Executive producer Amy Holden Jones dishes to ET on the future of the Conrad/Billie/Cade love triangle after the season 6 premiere.
Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday's season 6 premiere of The Resident.
After dancing around the love triangle for much of the episode, the final minutes revealed that Conrad (Matt Czuchry) was officially in a relationship with Cade (Kaley Ronayne), as they shared a kiss outside the walls of Chastain Memorial Hospital with Billie (Jessica Lucas) looking on in the distance.
But just because Conrad and Cade are a couple now doesn't mean that Billie is out of the picture. As Raptor (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) told Billie, he theorized that Conrad decided to try things out with Cade romantically after presuming Billie didn't feel the same way or didn't want to cross that line due to her loyalty to her late best friend, Nic. Though Billie never told Raptor if she confessed her true feelings for Conrad, he was observant enough to know that had she did, he would be with her and not Cade.
"Now he's in a love relationship again. This is all new. And I think that it's important to know that Raptor's speech to Billie at the end is a signal of several things," creator and executive producer Amy Holden Jones tells ET. "One, their deep deepening friendship and relationship, which is important to the show. But also the question: Is the book actually closed of who he chose [and] who he didn't?"
"And it isn't quite closed," Jones confirmed. "Because once the relationship starts, you have to see how it evolves and whether it works, what challenges it faces. He actually has two beautiful alternatives here. It's not clear that he picked Cade over Billie on an even playing field. He may well indeed have believed that she was not interested in him because of her friendship with Nic. So, where does that go?"
Jones further explained the decision in the writers' room to have Conrad explore a relationship with Cade instead of Billie -- at least for now.
"Story is conflict to a degree and had he picked Billie, where would we go? Wouldn't it be over? So it would just be, here's a happy couple who we always thought should be together. But it's more complicated than people realize," she acknowledged.
"Many, many more people, at least online, probably have been rooting for Billie, but what they have forgotten that I don't forget is the first year that Billie was a character, she got very little love online, and it wasn't until the next season when we deepened her and you learned her past and you saw her problems, that people fell in love with Billie," Jones noted. "Last year was Cade's first season. This is the season you fall in love with Cade."
Either way, Conrad is leveling up in the romance department, as Jones said both women are "unbelievable options." "It's not a simple choice and I don't believe it ever will be, really," she hinted.
"To say that that relationship with Cade will have challenges, it's not going to be perfect. None of them are," Jones previewed, promising that Billie won't be waiting in the wings as Conrad and Cade figure out their relationship status. Cade is also in the midst of a major addiction storyline with her father, the celebrated pediatric surgeon Dr. Ian Sullivan (Andrew McCarthy), that will directly impact her relationship with Conrad.
"Billie's not going to stand around and just twiddle her thumbs. There's another player coming on the board, a doctor you haven't met who's going to go after Billie and it's not clear what her relationship with Raptor's going to be either. Friends sometimes become lovers," she teased. "So whether it happens or not, I'm not going to say, but it has happened before on the show."
Next week's episode, titled "Peek and Shriek," will perhaps offer greater insight into Conrad and Cade's blossoming romance.
"Don't miss episode 2 because that's where you begin to understand Conrad and Cade," Jones shared, "and that's where you see their chemistry."
The Resident will also hit the increasingly rare 100-episode TV milestone this season, which tees up an action-packed second half of the season. (It will be the sixth episode of the year.)
"The characters we've created are so incredibly strong. Watching how they deal with the challenges that keep coming at them in life is a fantastic template for a show. It's like This Is Us met ER, and it had a baby and it's The Resident," Jones said. "I think we've grown and learned. The show gets better and stronger all the time. I'm tired of shows that fall off the cliff in the second episode. I'm tired of shows that have eight episodes, and by [episode] 6, I realize they never knew where they were going."
"I've always had the goal: Every year, better. Learn from what you've learned in the previous seasons. Move forward, deepen the characters. They grow better and better, higher and higher," Jones said. "And so far, I think we've achieved that. It's the reason why we can keep going."
The Resident airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.