No, but she's seemingly a lamb being led to slaughter, after Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) alerts one of the terrorists that Alex is in the building at the end of Sunday's episode. Worse, Miranda orders Alex to leave the emergency bunker she's in so Alex can gather intel for her.
Miranda betraying Alex would be a tad too obvious, not to mention lazy, after the Liam fiasco last season. But she could be playing some long ball since she so obviously feels threatened/excluded by her secret beau, National Security Council Deputy Chief Paul Burke — who, unlike Miranda, wants to take immediate action against the terrorists.
What is Miranda up to? Why didn't the terrorists kill Raina (Yasmine Al Massri) after the marking stunt she pulled with the hostages? Is Dayana (Pearl Thusi) really that into her legal job? Can Shelby (Johanna Braddy) handle being Alex's handler? And will she cross paths with Harry (Russell Tovey) now that he knows who she is? Creator Josh Safran answers our burning questions.
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So, Miranda — what is she doing?
Josh Safran: [Laughs] I think it would be wrong to assume that everything that happened to Miranda last season wouldn't be affecting her and pushing her to do something in relationship to those events. What that is exactly you'll have to wait and see, but obviously we would not turn over that card in Episode 2 just to immediately turn it back over in Episode 3. What you see is what you get.
She was clearly annoyed by the other officials and Paul, especially, who disagreed with her approach. Is this a retaliation game plan to prove she's right to one-up him?
Safran: I wouldn't say that. I would say that the relationship with Paul is a private one, so professionally they have to appear as they do at work. But I also think that stuff Paul is suggesting might be interfering with Miranda's plans, and I think that's a little bit of what you're seeing. And we will be seeing Paul again.
How long have they been dating?
Safran: They have been dating for six months, but they've been in each other's orbits for a long time. It's like the person you have meetings with and see at social events, and afterwards you realize, wow, you actually have chemistry. So even though they've only been dating for six months, it feels like they've been dating for years because of that ... so everything is more stressful. It is going to come to a head in their next episode together. They were not expecting this crisis, although maybe one of them was.
What is Alex going to encounter when she leaves that bunker?
Safran: Alex is going to come across real and immediate danger, because she is a thorn in the side of these terrorists and they now know she is there. And now that they know she's there, they will stop at nothing to find her. I will also say that, not that it matters, in this year's quest for verisimilitude, those NYPD emergency bunkers do exist. They were created after 9/11. They are downtown. The difference we made is that ours are underground instead of above ground, and the only reason we did that was because we cannot shoot on the streets downtown where we set our story, because it turned out to be a shooting hot zone shortly after we began shooting. So we had to put it underground.
Who did Miranda message?
Safran: I can't tell you that! [Laughs] You're going to find out soon-ish. But it's also safe to assume that that message is a widely received message and not a locally received message.
Are we going to see the person she messaged — or any one of them — unmasked?
Safran: Yes. I can't say when, but yes.
What is the terrorists' endgame? Raina's plan backfired. Why didn't they kill her like she presumed they would?
Safran: That is a question that Raina is going to continue asking the very next episode. The reason will become apparent slowly, but it definitely is the first clue in a larger conspiracy that involves the hostages that doesn't appear to be the conspiracy at hand. Basically, that is something that she shouldn't have realized — the idea that she wasn't killed — and now that she's realized it, she's on the road to unraveling and unmasking some parties. We're off for two weeks, so I can't say too much! [Laughs] But I want to say again that this event is basically in real time — it's not exactly real time — but it is all in one day. The information they get in one episode, they use in the next.
How much time has passed at this point? Is it approximately an hour an episode?
Safran: Yes. It was 9 a.m. when the summit started. It's 10:37 a.m. on Alex's phone in the beginning of Episode 2 and it's probably 11:30 by the end of Episode 2.
Do you have everything planned out to the minute?
Safran: We do. It's partially a necessity because there are cell phones and clocks and all that stuff. And our script coordinators and script supervisors — we have two supervisors — they're very on top of this. It is great to have two this year because we had one last year. Having two helps because it makes sure that every tiny detail, like every clock, is at the right time. ... When it's one real day, like on 24, you really do need to remember how long it takes to get from one side of the valley to the other, so your character can be in a car for three episodes. If Alex is underground in a bunker and she needs to get eight blocks away, it's going to take her 20 minutes.
Ryan makes a point of IDing everyone from his CIA class in the beginning, including Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor). Owen (Blair Underwood) is still MIA in the future. Are we going to see him?
Safran: You are going to learn just exactly where Owen is or what happened to him soon. I can't remember if it's [Episode] 4 or 5, but there's a reason you have not immediately seen him yet.
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I liked the implied trajectory of Dayana from The Farm timeline, where she's meek and unsure, to her in the future, where she looks badass.
Safran: Me too. That is a story that we are telling. I know it's complicated for some people to see them one way in one story and another way in the other story. But to me, that's the bread and butter of the show. How do any of us grow and change? How do we change within us? Who do we become? That's been a great story to tell with Pearl especially. We've been having a lot of great conversations about her character. And of course, it's also nice for Pearl to have her hair be her hair, whereas in the other storyline, it's pulled back and in a bun. You want to see her hair!
Are we going to learn more about Dayana's job?
Safran: Yes. We're going to learn more about all of them. It really is more character study than twist-y. It's not like her NGO is secretly involved with the terrorists. That's not what it is. It's more about, what does it mean to be somebody who has done so much good in their life, where does that desire to do that good come from, and if that good is challenged by the government in the name of the government, what does that mean? Who are you? What's the line between "I want to continue to do good" and "OK, I'll do bad to do good"?
The way she she brushed off Leon (Aaron Diaz) at the beginning was great.
Safran: We still have to have a little bit of those Grey's Anatomy moments. Aaron Diaz — that guy, to keep him in his clothes all the time would be a mistake. Leon, I just think, is very comfortable with himself. ... We'll find out more about [his prison stint] very soon. There's also some nice hidden things, like what is he doing at the end of the episode with that photo?
At this point, Sebastian (David Lim) is the one we know the least about. What can you tease about him?
Safran: He really is the strongest emotionally, because he knows very much who he is and yet, there is maybe one element of himself that he doesn't know. And that will be his Achilles' heel, and Harry will expose it pretty soon.
What is Harry going to do with that Shelby intel?
Safran: Harry's so good, right? Russell is so great — the energy he brings is amazing. We wanted to have him cross from one side of our world to the other, meaning from the CIA to the FBI, so you will see some surprising crossovers. He will not stay just restricted to the farm. ... In the very next episode, you will see how he interacts with the FBI.
I really appreciated the throwaway line at the bar when he said Alex looked great when she was on the run.
Safran: [Laughs] Yeah, "running between the salon and the manicurist." I knew you would! We have to do a little meta commentary on Season 1 because it's fun. Priyanka really loved that line. They love working with each other and it was fun seeing them riff.
Do Shelby and Nimah know they're Alex's and Ryan's handlers?
Safran: Yes. In the present timeline, there's what Alex and Ryan are doing undercover at The Farm, there's the actual stuff that's happening at The Farm like exercises, and there's interpersonal work dynamic between Shelby, Nimah, Miranda, Alex and Ryan — the OGs. They spend a lot of time together from this point forward.
Shelby has a sad, almost pitiful look when she watches Alex talk to Ryan on the phone outside the house. Is that just her feeling sorry for Alex and that she has to spy on her like that, or should we be reading more into it?
Safran: There's nothing nefarious about that. ... Shelby is no longer inside the box with Alex. Alex is now her rabbit and she's one of the eyes. It's just a different relationship. It's like Alex at the end of the episode looking at her rabbits in the window. That's her assignment that no one knows. I think it's hard for Shelby to not be Alex's friend first and foremost, but to actually be Shelby's supervisor.
Are we going to see more of Angie? What are those bank accounts she speaks of?
Safran: Yes, you will, and I don't want to say any more. You will definitely see more of her in Episode 3. ... The bank account thing is a true thing. It's a CIA thing. You open a bank account for agency-related business so it's not tied to your own personal bank account, which makes sense. They're just using that in this episode to rook Alex. Angie's job is to tell Alex to be a rabbit with Alex knowing.
Are all of Lydia and Owen's dinner table conversations just them going over his CIA hours and her guilt-tripping him?
Safran: It's rough, right? It just shows you what it's like to be a member of the CIA. You can't see your family. You miss your children's lives. It's really hard for him. That's the grace note of that story, but it's also their dynamic this whole season. Yes, they're now working together, they both know they're CIA, [but] they privately know they don't really have a connection because he lied to her most of her life.
She seems to be the only person he's nervous around.
Safran: Yeah, he's so nervous around her because he doesn't want to lose her again. He had to lie to her and say he wasn't in the CIA. Once she was in the CIA, she found out he was and she knew he lied all that time. So while she understands why he lied, she still doesn't like that he lied and he's really worried he's going to lose her again.
Are we going to meet her mother/his wife?
Safran: No. The way we talked about it with our CIA consultant was, if they're both in the agency, the wife or ex-wife or mother wouldn't be able to know. The point is it destroyed Owen's marriage, clearly, but also Lydia can't talk to her mother, but she can talk to her father. So we figured to bypass more lying and all that. We know the story immediately from upon meeting them. We just decided not to go there. Can't say we won't in the future, but there are no plans to yet.
Does the CIA really have yoga classes?
Safran: [Laughs] Believe it or not, they do! It's a little creative license. Unlike the FBI, which requires physical fitness — meaning you have to do a physical fitness exam the day you show up to Quantico, which we did in the pilot, and then you have to do it the day you leave and hit the same numbers or better, and if you don't, you're out — the CIA has no standards for fitness. They just expect you to be fit, so at The Farm, there are tennis courts, there's a gym, there are yoga classes. We just made it mandatory in our universe, but it's not mandatory in the CIA.
Is it also mandatory to have shirtless yoga classes in your universe?
Safran: I mean, it's hot yoga. Hot yoga requires focus and it's hot people doing hot yoga. It's Episode 2! They're not going to be shirtless and doing yoga in Episode 8. It's more like in the beginning of the season, we have these beautiful people, and yoga is real there, so it's like, great! It was just a fun way to have our beautiful people together.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.