The second season of The Cleaning Lady premieres next week, and there is so much to unpack.
When we last left Thony (Élodie Yung), she was becoming business partners with Arman (Adan Canto) and Nadia (Eva De Dominici) after Hayak’s (Navid Negahban) downfall. After celebrating her newfound partnership and deciding to stay in the United States, Thony finds Marco has taken their son Luca. With Arman in prison still, Thony turns to FBI agent Garrett (Oliver Hudson) for help with her son.
“It’s just all over the place,” Yung tells The Nerds of Color over the phone from the set. “She’s juggling so many plates even more than the beginning of this story we’re following because she has fallen into this underground world of Vegas crime.”
With everything going on with Thony and the world she’s involved in, she will be going through some changes mentally. There are some moments where Thony is completely emotionless and really showing no empathy. Yung wants it to be clear that Thony is not a sociopath. She’s just on “autopilot” as survival mode.
“We have shot things that are revealing the cracks and the vulnerability – but she has to carry on,” Yung explains. “I really want to see her humanity peeking through at some point. I want to see the impact that this world has on her. I want to see how it affects her in a [truly] deep way.”
We chat more on Thony’s deep dive into the criminal underworld, her relationship with Marco, and how all of that will affect her friendship with Fiona (Martha Millan).
The Nerds of Color: We were left with A LOT last season. Where would you say is Thony’s mindset in all of this?
Élodie Yung: Throughout season one, we could see how she was trying to keep her son alive while struggling with this criminal world [and] hiding the truth from her family – from Fiona. Then her husband comes and kidnaps her son, so she begs for help [from] Garrett to get her son back. She is, in my opinion, dealing with [so much]. It’s extremely hard on her and the way she deals with it so far is by suppressing and making compartments because she needs to carry on and go help [Arman] get the money for [this situation]. It’s [very] high stakes [and] high level of stress that she’s going through. We see a Thony that is trying to keep the pieces together. She’s [on] autopilot mode. It’s great because we’ve all been through [difficult] moments in our lives and this is how I face it. Obviously, we’re doing a series – it is fictional and entertaining, but I need to keep things grounded from my own work.
My main concern is that Thony may be going in Mafia mode. For example, whatever Marco and Thony’s relationship is, they both share Luca and their love for Luca. Marco may have issues but he truly loves his son. Are we beginning to see Thony’s humanity stripped away and become more mafia-like? Does Thony feel a sense of guilt or sympathy towards Marco?
That’s a great point. That’s something that I personally raised to the writers because I don’t believe she’s a sociopath [or that] she belongs to the mafia world and [goes] full-on gangster. I don’t believe that in a minute. She has to keep going and I can relate to this. She has to put on the mask, but deep down – at nighttime, when she goes into Luca’s bed, she’s Thony, the loving mother. She’s facing what she’s going through and reveals her vulnerability. I don’t think she goes into mafia mode. I think she makes these [difficult] choices and that is showing her humanity. I don’t think she’s stripped from it at all. She’s showing us her flaws even more this year and that is part of her humanity. She’s not pristine. She is a doctor and a loving mother, but she makes really questionable choices, but the drive is always protecting her son – protecting our family. That’s the core of this person.
For me, the main drive of the series is Thony’s relationship with Fiona – their sisterhood. But, all of that gets threatened because of all the mafia stuff, Marco is Fiona’s brother, and Chris is dealing with a bunch of things. Will we see a wedge be driven between these two?
Again, Thony is not a sociopath. There’s a line that’s crossed [last season when Thony kept everything from Fiona]. [But] basically this season, we’ll see how the family world and the criminal world that Thony was navigating last time we saw her [is doing]. Everything is revealed. She doesn’t [have to] hide from Fiona anymore. They’re sisters. There’s going to be a lot of friction, but they’re all going to be even closer. [These] events are going to bring them even closer to each other.
The Cleaning Lady returns on Monday, September 19 at 9pm on FOX.