Legacies showrunner Julie Plec breaks down Jo's emotional return
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot from the Dec. 6 episode of Legacies.
Alaric finally got to say goodbye. Sixteen years after losing Jo, the love of his life and the biological mother of his twins, Alaric got a second chance to talk to her when she returned (with the help of a necromancer) for what ended up being Legacies’ most emotional hour yet. Not only did Alaric (Matthew Davis) get to bid farewell to the woman he loved, but Jo (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) also got to meet her daughters and offer them even the smallest bit of motherly advice.
EW spoke with Legacies showrunner Julie Plec about the powerful hour and what else to expect from the necromancer.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What mad you all decide to bring Jo back? Where did that idea originate?
JULIE PLEC: We knew we wanted one of our creatures to be someone who could raise the dead, and that creature remains up to no good next week. So when we thought about how could we introduce the idea of someone being raised from the dead — without needing to go down the road of one of the Original family, which comes with a ton of baggage, just logistically if nothing else — we thought, “Who do we really want to get to know better and dig more into their emotional inner lives?” For us, the answer was the twins, because we know Lizzie as this erratic, somewhat selfish wild-child mean-girl and we know Josie as this very codependent, quiet, careful girl, and to really dig into the dynamic of each of them as individuals and also as sisters felt like, what better way to do that than to introduce their mother into the story?
I loved the way that Josie in particular connected with Jo.
To me the line that sums it up so perfectly is when Josie says about Lizzie, “You’d never know she wasn’t our mom’s biological daughter, they’re so much alike.” It’s the idea of this girl who’s always sort of felt like, “I’m the one with the brown hair and the brown eyes and I’m the quiet one, and I’m not as sassy and I’m not as sparkly,” that she’s always felt slightly on the fringe of her own family, for her to meet this woman who is so clearly her biological mother was kind of awesome.
How will this experience affect Ric moving forward?
This episode makes him a little crazy, truth be told. He goes into next week’s episode with a head full of steam and vengeance on the brain, and he becomes a little unhinged in these really great ways. But it does end up putting him in a situation where he’s not necessarily behaving in the way the headmaster should. I loved seeing Ric in this light because even if you’re not a fan of The Vampire Diaries and have never watched it, all we know of Dr. Saltzman is he’s a committed dad and a committed mentor and a committed headmaster, but does this man have any love in his life? And finally we learn that he did and it was epic and he lost it, and I think that says so much about his character on this show for the new audience. And of course those of us that have loved him for 10 years get to cry along with him and remember that brief moment when he was happy.
And of course now we know where Caroline is.
Yeah, the fun of this secret that Jo mentions that Alaric and Caroline are clearly keeping is that anybody who’s never watched the sister shows until now gets to go on the ride of learning what that secret is over the course of this season, and it’s a doozy. People who are familiar can sit with the tension of knowing what’s coming in terms of these girls finally being brought into the know of what their future holds. I’m looking forward to that ride.
I really enjoyed Rafael and Hope bonding. Does that friendship continue to develop?
Yeah, these are two people who don’t really have a lot of friends and who share a mutual love for the same person who’s not there right now, and I have enjoyed seeing them bond with each other.
Penelope can also be oddly sweet about Josie.
Yeah, she’s an evil, evil person, but she does it all from a place of deep infatuation and love for our favorite Josie Saltzman, so you can love and hate her at the same time.
Going back to Vampire Diaries, Vicki died for the first time in episode 6. What do you think it is about the timing of episode 6 that makes it prime timing for a real emotional impact?
I personally feel like it would be nice to get there sooner because you don’t necessarily keep an audience for six episodes, but I don’t know why it happens that way. I think you just really need to know your characters and set the stage repeatedly so there’s a familiarity to the structure of the show before you can start yanking the rugs out from under people. The other thing too is, especially in a show like this where we didn’t have a pilot, we are learning the tone of this show as we go. From episode 1 to 6 we were figuring out what’s too funny, what’s too melodramatic, how big can we go, is there any big that’s too big? You’re doing a lot of experimenting in the beginning of a series, and by the time you hit episodes 5 and 6, you’ve locked in to really what your tone is — at least you should’ve by then. And I feel like our 5 and 6, they’re too very different episodes, but they show the tonal balance that we really like to live in: the occasional wackiness of the monsters but a beauty to the thematic elements, character-driven but still able to live in a comedic tone at times, and always try to make you cry. I think that’s our home now.
There’s a lot of talk about Landon being in New Orleans, but are we going to follow his story there?
We’re not. We’re going to hear about it off camera, but in case anybody’s wondering who he went to see, in my mind it was Vincent. He’s helping him do some bloodline spells.
What’s coming down the line in terms of new monsters?
Next week we get much deeper into the life of this necromancer fella, and he is a hilarious and evil piece of work. All I’ll tease about the future is we’ve been having a lot of fun going through our own personal wish list of what creatures we wouldn’t mind telling stories about, and sometimes they play very small roles in the episode and sometimes they’re in every scene of the episode. We haven’t run out of ideas yet, so it’s been a good run. Most of them will be familiar in some way to the audience, in that they will recognize them from some kind of lore, which is also a lot of fun.
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.