Freeform’s freshman hit Motherland: Fort Salem wraps up its first season on Wednesday, and the finale is set to be explosive. “Witchbomb” is set around the unit’s graduation day as their issues with the Spree – and with their own leaders – come to a head. And with the series recently renewed for season 2, this end is just the beginning.
Series star Jessica Sutton, who plays Tally Craven, dropped by Nerdophiles to preview the season finale and discuss her experience filming the first season of Motherland. What were her thoughts on the finale? Find out that and more in our interview below, then tune into the Motherland: Fort Salem season finale at 9:00 p.m. on Freeform.
Nerdophiles: What was your reaction when you read the script for the season finale?
Jessica Sutton: I will never forget the table reading of [episode] 10. Life and art, fantasy and reality had become a blur and the realisation that this epic five-month journey was coming to an end…hit hard. With all endings, there’s a celebration and a grieving. This ensemble of phenomenal people have grown so close, we decided there’d be no goodbyes, only “I’ll be seeing you.”
NP: The general premise of “Witchbomb” is that the characters are graduating basic training and moving on. Did you feel the same sense of accomplishment as the cast wrapped what’s been a busy first season?
JS: Absolutely. Art was definitely starting to imitate life at this point. There were moments of elation and moments of utter exhaustion during the shooting of the series. Long hours of rigorous training, learning new skills, not much sleep and many bruises. But wow…what a ride! I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
NP: What’s one clue that you’d give fans about what we’ll see in the season finale?
JS: It’s going to be difficult to miss how much Tally has changed.
NP: Tally served as the comic relief through the season. What did it mean to you to provide that levity when Motherland: Fort Salem could be so intense and dark?
JS: Strangely, I think that was one of the reasons I got the role. The studio and [series creator] Eliot [Laurence] had seen so many [audition] tapes by the time they watched mine. When they got to the scene when Tally does her first babble ending with “and no boys, like ever, ever,” apparently the room burst out laughing, and that was really nice to hear.
But I didn’t play her funny, I played her sincere. Maybe that is what makes for funny. Life’s absurdities can be hysterically funny. I think Tally is pretty absurd; she’s like this shiny, squeaky clean baby getting thrown smiling and stomping and drooling into the deep dark world of hurt and death, hard-hitting truth, lock and load war. Come on, that’s funny! Without funny, I don’t think you are writing life as it is, in all its absurdity and truth.
NP: That being said, her arc got very serious in the last few episodes with the weight she’s had to carry on her shoulders. Do you think Tally will change permanently because of what she’s now been through?
JS: Something I was afraid of for Tally was whether the price of having her eyes opened would be at the expense of her heart. Through every heartbreak, I wanted to protect Tally like my own baby – to somehow preserve the innocence. But we can’t protect our baby from everything. She will get hurt and learning to get back up will change her. Tally, like all of us, is ever-changing.
NP: What was the biggest challenge that Motherland: Fort Salem gave you as an actress?
JS: Probably the sex scenes. I had never done anything like that as an actor before. Also, I’m a really private person. But I did feel incredibly supported in a closed set with an incredible director, intimacy coaches and my wonderful co-star Kai [Bradbury].
NP: So as the first season ends, is there anything in particular that you want to say to the Motherland fans? Anything that you hope they take away after seeing “Witchbomb”?
JS: I want to tell them thank you. We have been blown away by the growing fandom. Everything from the private messages of what the show has meant to them, to the mind-blowing fan art. We see you all and are so grateful.
This role, this show, has changed my life. I hope the audience feel the love among the cast as tangible and real, because that is exactly how it was. We became like family.
The show has so many messages: of strength, empowerment, forgiveness, fellowship. But above all, stripped bare, Motherland: Fort Salem is a love story. It was made with great love and given to the world to hopefully say despite all the pain we cause each other, can we find a way back to love? Please?
Motherland: Fort Salem airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.