Sony interviewed Toni Graphia to learn more about how she wrote about Jamie and Willie’s relationship in “Of Lost Things,” and Claire and Brianna’s relationship in “Freedom & Whiskey.”
Verra interesting. ~ Enjoy!
SONY: The disconnect between Brianna and Claire progressively resolves itself over the first half of the season, especially in episode 5. As a writer, how did you decide which moments were key in bridging the gap between them? Were there any other ways to bring them together that you explored but didn’t pursue?
TONI GRAPHIA: Essentially all of the Claire and Brianna relationship moments we wanted to explore ultimately ended up on screen. But earlier in the process, the story wasn’t so mother-daughter centric, and at one point there was a Jamie and Brianna storyline we considered but did not pursue … [because] I realized the story was really more between mother and daughter. We had two episodes—4 and 5—to portray the evolution of that relationship, and the moments we emphasized were focused on increasing the transparency between Claire and Brianna.
In order to bridge the gap between them, I thought it was important for Claire to involve Brianna in the search for Jamie so that she wouldn’t feel shut out. It gives them a project to work on together and allows them to bond. We wanted that transparency so Brianna wouldn’t feel like her mother was on a secret mission to find Jamie and keeping her apart from it—instead, the research was used as something to bring them together. And it was likewise important to show that Brianna was excited to be a part of this search and grateful that her mother had finally shared the secret with her. In one earlier version, Roger was the one who gave the article to Brianna and told her that he had found Jamie. But I changed it to have Claire be the one who admits to Brianna that Jamie has been found—not so she could seek her daughter’s blessing, but just in the interest of honesty because she’d kept so many things from her before.
But with that transparency about Claire’s future comes a need for transparency about the past. Taking a look back in their history is shining a light on things that used to be secret. We wanted to craft a moment where Claire and Brianna could have a truthful conversation about how Brianna had always sensed that something was off in her parents’ marriage. So that conversation beneath the arches about Frank and his relationship with another woman was another important part of breaking down the wall between mother and daughter. We had a lot of discussion in the writers’ room about many moments that could have existed between Claire and Brianna, but we kept distilling them down to the moments that we believed would heal the wound between them—and those had to do with Claire being honest regarding both Jamie and Frank.