'The Big C' Finale Preview: Familiar Faces Return and Cathy Isn't Afraid of Death

Executive producer Jenny Bicks tells THR that Cathy will test her will and learn to live in the moment in the Season 2 finale.
Ken Regan/Showtime
"The Big C"

Laura Linney’s Cathy Jamison has had heart-breaking year on Season 2 of Showtime's The Big C.

As Cathy has achieved positive results from Dr. Sherman’s (Alan Alda) clinical trial, her trial buddy Lee (Hugh Dancy) didn’t have the same luck and passed away in the last week’s penultimate episode of the season. Meanwhile, Paul (Oliver Platt) has spiraled downward after losing his job and finding new employment on the retail side, turning to stealing and drug use to survive. On top of everything, her brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) has struggled to maintain his sanity and skipped town only to return at the moment in time when Cathy needs him the most.

Ahead of the Season 2 finale, executive producer Jenny Bicks tells The Hollywood Reporter how Lee’s death will affect Cathy and who from Cathy’s past viewers can expect to see in Monday’s finale on Showtime.

THR: How will Lee’s death change Cathy?
Lee’s death allows Cathy to realize two things: that death is not necessarily scary -- there can be kind of a peace with going. That’s something that we see in the way that Lee chooses to die, it’s almost heroic: he goes the way he wants to go. If you can call such an awful thing lovely, it’s almost a lovely thing for her to witness. She witnesses grace, really. She becomes more comfortable and less scared with the possibility of dying. The other thing that she realizes anew is how little time we all have on this Earth. What she says in the finale, that she’s “just going to wear this body out,” she really wants to make the most of being here and she decides to run a marathon, which is the last thing that Lee had said he wanted to do before he died. She runs it for him to test herself and her will. It’s the ending to a season that’s been all about her fighting, pushing and running that’s ultimately about her slowing down. As Lee described it before he died, a marathon really slows you down and keeps you in the moment. That’s what she’s going to learn in the finale.

THR: Paul has really transformed this season from being the “cancerierge” to a screw-up of sorts. His moral compass has really disintegrated this season. Will his misdeeds and drug use catch up with him?
There are always consequences to everything and Paul has really gone off the deep end. He may want, with all honorable intentions, come back from that but it might be too late.

STORY: ‘The Big C’ Spoilers: Three People Are Going to Die

THR: You’ve previously told us that three people were going to die this season and Rebecca and Sean’s unborn baby and Lee have died. Is that still the case?
Bicks: By the end of the season, our third person will pass over. We try very hard on the show that if we set up a consequence that we follow through on it.

THR: Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) returned just as Cathy returned home after watching Lee die. What shape is Sean in?
We don’t spend a lot of time with him before the season is over but he’s recommitted to being back. The same that Cathy has learned from Lee, Sean has learned from Cathy: if she can stay and fight, I’m going to stop running. It’s all about stopping running and standing still and he’s going to try to be as sane as he can be and be in one place even without his girlfriend and the baby that they lost and all the pain. He’s going to try to muscle through because if Cathy can do it, he can do it. He’s going to try and rise to the occasion. It’s Sean, I don’t know how successful he’s going to be but certainly short-term, he’s going to try and be present.

'The Big C': John Benjamin Hickey on Sean's Moment of Clarity

THR: How will Adam (Gabriel Basso) handle Poppy’s (Parker Posey) betrayal? How will that relationship change him?
A lot of this relationship for him has really been about playing the grownup to her child. We really didn’t want it to be sexual because we wanted it to be truthful and honest about two people relating over the pain of having a sick or, as we find out, dead parent and that he’s really able to take care of her. That allows him to become much more empathetic, not just to her but to his mom and the whole situation. We’re definitely going to see a growing up of Adam; it doesn’t mean that in Season 3 he’s going to be a different person. He’s still a 15-year-old kid in high school. You’re going to see him really trying his best to grow up and be the best person he can be. People don’t just change, they go back and forth: so he’ll take a couple steps forward and a couple steps backward.

THR: Will Cathy continue with the clinical trial in light of Lee’s death? Will Alan Alda return?
Our hope is that she continues with the trial; it’s doing well for her so she wouldn’t be taken off the drugs. We’ll be lucky to grab Alan Alda for as many episodes as we can get him. He’s the antithesis to the other doctors she’s seen. We’re hopeful that she’ll stay in the trial and have promising results from it.

THR: Will Lee be back for the finale?
You’ll also see Lee in the finale and you will see Marlene (Phyllis Somerville) in the finale. We really want to always raise these questions of what happens. These people stay with you even after they’re gone in different forms and [explore] what that means.

Check out a preview of The Big C’s Season 2 finale below.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit