Throughout the first three episodes of Beyond, Holden Matthews has been playing a game of cat and mouse with an enigmatic pursuer with a penchant for sunny colored dresswear, aka Yellow Jacket. In this week's episode, "The Man with the Yellow Jacket," Holden finally gets to face his tormentor as we get more of a look into the antagonist's life.
Fresh off the second season pick-up of the series, creator Adam Nussdorf talks to Syfy Wire about his assessment of the first season, what he wants to focus on in the second season and the origins of Yellow Jacket.
With Season 1 complete, what are you most proud of accomplishing with the freshman year of Beyond?
Adam: I could not be happier with the cast. They are amazing. There are endless combinations you could mix and match, and every combination is more exciting than the next. At the end of Season 1, when we were all finished with everything, the thing I was most excited to jump into was writing more scenes for these actors.
Is there anything you will adjust about how you tell your stories in Season 2?
Because we are a first season show, we really put the pedal to the floor in terms of suspense. I don't think that will change as there will still be an action/suspense conceit that I want to keep intact. But finding room for more character interactions and letting the actors really sink their teeth into some meaty scenes is something I'm excited to write for, and hopefully people are excited to see.
(Spoilers below for "The Man with the Yellow Jacket" episode)
How did you come up with the character of Yellow Jacket?
He arose from a bunch of talented people doing what they do best, which includes our costume designer, Jori Woodman (The X-Files: I Want to Believe), who found the yellow jacket. It wasn't written in the script that he has a yellow jacket. I think it was just "Thug #2." I think I had the idea for the '80s style glasses, and then Jori found the jacket. Lee [Toland Krieger], who directed the pilot, and I both wanted a slightly off-beat quality to him. We talked about the antagonists in the Joe Wright movie, Hanna, or if you look at any Coen Brothers movie like Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) or Peter Stormare (Fargo). We wanted that certain unplaceable weirdness. We looked at a lot of people but Peter [Kelamis] came in and did that deadpan read, and that was the guy.
How was it seeing Peter fully done up as the character for the first time?
When he showed up on set it was amazing!
Did you know his back story from the start?
We really didn't know much about [the character], but over the course of writing, we got to play around and discover what interests us about this guy. I always knew I wanted him to have a family because it's an interesting dynamic and unexpected. I'm excited to pull back layers on Yellow Jacket.
It's only four hours into the series and you have Holden and Yellow Jacket face off in a crazy fight. Why so soon?
The episode came about by trying to avoid having a cat-and-mouse scenario, where it's like Road Runner and the Coyote, where Yellow Jacket is always one step behind Holden. We wanted to throw them together as soon as possible and have an explosive climax to that confrontation. After the explosion, we'd spend the rest of the season picking up those pieces, as opposed to dangling them getting together eventually.
Talk about how you framed their intial meeting?
We definitely want to do a low simmer, like the scene in Heat where De Niro and Pacino are across the table. We wanted that kind of suspense because both of our actors are so capable. We wanted to give them that moment, and we also wanted Holden to kick Yellow Jacket's ass. [Laughs]
Why was Holden's reaction right for the moment?
It felt like the correct course of action with Holden's mindset of not being able to control his powers and then hearing about the death of his best friend and blaming this guy. It's all of that adolescent angst and emotion that he can't quite control ratcheted up to 11. Holden takes it all out on this guy.
But Yellow Jacket doesn't fight back.
To me the most interesting line is when Holden asks Yellow Jacket, "Why aren't you fighting back?" and then Yellow Jacket says, "You're too important." That was Hillary Benefiel's line, who wrote the episode. That really set the table for the rest of the season where we know he's so important, but having it come from Yellow Jacket's mouth when he's incapacitated on the ground gives me goose bumps every time.
Beyond airs on Freeform on Monday nights at 9PM or you can binge all ten episodes now on Freeform's website or app.