Spoilers ahead for the Ghosts season 2 finale.
Rebecca Wisocky—or, as she’s higher known within the gleefully clever CBS comedy Ghosts, Henrietta “Hetty” Woodstone—knows the responsibility on her incorporeal shoulders. Because the Woodstone property’s lady of the manor, she’s something of a matriarch amongst the gaggle of friendly ghosts that populate the upstate mansion inherited by Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay Arondekar (Utkarsh Ambudkar). But Wisocky understands that this responsibility is twofold: As Hetty learns higher take care of her unexpected housemates, so, too, does Wisocky higher learn characterize Hetty herself.
A relic of the Gilded Age who died of as-yet-undisclosed causes, Hetty is emblematic of the prejudices of her class, race, and era. She dresses only in her full corseted gown and heels; she’s stiff and alarmed at any considered sexual “impropriety”; she’s selfish and openly judgmental, especially at mention of the Irish. But, over the course of season 2, a number of likelihood encounters with a washer and a deepening relationship with the opposite inhabitants—particularly, Alberta (Danielle Pinnock), Flower (Sheila Carrasco), and Trevor (Asher Grodman), in addition to her distant descendant Sam—open her as much as the concept of delight, passion, and even the capability for change.
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In last night’s season 2 finale, the culmination of the multi-episode mystery over Alberta’s murder ends with Hetty actually admitting wrongdoing. Her son, Thomas, was the wrongdoer, and she or he covered up his crime for a long time, openly lying to her friends—and to Alberta, particularly. She is uncharacteristically contrite as she stands “trial” for these crimes, which banish her to the forest surrounding Woodstone for a yr. (“Within the winter, I shall take shelter within the old outhouse we reserved for the assistance and for foreign-born guests,” Hetty replies.) But Alberta steps in on the last moment, swapping the tough sentence for a lesser, funnier one: Hetty will now should share a room with Flower.
As Ghosts readies itself for season 3—which, hopefully, will address who was “sucked off” (a.k.a sent to heaven) within the finale’s cliffhanger—Wisocky chatted with ELLE.com about embodying Hetty’s contradictions, supporting the writers’ strike, and brainstorming for Ghosts’ next chapter.
A whole lot of season 2, by way of Hetty’s character arc, has focused on her self-exploration and self-pleasure. So I believed it was fascinating—and endearing—that the finale ultimately ends with what Hetty’s willing to sacrifice for her friends. I’m curious what you thought of that development.
Yes, you might be right. Hetty’s not a lady that has numerous experience being contrite or apologizing. We realized that that was the best way the plot was twisting just before we shot it. I did numerous reverse engineering about what might make this particular woman have the opportunity to hold that secret for thus long. It had lots to do with preserving the sensation for another person. I believe she has an important capability for a friendship, and she or he just expresses it in all of the flawed ways. There’s so many little beautiful human frailties that our writers manage to precise in what is actually a really silly romp of an ensemble comedy. We’re very grateful to have such expert writers to try this and need to take us on those journeys.
But the concept of telling a lie and keeping it for thus long that it becomes your truth is twisted and something that I believe Hetty became able to. But I believe there’s any variety of things that she could be willing to prostrate herself and do with the intention to win Alberta’s friendship back. I believe the writers will expand what meaning into season 3.
What’s it concerning the relationship between Alberta and Hetty that you think that draws them to one another? Apart, after all, from the undeniable fact that they live in the identical house and, y’know, the murder connection.
I’ve thought lots about this. One thing that’s vital to me concerning the show is the best way that [showrunners] Joe Port and Joe Wiseman have chosen these archetypes of characters from certain periods in American history. All of them appear to be from somewhat fraught periods in American history—and with the ladies, that’s actually true. None of those characters would’ve been exposed to at least one one other, to at least one one other’s points of view and opinions, in their very own time, in their very own lives. But being so on this show, they’re actually able to change.
Specifically with the relationships with the ladies, the story of the suffrage movement, the story of the precise to vote, the story of female empowerment and sexual awakening—all those things are lessons that Hetty learns based on her friendships with these other women. It’s not lost on me that, if Alberta died in 1920, when she discusses and teaches [Hetty] the importance of the precise to vote, Black women didn’t have that right at the moment. Not until the Civil Rights Act and in Flower’s time did they’ve that. There’s smart, insightful, provocative historical things and themes that the show allows us to explore.
Hetty says within the finale, when she is apologizing to Alberta, that in her time, “women were competition for each other,” and that she now not sees them in that way. I used to be curious, do you think that that that’s really true? Has her view of ladies modified that much over the course of this show?
I believe her view of ladies has modified because her view of herself has modified, based in her relationships with these other women. Kicked off, after all, by Rose McIver’s character. I believe these people have been trapped together in a house—for a few of them hundreds of years, lots of of years on the very least. Suddenly, now, only within the last two years are they seeing all this variation. There’s this renaissance happening in the home, and it’s because they’ve access to this recent character who’s a Living. Things seem possible; things seem changeable.
Absolutely. Since you mentioned Rose’s character, how would you wish to see the connection between Sam and Hetty evolve? I used to be considering of that little moment within the finale when Sam looks as if she might lose the home and Hetty says that line, “Just once we finally got a Living that might serve us—see us.” I believed that was such an exquisite, hilarious little look into their characters. But on condition that, how would you wish to see that dynamic evolve in season 3?
Well, they’ve already evolved a lot…We’ve met Sam’s mother; we all know that that was a difficult relationship. I believe that Hetty—we don’t know yet whether or not she had a daughter. But she actually had a difficult relationship along with her own one child that we find out about, and so I believe they’re searching for something in each one other, I believe, that may proceed to evolve.
What would you say is probably the most difficult aspect of balancing the humor of this show and the sheer ridiculousness of the premise with the insightful emotional stakes that you simply mentioned? Especially within the case of Hetty, who I believe could easily come across crass for those who didn’t toe the road in addition to you do.
Well, thanks for the compliment. It is certainly a fragile line. Respect have to be paid to the writers, who’ve that every one in mind by design. I might say it’s tricky, but it surely’s also an important gift.
You keep in mind that these ghosts are all, in some ways, a bunch of youngsters. They’re creatures who can really love Sam, and they’d’ve been horrified to see her go. But at the identical time, the ramifications for them are that they won’t have the opportunity to observe television continuously. The selfishness and people things are very funny, I believe they’re very relatable, but then additionally they own balance with these very connected moments of relationship and family. Let’s be honest, family are those that you simply are likely to, sometimes, treat the worst. Our family is like that, too.
As we go into season 3, how do you think that this recent roommate situation between Hetty and Flower goes to alter their relationship?
I can’t wait. I like those two together. I like Sheila Carrasco; I like working along with her. One in all my favorite storylines of season 2 was the washer episode early within the season. I just think, again, there’s so many unlikely partnerships [in Ghosts]. The romance [between Hetty and Trevor] is actually one in every of them, however the friendship between Flower and Hetty, I believe, goes to be numerous fun. Sheila and I text one another on a regular basis, various scenarios that Hetty and Flower would rise up to: We play hide and seek, but then Flower forgets to hunt.
Do you think that that Hetty is becoming less prejudiced because the series goes on, or is it simply that she’s more aware of what constitutes a prejudice?
I believe it’s each. I actually do. Again, it’s a pleasant way that our show manages to be a lightweight comedy but in addition a bit provocative and slightly subversive with the pokes that it gets in. Hetty’s disdain for the Irish was not an unusual sentiment in America within the 1800s. There’s obviously a horrible history in America of anti-immigrant sentiment, and so she represents that. She’s allowed to represent that and that they will try this and convey truth to it, but in addition some humor to it, I believe is impressive.
Do who it was that got “sucked off” within the season 2 finale?
I do know. I’m not going to say anything more lest you read into my tone of voice any clues.
You’ve mentioned several times throughout how much you and the forged and everybody involved in Ghosts owe to the writers. You’ve been a vocal advocate, on- and offline, of the continuing writers’ strike. What compels you not only to present the writers as much credit on this conversation as you will have, but to physically stand alongside them of their effort?
It’s a no brainer. Without the writers, we might don’t have any story. Such as you said, I’ve been on the market and there’s an incredible amount of solidarity across mediums, and I believe it’s really vital. There’s a necessity for an equitable deal. And it’s, I believe, emblematic of among the larger problems in society, if I could also be so daring.
It’s the transparency. I’m one hundred pc union strong and support the writers in getting a very good deal.
What concerning the fan reception to Ghosts has surprised you, and what has it meant to you as an actress?
There’s such incredible love that has come, and creativity and community—the fan art that’s been generated, this sense of…We’ve gotten some really meaningful communication from fans about people having the ability to have conversations of their families that they wouldn’t have had. Delicate conversations. People having the ability to discuss death in a way or grieve a loved one in a way. Again, it’s a lightweight comedy, but it surely has the capability to incite conversation and community. That feels really, really rewarding.
There was a really, very strong response to Hetty and Trevor getting together, which actually did surprise me. I like that individuals felt slightly challenged by that. It’s a May-December romance—I’m not only the older woman; I’m 150 years older. A whole lot of fans, they need Hetty to grow; they need her to alter. They need her to be empowered; they need her to have a sexual awakening. But they weren’t sure in the event that they wanted her to get with a young guy. A whole lot of those people have modified their minds, and I believe ultimately they’re rooting for this character to evolve and be blissful. However the sense of investment that individuals really have in us and in these characters has been really incredible.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Photography by the Riker Brothers; hair by Vince Lowell; makeup by Marie Del Prete; styling by Joseph Casell.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture author at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.