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Resident Alien boss breaks down Season 1 finale, teases more hijinks, drama & Linda Hamilton in Season 2
The first chapter in the tale of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle (wonderfully played by Alan Tudyk) has officially come to an end. While we're sad to see SYFY's Resident Alien temporarily leave the airwaves, we continue to remind ourselves of those helpful words sung by the Five Stairsteps: "Ooh child, things are gonna get easier." With Season 1 of the Dark Horse-inspired series now over, SYFY WIRE caught up with creator/showrunner/executive producer Chris Sheridan for a no-holds-barred spoiler breakdown of Episode 10, "Heroes of Patience." As an added bonus, he also gave us some juicy teasers on what fans can expect from Season 2.
"For me, Harry’s journey in the first season was his observation of humanity and realizing that he’s starting to feel these emotions and feelings that make us all actual humans," Sheridan explains. "And how he is mystified at first with what that means for him and how that slowly makes him understand the things that we do and the way that we act. So, I wanted to, by the end, bring him to a place where he understood what the concept of love was in a way that he had never understood before."
**SPOILER WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Resident Alien!**
By the end of the season, Harry decides to give up his mission to kill everyone on Earth. After his extended stay on our planet, the titular alien has been set down a path of humanity. "I had always planned on getting him to love by the end, where he realizes that the feeling of love he has inside is attached to Asta [played by Sara Tomko]," Sheridan continues. "Now, I don’t see it as romantic love... but the love in friendship and the love in connection... It felt like the way to do that was the baby step of, 'He still wants to kill everybody, but maybe not this one. Maybe not Asta.' And he doesn’t want to kill her because he’s learned that he’s connected to her and she is special to him in that way."
Of course, Harry hasn't made the full transition just quite yet, as his confusion over our Earthly customs is where Sheridan and his writing team get most of their comedy from.
"We haven’t gotten to that place," he says. "I think if we ever get to that place, it’d be the end of the series. So I think right now, what I wanna do with that connection between him and Asta was just establishing him learning one of the important things about being human, which he identifies in the pilot, but doesn’t feel it until the end of Season 1. When humans work together and care for each other and defend and protect each other, that’s the greatest strength in us. He finally feels that a little bit at the end. There’s still a long way to go, but this is the beginning of it."
It's too early to tell how many seasons the show will end up running for, but Sheridan is laser-focused on the sophomore installment, which has already been greenlit.
"I have a general sense of Season 2, but I have a general sense of the series in general and I have an image in my head of what the very final scene is," he says. "But I have a little more sense of what Season 2 is... I don’t want to get too far into Seasons 3, 4, 5, or whatever because I have ideas. But at the same time, these shows are very organic and ever-changing. There’s gonna be things I do or we come up with in the writers’ room in Season 2 that are gonna dictate what happens in Seasons 3 and 4. So, I have some ideas, but I’m not locked into anything and we’ll see where it goes."
That said, the showrunner is able to confirm that Season 2 will explain why the real Harry (also played by Tudyk) murdered Sam Hodges. DUN! DUN! DUN! Sam's wife, Abigail (Deborah Finkel), was innocent after all, and now we don't have to feel so bad about the OG Harry being thrown into a frozen lake.
"I always knew that at the end of Season 1, we would find out who did it. In Season 2, we’ll explore why," the showrunner teases. "We’ll get a sense of what was going on in the town, who the players were, what drove this guy to this place where he had to kill the town doctor. A little bit of the underbelly of these quintessential, small towns that seem so nice from a distance, but then when you dig in, there’s always mischief going on. Trying to explore that a little bit with Harry, but also with some of the other characters as well. That’s at least partially what Season 2 is gonna be. And then there’ll be an alien story in Season 2 that I’m currently figuring out."
Despite being based on the aforementioned comic book of the same name, Resident Alien will continue to deviate from the source material in its second season.
"I think [comic creators] Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse did such an incredible job with that," Sheridan says. "I’ve changed the television show enough from the comic that I don’t necessarily want the dynamic of ‘There’s a new murder every season’… I don’t think that’s what this show wants to be. That being said, there are some really cool things in those comics that I do want to pull into the show. There’s one in particular that I’m pretty sure I’m gonna do in the second season, but I do not wanna tell you which one it is. But there are elements. There’s nothing for a whole season arc, but a couple-episode arc or something. There’s some great storytelling in those comics and I want to utilize that as much as I can."
OK, let's really get down to the spoilers now. In addition to human Harry being revealed as the murderer, there were a few other threads left dangling by the end of the finale. Here's what Sheridan has to say about them, in his own words...
Max being stuck on Harry's spaceship
"Yeah, he’s sort of stuck, isn’t he? Look, Season 2 could either be he’s now living on his planet with Max [Judah Prehn] or he’s back on Earth. It’s not gonna be much of a spoiler to say he has to bring Max back. So, he is gonna bring Max back, but he’s coming back to a world where the walls are closing in on him a little bit more.
"Sheriff Mike [Corey Reynolds] and Deputy Liv [Elizabeth Bowen] are a little bit more on his case now, as we saw in Episode 10. They’re a little more suspicious of him. It’s a little too weird that the foot, doorknob, and boot were found right outside of Harry’s cabin. They’re suspicious of the guy and they’re gonna be looking into it a little closer, so he’s coming back to a world where things are not going to be so easy for him. So, I think that’s part of what we’re gonna watch as far as his journey moving forward."
Asta & Jay's relationship
"I think it’s an interesting dynamic. Asta wants to be really close with Jay [Kaylayla Raine], but there’s a little baggage with Asta and it’s hard for Jay. Is she her mom? Is she her friend? Is she her boss? It’s uncomfortable.
"And here comes D’Arcy [Alice Wetterlund], who’s someone that can Jay can open up to. And so, you’re gonna have Jay and D’Arcy teaming up a little bit and I think you’re gonna have some jealousy from Asta where she looks at the closeness D’Arcy has with Jay and wishes she could have it for herself. And maybe that leads to some difficulty or some friction in Asta and D’Arcy’s relationship because D’Arcy has something that Asta wants... Hopefully they can get to a place where they can work together as friends and work through their issues.
"D’Arcy and Asta are lifelong friends and they have a really strong connection. But as we know, in life with our closest friends, we still have rifts and we still have things that we can get jealous of and I think this is gonna be a little bit of a challenging time for Asta. But one thing was solved for D’Arcy: She thought Asta was lying to her this whole time about something, she didn’t know what it was and now at least thinks it was the secret about Jay.
"She doesn’t know the real secret [that Harry is an alien]. But from D’Arcy’s standpoint, she’s fine. She’s there for Jay and wants to help this girl. As she said to Ben on the bench, she felt like a failure. She felt like she’s never done anything or amount[ed] to anything. She was in the Olympics and then crashed and burned and now she’s nothing and just wants to matter to somebody. And here’s somebody who needs her and she likes the feeling of it. I think she’s going to continue taking care of Jay, and Asta’s probably gonna get a little jealous of that."
Doctor Ethan getting kidnapped
"They have a human who they think is an alien, who’s not an alien. At some point, they’re going to realize that he’s not an alien or at least think that he’s hiding it very well. I wouldn’t want to be Dr. Ethan right now because I think he’s being poked and prodded quite a bit, but all I can say is that we have Linda Hamilton [as General Eleanor Wright].
"We didn’t get a chance to explore her character that much in Season 1 because she didn’t have a lot of screen time. I would like to make her more of a three-dimensional character in Season 2. I don’t foresee myself building up the government aspect more than what we had in the first season. I think the balance was pretty good. I don’t want it to be a show that just lives with this government conspiracy. I think this show lives with the town and its people.
"That being said, Linda Hamilton, Mandell Maughan [Lisa Casper], and Alex Barima [David Logan] are all great actors. I wanna be able to utilize them as much as possible. In Season 1, the government came after Harry. Maybe there’s a scenario in Season 2 [where] it’s reversed and maybe he finds himself having to go after them. So we’ll see."
The general working outside of the government's jurisdiction
"I’m not a huge conspiracy theorist, but I think that there’s a lot of things in play that we don’t know about. I think there’s a lot more going on than we’ll ever know, and that’s what I wanted to lean into.
"In the writers’ room, we’re always trying to twist the tropes a little bit and try to do a different version of a Men in Black in our show with Casper and Logan and their dynamic. I think, going into Season 2, I want to be able to twist this concept of the government… whatever this secret government who’s after aliens. Figure out what the tropes are with that, figure out the cliche of that and try to put that on its head, and try to do something different.
"So, in the writers’ room this year, we’re gonna explore how to twist that and make it feel fresh. And at the center of that is Linda Hamilton, of course, who’s amazing and that’s why I really want to get into her character and put her in the center on that. I think there’s a lot more going on than we know about. There’s a lot more going on — even more than Logan, with his military background, could ever imagine."
All 10 episodes of Resident Alien's first season are now available on the SYFY app. The app is free to download, and viewers can either connect to their cable subscriber to access the full content or sign up for an NBCUniversal profile and use up to three free credits. Episodes 1-5 are free to watch on Peacock.