(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Episode 106 of “The Big Leap,” titled “I Should Have Gone to Motown.”)
Fox’s “The Big Leap” premiered on this week’s episode of Fox’s “The Big Leap” — a statement that only viewers of this show within a show will understand. Following the in-universe debut, the cast of the reality dance series building toward putting on a production of “Swan Lake” took part in a live aftershow during which a bombshell secret was revealed to America: already-fan-favorite Gabby Lewis (Simone Recasner) had her young son with her high school teacher.
The truth was told by Brittany Lovewell (Anna Grace Barlow), a real bummer seeing as she and Gabby had just begun to bond while being forced to partner for the aftershow’s Motown package — until Brittany found a note from Reggie Sadler (Ser’Darius Blain) that said his true feelings for Gabby, confirming the actual reason he broke up with Brittany.
The chaos that ensued among Brittany, Gabby and the cast wouldn’t have been caught on camera if “Big Leap” (the show within a show) producer Nick Blackburn (Scott Foley) had cut to the Motown package, but now that it’s aired on live TV, Gabby’s truth is out there and it’s all Brittany’s fault.
“Should he have gone to Motown? I mean, yes, if we’re all perfect people, yes, we should have gone to Motown and not shown the calamity that happened on set, not allowed any of that to happen,” Foley told TheWrap. “But look, I think ultimately it shows you what we think are the perils of reality television turn out to be the gems. And even though he learns that at the end, and Zach — Thomas Lennon’s character — is all for it and so excited about [it], I think we’re starting to see some cracks in Nick’s producer facade, which is always interesting.”
OK, so yes, the aftershow mess made for great TV — and presumably great ratings for the newly launched show — but it also made for two great endings, and one sad one: Gabby found out about Reggie’s note from Brittany’s brother, Simon (Adam Kaplan), and went to him and shared a big damn kiss; Simon and Justin (Raymond Cham, Jr.) got together, marking the first time Justin has ever been with another gay man sober; and Paula (Piper Perabo) refused Mike (Jon Rudnitsky) after he managed to forgive her for being the one to get him laid off, presumably because she’s actually concerned about some seemingly bad news she got from her doctor.
And where do things go from here?
“The title of Episode 7 is, ‘Episode 107: Revenge Plot,’ because Gabby comes in and pitches it to Nick while he’s trying to figure out what they’re going to do on Episode 7,” “The Big Leap” creator Liz Heldens told TheWrap. “And so he changes on the whiteboard the title from ‘Square Dancing Challenge’ to ‘Episode 107: Revenge Plot.'”
Yeah, that might sound crazy, and it was to Foley, too — at first.
“I did call Liz on this next one, because the revenge plot is where Gabby and Nick team up in this next episode to sort of get back at Brittany for telling the world about who Gabby’s baby daddy was,” the “Scandal” alum said. “And it was the first time that I sort of questioned the writers’ choices, because it’s always been the world of this show against Nick. Nick has always looked to exploit all of them. And this was the first time that it wasn’t that. And I saw him excited about teaming up and working with Gabby, [and] even though he’s always had a soft spot in his heart for her — and has always sort of put her on a pedestal, with regards to the cast — I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. But after filming it and going through it and actually doing these scenes, I see what they were trying to do. And whether I did it right or not, I’ll leave that up to you (laughs). But it was an interesting way to sort of incorporate Nick into the group a little bit more and for him to commiserate and partner with one of them was a fun thing.”
As for what happens to those pairings that were made and broken at the end of Episode 106, Heldens says Gabby and Reggie “belong together, but there’s going to be some obstacles.”
One of those obstacles could be Nick, who vowed at the end of “The Big Leap” (the show outside of the show) series premiere that he was going to get Gabby and Reggie to fall in love and then have the NFL player break her heart to make the most compelling storyline possible for the reality show.
“Nick is very intuitive when it comes to these sorts of shows and the people who do these sorts of shows,” Foley said. “And he spotted something early on that was, I think, more of a hope than a real possibility. But it’s turning into something that is real. It’s sort of coming to fruition. And I’m not sure how much Nick knows yet. He obviously doesn’t know about the note. He doesn’t know all of the behind the scenes stuff. But between Simon and Justin, between the possibility of Gabby and Reggie, and then you’ve got Mike and Paula, who broke up, there’s so much f—ing crap for him to mine, that I think the ultimate Gabby-Reggie relationship and tragedy in his mind — hopeful tragedy, in his mind — has sort of been put on the back burner. But I think you’d be hard pressed to say that it’s not going to come out. And he’s not going to do everything he can to make a good show around here.”
Then there’s Paula and Mike, a now-split couple that Heldens says will not be each other’s focus next week, as Julia Perkins (Teri Polo) “will become a confidant to Paula,” who “has been dealing with breast cancer and that is going to come into her story.”
Then there’s Justin and Simon, who are probably Heldens’ favorite “Big Leap” couple: “I think the Justin and Simon story is so great in tonight’s episode, too. I love the way it starts and they get pulled apart by his mom. Their relationship is probably– like, they are the most healthy communicators on the show. They’ve been able to talk it through and get to the next step, unlike some people. I really love their story.”
Viewers still have several episodes to go before “The Big Leap” concludes its first season with Episode 11, which Heldens says just began shooting Monday. And yes, they are actually going to do “Swan Lake” on the finale of the show within a show. We just have no idea who will be paired up with who by that point.
“It’s gone from being a show within the show to a show within the show within the show,” Heldens says. “It’s kind of giving me a nosebleed.”
“The Big Leap” airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.