While Walter White was executing his final revengenda, CBS’ underrated drama was kicking off its fifth season with a superb episode that found Alicia (Julianna Margulies) trepidatiously moving forward with her plan to jump ship.
Below, series co-creator Robert King answers our (and your) burning questions from both the episode and the insanely spoilery promo that followed.
TVLINE | The cold open clocked in at more than 10 minutes — why so long?
Every first episode [of a season] we try to do that. You want to hang onto that audience as long as you can. And, also, for people checking in who aren’t familiar with the long arcs of the show, it gives them a little bit more to hang onto with the case. It’s like, “OK, even though you may not know everything everyone is talking about, you should stick around for this case.”
TVLINE | The music during the cold open was amazing.
Wasn’t it beautiful? That was [composer] David Buckley. We’re trying this year to have more than one template for music… He found the perfect metaphor for the episode. [It underscored] the rushing-around quality. All I kept saying was, “Rossini mixed with Bourne Identity.”
TVLINE | Where did the idea for “Skype Commuting Monica” come from?
[Laughs] There is this advertisement for Double Robotics. And they had a teleconferencing robot, which was the funniest thing I’d ever seen, because it was treated very seriously. Everyone is walking beside these Segway-like machines with iPad-shaped heads. In the ad, everyone was having fun talking to this robot, and I was like, “No. That’s not how these things work.” It was ridiculous.
TVLINE | Where did the actress shoot her scenes?
We had a little living room set off the main set. We did not do it live. We recorded her [line readings] after the fact and then edited them in.
| Some of our readers were concerned that the lack of screen time for Kalinda in the premiere is a harbinger of things to come. Can you put their minds at ease?
I would like to. I think they’re going to find that there are episodes she figures very big in, and some less so. And that is truly a function of scheduling and other difficulties. I think they’ll be happy [when they view the season as a whole]. They’ll even be happy [when they view the first] month.
TVLINE | Eli seemed particularly angry toward Melissa George’s Marilyn. What was the nature of his beef, beyond the potential conflict she posed for Peter?
He really likes Alicia. Even thought it was a relationship that started in pragmatism, he really respects her. And [Marilyn] is a pretty girl that could possibly turn the head of Peter, and he worries it will endanger [Alicia]. The other angle is he hopes to [lead] Peter to higher political office, and he knows that his shelf life will be very short if there is a return of his bimbo problem. And the third thing is he’s worried about having his own position and influence curtailed. One thing he does not have is sex appeal. He worries that someone who has a worse argument could win because they have sex appeal and can flirt their way into a “yes” response from the governor.
TVLINE | Her warning that they were making a mistake getting rid of her seemed almost like a threat. How potentially dangerous is she going to become?
She’s going to be potentially dangerous just because Melissa George is a lot of fun at playing that. But she’s also playing the realist card. When [you] terminate too many of your ethics commissioners, you will be seen as doing something shady.
TVLINE | Is Grace delighted, horrified or both at her new “hot” status?
It’s a combination. She’s stunned, because the last thing she thinks of herself as is pretty. And then there’s a growing sense of worth beneath that. She always thought Zach was the looker. So it’s odd to her but also satisfying.
TVLINE | Why is she looking at guns in the new Season 5 promo?
I can’t say.
| Speaking of the promo, Will’s reaction to finding out Alicia is leaving almost seems violent. First off, did anyone get hurt shooting that scene? It looked like some of those airborne books could take a person’s head off.
[Laughs] No. No one got hurt.
TVLINE | Was that his reaction to learning she was leaving?
I’d rather not say what that’s regarding. The audience may be surprised what that’s about.
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