As the world’s only female werewolf in a species full of men, “Bitten’s” Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort) is used to having the odds stacked against her, but in Season 3 of the supernatural drama (which hails from Canada’s Space channel and is acquired by Syfy for U.S. broadcast), her biggest challenge won’t be misogynistic Mutts or magic users, but the potential darkness inside herself.
Season 2 left off with an eerie premonition that saw a blood-drenched Elena burning down her family home, Stonehaven, and Vandervoort tells Variety that Elena’s chilling vision “fuels the entire season for herself and the Pack.”
Elena initially chooses not to tell the rest of the Pack about the vision “because it’s terrifying to her,” says Vandervoort. “She doesn’t quite know whether the premonition is metaphorical or will truly happen and if she can stop it, because it did show her burning down her home and she’s not sure where that leaves her and the Pack. She doesn’t want to destroy the people that she loves, but if it’s a premonition, there’s really no way around that.”
To make matters worse, Jeremy (Greg Bryk), the Pack’s Alpha and Elena’s surrogate father, has turned to a more draconian leadership style in response to the many losses the family has endured over the past two seasons, putting him at odds with Elena and creating tensions within the rest of the Pack, leaving surviving Pack members Nick (Steve Lund), and Clay (Greyston Holt) — Elena’s partner and Jeremy’s adopted son — caught in the middle.
“They definitely are in a healthier position with their relationship this season,” Vandervoort says of Elena’s bond with Clay. “[But] the tension between her and Jeremy puts tension between her and Clay, because she’s at odds with someone he considers his father, who brought him up. In most relationships, if your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend is at odds with your family, it will cause tension. But I do think that their love has been and always will be strong enough to work their way through it.”
Jeremy isn’t the only source of stress in Elena’s life this season, Vandervoort says. “There’s a huge reveal this season that sort of turns her life upside down and changes the way she’s viewed herself and her past and who she is,” she teases. “I didn’t see it coming. I was happily surprised when I read the script because it does add a whole new dimension to the show.”
The show is based on the “Otherworld” series of books by Kelley Armstrong, but Vandervoort reveals that in Season 3, “we are pretty much off-book, which I think is fantastic, because it’s going to surprise even the fans of the books. She’s torn between duty and family and is trying to navigate everything while keeping everyone happy.”
Canadian broadcaster Space chose not to renew “Bitten” for a fourth season, but Vandervoort hopes that there could still be a future for the series, given the show’s loyal fanbase. “I really believe that this third season is our best season yet; all of the actors are comfortable within our characters and the storylines have been getting so much more intriguing and entertaining and a lot of fun to play,” she notes. “We’ve amassed a great fanbase, whether they’re fans of the books or jumped onto the show and then they read the books, and I know us as a group – our cast, our crew – really acknowledge and appreciate that fanbase and that support. I know they’ve created a campaign to bring the show back, I think it’s #Howl4More, and just seeing that is a really nice feeling, to know that we’re appreciated as we appreciate them. There’s been times – and I’ve been on these shows – where you think it’s done. One day on ‘V’ we heard we were done, the next day we were back, so you never know. If there was an opportunity, we’d be grateful.”
Variety also spoke to “Bitten” showrunner Daegan Fryklind on what’s ahead for Season 3 and the possible future of the series — read on for more.
How would you describe the overarching theme of Season 3?
Fryklind: Season 3 I would say is a reckoning for the previous two seasons. We play a lot with identity, we play a lot with family relationships, so this is the culmination of Elena’s journey across three seasons, in terms of self-discovery and her place in the Pack, and ultimately where she fits in this family; in this world.
Where do we find Elena emotionally at the beginning of the year, given that we left her in a pretty harrowing place at the end of Season 2?
The premonition’s been weighing very heavily on her, to the point where she hasn’t spoken with any of the other Pack members about it, because it’s so shocking, what she’s seen. She definitely needs to unload, so when we pick up in Season 3, she’s having a moment to really dig into what this premonition means and to decipher the meaning of it with another character. It was one of the touchstones leaving off Season 2 that we wanted to incorporate along the way throughout Season 3. We hit on it a number of times as we’re building her character through Season 3 and putting her through more of a pressure cooker and as the roles are shifting in the family as well, with what she’s going through and what Jeremy’s going through and this butting of heads that these two find themselves in at the beginning of the season.
How has Jeremy’s position shifted going into the new season?
He’s taking a step back from a fatherly role to take a step up to a General role, so that he’s looking at a wider scale Pack politick and what’s best for the North American Pack; not just his immediate family, not just the immediate residents of Stonehaven — but what’s best for all of them. Having had the Spanish come at them in Season 2, having had some discord with the Russians in Season 2 and his own leadership called into question, he is taking a step back to take a step up, and being in more of a command position. It’s a draconian turn for Jeremy, and Greg just reveled in this character and the darkness of this character – this is a father figure who has lost a number of very close family and Pack members across the past two seasons, and now the decision is “it’s not what’s best for the family anymore, it’s what’s best for the Pack.”
That tension obviously puts Clay in a very awkward position between two people he loves and is intensely loyal to; how does that challenge him in Season 3?
That really percolates up in the third episode where he has been positioned between these two and he’s having to cover for what’s happening in Elena’s life because she’s not coming forward to Jeremy yet, and Jeremy’s in a mindset where he’s not the easiest person to talk to. The last time Clay came to Jeremy with a problem it was “I have a human girlfriend and I love her,” and that didn’t go so well. So they’re all a little gunshy around Jeremy about bringing their problems to him.
He’s really feeling for Elena too and the hopes and dreams that they have of a house on the hill and a life away from the Pack. Now that Jeremy is building the Pack, maybe the two of them can step away and he doesn’t necessarily have to be the enforcer anymore and she doesn’t necessarily have to be the tracker anymore, so there’s this other side of him, the human side of him that is looking towards a hopeful future. We bring in another character this season that we really play up against Clay, so that he becomes kind of a mentor this season to this character, it’s a really interesting dynamic between the two of them.
Season 3 seems to be entirely deviating from Kelley Armstrong’s books — was that a choice that was fairly organic, given the plot threads you’d set out in Season 2 that you knew you wanted to follow, or were there specific character beats you wanted to explore that necessitated it?
Where we had left [the characters] at Season 2, most definitely there were threads with the premonition, with Logan’s death and previous deaths of Antonio and Pete, that we wanted to play into in Season 3, and organically grow a season out of that. The other thing is that when the books were optioned, there were four books that were optioned and a couple of short stories, but the gap in time between the second book — which our second season was loosely based on — and the third book… there’s a five year jump there, and I just felt like we had a lot of story to tell in the interim just growing organically out of what we’d already set in motion coming out of Season 2. Like Elena in the chair and what does that mean?
This is being marketed as the final season, so at what point did you know the show would be ending its current run, and were you able to craft a satisfying ending in advance?
We knew in advance where the season was gonna go in terms of our big push towards 310, but I was aware of the fact that this was going to be the final season of this incarnation of the show, at least, before I wrote 310. So we were able to bring it towards a season and a series finale that is hopefully cathartic and satisfying for our viewers, but it also does leave room for an afterlife, should there be an afterlife. I’m a brat that way, I don’t like to say goodbye… if there’s a movie future or whatever it may be. We have such an incredible fanbase and they are reacting to this in a really exciting way, in that they’re not super thrilled about it being the final season, so it’s really a wonderful reaction to see for us. They’ve been so supportive of the show and so in love with these characters, originating from the books and then where we’ve gone with them in the show — they’re not ready to say goodbye to this world and these characters yet, so we’ll see.
“Bitten” airs Mondays at 11 p.m. on Syfy in the U.S. and Fridays at 10 p.m. on Space in Canada.