It's all about Pasaje, baby! The season finale of Peacock's summer mystery/meditation on loss and regret, The Resort, closed its season with an audacious jump into the supernatural that was poignant, surprising, and even a tiny bit confounding, as the best sci-fi stories usually are. In "The Disillusionment of Time," Emma (Cristin Milioti) and Noah (William Jackson Harper), and Murray (Nick Offerman) and Balthasar Frias (Luis Gerardo Méndez) all got what they were seeking from the mysterious Pasaje caves. Was it what they expected? For Emma, yes and no.
In an exclusive conversation with SYFY WIRE, Milioti digs into the big moments for Emma that got her to finally face the thing she's been avoiding since the loss of her newborn daughter, as well as what she thinks it means for all of the characters moving forward.
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers below for the season and season finale of The Resort!**
"The Disillusionment of Time" was chock full of incredible moments for Emma to witness and discover. Let's start with her jumping into that tiny tunnel, which is effectively Noah's greatest nightmare and at the same time the literal embodiment of what Emma's been doing in their marriage for years, trying to go it alone.
Oh, I couldn't agree more. Of course, when I read it I realized that that was what was happening. But when we were shooting it and I was high up, looking down at him, I was like, "Oh, they're letting each other go. And they know that they're letting each other go." How beautiful and sad that is, because the thing they've been most afraid to do is to let each other go.
The whole sequence when Emma is stuck in that tunnel is harrowing. Was it as difficult to shoot as it was to watch?
Yeah, so my favorite movie is Kill Bill, which Andy [series creator, Andy Siara] knows, and he was always like,"This is the scene where Uma Thurman gets buried alive. It's what we're going for in terms of how we're shooting it." He talked about that sequence as a birth. Emma's having to go through the birth canal, essentially. I was always so excited about that. I just have never seen anything like that. But shooting it was really tricky. I'm always really reticent to say that a day on set was hard because I think it's so incredible that we get to do any of this. But that was a day where I was stuck for hours. And it sucked. [Laughs.]
But it was an honor to play something like that, which is a dream as an actor to play all those different things that are going on, the metaphor of it and the reality of it. But through all the Pasaje stuff, I was like, "Is this healthy? Should I be doing that?" I had bruises everywhere. I had these giant bruises along my hips from dragging myself. You're cramped in there and I'm also very claustrophobic. They really were wonderful about talking me through it all, but at the end of the day, it's you in a dark hole and a camera lens. They used this rig where it was basically on a long pole and it would sort of draw me out through this tunnel. But I was just in there, in the dark with my flashlight and a camera for like 20 hours.
When she finally makes it into the pool room, Emma seems to get the moment she has been craving since she lost her daughter. Where do you stand on how hard of a decision it was for her to make, to stay or not?
I think it's one of the hardest decisions of her life. I certainly have my own thoughts about what she sees and what that does to her. But I think it's about actually seeing other kids that she can bring back. She can't ever bring her daughter back and that's what is so horrific about grief. You can bang your head against the wall but you can't ever bring them back. The second where she sees Sam and Violet, whether this is conscious or not, the mother in her takes over. She's able to give these two kids back to their grieving parents. It becomes about something so much bigger than her and if she can't bring her own back, that in a way, she brings two other children into the world.
It's really impactful that she touches Violet (Nina Bloomgarden) first, like she's passing what she lost with her baby over to Violet so she can have her life back.
One of the things that I've really liked when I've talked to people who enjoy the series is when they're like, "Where's it gonna go? This is gonna be tough to land." But because I know how it ends, I've been like, "Just you wait." [Laughs.] I am such a big fan of how it ends and I think it's such a beautiful meditation on loss and of letting go of the past. There's something too about Emma wanting to get back to that age that Violet is and then her actually pulling Violet out. And being like, 'Here, you're gonna grow up now. You're gonna live."
And they both got to see what they most wanted and get a moment to discuss it too.
One of my favorite things to shoot was when Emma and Violet are in the field afterward. It's like she's looking at her daughter and she's looking at her past. It's so overwhelming, not to put too fine a point on it. I just thought that was so beautifully done. And that's such a testament to Andy.
The last scene between Emma and Noah is warm and peaceful, but there's no clarity about whether their marriage is saved. What are your thoughts?
I have my own feelings about what happens. I love the ambiguity of it. I think it is positive no matter how you slice it. Whether they part ways or whether they stay together, that they have let each other go, finally. Whether that means that they can have a rebirth as a couple and that they're ready to start over, or whether this means that when they get home they amicably part ways, I think is up to whatever your history is. I felt this way about the ending of Palm Springs too.
It feels more certain that Violet and Emma will have a forever bond now going forward. Did you feel that for them too?
I actually haven't thought much about that. But now that you bring it up, I'm like, of course they would. I think I wasn't thinking past that final scene, weirdly. Maybe that's something my own brain does to help me let go of a project I love. But I think you're right. I think they would keep in touch. It'd be impossible for her not to look at her as a type of daughter. There's no one thing that defines motherhood, like there's no one thing that defines being a daughter, as much as we want to believe that there is. I think there are so many different levels of love, and parental love. That type of love can take many different forms so I would imagine that is what would happen, I would hope.
In Episode 7, Balthasar poses the idea that Pasaje takes you where you need to be, whether it's reliving a moment or seeing a glimpse into the future. Between takes did you all discuss what it would be for you?
I haven't, actually, because the whole thing really scares me. We did talk about this a lot and I used to liken it to the play Our Town when Emily gets to go back for her birthday day. It's one of my favorite scenes ever written in the history of theater. And I think it would be like that. I don't even know what I would want to look back on. There's a couple things in my mind where I'd be like, "Oh, would that be amazing to revisit?" You know, those moments in your life where you have the thought that there is nowhere else you'd rather be? Those are like the best moments ever. You want to live in them but you can't. And that's also what makes them great. Maybe I'd want to go back to one of those. But then Pasaje is like Luis Guzmán's character says, "It's the villain. Stay away." [Laughs.]
What do you hope people walk away with having experienced The Resort?
I really love it. I know that it's definitely a TV show, but it's also a piece. It's like one, giant meditation that I want everyone to see from beginning to end.
The Resort Season 1 is available now exclusively on Peacock.