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“It was already a climactic episode, so it was only a matter of us bringing a few of the story lines more into it and bring them to a conclusion,” Gajdusek told The Hollywood Reporter. “We wanted to make it an exciting, wonderful wrap-up of the season, at least. It wasn’t like we started again on page one, partially because we already had a climactic episode in the bag. But we did make alterations trying to give everyone who loves the show closure and something great to finish with.”
Though he suggested that the 13th episode originally had a cliffhanger feel to it, the DNA of the idea remains intact. “We looked at the final act. We looked at ways of making it more of a season finisher and that reflected back into a few of the other acts just to make things right,” he shared.
A happy ending may be a tall order for a complex drama like Last Resort, but Gajdusek hinted that the final episode will be worthwhile for those who have stuck with the series.
“I’m not sure we do happy but we do moving, we do inspiring, we do people doing things for reasons that fulfill them. I find it pretty satisfying to be honest,” he teased.
Gajdusek breaks down the biggest moments — including the reveal of Grace’s secret, a vicious death and a chaotic rape case verdict that enrages the island — from Thursday’s episode, “Big Chicken Dinner” with THR in the sixth installment of weekly Last Resort postmortems conducted with fellow EP Shawn Ryan.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Thursday’s episode.]
The Hollywood Reporter: Tonight’s episode, “Big Chicken Dinner,” centered on a rape case with one of the Colorado‘s own as the alleged perpetrator. What was the thinking behind having an episode that was more self-contained than the others?
Karl Gajdusek: Once we got through a few episodes of running for your life and put the mechanisms in place to survive, these characters would be forced to face the fact that they’re the biggest dog on the island and as a result, they were going to be the law. They wouldn’t one day decide “We’re going to make some laws. We’re going to have a constitutional convention!” This [rape case] was a way of this happening to them and they have a real quandary because the person it’s happening to, Anders (Michael Mosley), is the most qualified to keep the nuclear reactor going on the submarine. It’s a cultural collision, it’s an episode about making rules and breaking rules. They’re the cops on the island and they’re going to have to act accordingly.
THR: Serrat took it one step further by rigging the jury so the verdict would come back “not guilty,” when Anders clearly was. What does Serrat get out of having the island in chaos?
Gajdusek: His principal prong is to make life bad for these who have taken his power and taken his leadership of the island. As a result [of him rigging the jury], it inflames the island and that’s what he wants. He doesn’t particularly care if someone’s guilty or innocent, or if the woman was raped, what he cares about is that the island will be up in arms and against the Colorado and against Marcus (Andre Braugher) and Sam (Scott Speedman). And they will look to him again as the only one who has the guts to stand up to this power.
THR: Anders bolted into the jungle at the end of the episode. Will he survive?
Gajdusek: Anders has run off into the jungle and we don’t know what fate will befall him. I will promise that he will come back and it won’t be a good thing. He’s off there fending for himself and he’s seriously pissed off at Marcus and Grace (Daisy Betts). If he survives, he’s going to be a threat. Revenge.
THR: We found out more about Grace’s back story and that she was raped while in the Academy. Will this development linger in future episodes?
Gajdusek: This was a big one, obviously. We debated it quite a lot and there were a lot of interesting gender splits in the writers’ room and among friends and family when we discussed this episode. Especially when you read about rape in the military, which has become a huge topic as of late, we wanted to explore that and we wanted to talk about that and bring that close to the show. We didn’t want to damage or saddle her character with something that would always make people think she was a victim. We discussed it and decided she can carry those two sides; she can carry that injury, that assault and she can also be the very sexual person she was the episode before.
THR: Were there discussions about it not being rape and whether another character would have experienced it?
Gajdusek: We discussed everything under the table you can imagine. We discussed using a secondary character to be the one who came forward to say they were raped [too], but Grace is the most important woman of the submarine crew and it felt she was the right one to hold it.
THR: Were there moments from previous episodes that could have served as clues to Grace’s secret?
Gajdusek: I don’t think we were doing that, no, and I think that’s important. While she has this in her background and it’s an important part of who she is, it doesn’t define her. No one should ever look at an earlier scene and say “She only did that because she was raped.” That would be very reductive and we would never want to do that to the character or the actress.
THR: Sam’s darker side came into full effect when he was pushed to the edge by Booth (TK), ultimately taking his life. How does that play out in coming episodes?
Gajdusek: Sam’s darker side is coming through to a degree. He killed Booth in self-defense, but that said, it was a vicious fight. We learned things about him that were dark and we also learned that he struggled with violence in his background — not that he was a violent person with his friends or family — but that we underwent a lot of violence in North Korea. In these rack of episodes, Sam is struggling with what violence inside of him that he hasn’t totally processed has affected him. The other thing he’s struggling with is his allegiance on the island. Booth makes a lot of very cogent, persuasive points during the course of this episode, points that even now he’s now gone, will resonate very strongly with Sam and propel him to look at the situation and at Marcus in a different light.
THR: Tani (Dichen Lachman) is also beginning to realize something isn’t right with James (Daniel Lissing). Will she find out about his extracurricular activity with Grace?
Gajdusek: James is carrying that rather heavily and it’s a burden on him, it’s something he wishes he can undo. Tani can sense it; I’m not sure she knows it. I know that will come to a head, but not immediately. It’s something that’s now between them, an unspoken elephant in the room.
THR: Will members of the Colorado leave the island and go back to States?
Gajdusek: That is something that is totally possible. It’s not something we do a lot of; we’re not planning on making it a shuttle service. Very soon you’ll see some of the characters leave the island and go abroad for awhile.
THR: What should we look forward to in the next episode?
Gajdusek: A lot of the strands we opened up in the pilot and major questions of the entire series come to a head. Because our characters have been so busy basically staying alive, we haven’t fully addressed [those issues]. There are questions of what happened with these Navy SEALs, who are they and what do they have to do with the whole thing. All those questions will be answered in the next episode. Also, the ramifications of what happened in Pakistan come home to roost.
Last Resort airs 8 p.m. Thursdays on ABC.
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