[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Alcatraz. Read at your own risk.]
Alcatraz's two-hour season finale left viewers thunderstruck after fan-favorite heroine Rebecca (Sarah Jones) met her demise at the hands of her grandfather (David Hoflin). The powers that be behind the '63s' disappearance were also revealed to be the Warden (Jonny Coyne) and a mysterious unidentified man who, TVGuide.com has learned, is actually named Mr. K (Matt Craven).
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On top of all that, it turns out there are two factions of '63s working together. Their motives? Still mostly unknown. So what happens if Fox doesn't renew the series and we don't get the answers to the new mysteries raised? We turned to executive producer Daniel Pyne to get the scoop:
How are you guys feeling about the chances of a second season?
Daniel Pyne: I don't know. I wish the numbers had been better last night. I mean they weren't terrible. But we keep just slipping a little bit, which I'm not wild about. Is it the night we're on? is it the competition we're up against? Are people DVR'ing it because they know that we're up against two live shows that it doesn't do any good to DVR because you'll know the results the next day? Is it they're losing interest? I don't know. I felt like we gave it our best shot though last night. I thought both episodes showed the breadth of the show and the potential for where it can go. It's kind of exploded now. It can go so many different directions and so many things can happen. It's very exciting.
Should the series get renewed, is there anything you guys are already planning to keep audiences tuned in every week?
Pyne: More of what we've been doing toward the end. We're finding a way to marry the mythology and the A story by creating conspiracies, criminal conspiracies and multiple agendas for the '63s that we didn't have the opportunity to do before. It allows the audience to invest in a greater way in the A story. Occasionally, we can still do the guy who comes back who's just crazy and you've got to catch him before he wreaks havoc. But I feel like it's much more satisfying when you see characters who you have heard about or you know before; to figure out where Harlan (Steven Grayhm) is, who's with him, who's against him and what happened between Harlan and the Warden. You have all these questions that are present-day questions that merge with the past. I think that will engage not just our core audience, but will also make for more emotionally resonant shows going forward.
It's tough when you have to protect the city from the bad guy, but you want to have stories that are about characters interacting with each other. That was the rich thing about having Tommy Madsen come back. You wonder what he's doing, and everyone's invested in him. Lucy (Parminder Nagra) has a relationship with him, Hauser (Sam Neill) and Doc (Jorge Garcia) know who he is. All of that stuff leading to this moment that we have set up, which is this fateful moment of he's not a good guy, apparently. What Ray (Robert Forster) predicted might happen, happens. So, that was all fun.
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Not for those who fear Rebecca is actually dead!
Pyne: But now you have the question of what really did happen to her parents. What does Ray know? Or was it a lie? Did he do it to distract her and stab her? Is it true or not? It might be true and he did it to stab her. But it's similar to what he was doing in the past. Was he really telling young Ray the truth or was he lying about killing his wife just to get him off the island so he could do what he wanted to do? Clearly, Tommy is not a good guy, but he may not be as bad as we think either. He might have a different agenda.
A lot of theories are suggesting that the magical blood could be the key to bringing Rebecca back to life should the show be renewed. Is that something we can be hopeful for?
Pyne: I'm not saying... Yeah, I guess. [Laughs] I don't know... Nothing good came out of Alcatraz, out of that prison. Ray was right. Nothing good was ever going to come out of the meeting of Tommy and Rebecca. He knew better. I mean, it was inevitable that it was going to happen. They were headed on a collision course, but it couldn't go any other way. She was never going to be able to catch him. Now she's dealing with this. Maybe she'll be on the island in Lost for a while. [Laughs]
Is there a reason the camera lingered on the silver knife Tommy stabbed her with? Some theories suggest she has the magical blood in her and the knife may have activated it.
Pyne: Yeah. It's possible. I can't say one way or another.
Are we to assume that there are other people besides the Warden and Mr. K who are behind the mass disappearance?
Pyne: Maybe, but one can speculate that between what we saw, which was the Warden and Mr. K with Tommy in 1960, and when the jump occurred in 1963, a lot of stuff happened and a lot of allegiances may have changed. Clearly, Lucy and Beauregard (Leon Rippy) were not friends then and are now. Harlan was the Warden's guy on the outside then and isn't now. So, you could logically assume that that's true of other people too. It may be that people have hijacked the jump for their own purposes, but I think it's safe to say that the Warden and Mr. K are prominent, significant players.
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Harlan became such a major player in the finale. Should the show return, will he be a major character?
Pyne: His presence, yes. I mean the answer is yes. He's an old guy, though, wherever he is. He didn't make the jump, as far as we know. He is a man who left the prison and made his fortune. He's a financial genius and he made his fortune on the markets over the years. Presumably, the Warden was expecting help when the jump happened, but Harlan betrayed him.
One theory is that the Warden had Harlan invest the Civil War gold so by the time the Warden came to the future, he would be rich.
Pyne: That's very smart. That's very possible. That's not necessarily true, but it's very possible. That gold isn't there anymore.
Are Mr. K and Harlan working together?
Pyne: You shouldn't assume they're working together. No. No. It's more likely that Mr. K and the Warden are together. Although we don't know. It could change. Harlan definitely split off. As far as they know at the end of [Episode] 13, there are these two factions. They're not in agreement. Harlan has done something. He's double-crossed the Warden and possibly was trying to get a hold of the keys so that no one could get in there and find the tracking and use it — or whatever else is in there too. There's computers in there, there's stuff that can be mined.
With the mention of the President of the United States in the finale, does the cover-up go that high?
Pyne: We know that the government knew about this because they covered it up. Robert Kennedy signed the papers and covered it up back in '63. Either he knew about it or someone around him knew about it and fooled him. Harlan is an important enough financial player that he only deals with presidents and potentates. Yeah, it could easily go that high.
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With the clue that the '63s are returning all over the country, might that open up Alcatraz to more than just San Francisco in the potential second season?
Pyne: That's our hope, yeah. We want to be able to travel; to find out that the '63s have become more embedded. They've been here, they have girlfriends, they have lives, they have covers, they are more difficult to catch, but also it makes them a much richer story opportunity. If they can figure out how this tracking works, for example, they might know that someone's in Kansas City but they won't know where.
Is it important to remember Mr. K's mention of Tommy in Korea?
Pyne: Yes. Something went on with Tommy in Korea and Mr. K was there. He knew about it. So, Tommy's story goes all the way back to Korea. Something may have happened in Korea or right after Korea.
Are Lucy and Hauser just a couple that can never be because of this 50-year difference?
Pyne: Well, it's interesting, because if you track what happens in the final story she kind of makes up her mind to be with him. That last statement that she makes, "No, we do this together," comes directly off of her telling Beauregard, "He's not the man I thought he was. Part of him is missing." In the middle of the episode she's searching, "Are you going to go with him? Are you going to leave?" She makes a decision to be with him. Clearly, it's complicated for her because he's not the man that she loved eight months ago or whenever she came back. Whenever she jumped, that was when she last saw him. So, for her, it hasn't been 50 years. But he's changed by 50 years.
Our feeling was she makes the decision, "He waited for me for 50 years. I'm going to hang in there and see what comes out of this." But it is very star-crossed. It is sad because they loved each other and this thing happened. They can never be together the way they were, which is always a great love story and a sad thing.
Should the series not get renewed, have you guys discussed ways of answering the mysteries for the audience? For example, the Fringe producers plan to continue the story in comics.
Pyne: We haven't planned on anything yet, but we'll deal with that when the time comes. In one way, we feel like the first 13 [episodes] were a marvelous short story and ended where we wanted it to end with tons of questions, but [also] a lot of answers to things that had been bugging people. So, we wrapped some things up, but we deal with others. We play out the Tommy/Rebecca to its natural and tragic conclusion. But if we don't get picked up, yeah, we'll have to figure out some other way. Online short stories maybe.
Do you think Alcatraz should be renewed for a second season? Sound off in the comments.
In case you missed any of our Alcatraz Dissections, get caught up on the mysteries of the Fox series here:
Week 1: Who are the '63s?
Week 2: How many '63s are working with Hauser?
Week 3: Who is Lucy, really?
Week 4: Why is Tommy Madsen so important?
Week 5: Hauser and Lucy's past revealed
Week 6: Will the '63s ever age?
Week 7: Is the Warden a '63? Or is he pulling the strings?
Week 8: Why were the '63s being brainwashed?
Week 9: Lucy finally wakes up!
Week 10: Finale Edition — Did our favorite character just die?!