In this circumstance, though, Pat literally needs to kill these people with superpowers in order to survive.
Ritter: The thing is, this happened to him. He was 40 or 50 feet away from having the powers that everyone else got, you know? But he just happened to stay in the yurt and he got the poisonous part of what happened instead. And so, it turned him into something that is continuously weakening and ailing and dying. So he has to go through some sort of moral acrobatics, to justify what he's doing.
There's also this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sort of thing going on here, too.
Ritter: Mhmm, yes.
The first moment when Pat witnesses Dion teleport, and he sees he has these powers, it feels like it's a comic book nerd witnessing his fantasies coming to life. But when you look back, with the knowledge that he's actually the Crooked Man, it becomes apparent there's this other thing going on entirely. You both have this connection to a shared trauma that gave you both epic abilities. When playing these scenes -- and considering your new role as a father in real life -- was there anything in you that thought to go after Dion as if he was Pat's surrogate son?
Ritter: Yeah, and I think another element at play is that Pat truly loved Mark, and he did not mean for that to happen. So there's this incredible guilt, you know? It's not just like, Oh, I promised I'd be your godfather. It's like, I am responsible for your dad not being here. And I need to try in my best way to replace and step in for someone who I could never compare to -- who just was always 10 steps ahead of me, better than me, stronger than me, smarter than me. And here I am now trying to fill his shoes, and it's my fault that he's gone.
And to think, on the surface, Pat seemed so innocent and harmless.
Ritter: Mark shut Pat out. He didn't tell me that he had powers. Pat had no idea. He didn't even know Mark was in New Orleans. He didn't know what he was doing. But yeah, I think now that he sees Dion, it's like a second chance. It's like, Maybe I can redeem myself by shaping this person. You know, like maybe becoming a father figure to him. Then he starts to see himself as maybe he could just completely step in for Nicole as well and right this wrong by trying to fill the holes that he left in these two people's lives.
Once Pat's secret is revealed, we see him unraveling. There's this desperation. You want to get healed, but it almost feels like a father being separated from his child. It started making me think, how would I react in this situation?
Ritter: Pat doesn't have many people in his life. You see him kind of awkwardly interact with an ex at a certain point, but she's angry with him by the time they leave the party. Nicole and Dion are really his only connection. He's not well liked at work, you know? Suzanne [his boss] certainly doesn't like him, another co worker kind of makes fun of him for playing video games at work. He's sort of a lonely guy, and he feels appreciated by Dion. He loves Dion, and Dion loves him. I think that's a powerful feeling, to feel like you're part of a family. And when he feels like that's being taken away from him… he doesn't like it.