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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Monday’s episode of Chasing Life, “First Person.”]
Chasing Life is pulling no punches when it comes to emotional episodes this season.
Not only is April (Italia Ricci) struggling with the new clinical trial for her cancer, but also the whole Carver clan has been left reeling from the shocking revelation that their late patriarch, Thomas (Tom Irwin), committed suicide after getting diagnosed with ALS. Add to that the fact that he had a secret second family living across the country, and it’s clear that the Carver women have lost their trust in their own memories of Thomas.
Youngest daughter Brenna (Haley Ramm) has taken the news of Thomas’ illness and suicide the worst, having gotten close with him in the months before he died. She ended up breaking down in front of April and their mother, Sara (Mary Page Keller), in Monday’s episode about her father’s betrayal and refusal to tell her the truth about his diagnosis.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Ramm about Brenna’s breakdown, her big kiss with Finn (Parker Mack), what’s coming up for their “innocent” relationship and more.
What a heartbreaking episode for Brenna! You did a ton of heavy lifting in this episode.
I love what they’ve done with Brenna this season. When you’re cast as the sister on something, you never know if you are just walking into a room to say a line and then leave, or if you’re going to get some really meaty, juicy stuff. I feel very lucky that the writers have given that to me with Brenna. Playing a bisexual character, I wish that there were more of them on TV.
While there really aren’t all that many bisexual characters on TV, at least Chasing Life is making up for that in the quality of Brenna’s story.
I agree. It’s been so great to play her journey of self-discovery. I’m glad they focused on it a lot this season. My favorite thing about Brenna is that it’s no big thing for her. She never has to explain herself. She is who she is. The writers don’t throw it in your face. I think it’s so beautiful that Brenna just sees people for who they are and she loves someone for who they are and not their gender.
Now that Brenna has finally kissed Finn, what can you tell me about what we’re going to see from that relationship going forward?
Expect a lot from Brenna and Finn. We have some really sweet scenes coming up. Their love story is so different from what we saw from Brenna and Greer last season. I didn’t go to a real-life high school, so I’m getting to live a lot of my own personal high school experiences through this show, which is really cool, like going to school dances. Brenna and Finn are going to have this sweet, high school love story and it’s super innocent.
Will Finn struggle with Brenna’s bisexuality like we’ve seen from their peers?
No, and I absolutely love that Finn doesn’t have a problem with it. He totally understands Brenna and takes her for who she is. He’s totally accepting and she doesn’t have to explain herself to him.
What has been the most challenging part about playing Brenna’s journey?
Honestly, there haven’t been too many challenges. I feel like I’m still figuring myself out in life, too. I don’t think anyone really knows who they are when they’re this young, we’re always evolving and changing. So it wasn’t so hard to pull from my regular life.
What has surprised you the most about how the fans have responded to Brenna’s struggles with making her peers understand what being bisexual means?
Probably the honesty. I love the honesty that we get from people who watch the show on social media. And it’s not just Brenna and her sexuality. It’s also people talking about the diseases they’re going through, whether it’s cancer or something else, people see so many similarities between the show and their life. They feel like they can relate to April, just trying to live their life while also living with an awful disease. It changes your whole perspective.
Brenna went through so many highs and lows in just this episode alone. How is this going to affect her moving forward?
Brenna hates drama and conflict. She’d just rather avoid it, and that’s what you saw her doing for most of this episode until she finally just lets it all out with April and Sara about her dad and her relationship with him. She got so close to him right before he died and she wonders why he didn’t tell her what was going on. Does that mean he loved her less or didn’t value their relationship? But Sara and April help her realize no one’s perfect and you can’t blame someone for the past or how they handled it.
Now that Brenna has finally opened up to April and Sara about how her dad didn’t tell her about his ALS, is she ready to move on? Or will we still see her struggle with her father’s suicide and secrets?
Sara and April gave Brenna a lot of clarity and support, so we don’t touch on her struggling so much after that. That conversation really helped her move on.
What are you most excited for viewers to see from Chasing Life going forward?
So much is going to happen in these last few episodes, for all the characters. I can’t even begin to tease how much happens. April even gets to go to Italy, and there’s some really beautiful scenes and shots there. I didn’t get to go, but Italia did and it’s just stunning.
Chasing Life airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.
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