After decades marred by death and demonic forces, why would anyone in their right mind ever reopen Camp Stillwater?
That’s what Dead of Summer finally aims to answer during Tuesday’s episode, in which viewers will finally get more insight into who Deb (Elizabeth Mitchell) is and what she really knows about the monsters that go bump in the night.
While Mitchell stays mum on that latter topic — though we know Deb was a former camper — the Lost and Once Upon a Time alum reveals that Deb’s motivations are very relatable. “All women come up against this at different parts of their lives, which is that I’ve made all these choices in my life and I’ve gone down all these roads, and sometimes in your 20s and maybe even early 30s, you’re like, ‘I’ll just throw it at the wall and see if it sticks,'” she says.”Deb ended up in a situation and a marriage where she was like, ‘How did I get here? This isn’t anyone who I wanted to be. Now I’m here and I don’t know how to not be this person anymore.'”
A very tragic moment in Deb’s past then serves as the catalyst that brings her back to Stillwater. “In her mind, she’s able to say, ‘Hey, I can go back. I can go back to that road that I didn’t take, and take that road and everything is going to be great,” Mitchell explains. “It’s one of the reasons why when everything is going horribly wrong, she goes, ‘Everything is fine, it has to be fine, this is my new road, I’ve cut off the other road. I can’t go back that way!’ There’s sadness there because she was trying to go back and be who she wanted to be, and so far has been unable to. It’s a bit of a tragedy, of course. We’re dealing with Adam [Horowitz] and Eddy [Kitsis], it’s got to be tragic on a Greek scale.”
The Deb-centric episode picks up in the wake of Cricket’s (Amber Coney) death, which sends everyone in the camp reeling — both on screen and off. “It’s the worst,” Mitchell says. “There’s a tremendous sadness. It’s such a preventable thing. It’s so strange to think of the wilderness expert being the one caught with her head in a bear trap.”
“She was my favorite character,” Mitchell continues. “I read it and was like, ‘What?!’ The episode before, Amber said, ‘I have a feeling my character is going to die.’ I said, ‘Oh God, I hope not,’ and then of course that’s exactly what happened. I remember thinking, ‘No, no, no, not her.’ She’s the most lovable. She’s your way in. We’re all not okay. Of course, Amber is completely fine. She knows she’s going to come back in some way, shape, or form, because that’s how these shows go. But it was quite a shock.”
Despite the recent reveal that not everything we’ve seen on the show has really happened — Joel (Eli Goree) didn’t actually sleep with Deb, for instance — Cricket truly is dead. “What we learned from that particular episode is that we can’t trust anyone’s perspective, really, because they’re all being messed with,” Mitchell says. “We don’t really know what’s real and what’s not real, which I think is really interesting. It’s almost like you have to look for the clues as to what’s real and what’s not.”
“All the things from Joel’s prospective about Deb, we don’t even know which of those are true and which aren’t,” Mitchell continues. “So all of a sudden, with this creepy women who is taking advantage of this kid, none of that is true. Then we have to think, ‘Who is she?’ How do we feel about her now? Is she just who she is? This whole entire slant about how things are is from a flawed prospective.”
We’ll find out much more about who Deb actually is during this week’s episode of Dead of Summer, which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Freeform.