Elarica Johnson Says Goodbye To P-Valley After Two Seasons
The actress says Autumn Night did what she needed to do on P-Valley.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for P-Valley season 2.
Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson) said goodbye to Chucalissa during the season 2 finale of P-Valley.
Her exit was one of the many developments in the jam-packed episode. After she was caught kissing Andre Watkins (Parker Sawyers) by his wife, Autumn discovered that Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan) put a plan in place to save the Pynk that left her from getting the windfall she expected from the casino opening up in town. Livid, Autumn had one last fight with Clifford before she was thrown out of the family and the club. The only money she was left with was the money she put up to save the Pynk, but that was not enough given the millions she would have gotten from the casino deal. To remedy that, Autumn stole from the Pynk's account and put Chucalissa in her rearview. As for where she ended up, that's anyone's guess, which is expected when you consider one of her rules is to never tell anyone where you plan to go.
There's one more thing: She's pregnant. Whether she's having two babies as Whisper (Psalms Salazar) foretold is unclear, but she did leave without telling Andre about the pregnancy.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to P-Valley star Elarica Johnson about leaving the show, sparring with Uncle Clifford, the mark Autumn left on Chucalissa, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you find out Autumn would be leaving?:
ELARICA JOHNSON: "Well, actually I knew when it was happening because it was my choice. It's something I discussed with Katori [Hall]. Looking at the scripts this season, and the journeys of the characters and where the Pynk was going, Autumn's journey felt like it was coming to an end. She has done what she needed to do and it was time for her to move on."
Season 2 saw Autumn running the Pynk with Uncle Clifford. What did you love about that change from last season? Seeing her step into her power.:
"I love the power element. Autumn was waiting to let that out. Her backstory is she comes from a place of power, she works with money and powerful people. She came to the Pynk to hide because she was running away from something pretty dark. Once she realized it was safe to be in the space and she had something to offer, it was so nice to let out who Autumn was as Haley Colton. Also, it gives a bit of a backstory to the audience and it was really fun. It felt like a different character."
Part of that was lots of battles with Uncle Clifford, what was it like sparring with Nicco this season?:
"Honestly, I love being on set with Nicco. Every time I saw a scene where we were together, I knew it was going to be great. As people, we are very close and I would want to have our characters feel the same way about each other, but at this point in their lives, they are battling and it is about who is biggest and who is the best and who is in charge. Secretly, Autumn knows that Uncle Clifford is the one in charge, but she has the knowledge. Those arguments and the big blow ups were very intense, but fun. It's always nice to talk about these two characters, how crazy they are, and how similar in so many ways."
In trying to get her piece of the casino deal, Autumn has to navigate around the very devious powerful citizens of Chucalissa. Can you talk about how business savvy she is?:
"People say business is separate from friendships, and that's exactly where Autumn comes from. She was going to navigate her with business head on the way she [saw] fit. Everybody is thinking with their heart here because this is what they know, but Autumn is here to make a change to help everybody. When you're looking at things from a perspective of love, then you can't see past something that could potentially be better. It is about winning, making money and making the best business deal whether people love her or hate her."
Halfway through the season Autumn and Miss Mississippi have this powerful storyline about getting Keyshawn away from Derrick that reminded me of the Autumn of season one. What does it mean to you to be part of that storyline?:
"That's really important. People fell in love with Autumn the first season, even though they didn't know too much about her. They could see there was a lot of pain, but also a lot of love to give. That didn't change, it's just the circumstances changed. To have that moment where she can help the person struggling the most — if we look back, Autumn helped Mercedes out to make sure she's in a better position — even the moments where she thought about getting out because she needs to survive, she rethought and she went back to them."
"This situation with Keyshawn is something she's experienced before, so she knows that she needs to get out otherwise she could die. Personally, that's really important because a lot of people turn a blind eye to situations like that in everyday life because they don't wanna get involved or they're worried they're gonna hurt."
To play a little what if - what do you think it would have looked like if Autumn had stayed and had the babies in Chucalissa?:
"There's two sides to this in terms of Autumn and Andre for me. I've always felt they're soulmates and if they were where they were supposed to be it would be great. Then there's another side of Autumn who is always striving for better or needing to push forward and make more for herself, for the memory of her daughter, who may not see settling in Chucalissa as enough for her. Both sides work. [They] would make a great couple if there wasn't so much messy stuff in between. I don't know what that would look like, but I do know they do have this bond and bringing a child into a relationship with two people who really care for each other could be a good experience for the both of them."
What mark do you think Autumn left on Chucalissa?:
"A huge mark and there's going to be a big space moving on. She was a big personality and was the keyhole into Chucalissa and the Pynk for the audience. They met these characters through the eyes of Autumn early on and now that everyone's acquainted, it's time for her to leave. Even within her broken relationships, they came form a really nice place. Uncle Clifford will miss the daily arguments with Autumn, but also getting to understand who she was and seeing the softer part of her. The same goes for Mercedes. They learned a lot from each other. The note she leaves on isn't the best, but she definitely leaves a history with the Pynk and made a big difference on how things will move forward."
"She's very grateful for the experience because it's made her stronger and this was always going to be her journey. She was always going to find a place to get back on her feet then move on to create a better life for herself. She made that promise to her daughter, but I think she got more then she bargained for in a good way."
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity by Entertainment Weekly