Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Review season 2 finale.
The end of Review‘s stellar second season was more Thelma & Louise than Workaholics. In “Conspiracy Theory,” Forrest digs into the idea that maybe, just maybe his endeavors to experience and critique life aren’t selected by chance. After scrounging together suspect clues, Forrest challenges his producer Grant (James Urbaniak), who insists he and the world need Forrest to continue his great work.
That relief lasts as long as it would for anybody when they find out a bounty hunter is hot on your trail. Forrest and Grant clash on a desert bridge to argue. Upon the bounty hunter’s arrival, he begins to fling Grant over the bridge and into the water to flee… even though the hired gun’s weapon is filled with paintballs, not bullets. Once more, Forrest is on the run — with Grant on the lam, too.
EW chatted with star and co-creator Andy Daly about season 2, how Forrest’s depression and his lady-killing ways.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I hope you reserved every combination of “FindForrest” email addresses given the finale.
ANDY DALY: I believe that is the case, yes. But I think it was one of those things where it was very late in the process, and we’re about to put on the final touches on this episode where I sent an email to somebody saying, “Hey, do we own that email address?” [laughs] Our editor wrote back saying, “I have just acquired it.”
How early on did you plan to have the season end the confrontation with Grant?
From the beginning, actually. As a matter of fact — a little piece of trivia — that was how we were going to end season 1, believe it or not. But it seemed a little too extreme, a little too crazy. The whole conspiracy theory concept seemed a little too meta in season 1. So we changed that up, but we always had it in our back pocket as something to do, and we revisited for season 2.
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It seemed to have been a necessary development, given Forrest’s descent into madness. When the season 1 ending was determined, with Forrest’s rejection of the show, was it to make him not seen completely crazy?
The way we ended season 1, we were sort of thinking, “Let’s give it an ending that could be the ending of the series,” because we were feeling like this show about a 40-something nerd in a jacket and tie with a wife and kid that he cares about who talks about his experiences in an academic style might not exist in real life [laughs]. We had put in orgies and car crashes and all kinds of insanity. We were really asking the audience to appreciate the juxtaposition of the jacket and tie and the insanity —totally sure that that was going to happen.
So we chose to end the [first] season when A.J. Gibbs (Megan Stevenson) gives Forrest an out. He does the right thing, finally. He makes the only good decision we’ve ever seen him make, really: to punch-out Grant and to runaway from the show and to run back to his wife and try to put his marriage back together. That was an uplifting ending for that.
Then we found out we were back for season 2 [laughs] and like, well, we decided that Suzanne ultimately did not take him back, and he had no where else to go but the show, setting his self up for another string of horrible decisions.
When Forrest presents the conspiracy to Suzanne, she replies, “The only person you need to be afraid of is yourself,” and Grant says, “I need you! Why do I want you dead?” There are all these signs he’s losing it, but did you flirt with Forrest being right?
Absolutely, yes. One thing that I find interesting, and I hope fun, about that season finale is it’s not quite clear what Forrest is right about and what he’s wrong about. When he says, “Wait a minute, I don’t think these reviews are being randomly chosen,” I think most people in the audience are gonna go, “Duh! I don’t think they are either!”
It seems like he’s right that Grant is malevolent, but is he right that Grant wants to kill him? Is he right that Grant ultimately wants to see the death of Forrest as something that occurs on this show? I don’t know. I’m sure he’s wrong about the Gretchen theory [laughs]. We have definitely considered that there are some ways in which Forrest is right, some ways in which Forrest is wrong and, in general, we’re comfortable with some question marks hanging in the air at the end of the season.
When there are scenes in “Murder; Magic 8 Ball; Procrastination” where Grant tells Forrest with an expression, “We are not telling you kill anybody,” there’s right to question how much Grant truly cares about Forrest’s well being.
Yeah. It sure seems in that scene like he wants Forrest to go kill somebody, even though he’s specifically saying, “Do not do it!”
And after Forrest breaks down in “Conspiracy Theory,” Grant turns him toward the camera in an act of “I kind of care about you, but this could be award-winning television.”
I think that’s an important and very telling moment. I believe that was a creation of Jeff Blitz, our director who runs the show with me. I think he had that idea that there would be a repositioning for cameras to get these tears on camera [laughs]. It tells us an important thing about Grant.
It’s hard to believe season 2 was darker than season 1. Forrest is almost using the show as a coping mechanism. How dark of a place is he in?
I think it couldn’t really get darker [laughs], you know? I think he’s in a totally dark place. I think killing somebody for the show — even though he’s been tangentially involved in other deaths, God knows — this was the one that really kind of broke him. Then, of course, his dad leaves him. Suzanne really seems to be putting up a wall. He’s sort of at the end of his rope there. I think that’s why he takes leave of his senses and seems to go kind of insane in this episode.
Max Gail was the big addition to the cast, playing Forrest’s dad. What was biggest thing he brought to the season?
Believe it or not, I saw a clip of him on YouTube where he’s giving a personal testimony about a product that’s helpful to [children with ADHD]. And he was so sweet and so personable and just seemed like such a nice, sweet person that I thought that’s exactly what Forrest’s dad needs to be — somebody who is incredibly indulgent and patient and believes in his son no matter what. It felt like such a wonderful element to add into the mix here. Max brings that sweetness 100 percent, but also he’s such a wonderful, grounded actor, that when you give him speeches like his Vietnam War speech, it’s so absurd, but he grounds it so beautifully. Then, of course, his final speech in the prison episode is so perfect.
Was there anything you wish you had gotten in this season?
I am very satisfied with how it turned out. I’m thrilled with the response to it. Of course, you work so hard on something and put it out there and worry. Every week, I worry, “Is this the one that people are going to reject?” To see tweets and comments and reviews and write-ups every week like, “Oh my god, it gets better and better!” is incredibly satisfying to me.
We did have a wall of reviews last season that we didn’t get to, so there’s a whole bunch of things that we could revisit in the future, but I can’t think of a single regret I have about season 2.
The only thing I wanted to see was a cut to the Veto Booth, but having it unused, and continuing Forrest’s trend in having a new girlfriend each episode.
[laughs] We sort of structured the season as the first half of season, Forrest is trying to build a new life and failing. The second half of the season, he’s trying to rebuild his old life and failing. But yeah, he could have had a new girlfriend in every episode. He already, having that many new girlfriends in the first half of the season, I think you begin to wonder what is so magical about him [laughs].