[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]
If you're one of those people who's been thrown off by Quantico's deliberate slow-burn second season, then Sunday's episode ought to have quenched your twist thirst. Reveal after reveal was dropped in the future timeline about WTF the terrorists are up to, including:
- Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor) tells Alex (Priyanka Chopra) that the terrorists are after a bunch of hard drives that contain decades of surveillance that world leaders were planning to dismantle at the G20 Summit. The terrorists wanted Eric Boyer (RIP) to decrypt them.
- Lydia turns out to be, as Alex says, "one of them," when she refuses to destroy the drives and instead runs off with the drives after kicking Alex's ass and tying her to a door. (tbh, why would Alex believe Lydia that they need to destroy them? Like, wouldn't she want to know what was on them?)
Quantico: Is [SPOILER] a terrorist too?
- We learn where Owen (Blair Underwood) is: prison. And Alex has something to do with it. "I tried to apologize for that," she sheepishly tells Lydia, who tell hers to do it in person. Probably related: Lydia had thrown Alex out of The Farm.
- Indonesia is another piece of the AIC puzzle. Leigh (Helene York), who had recently been to Jakarta, gets questioned by the terrorists about her visit, before they choke her to death via the remote-controlled collar. She turns into a human fountain of blood.
- Raina (Yasmine Al Massri) is actually Nimah! In hindsight, it makes more sense for her to be so actively part of the hostage crisis than Raina. "You were right. Dayana (Pearl Thusi) may be one of them," she tells the terrorists. "Thank you. Your plan worked," one of the terrorists replies. The real Raina is being held captive separately.
It's a whole lot to process. TVGuide.com caught up with creator Josh Safran to discuss these developments — and why the next episode is not to be missed.
I enjoy your opaque language. Everyone just says someone is "one of them." First about Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis), now Lydia and Dayana. Are they or are they not terrorists?
Josh Safran: Yes, there's reasons for that. I can't unfortunately [say] who is or who isn't, but I think after [this episode] you can see there's more to the story.
What is Nimah's plan, and why did she have to impersonate Raina in order to carry it out?
Safran: This is one of those episodes where so many pieces are learned I can't give too much away. So many cards are turned over in this one, but you will definitely learn all about that very soon. Poor Raina, being held captive at the end there. She is one of the hostages, but she's definitely being held [separately].
Are we going to see the twins interact in either timeline? Nimah mentions in The Farm timeline that they haven't been talking.
Safran: I don't want to say for certain, but it would be very odd if they weren't to interact. To have them both in the same space and not to have them interact would be sad. ... It has been much easier [filming], for sure, but we very much love the dynamic the twins have together. We gave ourselves a little break and then here they are together: our first VFX twins magic shot of the year.
Where is Lydia off to with those hard drives? Does she have a personal investment in them — is there something about her on them? Or is she doing this out of CIA duty, like she tells Alex?
Safran: I have no idea where she's going! [Laughs] I'll just say you never know who you can trust on this show. ... But everything she told Alex about the hard drives and why [the terrorists] wants them is true, and they do need someone to be able to decrypt them.
Like Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson). What's Alex's next move in Episode 7?
Safran: We pick up immediately where we left her, tied to that door and unable to get out and knowing the alarm is ringing and bringing terrorists closer and closer to her. ... She just wants to escape and we will see that right away — if and how she's able to do so.
She does look pretty good after taking a foot to the face.
Safran: [Laughs] Yes, she knows how to block with her face. ... The fight scenes are really fun, especially this year. We're trying to go for a realistic, grounded way of fighting. These two people fought like two people who have been trained to fight like that.
Is there a part of Alex that's disappointed in herself for falling for Lydia's act and getting herself into this situation? Or is she purely focused on getting out of there and getting those drives?
Safran: I wouldn't say she fell for Lydia's act per se. Alex doesn't trust anybody, so she didn't really trust Lydia, but Lydia gave her a lot of reasons and explanations to trust her. And Lydia just got the upper hand. I don't think she punishes herself for that. I think she means what she says, which is, the next time she sees her, it's not going to end well for Lydia. And hopefully we get to see that.
Is Indonesia the key to everything?
Safran: Not everything, but it is definitely a key. It unlocks a certain door, a door that you don't come back from, clearly!
Poor Leigh. That was pretty gross.
Safran: Yeah, that was gross. We went back and forth on that — Beth Schacter, one of the producers and writers, and I — and every time, we still cringed. Helene Yorke was such a trooper. I have so many great behind-the-scenes photos of her dancing in her blood and having a general good time in the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel. But we will not see necessarily what she did [in Jakarta], but we will hear about what happened there. And also, you say, "poor Leigh," but maybe Leigh isn't as poor as we thought. I'll put it that way.
Is she also "one of them"? Is there anyone who's not?
Safran: [Laughs] That's all I'm gonna say right now. I'm giving you too much already!
We finally learn that Owen is in prison. When will we get the full story on that and Alex's involvement?
Safran: Not very long. What led him to go to prison will be shown in the present timeline before midseason. I can't say [if we'll see him in prison], but he's in prison.
When will we find out why Lydia "threw out" Alex from The Farm? Is that connected to how Owen ends up in prison?
Safran: Before midseason. And maybe.
Back in The Farm timeline, Shelby (Johanna Braddy) goes under covers with Leon (Aaron Diaz) and is now going undercover. How does she do? Is she rusty?
Safran: I think it's time for Shelby to get off the bench and how she responds to that and where it takes her is a really interesting story. She, of course, going undercover is actually going undercover from Alex as well, so that causes some tension there. But also, Shelby has been missing the action, so getting back in there, you've either been away too long or you find that it's always where you were meant to be. I'd say that she shares scenes with a bunch of people [undercover]. ... Her No. 1 mission is to sort of to get information out of Leon, but the scope might widen.
I liked the ceremony for Simon and the theme of the past haunting you, so to speak. I don't think you can have complete closure on something like his death and that was nicely tied in with Owen and how he can't let go finding out who leaked his name, even after Lydia got him what he wanted.
Safran: Right, so the question is, what will he do with the information he just received, and how far down that path will it take him? This episode was very much about, like you said, your past, and like, can you deal with the pain you've caused? Even in the future, those characters are grappling with where they've been, what does it mean. And Lydia's talking to Alex in the future about her father being in prison and blaming Alex for that. That's another piece of the theme that Alex carries with her. I think the question is, will Owen find salvation and the peace that he needs to not keep carrying this with him? Or sometimes, when you've kicking rocks over, you're surprised to find something else.
I was kind of sad when Harry (Russell Tovey) told Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) that he made up his boyfriend's suicide story, but which is true? I can see both being true.
Safran: I'm sad you're sad. He tries to tell Sebastian (David Lim) that [the suicide] is true at the end. He's not lying to him to get back in his good graces or work him or anything like that. ... That becomes immediately clear in the next episode. The fact that you're questioning it is fine because in the very first scene between them in the next episode, we'll know for sure. He obviously didn't want Ryan to use that against him and have something on him.
When Harry first told Sebastian a couple weeks ago, it felt very genuine. But now that we know he's an MI6 officer, it's like, "Wait. Is he playing everyone?" You've made me question everything on this show.
Safran: [Laughs] Not only is it very genuine, but I would say that's the cornerstone of Harry's story for the entire season. It's a big part of the story; it's not just a piece of backstory. It's a very present story for Harry as well. ... You're not going to get flashbacks, but you are going to meet some of the players involved.
I really liked Harry saying, "I'm all ears."
Safran: [Laughs] I asked Russell if I could do it and he said, "Yeah, I do it all the time." I think we've had two "ears" jokes. When Will called Nimah in Episode 5 from the club, he said, "I've been seeing this guy and I think he's been messing with my phone," and she said, "British ears"? And he said, "That's him!" I think there's no more "ears" for now. We're writing Episode 13 right now and there's no "ears." There's still time for the rest of the season.
Dayana pulls out old family photo. When will we learn more about that?
Safran: In the very next episode, you learn a ton about Dayana. You'll learn the most about her out of any character because the other recruits learn about her in The Farm timeline.
You tweeted that ABC asked to see the deleted scenes from the next episode, in which Owen lets the recruits interrogate him. What can you tease about it?
Safran: It's definitely the most intense episode this year, but it also deals with a very real thing that you have to be taught when you work with the CIA, which is both withstand and dole out torture.
Psychological, physical or both?
Safran: Both. It was a really tough episode to shoot in all the good ways. It's a bottle episode, so it took place almost exclusively on our set. That's not because we needed to do a bottle episode; we chose to because it's very much about this insular interrogation. Blair Underwood is one of the best actors out there. It was so extraordinary to get to watch him in this episode. I hope the audience agrees. It's just a towering performance.
It's what I believe Quantico does best, which is, it takes a real thing and looks at that real thing in the sphere of government — in this case, torture. It lets all the characters from different walks of life have their different points of view on that and those points of views range from totally pro to totally con. It doesn't end on either side and it sort of lets you take part in the episode and find your own way, but it's also got a ton of great character reveals. You learn so much about all of them through their experience and their actions in this episode. It's beautifully directed by Steve Robin and it was written by Gideon Yago, former journalist. I think it's definitely one of our best episodes. I'm also excited because we get to use Fleetwood Mac; we have two [of their songs]. I really hope people watch it.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.