MacGyver interview: Meredith Eaton teases season 2 finale, Matty’s many secrets

Meredith Eaton

The MacGyver season 2 finale is coming up on CBS Friday night and if you’ve been watching, you know that we’re in the midst of a huge story for Matty Webber. Her history with MacGyver’s father is something that’s been hyped up for months and now the story is coming to a head in a finale where Mac is questioning whether or not he can even work with her anymore. There are many answers that could be coming your way over the course of a really exciting episode, so who better to help us preview it than the woman behind Matty herself?

Meredith Eaton discusses with us some of the buildup for the finale, what you can expect, and also what it is like playing one of the series’ biggest keeper of secrets.

CarterMatt – When did you first find out that Matty was linked to MacGyver’s personal history?

Meredith Eaton – Probably the same time you did (laughs). We are not privy to the process of writing and I think it’s fantastic because as an actor, you never want to become too comfortable in the storylines. It really lends to the creativity of my role to now know what’s going to happen down the road. I love that.

I always knew that Matty had a complicated past with Jack — everybody knows that — there’s a lot to be talked about with that. One of the main questions I get on Twitter is ‘what happened between you two?’. There is such a history there, but now, knowing that Matty also has a past with Mac’s dad, that’s going to be the next interesting card that people are fascinated with.

So for this final stretch, you were playing this character with this secret but didn’t know what the secret was? Did you think about possibilities in your head while you were playing her to think of motivations; or, were you hesitant?

I was hesitant, but at the same time, how could I not? I had all of these ideas about what could be or what wasn’t. Again, that helped me because I was so vague on it that I just had to go with my gut. Matty Webber’s been a part of me for two seasons and I infuse a lot of my feelings into this character. I didn’t want to make up my mind one way or another. I had a feeling it was going in a certain direction, but I just played it as best I could with the limited information that I had.

Do you think about Matty almost as this sort of keeper of secrets around the Phoenix Foundation?

Matty has a ton of secrets, and we haven’t even touched the surface yet. She has a really long history at the CIA that we just sort of uncovered this season — the huge episode with the car accident where she goes back and revisits her old stomping ground. Bozer asks her a question about if she misses her work and Matty almost opened up about that. I think there’s a lot more to be revealed in that sense — how did Matty leave the CIA, and how did Matty hook up with the Phoenix Foundation? There are so many fascinating plot points that haven’t been touched on just yet.

I really loved the scene last week where you and George [Eads] are getting into it about Jack breaking into Matty’s apartment and a lot of stuff comes out. The two of you are used to playing these more comedic scenes, so what was it like to do something that dramatic?

That was one of my favorite scenes I’ve done on the show. I’ll say this — George Eads is one of the most talented actors on TV. Any scene that I get to do with him elevates my performance, and because we have such a great chemistry and we’re friends, it works so well when we’re on-screen together. I think from that very first scene I did with George from when I walked into that war room until now, I look forward to them professionally because I never know how our chemistry is going to feed off of each other. That scene was so intense because it really encompasses all of the history and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that he was doing because he felt betrayed and I felt betrayed. It was almost like two parents coming together to talk about protecting their child and the hurt that they both had towards each other.

It was really magical. I was so pleased with the way it turned out and with how many people were moved by it. It’s always humbling to hear great positive feedback, but those are the types of scenes that as an actor I love to do. Matty has emotional stuff, but she is the deliverer of the missions. She is the one who has to get across all the details about the foreign countries and the terrorists and all of that. So, when I have that to do, I love it. I just do.

Where do things pick up at the start of the finale?

Everything’s been building up until this point. Mac has a lot of mistrust towards Matty because he’s discovered things along the way with the help of Riley. We end this past episode with this drive that Riley gets and finds out this information because Matty gives them top clearance for this last mission. I will say that nothing Matty does is by accident and I think people know that by now. I think Matty is that step ahead of everybody else. She’s very thought-out and doesn’t do things without double-checking everything.

We come into this episode where Mac is wondering whether or not he should pursue this journey, whether he should let it go or continue to try and find his father. The coming attractions allude to the fact that Mac is wondering whether or not he is going to lead the Phoenix, which is a huge cliffhanger. We do know that Matty has a complicated past, possibly with Mac’s dad. That’s sort of where we are at.

What did you like about filming the finale, especially given it is almost encapsulating this entire season?

First of all, we were so excited to get the script because we don’t know things in advance. Then, I got the script and a lot of loose ends are tied up. Peter Lenkov, what he does is brilliant. He’s an incredible writer and our writing staff are extremely talented. They did a beautiful job answering a lot of questions, but then some new questions are going to emerge — jaws are going to drop, and people are going to be very upset that they’re going to have to wait until more episodes are filmed! They’re going to be like ‘oh my god, what?!’. That’s going to be their reaction because that was my reaction. It was exciting and in being in the middle of it, I was very pleased with what we got to do and what we got to give to the audience.

We have Tate Donovan, who is guest starring in a mysterious role, and that’s going to be very exciting. We also have a number of people coming back like Billy Baldwin and Kate Bond, who I adore. I think her role as Jill is so cool. We also have Lance Gross. We try our best to really give our audience just enough to answer some questions.

So is Peter’s philosophy about revealing things for next season the same as revealing things during the current season? Do you know anything? Are you completely in the dark about season 3?

Yes (laughs), which is great! Listen, Peter’s shows are successful for a reason and our whole staff works really hard at interweaving all of these stories. It’s gotten to the point where I am stopped millions of times a day and everybody says the same thing — they love MacGyver because it’s a family show that has such interesting storylines and infuses math and science and STEM, all of the great things that kids are learning in school. Then, there’s the creativity that Lucas Till brings to his role. I just think he is divine — I’m such a fan of Lucas and how hard he works. He’s incredible and I can’t even imagine someone else being in that role and doing anywhere near as good a job as Lucas.

People love our family dynamic — our team has really become a family and I love that because I really do see myself in that maternal role over them. Matty loves these guys and it’s developed where she has this relationship with each and every one of them. We also see that in the finale, which is great.

Are there any stories that you want to explore in season 3?

The possibilities are endless. I know the fans love the Matty – Jack dynamic and that could go miles. I personally love the relationship that Matty and Mac have and there’s been a lot of feedback from the fans about wanting to see more of that. It’s a very special relationship that has developed over time and they had to feel each other out. They had to build trust and now that trust is broken, so how do they resolve that to continue working together or not? I think more Matty and Bozer is always a good thing and I think that Matty and Riley have this relationship that could be really fun to develop. I think Matty believes in Riley more than Riley believes in Riley.

Related Be sure to see more of our own expectations for the finale

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