[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Monday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]
A Hall is behind the AIC — but not the one everyone suspected.
The final minutes of Monday's Quantico revealed that Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor) was running the cover group, or what she dubs "the true CIA." Dayana (Pearl Thusi), Leon (Aaron Diaz) and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) are still part of it, but not Alex (Priyanka Chopra). That's because, according to Lydia, she "didn't make the cut."
Before all that, Harry (Russell Tovey) discovers Alex's AIC phone and uses this to his advantage, trying to get Alex and Ryan to sabotage one another to get the other kicked out during their assignment, which involves Hamilton himself Javier Munoz. But love is thicker than the AIC (maybe), and Alex cuts Harry off. Owen (Blair Underwood), who is about to resign, has surveillance video of Ralex's ridiculous aborted backstabbing and confronts them individually, which leads to him learning about the AIC and telling Alex that he's not part of whatever she's up to and she better tell him what that is. Poor guy has no idea his daughter is the mastermind. This can't be good for their already fractured relationship. (Also, not great spy-gaming if no one accounted for surveillance video.)
Meanwhile, in the present, Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) tells Alex that someone contacted her (a "he") after Alex failed to stop the insurgents inside the CIA. She had also apparently recruited Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri) to go undercover to save the hostages but she instead went in with the actual terrorists. Nimah says she was the one who saved Alex (remember that?), assures her that Ryan is innocent, reveals that she lied to protect Raina, and holds Miranda at gunpoint so Alex can go in to save the hostages.
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Also en route? A hostage rescue team now that POTUS Claire (Marcia Cross) has called off the air strike after a pep talk from Shelby (Johanna Braddy) about making her own legacy as the first female president.
We caught up with showrunner Joshua Safran to break down all these reveals and more.
Is Lydia really behind AIC?
Joshua Safran: What you see is what you get, I'll say that. But you gotta keep watching.
Is how she describes the AIC accurate? The "true CIA"? They're good. That jibes with what Shelby said last week.
Safran: I think that's what they would believe and I think that may be true.
To be fair, every faction usually thinks they're doing the right thing.
Safran: Right. You can ultimately believe in the same thing, but there are different pockets of belief and different ways of going about things that might not be in line together. That's how rogue groups start. It's something we'll be getting into.
Owen has nothing to do with it?
Safran: He has nothing to do with it. He was not even aware of it until now! He had no idea Now he does and he's stunned. ... I think it's safe to assume that [Alex] probably tells him everything, which you'll find out in the next episode.
How does he react to this?
Safran: He does not like it! [Laughs] He does not like his daughter having been involved in anything.
Does this change his plans to resign? Has he submitted that letter yet?
Safran: Something else happens instead.
Is this what all leads to him going to prison?
Safran: Potentially. It's so funny — we're in this run where I can't give away too much because the ball's rolling down the hill now. It's pretty fast how things fall into place or fall apart, depending on how you look at it.
Is she going to be Alex's new ally since she broke everything off with Harry?
Safran: I would just say that it's not all over [between Alex and Harry]. Alex is the best asset that Harry could have for MI-6, so I don't think he's going to give up so easily.
To be clear, Alex did not mock up that phone, as Harry says. She was chosen. She got a text. Safran: That [mock-up] is not true. ... He just says that to her as a joke. That's just Harry being Harry. You will find out why she's been told to wait very soon.
So Lydia wasn't lying to Ryan about Alex not making the cut or was she?
Safran: Well, I guess I can say it. I don't want to put too fine a point on it because that's the end of the episode when she says she didn't make the cut. That is actually not inaccurate; it's just that Alex doesn't know that yet.
She's getting separate messages from the rest of them?
Safran: Yes. I wouldn't say separate, but I'd say there's an A team and a B team. I feel bad giving that way, but I guess when Lydia says she didn't make the cut, it's kind of clear — although I guess you can think she's lying about everything — but you'll find out more about that soon.
What's next for Ryan and Alex? They were about to turn on each other and made up just in time. Is this really the basis of a good relationship? Or is all's fair in love and war?
Safran: Yeah, I think when when you're both CIA operatives, I think you understand. They're in a good place in the next episode.
Did Alex really not consider the surveillance camera that would film her trying to sabotage Ryan? Or did she not care?
Safran: I think they were in a private room and I think they were in the heat of the moment and I don't think they thought there'd be surveillance video of that. I wouldn't say they didn't care, but they didn't think. Lapse in judgment!
Leon tells Nimah he wants to work with them? Is that genuine? Does he change his mind after Lydia's speech and finding out what the AIC is up to?
Safran: No, he wants to work Nimah. You'll have to watch the next episode to see what Nimah does. ... There definitely is fallout from that decision but maybe not right away.
Does anyone suspect Leon is turning on them, like Dayana? She's already wary of him.
Safran: I think Dayana will definitely start to notice some changes in Leon.
In the present, is Miranda in the Citizens' Liberation Front? She keeps trying to explain and defend herself to Alex and Nimah — "It wasn't supposed to go this far" — but is that just bluster?
Safran: I'd say she's just working with them. She's not totally with them. She has a scene where she explains how she fell in with them coming up.
She said someone called her after Alex failed. Who was that?
Safran: You will find out in, I think, [Episode] 13. We're in real time pretty much moving forward, so it doesn't feel like it's so far away.
Is this someone we've met before?
Safran: Yes. I'm not going to say any more!
I totally forgot about those drives until now. What's on them that Miranda wants so badly?
Safran: [Laughs] Oh my God, that's so funny! The problem is, we moved stuff around, so I can't remember what was the information about the drives in this particular episode other than Miranda wanting them. ... I think it aired already — they have surveillance data of the past year from all of the member countries at the G20 Summit.
Right. But what does she need them for?
Safran: That, you're going to find out! [Laughs] If I told you that, you can turn off your TV for the rest of the year.
I liked the scenes between Shelby and Claire. What Claire said about expectations and double standards as the first female president felt very pointed, but you said you shot it before the election?
Safran: It was written before the election. It was due to shoot on the day after Election Day, but we ended up moving it to the following Monday because that was right in the midst of some stuff. We found out about the move to Mondays on Monday that week, so on Tuesday we were still retrofitting everything. The last scene of Episode 11 was shot on Election Day as the results came in during the evening. You'll see why that's crazy next week. So because we moved to Mondays, we moved the scenes to make sure it would fit into our new structure. Marcia was already here though, so that allowed Marcia to go see Hillary's concession speech on Wednesday, which was really emotional. We changed a couple of lines, but not many. It was pretty much intact.
Safran: Yeah, it gets weirder still. We're shooting, as we speak, an episode about a Muslim registry and we started shooting this episode on Friday morning and it's been very odd. We didn't [shoot over the weekend], but it's been very odd to tell that story. It's literally a race to stop a Muslim registry. Sadly, we don't have to change anything.
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Is it going to come out that Claire helped create the AIC?
Safran: She says that's her fear. Whether that comes out or not, I can't say, but she's very honest with Shelby and right now, only she and Shelby know.
Are we hear about or see Caleb (Graham Rogers) at any point?
Safran: It's so funny. Everyone keeps asking me this and I can't say, so I think if you hear me say, "I can't say," you can see that I'm not saying no.
Alex and a rescue team are on their way to the hostages. Are they going to work together
Safran: The question is, will the breach happen in time to save the hostages alive? That is what Episode 11 is about. I can say that it's a very Owen-centric episode. Harry and Sebastian's relationship reaches a turning point. The hostages' lives are in real jeopardy at the hands of a former FBI recruit.
Quantico airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.