Post Mortems
Quantico Season 2 Finale Recap Resistance

Quantico Season 2 Finale: EP Talks Alternate Ending, Skipped Kiss, Nixed Cameo by Supergirl Star and More

Weeks ago, Quantico creator Joshua Safran told TVLine that the ABC spy drama had shot an ending that he’d cut if word of the show’s renewal hit before the finale aired.

As it turned out, though, the scene was gone long before news of the Season 3 pickup — and Safran’s stepping down as showrunner — broke Monday evening.

The final moments that aired found Alex going on the FBI/CIA-sanctioned lam after breaking the law in order to bring crooked President Roarke’s collaborator scheme to light. As she rode a getaway plane to relative freedom, she mourned the loss of her newly rekindled relationship with Ryan… only to realize that he was on the plane with her, ready to give up his life’s work in order to support hers.

What aired “is a better ending” than the alternative, Safran tells TVLine, setting up the cut footage. “You just saw Ryan and Alex at their destination and then, just like last year, someone… appeared and offered her an offer she couldn’t refuse.”

That person, by the way, would have been played by Supergirl‘s Jeremy Jordan, with whom Safran worked on Smash.

“It will never exist,” the EP says of the other ending. “It’s not like Season 3 would start with that. It was purely like, we wrote the script, everyone read it and we were like, “You know what? We could really use a cliffhanger.” So we wrote the cliffhanger, and then we shot it, and everyone’s like, “You know, we don’t need the cliffhanger.” Because the last scene was beautiful enough.”

Read on as Safran breaks down the rest of his final episode as boss, including which characters should have kissed earlier in the season (and why they didn’t) and which of the series’ characters he wanted back for the finale (and why he couldn’t get them).

TVLINE | I love how overtly feminist the show has gotten, especially in the last few episodes with Ryan realizing his best, most meaningful role is to support Alex as she does awesome stuff.
[Laughs] It’s a feminist show! Beth [Schacter, producer] and I talk about that all the time. From Day 1, that’s always been the mandate of the show. Not to knock other shows, because I really don’t want to do that, but a lot of other shows that feature women centrally, they do [so] around their relationship with a man or they’re defined by their relationship with men. This show, while she had a relationship with Ryan, she’s never defined by it. Whether he’s on that plane with her or not at the end, she would’ve been OK.

We just kind of dialed it up a little bit in the second-to-last episode, that scene with Henry Czerny and Jake [McLaughlin] where they talked about how sometimes it’s just as good to be the person supporting somebody as it is to be the person supported. And you have to find your role in life… I will tell you, the one person not happy with that was Jake. [Laughs] Not right away. He’s a soldier. He definitely came around, because he understands the Alex-and-Ryan dynamic.

TVLINE | When you said that Alex would be OK without Ryan, my first thought was, “But Ryan wouldn’t be OK without her!”
Totally. We knew the ending of the season definitively at midseason. And she was going to be alone. When we needed it to function as a series finale just in case, we knew she’d end up with Ryan anyway, so we put Ryan on the plane. And there was the parallel between the beginning and the end, that scene in the pilot.

TVLINE | So before Alex saved the day, had Roarke successfully dismantled the FBI and CIA?
He had not. That was Roarke’s plan. Roarke’s plan was to start [the combined law-enforcement agency] after the Constitutional convention, but that had to happen first for that to really begin. So we were prepping everybody. But now it’s back to being the FBI and the CIA. We hear that Owen is taking over Keyes’ job and Shelby will be teaching at Quantico. And Raina and Nimah, Owen would like him to come work with him. So it will be interesting to see what happens.

TVLINE | And the other collaborators, at least for now, are able to get away with their part in the evil scheme?
We lost a scene… where you see Peter Theo and Maxwell Fletcher, even though Roarke had said they were involved, the cops came up to them and they said “We want to talk to our lawyers.” You understood that they would get away with it.

TVLINE | You chose not to have Alex and Ryan get re-engaged in the finale.
No, we didn’t, although it was in the cut scene. Once they arrived at their destination, you saw that she had the ring on. In my mind, they are engaged now.

TVLINE | Iris was back. Was there anyone you wanted to have back at the end of the season but couldn’t get?
Yes. We always wanted LiLi [Li Jun Li], that was just scheduling. We actually wanted LiLi for several episodes this year, but she was on Blindspot and we could never make her dates work… We wanted David Lim to come back, but he got S.W.A.T. He was just recurring with us. He was supposed to be in the finale, so that’s sad that we weren’t able to close that loop. And we wanted Russell [Tovey] back, but Russell was in tech [rehearsals for a British production of Angels in America]. So we thought maybe we would get Russell on an iPhone, calling in, and we wrote that into the script. It seemed like such a cheat… Those were the three that we wanted back, and we got one of the three.

Quantico Season 2 Finale Recap

TVLINE | Why did you decide not to go all the way with Clay and Shelby, and also with Owen and Miranda?
Owen and Miranda, that was never planned. All I can tell you is that Aunjanue [Ellis] and Blair [Underwood] have amazing chemistry, even when they are not trying to. [Laughs] There was never an Owen-Miranda plan. Aunjanue and Blair really liked each other as people, and they hadn’t shared scenes this year… So when they finally got to work together, they’re such great actors, they just loved playing off each other. I think it came across that they loved it a little bit too much. [Laughs] So we had to dial it back a little bit. But that was never the plan there.

And with Clay and Shelby, the story, we always based it on The Way We Were. But we thought they would get togheter at some point and decide not to be together by the end of the season. Somewhere along the way, I jus tfelt like it was playing so beautifully without needing to go there. And I talked to Johanna [Braddy] and Hunter [Parrish], and they were such pros. They take it so seriously. They dream about it, they think about it, they talk about it. Working with them was really extraodrinady in that way. There were a couple of times we wrote that they kissed, and in the moment it didn’t feel right, so we took it out. By the time we got to the end, we realized it could still be The Way We Were, even if they didn’t get together.

Grade the finale via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the season-ender!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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15 Comments
  1. jason says:

    i wanted alex and owen. i’m over her and ryan

  2. BJ says:

    Thank you for not letting Clay and Shelby get together. She has been with his father and his brother, enough already….. I love Ryan and Alex flying off together, they were meant to be together….

    • Anna says:

      Ditto about Shelby and Clay! I can’t believe how they can say that this is a feminist show when a female lead is depicted as this “siren”, PC word for homewrecker. I hate what they did to Shelby character. I mean, she had to raise herself alone, she’s smart, she kills as a tech person, as a CEO, she’s baddass as a shooter, as a FBI agent, she’s caring, thoughtful, lots of empathy. Why does she have to be a Brooke Logan, going through all the men of the family? I really hate that on top of all the qualities she has, they didn’t add “morals”. She can be very judgmental but when it comes to having basic morals like “don’t do the father and ALL the sons”, her brains doesn’t seem to register that. Shelby’s portrayed as praying mantis, there is nothing feminist about that.

    • Tara says:

      Definitely on the same page regarding Clay and Shelby!!

  3. Erin Anderson says:

    I am really happy that Alex and Ryan got together they belong together

  4. Tara says:

    I was glad to see Alex and Ryan in the closing scene too! I like her relationship with Owen and that it isn’t a romantic relationship. I like seeing that at least as it is set up now Owen will be with the CIA next season and several others characters. I am beyond curious as to where they will head next season. At the moment I don’t know if I have any guesses.

  5. DmCo says:

    I thought the ending was very “Scandal” like. What wish for this show next season is better writing, better stories.

    • Erin says:

      Agree that better writing or a better overall direction is needed. This season was all over the place, and not in a good way. From the Citizens Liberation Front at the G20 to the training at the Farm & the AIC to Lydia with the drives to Claire Haas & the secret task force & the little shadow government, they were just throwing every story at the wall hoping something would stick, and some moments were awesome, but overall, it was very disappointing. There was too much, but not enough at the same time. They could have stuck with half the story lines & done them far better, but instead they tried to do everything & fell short more often than they hit the mark.

  6. georgee says:

    Thank you ABC for giving Quantico one more shortened season so it could have a proper ending, better than the 30 seconds you gave Castle. Now that the show runner stepped down you might want to bring in Alexi Hawley he is a good closer, it would be another stamp in his stamp collection. Today ABC is meeting with the advertisers of your shows and you have to explain a fan uproar. last year it was Castle that lost over 3 million viewers, you told the fans one thing, budgetary reasons and the sponsors another, two story lines and the producers picked the wrong one. The fans and your two leads told you that, too bad you did not listen earlier. This year you cancelled LMS that had a 18-49 rating of 1.5 million fans but gave Quantico that had a .6 18-49 million rating another season. That must make your sponsors wonder up with that, they would like to see more viewers not less. I know LMS was not PC and now you are putting all your eggs in the AOL basket. What are you going to mishandle next year?

  7. luis says:

    Shelby and Clay NEED to be together next season. I ship that relationship harder than any other in the show.

  8. Angel says:

    Oozing chemistry of Shelby and Clay ended in vain… expected a better ending

  9. Boiler says:

    Enjoyed the 2nd half. I assume somehow Alex gets pardoned and will see what next year means

  10. Pooja says:

    Happy to see the ending of the season!

  11. SamofSherwood says:

    Just finished the season um…. I have no strong feelings about any of it! Alex & Ryan they completely ballsed up from mid season 1 so seeing them together at the end I was like “meh!” ok, whatever. Which is apparently how Alex feels, wouldn’t you throw yourself into his arms & hug him for giving up his life to help you?!
    I’m still bitter about Harry I know it’s no one’s fault) Russell Tovey just make this show better, really, he’s too good for it. Most of this whole season has been an utter mess, even more so without Harry’s sass.
    I’m glad Shelby didn’t get with Clay, would you really want to be with a guy who’s Father you’d slept with? ew! they made the right choice there.
    I feel like Blair Underwood got screwed a bit, he had a really prominent role, then he disappeared… then he comes back but super Alex has to teach him how to be a spy, puh-lease..
    sorry Quantico, I was a big fan until almost the end of season 1, I watched the finale to see how it ended but after that episode, not sure I feel the need to watch your abbreviated season 3.
    What happened to this show?