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Quantico Boss on Owen's Big Decision: "He Knows It Has to Be Done"

Plus: When the true terrorist will be unmasked

Joyce Eng

Owen (Blair Underwood) had quite a day on Monday's Quantico.

Still stunned that his own daughter, Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor) was operating a secret CIA faction under his nose, Owen plots his own death during an assignment via Daniel Sharp (Nolan Gerard Funk), the son of his asset Helen who died when he failed to exfiltrate her way back when, which led to his name getting leaked. Alex (Priyanka Chopra) stops it all, of course, and eventually convinces Owen to work with her and Shelby (Johanna Braddy) to expose Lydia.

Lydia is still MIA in the future, but we finally see Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson) again, who heads an interrogation of the hostages to snuff out the AIC radicals who were at unsanctioned operations the past eight months. When Leon's (Aaron Diaz) answers don't jibe with the intel, Will realizes he's covering up for someone, puts an end to the whole farce, and works with Alex and Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) to lead the hostages out. Problem: The terrorists have blended in among the group.
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Showrunner Joshua Safran answers our burning questions about all these reveals -- including what's next for now ex-roomies Harry (Russell Tovey) and Sebastian (David Lim).

Is Owen fully on board turning on Lydia? He was clearly torn between love for his country and love for his daughter whose love he was trying to win back.
Joshua Safran:
Yeah, there are still some lingering issues. He's not entirely comfortable with it, but he knows it has to be done. That's where we pick them up next week. He knows this is important, but this is difficult for him. He can't quite keep his rage in check in regards to her.

Where is his mindset now? He arguably had his most reckless and weakest moment this episode.
Yeah. He's on fire next week. She is no longer his daughter, she is now a criminal that he has to get. And yet when he comes face to face with her -- spoiler alert -- he's maybe unable to keep his emotions at bay.

When you guys broke this episode, did you want him to hit rock bottom?
Yes. The piece that our consultant had told us about that we knew we wanted to do was that once your alias is burned, you can never go to that country ever again. So the second that they hear you're there, they assume that you're there on company business and anyone you've wronged will come after you. That is totally true. Whenever operatives are burned, you're landlocked the rest of your life. That's why we created the Helen Sharp story, which is paying of obviously in this episode with Daniel Sharp. We knew that his rock bottom would be what he perceives to be the biggest wrong he's made in his life and him wanting to right it. He wanted to pay the price.

We always knew he felt shame or inadequacy over what happened. And he felt inadequate as a father, and once he found out the AIC was all happening under his nose and Alex was spying on him this whole time, it seemed like that broke him.
Yes. Everything you're describing is correct. It's hurting him the most that he's having to come face to face with his inadequacies all at once. It's definitely difficult for him. It was his breaking point.

Is this what's going to halt him putting in his resignation?
I would say it does halt his resignation, but as you know, he's also going to end up in prison, so this has something to do with that as well.

Blair Underwood, Quantico

Blair Underwood, Quantico

Giovanni Rufino, ABC

When he comes face to face with Lydia next week, is she going to be aware that he was trying to expose her?
No. The next episode is about a trap that Alex and Owen set for Lydia. The question is, will the trap work or will they actually end up entrapping themselves? It will all become clear. We turned over a lot of cards this episode, so we're pretty much getting to the point where there are going to be no more cards to turn over. You're going to know everything! ... In the next episode, you learn everything about The Farm timeline. You'll learn what Lydia's training those recruits to do, what the ultimate endgame is - all of that is next week.

So we'll learn about Alex's section of the AIC?
You'll learn about everything. Going into Episode 13, the audience knows every last piece of information.

Dayana (Pearl Thusi) is onto Leon betraying them and Lydia says that he'll be gone next week. What's gonna happen?
That is definitely Dayana's mission in the next episode. Whether she pulls it off or not, you'll have to wait and see.

Is anyone else going to be made aware that Leon is now an informant for the FBI?
If Dayana succeeds in her mission -- I don't want to say. That's obviously a major plot point in the next episode.

I liked the sprinkling of tidbits about Harry's side mission with Pip and Elliott. What does he need those manifests for?
You will also find that out in the next episode. You'll learn exactly what happened with Elliott.

How is that going to dovetail with what happened between Harry and Sebastian? He moved out and he's clearly genuine heartbroken, not just messing with Sebastian.
Yes, he is. I would say the next episode is probably the biggest Harry and Sebastian episode of the season.

Is Sebastian going to make amends?
If you recall, we heard at one point that Harry says that Sebastian almost killed him. I'll say no more than that.
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OK then. Is this the episode with Russell's long monologue?
Yes. It's all about five minutes. It's probably the longest monologue in the history of network television. ... Because the monologue grows in force and intensity, we used only one of [the three takes]. I think the shot is probably one minute and 55 seconds - once you're in it, you don't want to break it. It's not edited. It's almost a two-minute unedited shot.

In the future, why didn't Will say something earlier that the terrorists would blend in with the hostages if they escape? It seems like that's something he should've brought up beforehand.
He knew the endgame was going to happen. I think it's the beginning of Act 1 of the next episode, but you'll hear the plan. When Alex says, "Let's all go out these doors," they already have a plan. You just don't know it yet. It's a strategy that he and Alex and Ryan have created.

The past couple of episodes, we've learned more about the two groups, but it's still murky who's the worst of them and who's behind all this. Are we going to have a clearer understanding before Episode 13?
It's not that you'll have a clearer understanding. As of 11, you understand that the AIC was going to do something terrible at the G20 Summit and the Citizens Liberation Front created themselves to stop it from happening. The way we look at terrorism on this show is that even though those are essentially the good guys going after the bad guys, they've turned into bad guys in a way because once you've picked up a gun to do something in the name of something that is not legally sanctioned, you're a terrorist. That's the gray area everyone finds themselves in. Episode 12 answers a lot of the remaining questions, but 13 is the cap. There's a scene in which how this all came to be is explained and what it means going forward is in 13, and that sets up what the remaining nine episodes are about.

It goes back to each of them thinking they're doing the right thing.
Right. That's the problem. That's where we're going moving forward. I'd say the Citizens Liberation Front is probably more understanding of what they've done wrong. I think the AIC is still thinking like, "We're going to get away with this. We're going to get what we want." They don't have any remorse.

Is Nimah (Yasmine Al Massri) still holding Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) at gunpoint?
Yes, well, she's not holding her at gunpoint. She's taking her somewhere very specific, which you'll see in the first seconds of Episode 13.

When is the actual unmasking of the terrorist mastermind going to be?
It's kind of at the end of 12. We'll talk about it next week. [Laughs] The last seconds of 12 are a pretty big unmasking. If you've been confused about what's happening in the two timelines, in the next two episodes, they connect. It's like the finale from last year, but instead of waiting until Episode 22, we're doing it in 13, and then after that, it's a very clear directive moving forward. There's one goal and every episode moves toward that goal.

Quantico airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.