[Warning: The following post contains spoilers for Season 1 of The Innocents! Read at your own risk!]
If you watched Netflix's new young adult series The Innocents and expected a happy ending, then you weren't paying much attention. Though star-crossed teenagers Harry (Percelle Ascott) and June (Sorcha Groundsell) were finally able to accept that they needed each other, the decision to commit came at the wrong moment. As they tried to make an escape from yet another dangerous situation, they ended up in a car crash that fatally injured June. The only way for her to survive was to shift into Harry — something they had avoided all season — and then make their get away. Unfortunately, Harry's mother caught up to them in the middle of June's shift and touched her, believing it to be her son. That caused June to immediately shift into Harry's mother without going back into her own form, locking Harry in a catatonic state.
Just when it seemed as if the two lovers had figured themselves out, this new predicament puts them in a situation that is parallel to that of their parents. Harry's father is locked in a similar state because June's mom also did a double shift. TV Guide talked to star Percelle Ascott about that jaw-dropping final scene and where he hopes the story goes from here. Keep reading to see what he had to say.
What was your reaction when you read the end of Episode 8?
Percelle Ascott: Man, how can I sum up my reaction? I think just curious in the sense of what's going to happen next. I think with any kind of Netflix show it's quite nice at the end of just even watching the end of Episode 1 you have that kind of moment to yourself, where you're like okay, I need to see the next episode here.
And it's the same thing with the end of this season. I guess I've become so connected to the characters and the journey of Harry and June, and sad, really, that they've come to this place where their journey, you just don't know how it's going to continue, where it's going to go. But I remember being excited about the fact that we're going to have this sort of big finish, ultimately, and especially when it comes to incorporating the shapeshifting aspect to it as well.
Why do you think that Harry was finally willing to let June shift into him? Was it because he avoided it the entire series?
Ascott: Harry goes on such a journey in which he grows and learns from all the experiences that there's no real other choice. The one ultimate goal for Harry was always to protect and love June and that's what he's always wanted to do. And in the circumstance of Episode 8, after the crash sequence has happened, in his mind this is the only way he feels that he can help her, and I don't think he can think of any other consequence to it. He just knows that this is what he has to do.
For most of the series Harry is the definition of a perfect boyfriend, but were you ever worried that he wouldn't rise to the occasion to save June?
Ascott: You know what? It's funny, I actually wouldn't even put him as perfect boyfriend. Maybe perfect but imperfect, I would say, and I think the imperfections make us perfect. I think that's what makes us human. But Harry, as I said before, he struggles through the series to find the right choices to make. And it is [through] his mum, indirectly... where he makes those phone calls to his mum and he's struggling what to do, she teaches him about love and what it means to love.
Love isn't just a feeling, it's an action. The moments in which Harry ... runs away back to Yorkshire, and he learns that no, he needs to still be there for June. She's in danger again and I guess that teaches him what June means to him and he goes back and searches for her in Norway with John... I guess for Harry his journey is a bit of a roller coaster, but I think that's what love is. Love is such a complex thing that's it's never perfect, but it's about us making the right choices to get back on track, and I guess that's what Harry does later on in the series.
Do you have any theories about where Harry and June were planning to go when they drove off the boat?
Ascott: Yeah, I feel like that's the whole thing about being young, and I think that's the beautiful part. When we're first watching these characters, even when I'm looking at Harry and trying to learn about him as much as I could, it was about trying to remember when we were young we would make these impulsive choices, and we wouldn't know what the consequences were. We would just make a bold choice and go with it, and that was the whole thing with them running away in the beginning. I don't think they knew what was going to happen in London or even they didn't know what that was going to do to their relationship in terms of their dynamic.
And in that moment of speeding off, I think in that moment they're just trying to think of "we need to get away and it doesn't matter where or how far we go, as long as we're together, that's what matters."
Even though Harry runs away from her at the end, do you think that he finally came to an understanding of his mom by the end of the series? And do you think their relationship healed a little bit even though tragedy struck in the end?
Ascott: Absolutely. I thought like with anything, in any kind of relationship — again that's why I love this show because it's not just about Harry and June. It's not just this romance and this love story, it's also about the family dynamic that also June has with her dad and her mum and her brother. And at the same time, Harry has this thing going on with his mum and dad. I thought over the course of the journey, just the communication alone, they have a moment — I think it's in Episode 7, in fact — where Harry's able to just finally tell his mum what he's feeling. And what he's feeling is this neglect from his mum in terms of when it comes to his dad, the conversation with his dad... Ultimately, the fact that they were able to communicate and have those conversations there, I thought that was going to help build their relationship, and I don't think it's perfect. I think, over time, that needs to be something we can look at growing and seeing what that becomes.
Do you think his perception of his dad changed once he found out what put Lewis in that catatonic state?
Ascott: Yeah, and you know what? There's probably still so much we can even tap into about what that's going to do in terms of changing that relationship. I think Harry still thoroughly loves his dad. You can see there's so many moments and just the look between him and Harry and his dad where, even as Harry's running away, what that means to him when he's having that last moment before he runs away...Ultimately Harry still loves his dad. And the fact that Elena was able to tell Harry that the last thing that he said was, "You should meet my son" — which is a play on what the writers had done there — the fact that Lewis is always saying the same thing... That's all still referenced to the moment just before he fell into this catatonic state, which is part of just the bigger story, basically. But I think he was very touched the fact that his dad was still putting Harry, in terms of priority, in terms of what Harry means to him.
Assuming there is a Season 2 and we get to see Harry back in normal state, do you think that he and June will ever be able to trust other humans again?
Ascott: I definitely do think they would have some sort of reservations to people in the future, but ultimately, there is so much that they need to learn from this experience and what they're going through, that there's going to be people that they're gong to encounter who are going to promise all sorts of things. But I'm pretty sure that they'll be better equipped in terms of who they can trust next time.
What would you like to see if The Innocents gets a Season 2?
Ascott: I just think the same thing with Season 1. The biggest question was, "Can this show work if you take the shapeshifting out of it?" And I think the answer from all of us would be yes, and I think that's always been the goal and it's to make it, again, we go back into the relationships. There's still so much to be cleared up in terms of, I'm sure, Christine and Harry and the back shift. That's one element to it, and then understanding what had happened in the past, uncovering all of that — seeing if there's a way to fix things back together, whether it's be back shift or whatnot. What does that do in terms of June and Harry's relationship now that Harry's in this back shift and this catatonic state?... Also, there's June and John and Ryan, so there's still so many characters that will come into play — and also Kam as well — in which I felt like we're going to now develop on those relationships that we had set up and see where their stories take us.
The Innocents is now streaming on Netflix.