Undone Season 2 is finally here with the answers that fans need. The Prime Video adult animated series won over fans with its blend of time travel, fantasy, humor, and heart way back in 2019. And no one brings both humor and heart into focus like the show’s protagonist Alma. It has been quite a long wait since then to discover if Alma really made the impossible happen… or not. Will her father walk out of that cave? Or did everything only happen within the space of her own mind? Nerdist took a moment to chat with Rosa Salazar, who brings Alma to life in spectacular fashion, about her character’s journey in Undone season two.
Nerdist: Alma is someone who doesn’t necessarily fit into the “likable” mold that most people want to put women into. She’s inquisitive and direct and says what’s on her mind, but she’s also someone that has a whole lot of heart and wants to help others. Why do you think it’s so vital to see a protagonist like her, specifically someone of Mexican descent, on television?
Rosa Salazar: We haven’t really seen many women like her but we are making progress! I want to see more complicated, direct, and not inherently likable women of color on TV, going through their experiences because representation absolutely matters… Art should show a disparate array of the human experience from all angles so that we can all relate.
When I was growing up, one of my favorite movies was Stand by Me, because I felt like I really related to one of those young, white boys. They didn’t have to be a Latin. They didn’t have to be a girl for me to go, ‘Wow, I have the same kind of trauma as River Phoenix’s character.’ But if we only have that one perspective to relate to, then we’re cheating ourselves.
Absolutely. For many people watching the show, Alma teeters between this heroic protagonist and a potentially unreliable narrator. We want to believe her, but then there’s the natural questioning about what is real. What is your perception of Alma and why?
Well, isn’t that life? Is this really happening? Even in this conversation between us, our perspectives could be wildly different and we could argue that we’re all sort of living in our own fantasy. And I think with Alma, it’s real because it’s happening to her. It’s real because this is her experience. But what I love about Undone is that, even from the first season, we could have gone on some sort of over the rainbow journey and we could still be there.
I see Alma as someone who really is on this journey, who did go through the tomb, who is in this new timeline. I see her as someone who is relentless, who is going to go to great lengths, including time and space and lineage, in order to heal her family. I think this relentless outreaching, this relentless focus on external, is the question, I think, that remains to be asked again.
What do you mean by that?
Here’s this person living in an endless loop in the first season, who believes that it’s all linked to the trauma of her dead father and what happened there. She mends that going into this other timeline and sees that, well, you can fix some things, but there are things that can’t and maybe shouldn’t be fixed, choices that were made.
And I think that if there were to be a third season, we would see Alma reaching inward, because I think that this constant focus on external stimuli is a distraction from reaching inward and inward reflection. And I think if there were a third season, we would reach into the expansive universe inside all of us and not just in the expanse of the cosmos.
We definitely see that Alma needs to do inner work in season two. She’s very busy digging through generational trauma, uncovering secrets, and trying to fix other things even after she got her father back. She’s still not satisfied. What do you think her journey says about us as a collective?
Oh, I love these questions! So, the first season is all about Alma going, ‘Oof, I don’t know. I just saw my dead father. He wants me to go on this journey. He says I have powers.’ She’s really on the back foot. Then season two, she is full throttle, on her toes. She’s like, ‘All right, I’ve got this power. I’m going into this too. And now I see that my sister has abilities.’ And she’s taken on the role of her father, who was her guru, who was her mentor, who was pushing her to accept these abilities and investigate these abilities, explore these abilities. And now she’s doing that to her sister.
And Alma 2, as I call her, has changed considerably. She has gone from being on the back foot to being this very incessant, relentless character in season two. She’s like, ‘Now that I know what can be done, we must do it.’ And Becca, Angelique Cabral’s character, is more like Alma from season one who’s like, ‘I don’t know about this. This is creepy to me. And I have what? I have powers. This is crazy.’
And we see Alma going even deeper. As a true scientist, as a true intellectual to philosophical thinker, she goes, ‘Okay, well, if that is possible, if I can bring back my dead father and it can change the timelines, then what else is possible? Let’s go back and fix everything that we possibly can to mend this family.’
Right. And her decision to keep pushing is something that really pulls the family in uncomfortable directions. Sometimes, you have to know what battles to pick.
Yes. That speaks to our journey as human beings… we all are trapped in a loop of dissatisfaction of the way that things are. And we want to change things. Maybe, you can go back a week and change something, a month, a year, all the way back through your lineage. You can try to fix everything, but can you? What difference would that make?
And I think the idea, if there is a lesson that I took away from the second season is, you can only make changes in yourself. You can only control your reactions to things, to other people’s decisions, choices, sacrifices, which are all big themes in second season. And the only way to move is two directions, is forward and inward. And if there were a third season coming, I think that we would explore the vast universe within Alma, within each of us. And thanks to rotoscope animation, we could go all the way to the brink of the cosmos and we can go all the way inside powers of 10 inside ourselves.
That is such a powerful takeaway. Outside of Alma’s journey, a lot of Undone‘s new season centers on her mother Camila and their changing relationship. Alma really begins to understand her as a human being while uncovering her past. Did you pull from your own experiences with your mom to parse through this emotional storyline?
Oh wow, yes. I lost my mother at beginning of the pandemic and we had a very difficult, strained relationship… Seeing your parent as a person is an enlightening thing, and I don’t mean to say that lightly, pun not intended. It’s a very big aha moment in every person’s life where you start to be an adult yourself, you start to be conscious of these things like, ‘oh my God, my parents have made decisions, have made mistakes’
And when I lost my mother, we were just on the precipice of understanding one another as adults, as people. And when I say Undone saved my life, I don’t mean that lightly either. I got to have that catharsis, learn about my onscreen mother played by the legendary Constance Marie, who did walk so I could run in this business, in this life. So, to explore that and unpack that within the safety of this show was unbelievable. It was amazing.
Undone season two is currently streaming on Prime Video.