First of all, back in the writers room when we first planned out the series and the story arc for the season, we were also choosing our episodes. In addition to writing stories from Loki’s perspective, I volunteered to write one from Seyah’s POV. Someone asked, “Are you sure?” At the time I didn’t know how to take that. Can I handle a story with a female protagonist? Can I write about someone of Persian heritage? Of course I can, I thought. I think it was an innocent question, and I immediately said, “Yes!” (Maybe it was more like, “Yes…?”) But that planted a tiny seed of doubt that lingered in the back of my mind. I can do this, and I’m gonna show you!
For reasons that don’t need exploring at this juncture, I ended up trading my Seyah story for an Inez story. (And a good thing too, because next week you’ll see that Gwenda Bond did a far better job with Seyah than I would have.) However, this presented a new, intimidating challenge: I now was charged with writing an amazing character originated by Kiersten White in episode 6, “Reality No-Show.” All the writers were big fans of Inez, and I loved how different she was from our existing core group. I really didn’t want to screw her up.
The third, probably biggest challenge, was working out the plot for the episode. We’d already done a whole episode on a train, and there’s not a lot you can do in such a confined location — but I had to figure out how they could stop the train, preferably in an exciting and plausible way. I did a lot of research, but ultimately I had to phone (or rather, email) a friend.
My friend Shelly is an engineer, and I remembered she had blogged about airplane design, so I thought she might know something about trains too. But it turned out that her husband, Daniel, worked in rail operations for five years. Jackpot! Not only did he give me a wealth of information about different braking systems, but he provided some invaluable background on the history of train accidents and fail-safe designs, and he knows a thing or two about software and technology. But when he told me what would happen if brakes were applied while the train is still moving at high speed, I knew what had to happen. Inez has a way of, well… heating things up when she’s around, and hey, she certainly introduced some friction to the group.
So, big shout out to Daniel for saving me — and thus saving our kids from certain doom. And bonus points for responding to my flurry of excited questions on the eve of his wedding day. The story is certainly richer for the experience of an expert, and any mistakes or technical impossibilities are certainly my own.
All that said, this was so much fun for me to write because Inez is very far removed from the kind of characters I usually write, and it was an honor and a delight to build on Kiersten’s excellent work.