SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from the finale of Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & The Six.
Daisy Jones & The Six have taken their final bow.
The curtains closed on the Prime Video series Friday with the release of the final two episodes. They are two of the series’ most ambitious episodes, with the finale weaving together the band’s last performance and what went down to propelled them to the point of no return.
Episode 9 begins on a tense note, as Daisy (Riley Keough) wakes up from her drug overdose with her husband Nicky by her side. But, of course, she remembers that Nicky wasn’t actually there for her in her time of need. She storms over to Billy’s (Sam Claflin) room to demand he tell her why Nicky wasn’t there to help her. While we don’t see exactly what Billy says, we can only assume he told her the ugly truth, since she leaves his room with rage in her eyes as she kicks Nicky to the curb.
“It was a really kind of intense moment,” Keough told Deadline. “I think it’s a really important moment for her as a character. And I think [she’s] recognizing in that moment that he’s not the one for her and that she’s maybe been lying to herself a little bit. It’s probably hard for her.”
Daisy manages to hold it together until Karen (Suki Waterhouse) embraces her. That’s when she lets herself fall apart. It’s a moment in the two women’s relationship that the creators had been working toward since Episode 4, when Karen goes out of her way to be kind to Daisy during the band’s performance in Hawaii, even though everyone else is dismissive (and Billy is irritated). Then, Karen is the person Daisy calls to bail her out of jail.
“She’s not threatened about the idea of having another woman join the band, which I think a lot of people might be. She’s very welcoming and knows that this is a recipe for their success to grow,” creator Scott Neustadter said. “It’s just the germs of that relationship had been set early on and what we’re seeing I think, at the end here, is that someone that I think Daisy is really gonna miss…I just always thought that it was lovely to watch their interaction and that friendship outlast everything else. I get the sense that when everything’s done, they stay in touch. I feel like that’s a relationship that doesn’t end in fireworks.”
Keough adds that the moment in the hallway “represents so much” about both women, as well as the nature of being a female musician, especially in the 1970s.
“We think about women in the 70s and what they would have to do to survive in a truly a man’s world at the time. Some of that is not opening up in the same way and not showing all your cards to try and get to where you need to get as a talented female artist,” she said. “But I think at that moment, it’s kind of interesting because the boys come up to her to comfort her and she can’t handle that. But then when she sees Karen, she feels like she can’t stop herself from feeling and I think that’s the power women can have. They’re in a band with a bunch of boys and I think that she can kind of close it off with the boys and I think that seeing her unable to hold it in with Karen just represents the power that females can have.”
After that, Daisy does her best to get her act together. While she isn’t completely sober, she explains that she set rules for herself about her drug consumption so that she could make it through the day. It takes a level of bravery that audiences haven’t seen from Daisy up to this point. Keough adds that it’s a “step in the right direction” for Daisy.
For the first time, Daisy and Billy aren’t at odds with each other. They have found a bit of common ground, and a new energy emerges between the two of them. The band travels back to their hometown, Camila (Camila Morrone) and Billy talk about having another baby, and the wild rollercoaster they were all on seems to have leveled out. But that doesn’t last for long.
“No matter what’s going on with Billy and Daisy being in a good place, things are going to fall apart,” said director Nzingha Stewart. “When [Episode] 10 happens, it’s just more devastating.”
The final episode of the series revolves around the band’s infamous last performance at Soldier Field in Chicago. We still don’t know what led the group to completely fall apart after this show…until now. In between flashes of their final set, the episode cuts back to the days leading up to that point and how they contributed to their downfall.
In terms of the technicalities of shooting such an ambitious episode, Stewart says: “It is such an incredibly well crafted script. But we did not shoot in order. It’s so beautiful, but it’s a really hard script to direct because you’ve had to keep track of so many things all the time. So a lot of prep…we had to just sit there and write the beats out like write what was happening in the concert and then write what was the story behind it. Here’s the song and here’s what should be happening on stage at this moment.”
Stewart began her career in music videos, which might explain why it’s easy to forget that you aren’t watching a concert movie when the camera cuts back to a scene on stage. But while the typical concert is between two to three hours long, capturing the Soldier Field performance took days of 10-12 hour night shoots.
Luckily, the cast had been preparing for this very moment.
“My family is musical and so people assume that I sang or played music and I really did not. I would hum a little bit here and there and sing with my husband, but truly, I was by no means a musician,” Keough said. “We were so ready to perform because we spent so much time rehearsing… It was really cool to see that if you have the luxury of putting that much time into developing a new skill, what can happen, because typically with films and stuff we get a few weeks to practice something. Then you have to fake the rest. With this it was truly seeing like ‘Okay, if we were put into rigorous rehearsals, could we be rock stars?’”
The difficult part was infusing the performance with emotions that aligned with what the audience had seen occur off stage. It’s “the luckiest thing ever” to be able to shoot in emotional order, which almost never happens with TV shows, Keough says. It was up to Stewart to determine when the camera could roam and when they needed “dedicated passes” in order to accomplish something specific.
Take, for example, those longing glances that Karen and Graham exchange on stage. Those mean more once the audience learns that Karen received an abortion without telling Graham, only for the pair to get in a devastating argument about it in the elevator of the hotel prior to their final gig. Same goes for the tense interactions between Eddie and Billy, and the fraught but emotional connection between Billy and Daisy.
Stewart couldn’t just hope for the best. She had to be intentional about those moments, because they’re meant to break your heart.
“We couldn’t really just have a camera roaming around and having fun with it. We had to be like ‘Now we’re gonna shoot just Karen, looking at Graham during this song. And here’s what she’s reacting to.’ And so Suki knew like ‘They’re only filming me.’ I’m gonna try to connect with Graham,” she said. “But how else do you tell that story? We can’t sort of hope to catch something. It had to be planned. And the actors had to be aware like this is only about this moment. This isn’t actually about the song you’re playing at all.”
Toward the end of the episode is the big reveal: this entire time, the band has been recounting their tale to Julia, Billy and Camila’s daughter. Camila died a few years prior to those interviews, but Julia had gotten her to tell her side of the story first…and one of her dying wishes was that one day, when he was ready, Billy would give Daisy Jones a call. And Daisy Jones would answer.
As with any adaptation from page to screen, there are quite a few notable changes made throughout the series, including pieces of the ending. However, are the creators of the show really changing the story, or are they re-interpreting it based on the revelation that Julia has been on the receiving end?
“I believe that they would naturally censor themselves and they wouldn’t necessarily tell the whole story to the person that they’re talking to,” Neustadter argued, explaining that Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel “always felt to me like a little bit of revisionist history.”
“But I think it’s really interesting that there’s a lot more not being said than being said. We’re making it in a visual medium. We couldn’t get away with being so ambiguous. We had to show certain moments,” he continued.
And considering the real-life rock bands that inspired the story (ahem, Fleetwood Mac), Neustadter still thinks they played it pretty safe: “We did a ton of research on like rock and roll bands in the ’70s that were fraught with all this drama and everything else and it was never this chaste. The fact that we’re talking about did [Billy and Daisy] or didn’t they kiss? It really does not line up with some stories about ’70s rock bands.”
All episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six are streaming on Prime Video.
The post ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’: Riley Keough & Series Creators On Crafting Final Episodes Around The Band’s Last Performance appeared first on Deadline.