More than most episodes of The Third Age, “The Last Supper,” our season finale, went through a lot of changes on its way to the screen. Spoilers are coming up, so if you haven’t caught the episode yet, check it out, then come back to find out how it turned out the way it did.
The key thing we wanted to make work was the reasoning behind Zinone deciding to agree to Jerrod’s plan. We shot the sequence in the woods first, and it played pretty well, but it felt like there wasn’t enough continuity between the Zinone we see there and the guy at the end of Episode 11. There’s a big jump in mentality, so we debated how to cover that gap, and make his decision clearer, without explicitly showing the specific reasoning that went into it.
Out of that process came the two scenes that now open the episode, the brief voicemail from Jerrod Woolf, which is used to reestablish the deal, and the scene where Zinone makes a delivery to new character, Schulkin, played by friend of Respect Films and former contestant on MTV’s Yo Mama, Jordan “Hair Jordan” Schulkin. The idea behind the scene with him was to put Zinone in an environment that would reflect his own mental turmoil, hence the jarring editing and intercutting of the video game footage.
Inspiration for the scene came from the sequence in Boogie Nights, where Dirk goes to make a coke deal at Rashad Jackson’s house. The scene features a great performance by Alfred Molina, and a surreal environment punctuated by a guy throwing firecrackers randomly. The construction of the scene puts you on edge, and that’s what we were after with this one. Structurally, I also found it interesting to introduce a whole new character and world so late into the film, and use that to comment on our characters’ plight.
That scene was added way into post, and was the biggest change in the episode as executed versus in the original conception. There were some other changes along the way as well. Brian and Hallie reworked some of the dialogue for their meeting in the woods, and brought a lot more tension to the dynamic than I’d originally imagined, but it works. It sells his altered state well.
Another element added in post was the two abstract montages that bookend the episode. The inspiration for these was similar montages that Battlestar Galactica often used to open important episodes, like the first season finale. It was the idea of using an overture to set the mood and evoke the conflict that will play out over the course of the episode. I always enjoy cutting abstract stuff like this, and the opener was designed to reinforce the core conflicts.
The closing montage was designed to bring things full circle and give everything a finality that the close of the Milton rising scene didn’t. It also serves as a teaser for Volume II, mixing a lot of the imagery of that volume with stuff we’ve already seen to serve as a seamless transition between the two stories.
A lot of choices went into the episode, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. It’s been a long road to complete the first volume, and now I’m digging into editing on the second volume, working to ensure that I can hopefully match what we did with the first, and with any luck, exceed it.