While Capt. Tom Neville is certainly an imposing and imperious figure, flashbacks in the second episode of the NBC drama (airing Monday at 10/9c) — featuring Elizabeth Mitchell and Tim Guinee as Charlie and Danny’s parents — reveal that the aftermath of the power-down was no picnic either.
“We get to see them trying to protect their kids a week or two after the blackout, when things are really getting hairy and violence and looting are starting to break out,” says series creator Eric Kripke. And as things get increasingly dangerous on the streets, “it becomes a more gripping, harrowing flashback.”
The quick downfall of society and order is not a scenario that is completely impossible. Kripke notes that “the government report we read said it would be hard to maintain any sort of civil order five days in — and that was coming out of Congress!”
Episode 3 of the freshman drama, meanwhile, will go back in time to expand another dynamic teased in the pilot: the one between Miles (played by Twilight‘s Billy Burke) and his former buddy-turned-enemy/leader of the Monroe Republic, General Sebastian “Bass” Monroe (ER‘s David Lyons). “Most roads to hell are paved with, as we all know, good intentions,” says Kripke, “so we start to understand how they set out to save the world.”
Although Monroe is the one in command now, it might be Grace (Maria Howell) — the algebra teacher who briefly afforded Danny safe harbor — and her mysterious USB pendant who is really the powerful one, and in a Hogwarts kind of way! “What’s really interesting to me is that in a world with no technology, if very few isolated people can have it, that’s magic,” Kripke contends. “That’s a way to put magic back in the world. These certain people are, for all intents and purposes, wizards in their ability to enact technology.”
With no gizmos as go-to problem solvers, it’s also a way to breathe life into a contemporary TV series. “When you’re in the writers room, there is nothing more irritating than a cell phone because anyone can call for help and get whatever they need whenever they need it,” Kripke explains. “So to put rules back in the storytelling so that when somebody busts out a Commodore 64 it’s a miracle, that’s a wonderful gift to a writer. That’s a wonderful sandbox to play in.”