TV Fanatic has another exclusive interview for you from an Apple TV+ we love.
Shining Girls Season 1 may be over, but we’re not done admiring the work that created it.
We caught up with showrunner and writer Silka Luisa, who shared her thoughts about the season.
Okay. The finale is absolutely beautiful. I love it.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
First, let’s talk a little bit about the mechanics of the almost manic change that Kirby and Jenny were going through. What were the mechanics of making that work filming-wise, story-wise? There was a change coming every few minutes.
That was a real ambition for the final episode. It feels like you’re inside a kaleidoscope of shifts, where you just can’t get ahold of your reality. And there is just a whirlwind of them happening.
In terms of filming each time there is a shift, Dana worked really hard to make each of them slightly different and make them as visceral and intense as she could since this is our big sendoff.
And it worked.
And as a survivor of an attack, watching Kirby turn the tables on Harper was just so rewarding. I loved everything about it.
So is my assumption correct that she used the house to go back and prepare the church-going lady and Klara, to really up the ante and get Harper?
Exactly. And that, for me — being able to actually make him live through what she lived through — was so much more satisfying than just the physical altercation.
It was really putting him in the place of this is what he’s done to all these women and that disorientation feeling like, you don’t have the upper hand in the scene. That was the sweetest revenge.
I have to agree. And why did you decide that Kirby would take that control instead of burning the house to the ground like it happened in the book?
Well, in the book, the meaning of the house is a little bit different. So in the book, the house is very much tied to Harper and Harper’s ego. And in the show, I moved away from that. The house exists on its own. It’s a totem of power.
So whoever finds the house can use the house however they want to use it. Harper found the house, and it’s what he chose to do with it. He chose to use it against women who made him feel small.
Kirby now has the house. I think the big question is, after you’ve moved through Harper, after you’ve confronted what happened to you, and you have this power, what do you do with it? And what does that next chapter become?
So far, she went back and used it to get Harper. So that’s a good thing.
And when we see her final scene with Dan, after everybody has come, you know, come back to life, which is also beautiful, had she already gone back and seen Dan a few times, or is she going to allow that to progress naturally and hope that he remembers, despite all the timey-wiminess of it?
In my mind, she had gone back and seen him in some ways, which is a little bittersweet in the end. She is very much like Harper in that she’s outside of time now.
And she can have these moments where she revisits people, but she can’t really have a continuous life with them because you can’t be away from the house that long.
So in my mind, it wasn’t necessarily the first time she’d had that seem.
And how much did you love being able to bring the dog back? Everybody wants the dog to live and everything, and you got to have him rise from the dead.
I love that dog. So Grendel is the name of my own dog.
Oh, is it?
Yeah, that’s the TV version of my dog.
Oh, that’s so neat. Of all the people that came back to life, whenever he went further back in time, did what Kirby did undo all of that damage in your mind so the people even pre this timeline got to live out their life?
In my mind? Yes. So in my mind, because she stops him from ever finding the house, it’s as if he never found the house, and he could never stalk those women, and he could never be a part of their lives. So they get a completely fresh start.
Oh, well, that’s awesome. I like your mind. I like where it goes.
Kirby’s been through so much over the season that, in the end, I wanted it to feel like there was some victory, you know? It’s not a completely clean victory.
There is a cost to having the house, but at the same time, I think you want to see her triumph and you want to see her really, really get Harper back in the end.
Right. Right. Was there anything that you thought that maybe you wanted to put into the finale that didn’t make it?
Hmm. I think there was more story to the house, and how the ending opens, and Bartek, and how he found all of the mythology of the house.
I love all of that. At the same time, the season is very much Kirby’s story.
So it didn’t really have a place in the finale because it wasn’t feeding the narrative that we were telling.
And I like how you say this season was Kirby’s story. Is there any chance that this story could continue?
I’m not sure if there’s going to be a season two yet; we’re waiting to find out. But I think for me, you know, what drew me to the project was the book. It had a really big impact on me.
And so what is fantastic is that we’ve been able to cover the book in this season. It served as a template for the ten installments. And hopefully, we’ve done a service to the book, and we’ve told that story.
So you have both the option of feeling like this is complete; at the same time, it’s time travel. So you could open it up in so many different ways. It really is endless.
And so you do have that in your mind; it’s not just over?
I like knowing that. So if it did come back, would you want to do it with the same cast? Do you want Elisabeth Moss to come back and everybody else, or would it be a story of a completely different somebody who takes over the house? Have you thought about any of that?
I can’t answer any of that. My head is so full of the finale; I’m just happy to have gotten the first season done.
The show was about trauma and what fending off trauma does and how it pretty much shakes your entire world and how everybody around you is suddenly almost standoffish and afraid to talk to you about what happened. And that’s why the connection with Dan was so crucial in your version.
What have you been hearing from people who watch, and what kind of message do you think everybody who watched your show received?
What has been nice is that the metaphor for trauma has actually resonated with people, and they’ve picked up that is the intention of the mythology and the purpose for the show being out in the world. So in that sense, I feel very successful because its reason for being is justified.
What’s been most affirming, I would say, is a lot of people haven’t necessarily had the extent of Kirby’s experience but have lived in a state of constant unease because of things that have happened to them.
And just the idea that the everyday can become a haunted house because you have this quiet fear all the time.
And I think that a lot of people connected with that, and it’s very comforting when you have other people say, yeah, I recognize that it’s harder to move through life. It makes it a little bit like moving through mud, and you’re not the only one.
I’ve seen the finale a couple of times now, and I just think I would so do that. If I had the chance to go back and redo and make somebody experience what I experienced, I would take that opportunity in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t even be a question.
I think that’s the thing is when you get the house, there’s nothing wrong with using it. You want to use it to your advantage. She’d been given a sword. I wanted to see her, you know, slash it around.
I do think if you want to keep the house, you can’t ever leave the house. Right?
Because, as we saw in earlier episodes, if Harper leaves the house for too long, you basically lose your faculties. So in a way, it’s like you have a golden egg, but you have to sit on top of the egg.
Well, that’s kind of a bummer, isn’t it?
Very lonely, too.
If you haven’t seen Shining Girls on Apple TV+, why not change that? You can start watching today, and the whole season is available for binge-watching.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.