[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of The Irregulars, “Chapter 8: The Ecstacy of Life.”]
From creator Tom Bidwell, the Netflix drama series The Irregulars follows a gang of street teens in Victorian London who are smart enough and resourceful enough to catch the eye of Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes. While they are able to help solve crimes and deal with dark supernatural powers, Bea (Thaddea Graham), Jessie (Darci Shaw), Spike (McKell David), Billy (Jojo Macari) and Leo (Harrison Osterfield) have a harder time dealing with their own family and relationship issues, until it all comes to a head in the finale.
During a virtual junket, Collider got the opportunity to dig into the final episode of the season 1-on-1 with co-stars Thaddea Graham, Darci Shaw, and Harrison Osterfield. The trio talked about their reactions to finding out where things would end up, how the events will shape the characters going forward, the challenges of shooting the final moments, the relationship drama, and how Bea and Watson really get each other.
Collider: What was your reaction when you found out where things would end up, at the end of the season? How did you feel about where things left off?
DARCI SHAW: I was really excited. I think the possibilities are endless. Tom, the writer, could have taken it anywhere, and to see him take it to the places that he did was mind-blowing.
THADDEA GRAHAM: I actually remember reading it and I thought, “No, hang on. What? What’s happening? Who just came through that Rip?” It blew my mind a little bit, in the best possible way. I think Tom Bidwell, our creator, is just an absolute genius. I really loved that journey. Bea has just turned 17, at the start of the season, and she really feels the loss of her mother, who died when she was three and Jessie was just a baby. Because of the fact that she’s had to look after her little sister, Bea shut the door to all of that grief and that loss and said, “Nope, I can’t open it because if I open it, I won’t be able to shut it again and it’s going to overpower me. Actually, the thing that I need to focus on is Jessie, and I can’t do both.” So, she shut that door. And then, when Alice comes through the Rip and she gets that closure, she says this beautiful line, “It wasn’t the grieving that hurt us. It’s that we didn’t grieve.” That’s super powerful. It’s so simple, but so true. When you think about it, it’s like, “Oh, my God, yeah, if I had just accepted what happened and dealt with it as it came, maybe I wouldn’t have hurt so much. Maybe I would have been able to handle the emotion.” That was a really beautiful resolution. I really want to see what happens next. I’m so curious.
HARRISON OSTERFIELD: It was very daunting because I’m very much of the mind that I need to prep and rehearse and know everything about my character, but we only got two episodes at a time. I was like, “What happens next? What’s going to go on?” I’m in that zone, as much as anyone watching it at home, wondering what’s going to happen. Each time the script would come through, I’d say, “Oh, wow, that’s incredible.” It just kept exceeding my expectations. Usually with a show, you think it’s hit its peak, but with this, it just keeps going. The momentum gathers and the stakes get higher, each time, and there’s a big, epic finale, as well. It’s a great show to be a part of.
Now that these sisters have made the decision to say goodbye to their mother and set things right, how do you think that will shape Bea and Jessie, going forward?
GRAHAM: It sounds awful, but I think it’s a massive weight off of Bea. She’s held herself to a very high standard and not let herself think about that. She was three and she didn’t get that closure. She didn’t get to say goodbye. Just being able to see her mother and actually talk to her and go, “Look, we’re okay, your kids are fine, we’ve got each other, and you’re always in our hearts,” I think it can only strengthen them. I would love to see what happens inside the Rip. I want to see what’s in there and what’s happening with her and Sherlock.
SHAW: They always felt like there was a piece of themselves missing because of that mother-shaped hole in their lives, especially with the fact that our characters were at the workhouse as children. They have experienced suffering and hardship, plus the fact of losing their mom, they were quite hardened by the time we meet them in the series. Although Jessie is a little bit more fragile than Bea, to an extent, they are hardened street kids. If the series were to continue, I think you’d probably see Jessie and Bea become even more strong as women, especially. They almost feel a little bit more complete because they’ve had that resolution with their mother.
Thaddea and Darci, what was it like to shoot that final moment, where the Rip is closing and you’re trying not to get sucked into it?
GRAHAM: I actually just got chills thinking about it again. It was almost like shooting a play because we were in this massive Rip set. Because it was COVID times, everyone was distancing, so it was just the cast. It was Royce, Henry, Eileen O’Higgins, who plays Alice and who’s phenomenal, Darci [Shaw] and I. When they called “Action!”, it was just us. There were long scenes, and we’d run them and run them and run them. Sustaining that emotion over the five days that we spent doing that one Rip scene, we all had each other’s backs and it connected us in a way that was beautiful to be a part of. It was definitely tricky. It was exhausting, emotionally. It’s probably one of the hardest things that I’ve done, but the most worthwhile. You went home every night thinking, “You know what? We did a really good day’s work today.” We cried all day, but it was good work.
SHAW: Honestly, I do a little bit of yoga and that really came in handy. You’d be surprised about how much upper arm strength you need to hold your arms up for that long. I was really shocked. It’s all about the physicality. I had to make it believable and like this thing was dragging me while, in reality, it was just a hole. It wasn’t anything. There was nothing in front of me. They put a crate down on the floor and they had to get a shot of Thaddea over my body, but my legs had come up in the air, at that point. So, I had to stand on a crate, balance one leg out in front of me, and then hold onto a broom while they were guiding me around. I felt like I was on a broomstick. It was crazy. All of my core strength came in handy there.
Harrison, what was it like to do everything that you had to do for the finale?
OSTERFIELD: It was pretty intense. Due to COVID, we shut down for a little bit. I think we had two weeks left of filming, and then we had a four-month break with COVID and the pandemic. Going back and finishing those two weeks with this renewed energy, and knowing that it was a big finale and that I had big stunts to do, we were very lucky to do that. Because we worked together for so long – the cast and crew – coming back with this renewed energy to make this big finale the best thing yet, was really good.
What was the most challenging part of the finale to shoot?
OSTERFIELD: It was me being drowned in sewer water for two days. I did all of my own stunts for that because I thought it’d be quite fun. Stupid me, for thinking it would be a good idea. They had to make it look like sewer water and to do that, they had to chuck all of these old, smelly mushrooms into the water to make it a brown, horrible-smelling water. I was being drowned in that for two days. I was constantly wet and for continuity, I couldn’t get dry, so I was soaked through. In the end, I was really happy with the performance. I thought we got some great stuff. And then, a week later, I got my ears checked out and I got two ear infections from the water. That was a price to pay, but hopefully it was worth it.
I love how Jessie and Spike really develop a connection that deepens by the end of the season. Darci, what would you like to see happen with them, moving forward?
SHAW: I think the relationship between Spike and Jessie is really sweet. Spike knows her really well and you can see that he really cares for her, deeply. I think Spike, as a character, is very emotionally intelligent and can tell when someone is feeling down or sad. I think he’s very in tune to people’s emotions and it’s really sweet to see him look out for her in the way he does that he does. You can see that he does really care, and I think it would be really sweet to see that relationship play out.
We also get to see Jessie overcome her own fears, by forcing The Linen Man to face all of the fear and destruction that he’s caused. Do you think that’ll give her a sense of confidence that she didn’t have before?
SHAW: I think so. Jessie builds her confidence and goes from strength to strength, in each episode. That moment, in particular, is a real turning point for her. To see her sister being torn apart by these horrific things that the Linen Man has imposed on her, and then to take control and say, “No, I’m putting a stop to this now,” and go after him and take it into her own hands, I think it’s equally empowering and terrifying for her. That is the point where she takes control and she’s not relying on anyone else anymore. She’s flying solo, in that moment, and it’s quite scary, but also really exhilarating.
Harrison, how crushed were you with where the relationship between Leo and Bea is left?
OSTERFIELD: It’s pretty crushing. As you know, the reason he ended it like that is because he wants to help out his other friends. He has become an Irregular, at that point. He’s not taking his royal stature. He’s doing it to protect his friends. It’s a battle he continues with throughout the series. It also leaves it very open-ended, for future exploration into that relationship and to see where things go. I, for one, can’t wait to hopefully see where that ends up.
I love how Bea and Watson are the two left standing who really get how the other one is feeling. Thaddea, how would you like to see that relationship develop?
GRAHAM: I really love how that relationship developed in series one. They first saw each other as, “Oh, my God, I hate you. I don’t trust you. Stay away from me. But you have the thing that I need, which is money, so fine.” In Episode 8, especially, they really start to see something in the other person that is very, very familiar. They’re like, “Okay, you get it. I don’t have to explain why this hurts so much. You understand what it’s like to have to let go of someone, in that way.” The fish and chips scene with Bea and Watson, where she says, “How do you stop loving someone when it gets too much and it’s too painful to love them?” And he says, “You don’t. You can’t stop.” It breaks her. It’s like having someone to look up to because he’s still there and he’s hurting, but he’s still going through every single day. I think she finds a lot of comfort in that. I really love that dynamic. I think if they got past themselves, they could work very, very well together. They do, but even more so, if they just accept it.
The Irregulars is available to stream on Netflix.
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