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Now that Elena and Savannah have been rescued from Aleister's compound, things can get back to the way they were, right?
Nah. Aleister may have been on the benches (at least until the last scene) in Episode 7, but things are still far from normal for our werewolves and witches. Steve Lund discusses Nick's emotional journey as he meets his long-lost mom and Greg Bryk muses on Jeremy's authority once again being questioned by the Council.
Executive Producer J.B. Sugar, who directed Episode 7, will be joining us shortly. Before he gets here: was he a good director?
GREG BRYK: He was phenomenal.
STEVE LUND: He was the best director I've EVER had.
Yeah, he's not sitting right over there or anything.
STEVE: No, of course not.
This was a huge episode, especially for Nick, who got to meet his mom. What was it like to bring your character to the forefront and explore that relationship?
STEVE: It's really been two seasons coming. Nick never met his mother growing up, and for me as an actor it was such a great opportunity. I have a very close relationship with my mother so all that emotion was very accessible to me. I was nervous, I was excited and there was so much real emotion there.
GREG: And Shauna [MacDonald, who plays Nick's mom] great.
STEVE: Just meeting her on the first day, she was wonderful. She's from my home province so there was a connection there.
So did that help the familial bond, given that you're both east coasters?
STEVE: Yeah, I'm a big believer in signs and I took that as a sign. This was meant to be. I just felt that there was a connection on a very deep level and hopefully that was communicated on the screen.
This was a big episode for Jeremy too; his leadership is being tested.
GREG: That seems to be a theme. Question Jeremy's authority.
We did have that great moment when Elena stepped forward and put everyone else in their place, showing how much respect she has for Jeremy.
GREG: To me that was a really lovely moment of art imitating life. Laura and I have this great connection; as we all do, as a family and as a Pack. Since I wasn't in Episode 6 I hadn't seen anyone in almost three weeks. So when we came and did that scene there was a gentle play of respect back and forth between us that I loved. Those are the sort of moments that really sing for me on the show; it was great.
Elena told the Russian Alpha, Roman, that she was able to survive the first change because of your counseling. Was she saying that to impress Roman or is that actually the case?
GREG: It is the case. I did help her through the change in Season One and helped her survive.
STEVE: Just like you helped me through puberty.
GREG: Right! But yeah, there was an element of her realizing this is what leadership needs to be. The idea of that balance between the masculine and the feminine, listening and action, is really important.
Congrats on directing the episode, J.B.! We asked Greg and Steve before you came out and they said you did a good job.
GREG: GREAT job. We said great job.
STEVE: The BEST job, actually.
J.B. SUGAR: They literally get paid to say that.
You'd directed other stuff on the show before and obviously behind the scenes you're the key driver. What was it like sitting in the director's chair for a full episode?
J.B.: It's a true pleasure for me to take the producer hat off and just focus on storytelling while getting to work with all of our actors. That's my true happy place. I'm super proud of them and the episode and I hope you guys all love it.
Was there something that drew you to this episode in particular, or was it just scheduling?
STEVE: It was my choice.
J.B.: We gave Steve the choice.
As always, Steve makes most of the choices behind the scenes.
J.B.: No, it was schedule-driven and story-driven, but it was more of a scheduling decision than anything. It was a happy little accident because it was a great episode for Nick and we really got to dig deep.
STEVE: I was really lucky that it was you because it was such a personal journey for me as an actor. It was the highlight of my career to this point, in terms of challenge. So to have a guy that I know so well being there as a support net for me after every take put me in a special zone that I don't think I'd been in before. It was great.
We imagine you might have needed some support shooting that love scene with Tommie-Amber. She is very sassy, was she trying to crack you up the whole time?
STEVE: She's a very funny girl. It's hard to stay serious with her but at the same time she's so passionate and such a talented actress. We had a nice relationship off-screen; she was just a very good friend of mine and I could talk to her about anything. It just makes that stuff so much easier, because a lot of the time it isn't easy. It can be awkward, stressful and tiring.
We want to ask you about that last scene. Aleister shape-shifts into Clay; what does that portend for the future? Is that a huge pivot point in the season?
J.B.: The whole episode is a big pivot point; it's the return to normalcy. The first scene is one of my favorite scenes in the entire show; seeing Clay and Elena together and happy. It's actually one of the first times we get to see Clay, and Greyston Holt, really sparkle and smile. It's also a return to normalcy for the Pack, at least temporarily.
There's a lot of fan speculation online, do you follow the online chatter?
GREG: Yeah, I love it. The fans have been so passionate and so engaged in the process that it really drives the engine in a lot of ways.
Is there a word that you would use to describe these final three episodes?
STEVE: My favorite word for these last few episodes is "Nickaige" [Nick and Paige together], or just Nic Cage.
J.B.: You're not getting invited into the writer's room anymore.