alder's biddies — who give their youth to extend the general's lifespan — fell, and Tally took her place.
Then Raelle was stabbed, and Abigail refused to leave her behind. But as the others flew off in the helicopter, some sort of magic (though they don't use that word) was released from around them.
Elsewhere, drill sergeant Anacostia (Demetria McKinney) let their Spree prisoner Scylla (Amalia Holm) go and followed her to one of the radical witches' houses. But little did she know that Scylla was meeting with the one giving her orders all season: Willa, Raelle's mother, who's actually not dead.
The series was renewed for a second season Tuesday, and creator Eliot Laurence couldn't have been happier when TV Insider spoke with him only hours later. "It's a really rich season," he teased. "I'm so grateful to the network for letting us continue to play in this world."
Here, Laurence previews what's next.
What can you say about what happened to Raelle and Abigail, that entire ending, and what they're doing as they walk? How much of that has to do with who they are as individuals and together?
Eliot Laurence: The mystery of that will be unpacked through much of Season 2. The force that protected them did that for a very specific reason, and that has tendrils that lead to other stories — some stuff we've seen, some stuff will be completely new. But it is a major piece of new magic that the army has not seen before, so very quickly, there will be interest in forming it into the new super weapon of the army. The witchbomb storyline continues from that in a really exciting way.
I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow over the season to Abigail getting off the helicopter.
And saying, "I love you, s**tbird." I still get choked up. They played it so beautifully, too. Just that last scene of them walking is just like, "Ooh, what did they do? Do they even know what they did?" Which they don't. It'll be a discovery for them, too, how to utilize this new power.
Tally makes the decision to become one of Alder's biddies, which says quite a bit considering their confrontation earlier.
Yeah, Tally brought up a lot of concerns and deep questions to Alder, and Alder won her back with discussing that she's a genocide survivor and had seen so much. Somehow Alder got Tally back in a really big way, because she made the big sacrifice.
What went into that decision both for the character and from a story standpoint? How might this change what we see from the biddies going forward?
It's a big change. It's one that Tally takes very seriously, and it's one that Alder takes very seriously as well. It is impactful.
Raelle's mother is alive! How does that upend everything for Raelle, the show, and all the characters? Who knew or at least suspected she wasn't dead?
It's a surprise to pretty much everybody. We're going to learn why Willa did that in Season 2 and the circumstances that led to that massive defection from the army. It'll be amazing to unpack that. It has a huge impact on Raelle's trajectory for Season 2 and everybody. Basically what we're doing is what we started doing with Scylla, which was putting a human face on the Spree.
With the introduction of this new ancient enemy, we're going to see both the army and the Spree realizing, "You know what? We've been fighting each other. There's a more potent enemy that we both should be focusing on right now." To see these legendary enemies come together is going to be really, really exciting.
How will what we see from her compare to what we've heard? People talk about someone differently if they think they're dead.
Oh, everything's going to be upended. There's the cover story, and then there's what actually happened, and when we learn that, it's going to be really, really deep, and that's early in Season 2 when we start to unpack that.
Will we see parallels between Willa and Petra's relationship and their daughters'?
Absolutely. There's more to uncover with Petra's involvement, too. Leaving Season 1 in that particular way is providing us as writers with wonderful complications to unravel in Season 2, so we've been having so much fun in the writers room tracking all of these crazy threads and figuring out where they touch with other threads.
The Camaria are already proving to be a formidable foe.
They're bad. They make the Spree look like, "Fine, let's have the Spree over for dinner, no big deal, right?" They are really, really scary, and what's particularly scary about them — and this is another thing that will connect some dots from Season 1 that were left unexplained — [is] they've created a way to semi-replicate, certainly not quite with the force of witches, some of the witches' vocal powers and to use it against witches.
It is a formidable enemy indeed because nobody's ever cracked that before and they have a really, really, really huge threat level in Season 2 that galvanizes everybody to address them once and for all. Because in a lot of ways, even Petra says, "Oh, they were a myth from my childhood, like the boogeyman." They drifted into legend and almost fakeness and people don't even believe them anymore and that's why Alder was in so much personal denial about their resurgence.
I liked the visual of the device on the ground.
Ooh, you caught it! That's going to pay out big.
Will we get flashbacks?
We're actually going to be in the past more. There's a storyline that will literally take us into some U.S. history that we've never seen before and so yeah, we will get some more glimpses of the past. But the problem with the Camaria is they have a present in Season 2 that's very, very terrifying. The stuff from the past is almost easier to look at because there's hundreds of years but they actually are galvanizing and motivating people in the country to turn against witches.
That story about her parents' death really explained so much about who Anacostia is.
Yes. I wanted to have Anacostia trick us with this plan, which she clearly has been thinking about for a while, to let Scylla out and watch where she goes. Part of it for Anacostia is she just wasn't quite ready to throw Scylla away, but in Season 2, we're going to learn there's a deeper mission in terms of keeping tabs on Scylla.
We have Anacostia and Scylla out in the world in Season 2, which is going to be so much fun to explore. A lot of viewers were curious, "What does it feel like to be in the outside world looking in at the witches?" We're going to get to see a lot of that in Season 2.
Scylla was supposed to be transferred. Are we going to see where she would have been going?
Yes. There's so much great stuff for Scylla, and I'm so excited because people love her so much.
Scylla's been quite the wild card, and she was surprised when Willa said she was supposed to bring her her daughter.
Yeah, Willa didn't fill her in on that little detail, and in one of the early scenes that I'm writing for the premiere, Scylla's mad: "You're going to send me in blind like that?" There's some reckoning between Willa and Scylla, but soon enough, they're going to realize everybody's on the same page with this new enemy.
How is Raelle feeling about Scylla?
Raelle had to put a band-aid on everything, and in the last episode, we see her say to Anacostia, "Look, I know she was a lot, but wherever she's at, I just hope they're treating her well because she's not all bad." We know Raelle still has some feelings for her, but right now, she thinks she has put it all behind her, but it's never that easy.
Even though we start the season with them in very different places, they will always be feeling each other and have this magnetism that eventually pulls them back together. Their story is not complete. I'm not going to promise that they get back together necessarily, but their story has a lot more chapters to tell.
How is the unit's bond going to change?
Everything changes in Season 2. They are in a new environment. They are divided in an interesting way. Now we have Abigail and Raelle bonded by this new power, and we have Tally as a biddy, so they start the season in very, very different places, so a lot of Season 2 will be about bringing them together and then tearing them apart again and then bringing them together. Their destiny as a trio is forever intertwined, so they will keep going together and face all of these new threats and challenges together.
Will we see war college?
Oh, yes. That is a part of Season 2, what's next in their training. Clearly Alder has her eyes on them. She's like, "They're special, obviously, I'm going to take them on this secret mission." Their training will intensify in Season 2 in really, really interesting ways.
Will we see consequences for Alder's "puppet" spell on the president?
Oh, yes. Many, many consequences. That was meant to play — we see Anacostia's reaction — as a very, very, very big deal for witches to do that, so we'll learn more about why Alder chose to do that, and that actually relates to some of this historical stuff we're going to flash back to.
Are there any new characters you can tease?
We have a whole new cast of characters. A lot of the same people will come back, but we have some new faces to shake things up and new teachers and love interests.
Who's going to have the best luck in love?
It's pretty rough and stormy at this point, but Abigail is going to grow a lot in terms of her relationships.
Motherland: Fort Salem, Season 2, TBA, Freeform