Warning: The following contains spoilers for Monday’s The Endgame finale. Proceed at your own risk!
Oh, how the table have turned for Elena and Val! During The Endgame‘s (series?) finale on Monday — the show has yet to be renewed — Val learned that the criminal mastermind lied about Sergey being dead. Meanwhile, Elena’s hubby and Owen escaped prison by hitching themselves to one of the trucks transporting the gold buttons. Elena, too, escaped being buried alive and not even Val tracking down Sergey and Owen’s location could stop Elena from once again getting the upper hand and crashing the meetup. After holding Val and Owen at gunpoint, Elena and Sergey took off, reuniting with their daughter.
Val and Owen were left behind unscathed to embrace… and have a difficult conversation about the fact that Owen kept secret from his wife that he was working undercover for the CIA. An upset Val retreated and circled the empty quarters that used to hold Elena. When she spotted a loose thread on her hanging blue gown, Elena’s words during their last confrontation came back to her: “Do you really want to pull that thread?” And so Val did, revealing a map within the dress, presumably to nesting doll locations. Then Val received a surprising call from Elena. Lady Belok was not happy about Elena and Sergey taking off with some of her gold, so she kidnapped their daughter and blew up their vehicle with Sergey in it. “I need your help,” a distraught Elena declared to Val in the episode’s final seconds.
Below, star Ryan Michelle Bathé discusses her surprise at Elena’s call for help and why Owen’s betrayal is akin to Game of Thrones.
TVLINE | From the start of the series to now, especially after the events of this finale, how would you say Val’s feelings about Elena have changed?
I’ll be honest with you, no one shared with me how this was going to go. I didn’t know, from day to day, what was happening, how it was happening, how it was unfolding. So for me, the finale was very interesting in terms of how I felt about Elena, because I think Val, like Ryan, was very much in the dark. She didn’t know how to feel about her. It’s clear she’s got some agenda. Am I dealing with some sort of Robin Hood in couture, as I say? But at the same time, she’s an FBI agent, so I can’t help but think that she’s thinking, am I dealing with a narcissistic personality with grandiose [ideas]? I don’t think Val ever got to the point where she fully trusted Elena, but I do think that she got to the point where she didn’t see the ending coming.
The rules of the universe were Elena doesn’t lie, and I think that somewhere in the middle of this journey, in these 10 days that Val just had with Elena, maybe around day six, she started to say, “OK, I’m going to fully invest in the rules of this universe. You don’t lie.” Even when the ghost comes, and she’s like, “I’m not lying to you,” and it turns out she wasn’t, and the ghost was not a part of her plan. So I think the fact that this whole thing was actually predicated on a lie really did send Val for a loop… I think Val is pissed. And I don’t think she’s ever really, truly been personally pissed at Elena, and she’s upset at herself [because] what people said about her is true. She did get sucked in by this “criminal,” and it did turn out to all be a lie.
TVLINE | And now Elena’s calling Val, asking for help, presumably to get her daughter back. Do you think she will actually help her?
I think Val will do anything for a child. And knowing that the child is in the clutches of a woman who has murdered people before, I don’t think that Val is going to hesitate to try and save this child from what she sees as a clear and present danger to this child’s safety.
TVLINE | How do you think their relationship might evolve from this point, if they’re forced to work together in this new context, where Elena is the one who needs the help?
I don’t know why she calls Val. This is a woman who has orchestrated the takedown of, like, everybody. She robbed seven banks, got away with it. She’s got a truck full of gold. She can’t call her operatives, who are presumably all over the world and all over the country, in positions of power, to be like, “Help me find my child?” [Laughs] I didn’t even know who Lady Belok is until two days ago. I still don’t understand, from a show perspective, why she calls Val. I’m like, “Call some of your other friends.” [Laughs] “You tried to kill my husband! You put a gun to my husband, and you were like, ‘I don’t care about you, I don’t care about him.’” There’s no love lost between these two women, the way that they’ve written it.
So what I would like to see if it were me writing it, which it’s not, so it’s probably going to go in a completely opposite direction, but if it were me, Season 2 would actually be about no more games, no more riddles, a) because your child is missing, and b) who are you really? Like, why did you call me? I’m obviously going to find this child. Is that why you called me, because of all the people that you knew, you knew that I would be the one? Are you using me again? I don’t think Val minds being used to find an innocent person, a truly innocent child. And maybe the fact that Val agrees to help Elena, out of the purity of her convictions about innocent people needing to be saved, I think that that would be the thing that Elena would be like, “Wow. I thought I had a real one, but I really do have a real one,” because 99.9 percent of people would be like, “New phone, who dis? Excuse me, who? I don’t know any Elena, click.” [Laughs]
It would be cool if [in] Season 2, they actually developed a friendship… Wouldn’t that be cool if Elena’s like, “I orchestrated all this stuff, and I said this, and it was all a lie, hee hee hee.” Wouldn’t it be interesting if everything she said about the two of them came true, but just in a completely different way than she thought?
TVLINE | Owen was undercover with the CIA, and in Val’s own words, he used and manipulated her for his plan. So does that spell the end of their marriage?
So again, if I were writing it, yes. [Laughs] I had gone to the FBI headquarters… We talked about the relationship between the NYPD and the FBI and the field office. And then, I specifically asked about the CIA, and [the real Doak] told me all of this interesting stuff. So now I know all this stuff, and I’m like, there’s no reason why [Owen] couldn’t have told Val the truth. I’m not even understanding how Owen could look at Val, of all people, and be like, “I can’t tell you the truth because my CIA handler…” What if I didn’t drop dime on him? What if I heard him pop up on the wire, and I was like let me hold on to this, and what if I had gone to him? What if any number of things had gone wrong? I always tell people, when everything has to go absolutely right, it’s probably not a very good plan. You always have to give yourself some wiggle room. Like the danger that the CIA put me in, how do you agree to any of that?
Val was hurt, Ryan was hurt. I was just like, I don’t know how we get past it. I really don’t, truthfully. Because every time I think about it, I’m like, OK, but you could’ve said to your CIA handler, “This is a step beyond what I agreed to. I can’t use my wife like this. She’s a federal agent. She has to know what’s going on.” On Owen’s part, it feels very thoughtless. Like, you didn’t even fight. The way they wrote it, he’s like, “Oh, my handler was like no.” [Laughs] I’m like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. I need to see more proof that he either tried to tell me, or did you tell your handler to protect me?
It’s sort of like Game of Thrones. I know, you’re like, “What does Game of Thrones have to do with this?” But when Ned Stark brought Jon Snow home, you couldn’t have taken Catherine in the bathroom and been like, “Look, don’t ask me how, don’t ask me who, don’t ask me where. If I answer any of these questions, this whole house will be burnt down by a dragon. So here’s what’s going to happen. I never cheated on you. Don’t be mad at the baby. I love you, we’re in this together. That’s all I can say.” You don’t think that would, like, save the day? Now everybody’s dead. We had a whole Red Wedding, because you couldn’t take your wife in the bathroom and be like, “Yo, real talk.” [Laughs] That is a true partner to me. Like, “Real talk, Val. I’m going to just let you know some things are afoot, don’t ask questions.” I mean, I’m an FBI agent. If my husband is like, “Don’t ask questions, I love you, I got you, boo,” I’d be like, “OK, I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to trust him.”
Also, too, unfortunately, Owen and Val, as characters, have not had the opportunity to be in a relationship the way in which Sergey and Elena have. We’ve seen [them] flashbacks. The writers didn’t bother to give us any of that connective tissue. So it’s very easy for me, playing Val, to be like, I don’t have any connection to you, because theoretically, yes, you’re my husband, but all Val has experienced, and me as the actor playing her, is distance and lies and having no footing with this man. So it’s much more of a stretch for me to be like, yes, we have all this history, and I love this man. As an actor playing the character, I’ve experienced the lies [and] the betrayal, but I haven’t experienced any of the good stuff to balance it out.
TVLINE | What feelings or hints are you getting about the show’s Season 2 renewal odds?
I will shout out our fanbase. They are small but mighty. They are so cute. Their GIF game is on point. They crack me up. There’s some gals and guys on these interwebs who are like, “Renew The Endgame! We love the show!” There are the haters. Somebody called me the BLM agent. [Laughs] I was like, “Oh my God, what are you talking about? I spent my whole 10 days of this show running around at the behest and the bidding of this white lady in a cage. How am I the BLM agent?” [Laughs] They’re very creative. Side note: If you’re going to be a hater, and you’re going to be a hater online, be creative. Like, I got to give you props.
So anyway, this is basically a shout-out to the fans. They are definitely clamoring for a Season 2, and we all know that those voices on the Interwebs are much more powerful than I think we give them credit for. The people who make the decisions, I do think they listen to the fans. Not as much as the fans want them to listen to them, but the fans should know they’ve got some sway in all of this. And whatever happens, I have been so honored to see that there are people out there who respond to the show. It’s a lot of hard work, and to know that it didn’t just end up in a vacuum, it’s nice. It’s a nice moment for me to feel like the things that I’ve done and the things that I’m doing, all of that hard work, this didn’t go into some vacuum, and no one’s ever going to see it, and the fact that people are responding and appreciating. There’s all these Val/Elena ‘shippers out there, and they’re adorable and wonderful. It’s been nice… So the Endgame tribe is great and wonderful, and they want a Season 2, and that’s the most rumbling I’ve heard about a Season 2 has been from the fans, saying, “Renew The Endgame!” So we’ll see. Either way, it’s been a wonderful ride.
Endgame fans, what did you think of the episode? Grade it below, then hit the comments!