SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from the Season 2 finale of Starz’s Blindspotting.
Season 2 of Blindspotting came to an end on Friday with a cathartic episode where the characters finally addressed some of the tensions that have been brewing since Miles [Rafael Casal] went to prison.
The episode follows the aftermath of Miles’ unexpected homecoming. Ashley [Jasmine Cephas Jones] has been sleeping on Nancy’s couch since Miles walked in on her explaining to their friends and family why she’d kissed another man. After a spectacularly early release from San Quentin, Miles had decided to surprise everyone at Meat Fest (an annual party Rainey throws to stick it to her cheating ex). There are no phones allowed at Meat Fest, so he couldn’t call anyways.
“It’s a very sad way for him to find out when the moment should be this joyous moment of him coming home and him surprising everybody. We’ve all waited for this moment, and so it’s just really sad, and I feel bad for her,” Cephas Jones told BB.
Ashley certainly harbors more guilt than ever, given that Miles went to prison on New Year’s Eve on drug possession charges as a cover for her brother. Now it’s New Year’s Eve again. Miles and Ashley haven’t spoken since, but the final episode makes it clear that they’re both desperately searching for a way back to each other.
And it’s not just Miles that Ashley needs to mend things with. She and his mother Rainey have been due for a conversation the entire season. After a cathartic argument with Rainey in the cemetery, standing beside her biological mother’s grave, Ashley finds the strength to finally approach Miles.
He finds her sitting on their bed upstairs holding the two bottles of champagne they were meant to share on the night he was arrested, and the pair silently reconciles as fireworks light up Oakland.
Cephas Jones spoke with BB about the Blindspotting Season 2 finale, that cathartic scene with Helen Hunt, and her hopes for Ashley and Miles moving forward in the interview below.
BB: I was very surprised when Miles shows up at the end of Episode 7. Did you know that was the case before you began shooting Season 2? Or how did you find out?
JASMINE CEPHAS JONES: Yeah, I knew that he was going to come out [of prison]. I didn’t get all the drafts of all [the scripts] for Season 2, so I just didn’t know in detail how it was gonna happen. But I did know that that was gonna happen, and I also knew that Ashley was going to do something bad.
BB: So, when you finally read the script and you realized he’s walking in on her talking about why she kissed another man, what was your reaction?
CEPHAS JONES: Well, I think I was just really sad. Even from Episode 5, that’s kind of where the pivot happens. I just feel really bad for her, because I think she’s just going through a lot of pain, and she’s just been in denial about her feelings the whole entire season. I think when she has that verse in Episode 5, she’s finally unleashing how angry she is and how she feels like she has to do all of this alone, and just how much pain she’s going through. Even in that monologue that she does in Episode 7, she’s just being so honest with everybody. And it’s so unfortunate, the way that it all unravels in her face. She just doesn’t get the opportunity to really sit down with Miles and confront him about it. She’s just very caught off guard. It’s a very sad way for him to find out when the moment should be this joyous moment of him coming home and him surprising everybody. We’ve all waited for this moment, and so it’s just really sad, and I feel bad for her.
BB: In that moment, I felt so frustrated for both of them, because so much of their tension throughout the season — and honestly everyone’s tensions — comes from the fact that they think Miles will be in prison for five years. If only they’d known it would be so much shorter.
CEPHAS JONES: I think they feel like they have all of this time. It’s like, How do I raise my kid with all of his time without him? How am I going to cope for five years without him? Who am I? I need to get back to myself. Ashley has this pressure. She keeps saying in the beginning, ‘I’m fun.’ It’s like now she has to prove to everybody that she’s not this depressed person. It’s all of these feelings that she’s having, and she’s not approaching them in a very healthy way. She does think that she has so much time away [from Miles]. And then he shows up, which should be this joyous moment, but it’s not.
BB: I also wanted to ask you about filming that scene with Helen Hunt in the cemetery, where Rainey and Ashley are fighting. It seems like this very cathartic moment for both of them. How did you approach that scene with Helen?
CEPHAS JONES: I remember it was very, very cold that day. Helen is such an amazing actor. I love acting with Helen. We really love on each other. So when we do get this real tension and these fight scenes, it’s okay for us to go at each other that way. We do kind of go for each other’s throats. Ashley is a mother, and she doesn’t have a mother. To add on to the pain of like, this person that she’s been leaning on, which is her partner, who’s gone, she’s at her mother’s grave, and she’s just kind of like, ‘I don’t know what to do, and I don’t have my mother to lean on.’ In that moment, maybe Rainey forgets for a second that she needs to be a mother to Ashley and Ashley needs her. They need each other. At the end of the day, they need each other’s love. They need to lean on each other. And I think it’s such a beautiful scene because they get so honest. They fight and she’s like, ‘F*ck you.’ It’s just so honest and so angry. But then it’s like, ‘What are we doing? We love each other, and we need to love each other.’ Once they get to that place, it’s so beautiful. Ashley just cries in Rainey’s arms.
Rainey has been a mother figure to Ashley her whole entire life. I think this tragedy, and the sadness have gotten in the way of how they can approach this all together as a family. Ashley’s blind spot a lot of the time is that she feels like she has to do everything herself…And there’s this pride. I think a lot of that has to do [with the idea] that she did lose her mother. So there’s a lot of backstory, a lot of deep, deep trauma that goes into these characters. But I think at the end of the day, they just need each other, and they always show up for each other, even throughout all have the tension that they have. I love that scene. I loved shooting that scene with Helen. I think what’s great about us in those types of scenes is we just dive in. We don’t hold back. I think we’re very comfortable with each other and we love each other anyway, that it gives us space to go at it and to be really free in those moments. So you really get these raw and honest performances that we have with each other, and they’re some of my favorite scenes to do. I love going head-to-head with Helen. It’s so much fun.
BB: Rafael and Daveed seem like very collaborative people. Do they often seek your input on Ashley, and how often do you seek to give input on her journey?
CEPHAS JONES: My input has always been there, since the beginning. They know Ashley very well, and so do I. I’ve been involved with Blindspotting since the movie, and so all of the visits to each other’s houses and text messages and calls…we’ve been going back and forth about Ashley and who she is [for years]. It even started with a Pinterest board that I and Rafa started of like, what clothes does she wear? I’ve been involved since the beginning, which I think makes it a really unique experience for me. So I’m very lucky because my voice is always heard. And if I don’t agree with something or something doesn’t feel right, I’ll say it, and I’ll have the floor, and I’ll have the space to be listened to. But as far as like creating her, we’ve been creating her for a couple of years now.
BB: The show also pushes a lot of creative boundaries. Do you feel like at this point, you’re ready for whatever they throw at you?
CEPHAS JONES: Heck yeah. When do I get the Western that takes place in my son Sean’s mind? Or I get to take a tennis racquet and break the fourth wall and do heighten verse into the camera? I mean, I’ve never seen that done before in TV. Starz lets us be really creative, and that’s really, really cool. I think, at the end of the day, it’s all about trying things. It’s all about being creative and going outside of the box. But how can you know if things work? How can you do things that’s never been done before, if you don’t have the space and the acceptance of these ideas? So for me, as an actor and as a creator, I’m game for anything, because I don’t know if I’ll ever get an opportunity to play a role like this and to push boundaries in a way that the show does. And so in that way, it’s one of the most creative, fulfilling experiences I’ve ever done as an artist. I walk away from the show, and I’m a better artist because of it.
BB: I’m glad you mentioned the Western episode. It’s such a fun one, and Atticus Woodward really shines, as I think he does all season. He seems so grown up, and it’s very apparent in his acting. How has it been working with him on Season 2?
CEPHAS JONES: Oh, my God, Atticus is incredible. You’re right. In Season 2, he really brings it, and he’s become such an incredible little actor. It’s just so wild when you work with a child actor, because you’re watching them grow into an older human being, and they’re still a kid, and yet they have the capacity to come to work. And Atticus has done some beautiful work in this season and I’m really, really proud of him.
BB: So now that Miles and Ashley have reconciled, what’s the path forward for them?
CEPHAS JONES: I can’t tell you that.
BB: Right, no spoilers. But, what are you hoping for them?
CEPHAS JONES: I hope they get a little break. He’s out, and so the next challenge would be what happens to people when they come out of prison and they are back into the real world. That will probably be another challenge for both of them. But I’m excited just to see them together. I love Ashley and Miles. I love who they are as parents. They’re great characters. You really got to see who they are as parents and who they are as a couple in Episode 3. We’ve never really seen that, just how they are together. And so I would just love to see that more in Season 3. And I think we will get to see that, if we do get to Season 3.