Through the first two episodes of The Whispers, many questions have been raised in the aftermath of the event in Mali, including Sean’s reappearance, his connection to Drill and why Drill’s playing various games with specific children.
BuddyTV spoke with Exective Producer Zack Estrin on the phone to discuss what’s coming up on The Whispers Season 1 Episode 3, “Collision,” and beyond. He provided insight into the children Drill’s targeting, the entity’s abilities and limitations, why the children are easy targets, when answers will be revealed and much more.
Read on for edited excerpts from the conversation and check out a sneak peek for “Collison.”
It’s quite a coincidence that all these people that Drill is targeting have a connection. Is that strictly a coincidence or will we eventually find out there’s a reason these people were selected?
That actually is a very good question because Drill is choosing– everybody who Drill is playing with is being done for a reason. They are all connected to part of what his larger plan is going to be. Everybody who he talks to will play a part at some point or in some way, shape or form in what Drill’s ultimate desires are. It is an intended coincidence if that’s a word.
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Right now, Drill is known as a mysterious entity. As an entity, we’ve been able to see that he can give hearing back to Henry and promises to heal Harper’s mother. If Drill has that kind of power, why does he have to manipulate kids to do actions for him? Are there limits to Drill’s abilities?
I think one of the things of the way that Drill operates as you’ll sort of see as it goes forward — He is not all powerful and its abilities are restricted to what it can do. When you’re not corporeal there are things that you can and cannot do. …
When Harper says, “He speaks through the lights.” There is some connection through electricity that we will come to understand. He’s not all powerful. He’s limited to what he can do, which is why he needs these children to do things. When you cannot grab something yourself, move something yourself, open something yourself, you do need other helpers as it were. The short answer is that he’s not as powerful as he seems.
You really feel for the families. They each are having their own struggles and then this is forced upon them. No matter how messed up the parents are as couples, they love their kids.
Yes. For us, it is a really important parable to make the show relatable. … We are trying to make this a bit of a metaphor for how we deal with things in our lives and we sometimes forget to pay attention to what’s the most important thing which is our children.
We are all so distracted by technology and our devices and our emails and now we can be in constant contact at all times and you forget the personal contact, the one that’s right there in front of you. When your child says, “Can I ask you a question?” And you say, “One minute, honey, let me finish this email.”
Well, there’s someone who will pay attention to that child and what if that person has nefarious goals like Drill. These kids that we paint are all sort of in search of somebody who will care about them and pay attention to them and sometimes that parents are distracted by things happening in their own lives and that is what opens the door for something else to come in. For us, it’s a bit of a metaphor of child-rearing today.
The kids are doing things that they instinctively know aren’t right, but are doing them to save or protect their parents.
What you’ll see is that Drill appeals to these kids by offering to fill voids in their lives, whether that is if you help me, I’ll make your mommy and daddy love each other again. Or, I’ll bring your Daddy home. Or whatever is sort of missing for them. He offers up a carrot of if you help me, I’ll help you. Lots of times, children will do whatever it takes to help their parents, or protect them, or make their family whole again. It’s all supposed to be from a very emotional place and not a dastardly one.
At first it looked like Sean and Drill’s actions were directly connected, but through the episodes that initial theory starts to appear incorrect.
I think right now there’s still some kind of connection between Drill and Sean. I think we’ll understand exactly what that is as we get into Episodes 4 and 5. He’s still kind of connected, but we’re just not sure why or how. I know that there is some kind of thing do to with the crash out there in the desert and clearly Sean is in the same places as where people have said that Drill is. The question is: Why is Sean connected to Drill? I think you’ll find your answers quite quickly.
On coming evolution of characters
What’s really cool about Episode 3 is that our characters kind of catch up to understanding a little bit more and from there on out they seem to be more active and a little less reactive. They understand what’s going on and they understand how all the things connect together.
In Episode 4-7, it becomes much more a game of chess with moves and counter-moves to try and figure out what Drill is up to and how they can stop him and also importantly how to protect their children from him.
The show really does get better as it goes along. I would say that it really sort of finds itself coming into [Episode] 3 and really in [Episode] 5. These characters really do that as well as they emerge through these episodes.
You really start to understand these people and they become much more interesting characters who are not who you think they are and they really evolve and grow over the course of the season. And it becomes a really compelling show as it goes along.
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How does the scope of the show expand over the next few episodes?
Instead of building a show which is 13 episodes about one story, we are going to figure out Drill’s plan long before then though maybe not exactly how he is going to achieve it. Drill has a couple different steps to his plan and we’ve designed the season to exist in three chapters.
Episode 4 is the culmination of the first of Drill’s plan where you will say “Oooh, that’s why he’s playing with Harper. That’s why he was playing with Minx. That’s why he’s playing with Henry.” These first three kids who were introduced, you understand why they were all chosen in Episode 4 and that’s that end of the first step of what Drill’s plan is and then he moves into the second step.
It allows us to tell in essence, three mini-seasons within the one. That is specifically so we don’t do one season long mystery and keep the audience wondering. The show really becomes about answers now and not about questions. You really get a sense of the scope of what Drill’s up to in Episode 4 and get a bit of a tease of it at the end of Episode 3 when you see where Sean has arrived. You see what the first step is, but it is just the first step. It is not his ultimate thing. It keeps growing and evolving.
The Whispers airs Mondays at 10pm ET on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC.)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Contributing Editor and Writer for Collider, BuddyTV, TV Fanatic, CliqueClack, and other publications. TV criticism, reviews, interviews with actors and producers, and other related content. Founder of TV Diehard.