“Chasing Life” Season 2 ended with a shocking decision: April (Italia Ricci) doesn’t want to be in treatment anymore. She isn’t in remission yet, so it seems like she is choosing to die on the typically optimistic ABC Family drama. Actress Italia Ricci explained why April’s decision is really about power.
“I remember shooting it, and it made me crazy that she felt like she had nothing else to hold on to,” Italia Ricci told TVLine. “Even though it might not be the right decision in a lot of people’s eyes, it’s the only one that gives her any power. If she were to go back home and continue treatment, she’d be at the mercy of the hospital and the drugs for the rest of her life. She wants to be in control of however much of the rest of her life she has left, which I thought was really interesting.”
Ricci also explained to Hollywood Life that although this twist seems to divert from the hopeful messages of “Chasing Life,” sometimes reality doesn't always have a happy ending. “The moral of the show is never give up, and always keep fighting — but that being said, sometimes it just doesn’t work,” she noted. “That’s the nature of cancer. That’s the nature of life. It’s tragic.”
Showrunner Patrick Sean Smith said that the decision to stop treatment was written in after the writers repeatedly came across that option while researching. “I hope people understand that we're trying to hit every emotional aspect of what it's like to live with cancer and battle cancer, and those moments of weakness are real,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “I hope the fans are understanding of that.”
While the show focuses on showing the reality of a cancer patient's life, the writers also want to explore how this decision affects friends and family. Though it looks like April is ready to die, Smith teased that April’s friends aren’t going to accept her decision to stop treatment. “I definitely want to explore their reactions to that decision,” he added. “She made a decision that is so big so quickly, and she needs to understand that they want her to stay on this earth for as long as she possibly can. That would really shake their confidence in how much of a say they can have in April's battle.”
April’s friends and family might have to accept her death, at some point though. Ricci told TVLine that her character died in the original Mexican series, so it’s likely that April will suffer a similar fate, even if it’s not exactly the same. “I knew that April ends up passing away by the end of [the Mexican series ‘Terminales,’ upon which ‘Chasing Life’ is based],” she said. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but I feel like that’s probably something we want to maintain. Although, in the original, she beats cancer… then gets hit by a bus and dies.”
However, it isn’t clear if “Chasing Life” will get a chance to explore her survival or death. ABC Family has yet to renew the drama for Season 3. It’s possible that Monday’s Season 2 finale was actually the series finale.