Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen Sunday’s episode of The Librarians, head to a different page immediately.
It’s taken three seasons, but The Librarians’ Cassandra Cillian no longer has anything to (currently) worry about: The life-threatening tumor that once resided in her brain has now been taken out.
Sunday’s episode saw the young Librarian finally get the much-required surgery after collapsing in a fight with some evil vampires looking to for a solution to allow them to walk in the sun. But this was not before her inner battle with mortality saw her ask fellow Librarian, Jenkins, out on a date… which he declined.
Ahead, EW catches up with actress Lindy Booth to talk about her character’s big hour.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What does it mean for Cassandra to finally have this tumor taken care of?
LINDY BOOTH: Well, it’s a lot. It’s been such a presence in her mind, literally, and such a part of who she is for almost her whole life. At the beginning of this season when [executive producer] Dean Devlin and I sat down to talk about the character, one of the things that was important to both of us was really addressing this, and bringing it to the forefront again, because it was so much a part of her story at the beginning. Clearly, it still affects her, but it’s not been something that she talks about all the time. It’s not how she is trying to define herself.
It’s a really hard thing to handle, especially on a show like this. We’re obviously dealing with a very real problem, a terminal diagnosis. To be able to have it on The Librarians, which is such a lighthearted and goofy show, [while] figuring out how we were going to portray this in the most sensitive and realistic way, was really hard. But our writers did such an incredible job. That idea of mortality versus immortality and her struggle to walk through the stages of grief the way she did, the way that we get to see her processing it was a really, just a beautiful roadmap, and a very simple way of portraying a very complex emotion.
Throughout the whole episode, Cassandra was worried that she would lose her abilities, and it almost seemed like she did in the end. Was that a possibility? Or did you know that it was going to be enhanced like that?
That was an idea that came up very early. I don’t think we really talked about losing her powers. A lot of what this season has been about has been Baird’s quest to push the Librarians towards the future versions of themselves that she saw at the end of season one. I have this vision of Cassandra in the red gown with the dragons flying around her in this sort of post-apocalyptic world, that I’ve always looked at as where Cassandra’s going to be. I have always kept that in mind, so very early on that became a thing that we were definitely going to enhance the gift, as opposed to lose it completely, which is exciting for me, because it’s so much fun to play.
In terms of magic, this whole season Cassandra’s been very pro using it. Is that something she’ll be exploring more in the next few episodes?
Cassandra’s always had this great affinity toward magic. She’s the one out of all of them that leaped into it open-heartedly, as she does to almost everything. She’s always just really embraced it and been attracted to it. And this episode, we see such a powerful reason why. Because when people are given a terminal diagnosis, and told, “There’s nothing left we can do,” people don’t get to rely on magic. In this world, this character has all of a sudden been given this information that she can rely on magic, that it might save her. Part of her belief is tied to that. That’s why we see her throwing herself at Jenkins, being like, “You’re the only one who can save me.” Because this idea of mortality, and he’s immortal, and he’s the only one who could save her, in her eyes, is a very real possibility. I don’t know what’s coming next season, but now that her gift has grown even more, it creates endless possibilities and big, open doors.
A lot of fans ship her with Ezekiel or Jacob, so I was surprised to see her actually have an attraction to Jenkins. What do you think it is she sees in him?
Part of this Jenkins relationship, I fully admit, is Lindy putting her input into it. I love John Larroquette so much. He is one of my comedy heroes. I watched Night Court growing up. I love him. He is the most wonderful person to work with. And I think he’s super sexy. When people started asking me who I saw Cassandra being shipped with, I was like, “Jenkins.” I was sort of half-joking, half-serious. But when we started talking about this episode and just mortality versus immortality, the Jenkins conversation came up again, and it was like, “No, that’s why she loves him!” It all fell into place. Although there is this clearly intellectual connection there, and he’s a father figure to the whole group, and she’s never had anyone like that in her life, but also he’s a very handsome man and she loves him and what he does for the Library. There’s a great deal of respect there. But also this idea that he has everything that she doesn’t. She is going to die, and he’s going to live forever. That idea of wanting something that you can’t have, or that somehow he could protect her and be the one to save her, is really appealing. I understood that love, and I understood being so overwhelmed by grief that you don’t know what to do. And to turn to him seems, to me, so logical. I would turn to John Larroquette to save me any day.
He does save her at the end there. Will we see him reciprocate her feelings in the next few episodes, or is it officially over?
He gives his reason why he can’t save her, why he can’t make her immortal. That’s pretty powerful. He says he can’t do anything because of these feelings that he has for his long-lost love. Cassandra respects that. Even in that scene where they have this confrontation, she understands that it’s something bigger than her, and it’s not about her. He does save her and get her to the hospital. In a way, he is her knight in shining armor. But that’s enough. I’ll still always love John Larroquette.
There’s also Estrella. Do you think that’s something Cassandra might pursue in the future? Or was this a one-off thing where they had this brief time together?
I don’t know. That relationship, to me, was so beautiful. Cassandra says to her at the end, “You did save me.” There’s a beautiful thought there, that this is a person who looked at Cassandra and didn’t see her gift, or weirdness. Didn’t see her illness. Just saw her for who she was, and reached out and made a real emotional and loving connection. That’s probably the first time that’s really happened to Cassandra, and so that relationship is really special and beautiful. I hope people feel that at the end of the episode, too.
It also parallels what happened with Flynn and his vampire girlfriend.
Exactly. Way to take it back! It’s funny, working with Noah [Wyle] as a director, I don’t think we even brought that up.
What can we expect for Cassandra in the next couple of episodes?
Well, we’re getting very close to the end. For Cassandra one of the things is there’s this whole new groundedness to her. You see in that last scene with Estrella where she does seem to have this centeredness, unlike any way we’ve seen her before. Part of that is that this great weight that’s been living inside of her her whole life is now gone and she’s ready to focus on what lies ahead, which is this battle between good and evil that we’ve been talking about all season. There’s a focus there now and a readiness to really commit to that. Her battle is over, but the bigger battle has only just begun.
The Librarians airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.