This post contains spoilers from queens fall final. Proceed accordingly.
It’s no small undertaking to dethrone royalty. But in queens Fall Finals Tuesday, one of the performers formerly known as the Nasty Bitches went for the count…and maybe worse?
Those who watched last week’s episode know that the masked gunman who confronted the women as they stared at their billboard managed to shoot both the group manager, Eric and Brianna. Of the two, Bri (played by Eve) was much more seriously injured. And this week’s hour was the record of the wake Naomi, Jill and Valeria held for their friend as she underwent surgery to save her life.
The development takes on real significance given the recent news that Eve, who is expecting her first child with husband Maximillion Cooper, is among some of the queens‘ remaining season 1 episodes. For the immediate scoop — as well as a discussion of how Jill’s crazy husband, Darren, turned out to be the shooter (!) — TVLine recently chatted with queens showrunner Zahir McGhee. Read on for his take on the episode and what lies ahead.
TVLINE | So the obvious first question: how much of this was planned, and how much of this was, “Oh, Eve’s having a baby, we have to work around that?”
I’d say 85 percent was planned ahead of time. Now, look, I’ll just be honest, ’cause why not? The set-up for the recordings took place in episode 2, which I had thought about in June. I didn’t know Eve was pregnant in June. I didn’t know until the end of August that Eve was pregnant. We recorded the scene where she was shot in August, shortly after we found out. So I can’t say they should not have been shot. Sure, it helped decide who the person would be shot. [Brianna] was at least someone we talked about, as any good writing team would. You would go through all the options… We knew Eric was coming to the Billboard meetup. We knew we had to get into what that story was eventually. All those things are built for us to be able to generate story throughout the season. So this wasn’t a situation where we came up with something to fix it.
TVLINE | When the news of her pregnancy broke, I remember thinking, “Hmm…maybe Brianna gets shot.”
Number one, kudos to [Eve]. Without her none of this would have been possible. She and the production have worked so insanely hard. We stopped everything to film as much of the season as we already did with her, and that’s a testament to her other castmates. That’s a testament to her and the hard work she’s put in, her dedication to the show and our crew who’ve worked tirelessly to basically throw everything out of order. And also our directors came in for two days to include something in their episode that they wouldn’t come back to film for six weeks. And our producing director, Crystal [Roberson].
TVLINE | I watch quite a lot of TV for work, and I have to say, I didn’t expect Darren to be the shooter.
We did it! [Laughs] But after that [Episode] 5, you would think he sure was, right? You know, he sets the divorce papers on fire.
TVLINE | Yes, but that was in episode 5! And this show goes so fast, I really didn’t have that part in my head.
I think we did well. First, we were so concerned that it was so obvious that he was the shooter from the start. In my head I was very interested in the character. I wasn’t trying to give him super dimensions, but I was interested in the idea of: You’re married to someone. They lived a different truth, and they want to live that truth, and now you see her become a celebrity, and she broke up with you on national TV. And we should be celebrating everything Jill stood up for, and her coming out and living in her truth, but there’s another person who’s just home and says, “I thought we had a life together,” right? … It’s like when he says in the car – what, everything he does is a little crazy – but there’s a truth in that, like, “I could have swallowed the Tina thing, but now I see you broke up with Tina, and you’re with someone else.”
I didn’t mean to deeply humanize him, but what he feels is real. He obviously takes it, like many men, to a place where it just doesn’t have to go. So we were so concerned after 5 that it was so obvious it was him that we were doubting if we should see him again. I had a feeling that if we saw him at all, he would be the main suspect. Fortunately, there were a lot of engaging, interesting and wild stories that entered our world, which allowed us to focus on a few other characters. We’re definitely doing a good job of, I think, hiding the ball and making it a total surprise, but also being something that doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of left field.
TVLINE | Was I right when I heard a heartbeat at the very end of the episode? If so, that feels like a hopeful note to end on.
I mean, I’ve never spent so much time thinking about three seconds of a show, right? [Laughs] … This has changed [right] until the mix last Wednesday about how much, if any, we need. When should it be broadcast? Calling Disney to Say “If We Play This Again” [a] black [screen], are you going to invade our black? Can you promise to give up all the black we have?” Because in the beginning we would just talk about the black, and then we were like, you never know. You can have that conversation, but you don’t know what’s going on, [adopts announcer voice] “Tonight on Jimmy Kimmel!,” you know? [Laughs]
In my heart I wanted it. I think some people will miss it, and I like that idea. I like the idea of, “Did you hear that? I didn’t hear it. Did you hear it? Did you really hear it? What does that mean?” You know, I like that idea versus the final, like, we saw her eyes open. And I’ll say that, whatever you hear or think you hear doesn’t tell us what happened two minutes later.
TVLINE | What can you tell us about Eve’s involvement for the rest of the season?
I hate to give it away because it gives away a little bit of the story going forward, how much of the show we actually recorded. I’ll say this: we definitely shot more than you’ve seen from Eve. But I’ll say that with this caveat: Like a show like This is us, our show exists in a timeline from 20 years ago. There are also 20 years in between that we haven’t explored at all. So even if Eve[‘s character] died in episode 8, she could be in 100 more episodes of the show. It would make perfect sense. So I’m saying we’re definitely not done with Eva and her story, and I’m saying that without saying definitively whether she lives or dies.