THE RESORT Post-Mortem: William Jackson Harper and Andy Siara on Emma and Noah Reaching a 'Major Threshold' in Episode 7 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE RESORT Post-Mortem: William Jackson Harper and Andy Siara on Emma and Noah Reaching a ‘Major Threshold’ in Episode 7

August 27, 2022 by  

The Resort episode 7 spoilers

THE RESORT — “La Pubertad Matrimonio” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) William Jackson Harper as Noah, Cristin Milioti as Emma — (Photo by: Peacock)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, August 25 episode of THE RESORT.]

On this week’s episode of THE RESORT, “La Pubertad Matrimonio,” Noah (William Jackson Harper) and Emma’s (Cristin Milioti) conflict came to a head.

As the duo—along with a group that included Baltasar (Luis Gerardo Mendez), Luna (Gabriela Cartol), and the newly-returned Murray (Nick Offerman)—made the trek to Pasaje, hoping to find some answers about what happened to long-missing Sam (Skyler Gisondo) and Violet (Nina Bloomgarden).

But with theories about Pasaje possibly being able to take you to another time, Noah admitted he’d want to go forward a year…to see if his relationship with Emma made it. When they were one-on-one, Noah also asked Emma blatantly if she even wanted to be married to him anymore. (Oh, and he had to remove her infected tooth…the anniversary trip really did not go the way they intended.)

“I think he’s really scared,” Harper says in the video below. “Noah is okay with stability. He really craves it, he really likes it. And he feels okay with being content, if not happy. And so I feel like he’s definitely scared, honestly, from the beginning of the season, that they’re in trouble. But he’s like, ‘Well, if I don’t say it, then it’s not real. And if I keep biting my tongue, then we’ll live to see another day.’ Hashing some of those things out, it’s really dangerous. This is probably as scared as he’s ever been in regards to their relationship.”

With Noah being the only one looking to the future versus clinging to the past, could that give him an advantage if they end up finding what they’re looking for at Pasaje? “I think that maybe his being perhaps a bit more engaged with the present and being okay with the present—even if he’s not necessarily happy with it—I don’t know if it gives him an advantage, but I do think it’s probably a trait that keeps him from engaging in some reckless behavior, of trying to recapture an old feeling,” Harper acknowledges. “It’s like, ‘Well, those feelings are gone now. And this is the new reality.’ I think that’s where he’s at. I think that, in a way, maybe everyone is sort of looking back at the past through these rose-tinted glasses, and wanting that back. And Noah’s like, ‘Well, that’s not coming back. So what do we do with that?’ And it’s not like he has the answer or anything—I don’t think that he’s a sage or anything. I just think that he’s like wherever you go, there you are. That keeps him from maybe the kind of longing and the depression that I think can come from nostalgia and looking backwards to when times were better.”

For more on THE RESORT episode 7, creator Andy Siara breaks down the biggest moments, including, yes, that insane tooth-pulling scene.

The Resort episode 7 spoilers

THE RESORT — “La Pubertad Matrimonio” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) Nick Offerman as Murray, Cristin Milioti as Emma, Parvesh Cheena as Ted, Luis Gerardo Mendez as Baltasar, Gabriela Cartol as Luna, Michael Hitchcock as Ted, William Jackson Harper as Noah — (Photo by: Peacock)

One of the fun additions is that Murray is now in present time. What conversations did you have with Nick about the look you wanted him to have after surviving this traumatic loss?
We didn’t offer this part to anybody…we take the biggest swings with this part. And then [director/co-star] Ben Sinclair went on a hike with Nick, I think in January or February of this year, and pitched it to him. And at that point…only the first four episodes were done and we sent those to Nick. And I said, “Here’s some scenes from these other episodes. Basically the idea [is] that yes, your character comes back.”

I was in a bar in Puerto Rico with the production designer Bret Tanzern, and the idea popped into my head [after thinking] what is the best way for Nick’s character to come back? There was earlier versions where maybe he had moved back up to the states and he was still up there. But then I was in this rundown bar and was wondering if Murray had never left, what would he be like now? I had to put myself in those shoes if I had just lost my wife and then my only daughter had gone missing, I would never leave. You’re never going to get me to leave until I have an answer.

And so I was pitching Nick this idea of, “Here’s a guy that you’ll see that he has been down here. He never left, still wearing that same fedora. His clothes are an evolution of what he was wearing initially. But he’s gone full-on Indiana Jones or Michael Douglas’ character in ROMANCING THE STONE.” It’s not to say that it’s a healthy thing, by any means. Everything that Emma is going through, he’s kind of a physical representation of that. I never want everyone to be like, “Oh, here’s like the wise old man who is going to give you the answer to everything.” He’s never been able to let go….he’s never been able to let this part of his life go.

But also back in the day, he was never a real rugged military dude, either. He was working for the US government, but at a desk job. He’s a man of probably simple pleasures. And so in talking to Nick, we talked a lot about like, what should his look be after all this time? Do we do facial hair? Do we not do facial hair? He’s done facial hair a lot. And he was going back and forth filming other things where he didn’t have facial hair, so if we wanted him to have a beard, it would have to be a fake beard—and we really didn’t want to do a fake beard. And so we decided to like stick with no facial hair.

But I think the real two options were like do we go really long hair or go full-on like Colonel Kurtz [in APOCALYPSE NOW]—go bald. And he had a great experience with a wig guy on PAM & TOMMY, and it was his idea to go like a big long gray wig. We connected with his wig guy, and then just started testing out his look, his scar.

It’s kind of like a subtle scar around his eye. But [we were] testing out how severe we want to make that. It was a lot of back and forth.

If we wanted to, we could do a whole trilogy of movies of just the adventures of Murray that took place in those years between 2007 and the present day. There’s a whole other life, an adventure that has been lived. And so we wanted to make sure that like he had that look.

We got to hear a lot from Emma, as she left a voicemail for Murray explaining what had been going on. What was the process like in crafting that sizable sequence?
It was hard. That was another script [where] we knew, in theory, what we wanted to do in seven. We knew that this is where they leave the resort and go off into the jungle. And I remember very clearly when that idea came up, it was the week before we started filming—Nick had just signed on and it was me and [writers] Derek Pastuszek and Manuel Alcalá, and we’re sitting in this abandoned room, where we are filming at this abandoned hotel. And [in this episode], we’re just just coming off of episode 6 where Emma’s still in this shell-shocked state, and doesn’t say much at all.

In the TV format, every episode doesn’t have to be just about one person; we can jump, we have an ensemble here, we can jump around different characters. And so, to me, episode 6 was always like okay, this is the Baltasar episode. And Noah is coming out of [his shell] a little bit. Whereas Emma takes some of the backseat.

But then, to me, [after] she needs to be front and center. Everything that’s going on in her head that she’s been bottling up and not talking to her own husband about, I want to hear all that. It was almost like I got tired of everything being too below the surface in the show, in a way. And I was like, because we have the freedom to do whatever we want with regards to form and format and I didn’t want to just all of a sudden introduce a straight-up voiceover narration. But hearing it on a voicemail, it felt like that was like an evolution of that idea—but a very, very long, long voicemail.

She’s finally able to open up and talk to someone, but it’s only this person through a voicemail. But [she] gets out basically every thought that she’s been having just so there’s no more confusion going into the last episode—n case there’s some confusion over motivating factors to the journey here, we’re putting it front and center in a very long, long winded voicemail.

There is also the emotional ramifications of it all, because this is stuff that she can’t even say to her own husband, that she can say to a stranger that she might not even know is on the other end of the line. But just because maybe this person understands what I’m feeling—because she doesn’t feel like anyone else does, doesn’t feel like her own husband does. We needed a way for her to come to life. And so the the idea from the three [was] how do we do that? How do we give a character this inner monologue while also needing to show them venturing out in the jungle, and it gave us [the idea] let’s try something different here. Let’s do it in a voicemail.

Emma and Noah’s relationship feels like it’s a turning point. How much is this at the forefront of their minds as they’re venturing into the unknown?
It’s very much at the forefront of both their minds. Ideally, I think that they crossed a major threshold at the end of 7 with starting to have that conversation they need to have…you see where their divide is in so much of the show. They don’t know if it’s even real. If it is real, maybe it takes you back, forward or something else. They’re just in a what-if state of mind. Noah’s only what-if is only about looking forward into the terror of not knowing what’s next—where that’s not even something that even crosses her mind of what’s next. She needs to go back in time. And so you see they’re divided. I think [it’s] them unburdening themselves to actually just finally be able to say their fears and worries upfront. That’s one major hurdle that I think relationships go through. And it’s a kind of basis of communication.

And then she finally allows herself to talk about that thing that she hasn’t really talked about with Noah, that Baltasar was trying to get her open about…and then she finally opened up about that with Murray. What happens is there’s this emotional unburdening. And then so the rest of her tooth decides it’s time to come out—but the only way to get that out is doing it together, having her husband be the one that [does it].

I think that by the end of the episode, it’s important for Noah to see and acknowledge that this isn’t just about him in their relationship anymore. But I think that their relationship reaches a point…their arc has a little more to go in episode 8, but then a lot of episode 8 is Emma completing things that she needs to do in order to move forward.

Speaking of that tooth scene, what was the balance there in what you showed?
I like the idea of people squirming, of there being a physical reaction when watching stuff. In [episode 8], there’s another scene there I’m hoping makes people physically uncomfortable when they watch it.

However, we’re not doing a horror film, at all, where I’m really trying to disturb anybody. I always want them to be entertaining. And I don’t want to turn anyone off if something is too grotesque. And when she starts spitting up the blood and pus afterwards, that’s the gross thing. So my older brother, who was also in the writers room for this, and he wrote that scene where they’re pulling the tooth out, and we’re researching what an abscess tooth actually is.

You get a line of when Noah wakes up and Emma says she passed out, too, when Murray had to drain the pus, and she started to gag and passed out. There was a longer version of this where we included all that stuff. [Laughs.] And decided I just don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see pus being drained out of abscessing tooth. My parents would be disappointed with me: Did you really need to do that, Andy?

That happened episode 5, too, when we see Alex digging in his ear. We [originally] see him pull out a giant chunk of earwax and it was in the cut for a long time, and I just felt, ugh, that’s just a little too much. Maybe I’m just getting too squeamish in my old age.

Outside of the episode dropping, NBC also aired the pilot this week. What did that mean to you?
It’s awesome. I know that Peacock’s happy with the show, so to be able to give it that kind of boost—I don’t know if they’ve done that with other shows. That is basically, to me, a boost of confidence, that they are happy with what they made, what we all made. And we will see if the wider NBC audience agrees and goes over to Peacock and watches the rest of the season.

I also think that it’s helpful that this is coming now. Because rather than in week one, where if anyone, even if five percent of the people that tune in decide to go over to Peacock and watch the rest, [now] they’ll have everything up to the end of episode 7 to watch. So the timing is good. I’m very thankful that they’re getting behind it like this.

THE RESORT, Thursdays, Peacock


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