X Company 303: Scribe Daniel Godwin on ‘One for the Moon’

Spoiler warning: Do not read this article until you have seen X Company Episode 303, “One for the Moon.”

The first act of X Company Season 3 came to a close this week with “One for the Moon,” written by Daniel Godwin. The episode saw Faber (Torben Liebrecht) ordered to report to Poland and the spy team scramble to get out Rigaud’s (Milo Twomey) message after Faber took him out. Meanwhile, there were heartbreaking personal interactions as Sinclair (Hugh Dillon) told his old war pal Frommer that his son was dead and Aurora (Évelyne Brochu) finally told Alfred (Jack Laskey) their relationship was a mistake.

“We want to see [Sinclair] move into a more vulnerable place, and Hugh [Dillon], in this episode,  just absolutely nails it,” Godwin says.

As for Alfora’s split–temporary as it may or may not be–the producer is nervous about fan reaction.

“I hope no one hates me,” he admits. “It’s such a blow.”

Godwin joins us by phone to tell us more about this week’s major plot points and provide insight into working with X Company creators Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern.

You’ve worked with Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern on both Flashpoint and X Company. What’s that experience been like for you?
Daniel Godwin: I started with them back on Flashpoint, and they are actors turned creators. The benefit of what they bring to the table that way, I feel like from my point of view anyway, is that they approach things from an acting standpoint first, so it always comes from a real honest place of the emotion of what’s driving each character, and that is kind of true of their writing through Flashpoint and X Company. And that’s why we end up with these really grounded kind of stories that feel relatable and they feel real, because of that process.

And in terms of how they run a room, that process has kind of evolved since Flashpoint, and their confidence has obviously grown tremendously since Flashpoint, and watching them sort of go through that and find their legs has been fun for me to witness, and I’ve learned a ton from them, of course.

How has your role in the writers’ room changed since you first started working with Mark and Stephanie? 
When I first started out with them back with Flashpoint, I was the story coordinator, so I got to really just watch the whole process unfold, just like a fly on the wall. And then over the last few seasons of that show, I moved up to become a story editor and started writing episodes, and that sort of continued into X Company, where I was story editor and now producer. As that unfolded, my confidence kind of grew, and just being able to tell those sorts of emotionally driven stories, and I guess in a way, trying to emulate their voice as much as possible to make that show theirs–and it’s such a strong voice that they have. And Flashpoint and X Company are kind of similar in the sense that we used a lot of real world research and diving into a real nugget, a real story that happened, and growing our fictional stories from that piece of reality, which instantly roots it in such a real place.

In Episode 303, we learn Faber and the team are headed to Poland. Why was the choice made to switch locations this season?
In France, we had definitely exhausted a lot of stories. There’s still tons of juicy territory to move to, but it was sort of throwing them into the deep end, into a place where it is uncharted territory, they don’t have a network set up and there aren’t really any agents operating. We don’t have the same comforts that we did operating in France. And then from a historical perspective–and as our season arc starts to evolve–that’s where we realize the oil is, so there’s the throat of this war that we can start to choke. If we’re able to cripple this oil supply that will help in the greater mission and, hopefully, shorten the war from our spies point of view. And you’re deep into enemy territory at that point that, because the Germans are heavily set up in Poland. It’s a scary place to be. They’re very much behind enemy lines there.

Sinclair broke down and told Frommer that Klaus was killed back at Camp X. Why did he choose to do that? 
The thing that I kept coming back to was Sinclair’s own experiences in the war with his sons, with one dead and one missing and not knowing what happened to his missing son, if he’s still out there. He would want to know himself as a father. So it was a weakness, in a sense, of him relating to Frommer on a father-to-father level. He just needed to say it, and ultimately that’s a bit of a misstep because that’s not what he should be doing. So it’s an emotional crack in Sinclair’s character that really nice to see. And that sort of launches him on a bit of a journey. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s definitely a great payoff.

Faber was under a lot of pressure in this episode, and he ultimately decided to take out Rigaud. What was behind that decision, and how will that play out for him in coming episodes? 
It’s good to see how Faber reacts whenever his back is against the wall, and he basically has no option on either side. If he allows Rigaud to fall into German hands, it’s only a matter of time before they interrogate him and get enough information out that they possibly make a connection to Faber and the team or beyond that. But if he takes him out, that also ruins his relationship with our team because he’s made a promise to them to keep him safe. It’s basically him trying to choose the lesser of two evils in that and figure out how he can best maintain that whole relationship and keep everybody happy.

Of course, he needs to now bring his assistant, Edsel, on board with that, which launches them into a nice little arc that pays off later on, as we see him trying to bring Edsel on-side but still keep him in the dark about what he’s really doing and his true motivations.

Aurora follows Sinclair’s orders and tells Alfred she doesn’t have feelings for him. That can’t really be the end of it, can it? 
Aurora was definitely following orders delivering that to him, but in order for him to believe it, it had to be as real as possible. But we also know that she’s a spy, and she’s very good at lying. But that definitely won’t be the end of the Alfred and Aurora storyline.

Neil seemed to find some comfort and focus after Miri’s death by finishing Rigaud’s speech. What can you say about the rest of his Season 3 arc?
Neil has kind of changed, I guess, from Season 1 when he was kind of just this quiet muscle. And it’s been great to see this character evolve into this kind of passionate person that he really is, and he’s someone who’s been sort of watching it all go down, and he can’t sit silent anymore, and he needs to say what’s on his mind. And he’s somebody who’s lost somebody that he’s loved, not just his family, but now the people that he’s fighting side by side with, and that is pushing him and driving him. I’m very happy with where his character ends up when all of this is said and done. It’s a really satisfying journey for him, seeing what he goes through and the place he ends up in.

Do you have a favourite character to write?
Faber is obviously so fun to write for because you never really know what he’s going to do and what he’s really capable of. Last season was such a gift to be able to write. I wrote 206, which was ended with the massacre at the village, and being able to write that piece for Faber and see him go through that whole emotional cycle was just incredible.

But I also love writing for Neil and Harry, especially this season, their dynamic has taken on [new dimensions] and gives us some levity that we’ve been missing. Especially after the death of Tom, they’ve kind of been galvanized, and they have a sort of very close brother-brother sort of relationship that’s really nice, and they’re so much fun to write for. In this episode, too, you see that with their little mission coming together.

And Alfred and Aurora, that’s a treat to write every time. Like the scene at the end of this episode, it’s heartbreaking and so real, and I think everyone’s kind of been there and felt one side of that at one point or another in their lives, and you can relate to those feelings, and it’s so heartbreaking–which is what makes it so good.

What’s your favourite scene of the episode?
The whole speech montage, just Neil delivering that speech was really moving for me, and that’s one of my favourite scenes. I feel like it’s so relatable to what’s been going on today. When I was writing the draft, the tragic mass shooting in Orlando had just happened and Trump becoming president was starting to become a very terrifying reality. There was just a lot of hate in the air, and it kind of felt like France in 1942. Back then–and it still does–the world felt like a very terrifying place. For me, I tried to put a lot of what I was feeling into what Neil was going through, specifically in that scene. And I hope the message that came across is maybe one of hope and unity, because as we recently saw in the Women’s March on Washington and around the world, it’s kind of when we all come together and find the things that unite us, that’s when our voice gets stronger, and that’s when our voice gets heard. And for me, it was knowing that I’m not alone in that feeling is what gives me hope for the future. I hope that that’s what was coming across in that scene. That’s what I was trying to say.

What can you tease about the rest of Season 3?
Get ready for Poland. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen on the series before. And then, as we move, we set our sights on Berlin, which is the heart of the beast.

X Company airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.