Bristol Cove is the mysterious seacoast town at the center of Siren, Freeform network’s top-rated series that captured the audience’s imagination as it began to explore the struggle between humans and mermaids. According to legend, the town once served as a home to mermaids. In the first season, the arrival of one of them — Ryn — wreaks havoc on the fishing village as she proves all of the legends to be true. Trying to solve the mystery of who she is and why she’s there falls to marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola), who are also trying to determine if there are more like her. Spoiler alert: there are.
Anticipation for the second season — which has just started filming — is building not only for the fans, but the show’s stars as well. They want to know what’s going on as much as anyone. “We’ve been told nothing,” actress Eline Powell, who plays Ryn, and who had previously discussed season one of Siren with Life & Style, tells us at Comic-Con. “We’re a little bit in the fan position where we’re making up little theories and things like that. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve made such a foundation in season one, that there is an enormous platform to build on.”
Alex agrees, adding, “I think the way that they built it in season one is really interesting. They haven’t jumped into anything too quickly. You’re just letting these connections build, and at the same time a lot of the characters are quite broken. All of that has to be dealt with in season two.”
Hints of things to come in season two.
According to executive producer Emily Whitesell, the new season will be guided by two things: a recognition of what the cast brings to the table performance wise, and a desire to elaborate on themes established last year. “When you watch Ryn, Eline has so many special powers as an actress that you sort of want to write to them,” she says, “and it’s the same with everyone else. And beyond the characters, we want to continue to explore environmental themes, global warming, what’s happenig in the oceans, and our non-traditional relationships.”
Of the latter, no one is really talking in depth yet, but there were the suggestions of dual relationships developing between Ryn and Ben and Ryn and Maddie. “We’re always trying to approach things in a nontraditional way,” Emily explains. “Ryn doesn’t have the kind of constraints that human beings have on relationships, so she’s very open — and Ben and Maddie kind of live on a higher plane in many emotional ways as well. I think we’re going to explore things that maybe we don’t see all the time on television and not a lot of judgment involved in it. And not a lot of constraints.”
Teasing the new season a little bit more, executive producer Eric Wald offers, “We really see Ryn as sort of a pioneer and a revolutionary and a very strong character that is open to the humans. There’ll be other mer-people that come on land that aren’t as sensitive to them as she is, so that’s going to build conflict. And she suddenly finds herself kind of at the center of this big conflict with these new arrivals. Emily was talking about our themes, and there’s also the idea of immigration refugees. How these people have to assimilate, and how they’re accepted — or not accepted — as they come across this border onto land.”
The actors are enjoying their character arcs.
All of which is music to Eline’s ears, as you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more excited about the coming events of year two than her, and the opportunity it will provide to further develop her character. “Ryn’s been through quite a lot,” she explains. “Her main thing is that her perception of humans has altered quite dramatically. She came on land thinking of humans as completely evil, bad people who are responsible for taking her sister and a lot of fish — the mermaids’ main food source. Then she came on land and she met people who are completely and utterly on her side and would almost give their life not to betray her. I think that’s blown her away. And then, on a personal level, she’s learning how to speak, to communicate, to move more as a human, and maybe to understand their world a little bit more. At this point, she’s also lost her sister and has to make a life on land. I think she’s gone through huge changes, but I feel like she’s better equipped now to make a life on land than in season one when it was all so fresh and she was so angry.”
Alex believes that Ben has gone through quite a change from the start of season one to where season two kicks off as well: “I think for Ben, he starts off relatively sure of himself. He’s got this atruistic look on life and he’s sure that his mroals are in the right place, you know? He just knows what’s right and he can trust what he’s doing is for the right reasons. But then the mermaid’s siren song comes along and I think he spends a lot of season one starting to doubt himself a little bit; starting to have to make harder decisions. Finally, he realizes that he’s just not thinking straight. That realization is having a serious effect on him, and it’s going to be interesting for him to explore that through season two.”
For Maddie’s arc, Fola comments, “I think she’s very quickly learned that she can’t control everything; that you can’t be on top of everything no matter how hard you try. She has perfectionist tendencies, and she’s quickly learned that that’s not possible in life.”
Siren has offered a unique take on mermaids.
Discussing the changes in the character, leads Fola to point out that she believes the power of the show comes from the various relationships and the exploration of how difficult and out of the ordinary circumstances impact on the different characters and their connections with each other. “At the same time,” she explains, “the mermaid mythology is so exciting to me. I think it’s such a universal mythology. All around the world there’s some kind of water goddess or mermaid myth, and it was exciting to see how the writers and creators would manifest that in a TV show in a way we’ve not seen before.”
Elaborating on the show’s appeal, for her personally, Eline offers, “I’ve got to say, for me, it was the take on the mermaids, which was really cool. Also, to then draw it to the point of seeing our world through the eyes of someone brand new. Someone who’s never experienced humans before. Honestly, I’ve got a little book that’s all about mermaids and their behavior. So I try not to think logically, like, ‘Oh, she’ll laugh now. She’ll cry now. She’ll be like this…’ I always try to think what could be completely different, but still you can kind of relate to what she’s feeling a little bit.”
“That’s what pulls you in,” Alex opines. “I think this different take on the mermaid legend pulls you in and then I think the experiences that the towns people are having because of that keeps it going.”
Eline, in a way, got “pulled into” all this mermaid business almost inadvertently. “I completely accidentally booked a job for a film where I played a siren,” she laughs, “so I had to actually learn a little bit about mermaids. It wasn’t as intense as this, but I got to know the water better and fell in love with it. So I had a little bit of a water relationship before I got here.”
No word yet from Freeform on when the second season will begin airing.