We’ve made it through Rabbit Hole Season 1 with a remarkably clean exit
John Weir and his new team successfully ended Crowley’s reign… we think. The truth is that with as many redirects and false leads the show delivers, even Ben could have mistaken the fella in the chair for his old pal.
We had a chance to talk with series creators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa about that, their thoughts on the season, the finale, and what might be next.
Congrats on a great season and a finale that wrapped up a lot. The misdirects with the kidnapped woman and Madi’s wife, and Liv were so well done.
I had no idea what was going on, but when Liv was hardly affected by being kidnapped, I thought she was more than just John’s wife. Still, I didn’t expect her to be somebody else entirely! How did all of that come together?
Glenn: That was always part of the plan for the season, that reveal that she was posing as his ex-wife because John always knew that they would come for the family. I would love to go into the history of that relationship in a further season and how they’ve worked together before.
That would be good because it seems like it’s a pretty incredible story.
John: Yeah, we had a much bigger story for their path worked out that we didn’t have the time to do in the season, but it would be fun to see some of that. And then real life and how things fell apart.
What was it like watching the discussions surrounding the show? As I said, I had no idea what was going on half the time. I always knew that something was going to come and change things up, but I never quite guessed what those things were going to be. What was it like seeing the audience’s reaction?
Glenn: I was really glad to read the audience reaction that a lot of the misdirects were working and that people, we always intended all that stuff to be fun.
So people were having fun and were genuinely surprised and kept saying things like, ‘I usually know where these kinds of shows are going, and this thing keeps surprising me.’ I am very happy that the intention was realized.
I also have to say I was very surprised that Crowley’s arc was wrapped by the end of the season. Why did you decide to kick him to the curb just when we met him?
John: Our feeling from the very beginning, just in the conceptual process stage of this thing, we really felt like it was important to make a complete story that doesn’t leave the audience with a thousand questions and hanging on to the next season. We wanted it to be more like a movie and less like a TV show.
We wanted the audience to think that Ben potentially was Crowley for the majority of the season. The vast majority of the, once we introduced him, we wanted to get rid of him. We wanted to be a satisfying conclusion and for the audience to walk away and then fall in love, but fall in love with the characters at that point.
That the journey of the characters has been so satisfying to the audience that in future seasons, if there are future seasons they’ll come back because they love these people.
I mean, to kind of put a milestone on the relationship between John and Ben was important, but you never know. It’s been a long time since Ben and Crowley saw each other.
Well, during the final phone call, when Ben takes Crowley’s earbud and puts it in his ear, the look on Charles Dance’s face said to me that Ben knew who was on the other end. I was surprised. Did I misread that, or was I right?
Glenn: That’s the thing. Is it who Crowley’s working for, or is it Crowley? I think those are genuine questions. I
think ultimately Crowley is part of something bigger, which is a movement of global, sort of super-rich that kind of operates on their own level. I think they’re out there, and whether or not Crowley is still alive, I think that sort of enemy and that movement is afoot.
I have to say, I think it’s just perfect timing that we’re talking today on the day that Facebook settled for a significant but not so significant amount of money for sharing user data. Do you feel like you made the point at all?
Glenn: Did they? I didn’t see
Glenn: How much?
It was only 725 million, which given the scope, doesn’t seem like that big of a deal for Facebook.
John: Was it for Cambridge Analytics? Was it for the Cambridge Analytics thing?
I think so. I don’t know for sure. I just taught my Internet’s down today, so I’ve been catching things in bits and pieces, but it’s whatever the lawsuit was waiting for a settlement, and that’s what the number they arrived at.
Do you feel like you’ve made the point about our privacy?
John: We feel like it’s a huge story and a big deal in our lives that don’t, a vulnerability that we’ve sort of exposed ourselves to, and people fully understand it. We’ve been talking about it to ourselves for a long time. But this, it’s the perfect subject.
If you want to do an analog through the ’70s espionage thriller in the modern era, back then, it was Watergate and the loss of faith in institutions.
But now that we have to be talking about data, you know, used to have to stick microphones on walls, and now people will sell them all your data, all your information or give it to or just give it to them.
Glenn: Yeah, exactly. So I mean, it’s a perilous time, and we get caught. We seem to be caught up in a lot of other stuff, and a lot of the left-right divide seems to consume us. But this is happening right now, and maybe in the future, when we look back on this time, it’ll be perceived as being a bigger deal.
I think that what people like to say, if they’re of a mind to be thinking about data, is that everything that goes on left and right is just camouflage for the bigger story, which is something like the fact that data is the next big piece of the world domination puzzle.
I really liked how those scenes unfolded in the studio whenever they were piecing together data from all of those different apps, especially DNA testing and medical records for anxiety. That just scared to pants off me.
Glenn: Yeah, I think people should be scared. Yeah. You can’t trust mean when does any corporation mean trustworthy ever? The idea that we do this and expect them to just give it for what they say they’re using it for is, and this is all based on common knowledge stuff.
We didn’t have special access to anything. This is ancestry.com. People use data not just to give you your family trade. That data’s analyzed for medical and health. And even if it’s anonymous, it doesn’t mean it’s not able to engineer it back to the source.
Very good point.
Glenn: It just takes the wrong person.
So if the show continues, is data going to be the throughline for all of the seasons?
Glenn: I don’t know how much farther we can go with that, but I guess anything is possible, but I don’t think it’s going to be the primary focus. Some others, other things in the world, I’m sure.
What other things in the world do you can imagine could make it?
Glenn: Well, I think because of energy and the shifting fans of energy and the world and what the power center is going to be.
If we’re coming really seriously getting off of oil, what’s that look like? What’s that world going to look like? And more importantly, who the people that want to get involved in that and influence us to go down that path is that reason.
I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how to make this massive demographic shift that’s happening in the world right now entertaining and fit for TV.
Because I just think it’s probably the story of our lifetime is this demographic shift of a huge portion of the population moving into the elderly status and being less engaged with the economy and consuming less, and how that’s going to have effect politically and socially and on and on and on.
I think it’s a huge story, but you know, you have to make it entertaining because you don’t want to want it to feel like school. That was our big thing about this show; it can’t feel like school. It has to be poppy and entertaining and fun and twisty and fun. I said fun twice; that’s how important it was to us.
Who’s your favorite character to write for? Do each of you have one, and who is it?
Glenn: My two favorites are Ben and Edward Hong. Yeah, they’re just fun. They’re interesting people. And I mean Charles, it’s just a thrill to get to write with Charles Dance. He does get a lot of exposition, but that’s because he’s so good at making it interesting.
John: Charles Dance would say to us, “Another speech. How can you do this to me?” Then we roll the camera, and he’s absolutely brilliant. We’re like, that’s how we do it to you. We’re going to do it to you again because you’re good, so good.
It’s interesting you like both Charles Dance and Rob Hand and their characters because they have such different styles of delivering their lines.
Charles Dance is the eloquent speech giver, and then you have Yang as Homm, who kind of jumps around in his thoughts and can’t always get them out, but you always know what he’s trying to say.
John: Yeah, yeah, he’s fun because he’s the kind of guy who is finding himself and revealing himself to the audience. So it is just always interesting because when he first meets him, he’s bland and mild-mannered, so just exploring the edges of his life was really fun.
How far has John come this season in how he’s going to deal with things going forward? Is he always going to be going down a rabbit hole, or do you think he has a handle on himself now that he’s got a new team and a new Valence in Hailey?
Glenn: No, I think it’s not something that happens to him often, and it certainly happened in the past, and I think it would take pretty extreme events to get it to happen again for him to lose control of it.
So I think there’s a potential that it happened again, but I also think he’s a little more equipped, and now he has someone to fill that role of someone who can get them through things like that after losing Val.
Rabbit Hole Season 1 is now streaming in its entirely on Paramount+.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.