ABC’s midseason drama Resurrection, about small-town Arcadia, Missouri, that has an influx of dead residents return in the exact state as when they died, has been reviving some new life into Sunday nights. While the drama was originally billed as a limited series, it has a strong possibility of returning for a second season. Resurrection has averaged 12.8 million total viewers and a 3.7 in adults 18-49 over the past seven episodes.
Ahead of the season finale Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, EW sat down with showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters to discuss what we can expect from Sunday’s episode, where the show is headed in a potential second season, and why the concept of returning from the dead is resonating with viewers. Plus, watch an exclusive clip from the finale below where Rachael (Kathleen Munroe) sees her newly dead body in the morgue and reveals the state of her pregnancy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is the show coming back for another season?
MICHELE FAZEKAS: We are hopeful for a second season. We have no official word, but we’re operating as if there will be a second season.
Will the finale have a cliffhanger, then?
FAZEKAS: It’s safe to say there is a very big cliffhanger reveal at the end of this episode. It’s worth the wait.
TARA BUTTERS: There’s big things that happen.
Can you tease the plot of the finale as much as possible?
FAZEKAS: We ended episode 7 with indications that there was a mass return of people from all different time frames. So now, this tiny town is trying to deal with “What do we do with all these people?”
BUTTERS: Bellamy is trying to figure out “How do I do damage control?”
FAZEKAS: “How do I keep this quiet and protect these people?” But he’s started to realize, “I don’t think I can do this alone.” So he will have to reach out to his boss for help even though there is a risk to that. But he trusts her enough that he does that.
BUTTERS: It’s about the ramifications. Episode 8 is sort of the aftermath of this mass return and basically what it does to our characters’ lives and the different directions it throws them all into.
So when we left off in the last episode, Rachael returned from the dead again. What does this mean?
FAZEKAS: I think we’re setting up the rules of this world and one of the rules is…”Can you kill a returned?” We established in episode 5 that the returned can disappear, they can vanish. Things of this world cannot at this point destroy them. Whatever she is back for can’t be changed by things of the physical world.
Is there a reason several returned started coming back all of a sudden?
BUTTERS: That will hopefully play out into another season. This is so much about: Where does this one event send all of our characters and where do we leave them?
FAZEKAS: As much as our characters think they can understand what’s going on and think they have a handle on how this is going to go, it is constantly surprising them. And whatever they think they figured out, something else happens that will undermine that. In the effort to control the situation is that part that you can’t control this.
Will Caleb Richards (Sam Hazeldine) return? And will you explain why he disappeared?
FAZEKAS: Caleb won’t be back in this season. [Why he disappeared] that won’t be answered. The answer is there for people who are looking. That’s a big part of the whole, kind of, story of this world. “Why do they come back and why do they leave” is really sort of the central question of the show. If you answer that, you are ending the show.
BUTTERS: It’s something we hope to explore in a second season.
Will these returned have something to do with curing disease, as we saw in the lab with the Leukemia cells?
BUTTERS: That’s an interesting byproduct of Jacob and the returned. I think we’ll see in a second season where that goes.
FAZEKAS: It’s not why they’re back, but it’s not unrelated.
Will we find out why they are so hungry? Any hints to why that is?
FAZEKAS: Not in the season finale.
What are some answers we will get?
FAZEKAS: It’s not a coincidence that Agent Bellamy (Omar Epps) is involved in this world.
BUTTERS: For me, seeing Sheriff Fred and where he ends up in the final episode is, I think, one of my favorite things about episode 8. And his story arc from the beginning until now. And I also think that there’s how these relationships have grown and changed through the course of the eight episodes; there is a good climax.
Will there be any romance between Bellamy and Maggie (Devin Kelley)?
FAZEKAS: We really like their relationship. Certainly, they aren’t going to be making out in a car somewhere. We do see the intensity of their relationship as things get more intense in the town.
Are we going to delve a little more into Maggie’s mom and why she’s been hiding out?
FAZEKAS: We will absolutely get a very good picture of what she’s up to.
It seems like Jacob knows more than other people, is that part of the story?
FAZEKAS: I think we’ve always tried to be consistent about, throughout these eight episodes, that the returned people have a connection with other returned. Even if they don’t recognize what that connection is or understand why they feel things they feel, it’s just sort of a sense that they have, specific to other people who are returned.
Will we find out why Arcadia?
FAZEKAS: Not in this episode.
If there is a second season where would the story go? Would it expand out of Arcadia?
FAZEKAS: I feel like we never want to get bigger than the show is. The desire will always be to keep within Arcadia. As much as we are talking about big ideas and sort of monumental things that are happening. At the end of the day, the show is about the people that are in it. The show is about the Langston family, the show is about Jacob, the show is about Bellamy. And we never forget that. As much as it’s about big things, it’s also about these small quiet moments.
BUTTERS: Our tendency is to really keep it emotional. And I think the emotional stories lie within these families.
Why do you think these types of shows resonate with viewers?
FAZEKAS: We just started talking to a couple other writers about the show and about what works and what doesn’t work and what people connect with and what to do in a second season. There have been a lot of shows that have antiheroes – you know, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The lead is flawed and doing bad things but you still root for him. What I love about Bellamy is he is pretty earnest, and he’s a believer. He sort of reminds me of Mulder (David Duchovny) from the X-Files – Tara and I were assistants on the X-Files. He’s searching for the truth. I think there is something refreshing about the sort of hopefulness of this show. And the possibilities and what this could mean.
BUTTERS: We all have family relationships whether it is someone who’s passed on or someone we ended a relationship with, you question whether or not you could have done something different. And these people in our world are given a rare opportunity to see what would happen if they did something different. There’s a wish-fulfillment element to that, that I think resonates.
What has been your favorite episode?
BUTTERS: I have so many favorite moments…I love the moment between Bellamy and Caleb in the jail. And sort of the intertwining of Bellamy’s backstory with Caleb. Or there’s a scene in episode eight between Sheriff Fred…
FAZEKAS: And the Langstons, where they finally confront in the most visceral, raw way, all the stuff that has been percolating beneath the surface with Fred and how he feels about the returned and how he feels about Jacob, but it’s really about how he feels about his wife. It all comes to a head. It’s a brutal moment…the performances are so good and so raw, I’m really excited about that scene. Episodes 5 through 8, you feel like you’re on the ride to the end. Big things happen. We’re sort of all driving toward the final scene in the end. The final scene was something we had had in our heads for a long time so it came out really nicely.
Resurrection airs this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.