Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, August 19. All times are Eastern.
The adventures of the Dudleys and the Lynxes continue tonight, with Dud making an enemy while getting back to work (albeit for free, because the Dudleys are nothing if not bad business people). Once again, Liz is aiming for rock-bottom, and while that may sound grim, this show is anything but. We spoke with showrunner Peter Ocko and creator, writer, and executive-producer Jim Gavin about the great unknowable mysteries, the precise layout of TV’s most mysterious space, and that gorgeous season opener.
The A.V. Club: Let’s start with a big, weird question: Do you believe in destiny? And does the show?
Jim Gavin: Oh, god.
PO: I think the question that’s posed this season about destiny is this: If you know your destiny, is that why it’s your destiny? Or [if you didn’t know, would it be] your destiny anyway? And I don’t have an answer for that.
JG: Personally, I’m a skeptic. I mostly feel we’re thrown into this world and we assign meaning to random events. But I also have experienced things in my life that are unexplainable, and whatever those things left in me, that feeling is what we put into the show.
PO: So the part of Jim that isn’t dead does believe in destiny.
AVC: After everything we learned last season, how many secrets can still be left in the lodge? Are there just endless trapdoors and secret walls and hidden faces and dead bodies?
PO: It’s a big building!
JG: Architecturally, it’s a bit strange. I think we’re scratching the surface here, but I don’t think we ever quite leave the safety of the doughnut shop behind, where things are mostly as they seem. The lodge as a kind of box of mystery will endure.
PO: And don’t forget the lodge is at the center of the kingdom of Long Beach. So there’s other mysteries be had.
AVC: Watching the show, the lodge feels like sort of a Mary Poppins bag, like it’s somehow infinite. Do you have a map of the lodge somewhere in one of your offices?
PO: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, we have a map in our heads, anyway. Mike Shaw, our production designer, has done a really brilliant job of making it seem both real and fantastic. He wouldn’t do it if he didn’t feel it was a real place in some sense. And I think we agree.
AVC: What is it that you think most helps to cultivate that otherworldly, endless-hall-of-mirrors feeling?
JG: We have reference points, in the writing and in the design. Everything from [G.K.] Chesterton and [Jorge Luis] Borges to the John Soane museum in London and The Museum Of Jurassic Technology. Stories and places that feel out of time, but also lifted in some strange way. So that’s what [Shaw] was able to capture, in a gorgeous way.
AVC: The season begins with that amazing cold open, and then we get a strange, beautiful sequence of Dud spinning in his hospital bed.
PO: We wanted that kind of crazy, psychedelic sense of seeing many things at once, and we couldn’t do it as a montage, it would have been kind of impossible. So under constraints, almost, we decided to do it as one thing. We started talking about it as a special kind of diorama/zoetrope that the founder of the Lynx kind of invented, and our director, Jake Schreier, and [Shaw] really elevated it into a strange, wonderful new place.
JG: We found out [Shaw] was obsessed with dioramas as a kid. So we gave him a gift, and he delivered a bigger gift.
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