Spoiler alert. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched episode three and four of “The Flight Attendant” Season Two.
Four episodes into Season Two of “The Flight Attendant” and viewers are likely to have many questions. Among the biggest ones: Who are Esteban and Gabrielle Diaz and what’s their story?
“That’s the big question, right? I believe all of our scenes just lead you further down that hole of asking yourself … Who are these people? What are they doing? What’s their story?” J.J. Soria told TODAY via Zoom about his and Callie Hernandez’s elusive characters. “We’re definitely a big mystery.”
Fans first meet the Diaz twosome in the Season Two premiere when they bump into Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) at a Berlin hotel, where she’s on assignment for the CIA (her new side hustle after last season's chaotic events).
While at first glance Esteban and Gabrielle seem like a chatty couple, thanking Cassie for the in-flight services, viewers then see Esteban put his phone near Cassie’s purse and clone the data on her mobile device.
It only gets more complicated when, in episode two, Esteban tries to break into Cassie’s Los Angeles home and gets caught by Ani (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Deniz Akdeniz). He makes a joke about going into the wrong Airbnb, only for viewers to find out that he and Gabrielle tied up the owners and put them in the closet. These neighbors, it seems, are not of the friendly variety.
“The first word that comes to mind is ‘intense.’ The Diazes, Gabrielle and Esteban, they kind of roll with each other. They’re always together. And I feel that Gabrielle is actually more intense, fiery, if you will, personality (wise),” Soria said. “Esteban tries to be the more level-headed one of the two.”
And while Esteban tries to “pull the reins” when they might be getting into trouble, Soria joked “it doesn’t seem to be so successful, which leads to a fun story.”
Audiences see that dynamic play out by episode four, after Esteban and Gabrielle knock out Ani and Max and interrogate them about Cassie’s whereabouts.
“You guys are psychos,” Max, with a bloody nose after getting beat up by the two, tells Gabrielle. She replies, “No, we’re fully sane. We just care about money more than we care about your comfort. Actually, we don’t care about you at all.”
“That’s the whole thing. We don’t care about any other character, but we love each other and we’re there for each other,” Soria said, describing the two as “little lovebirds in their own psychotic little world.”
"That’s the whole thing. We don’t care about any other character, but we love each other and we’re there for each other."J.J. Soria on his "Flight Attendant" character
We soon find out that it’s not Cassie who Gabrielle and Esteban are after. Instead, they are looking for Megan (Rosie Perez), Cassie’s flight attendant friend who is in hiding. Last season, she was revealed to be selling information about her husband's company to North Korean. Now, there’s a $500,000 bounty for whomever turns her into the North Koreans.
This leads to a significant clue on who the Diazes are.
“We are bounty hunters and we’re after Megan because she’s wanted by the North Koreans. We are out for the bounty that’s on her head,” Soria explained. “We are very successful bounty hunters, which is why you see us so (dressed up). We like to flaunt it. We live a good life, so to speak, as you can see with our wardrobe — and I really felt the wardrobe is a big part of the character.”
“I think we pop in our scenes because, one, of our wardrobe and the overall look … (And two), we’re in our own little world within this world of Cassie’s,” Soria said.
Thanks to costume designer Mari-An Ceo and her team, the actor says the fashion-forward styles — which include matching leather ensembles and Soria's snazzy Hawaiian-print shirt for his Los Angeles stay — helped him fully embody Esteban. “As I put on the costumes, it did give me some type of feeling,” he said, explaining that he carried himself differently.
Soria was so committed to the role that he also decided to bleach his hair for the part. In the hair dying scene, he's looking slick in a yellow Versace robe. “That was a nice get-up,” he recalled of his outfit, before sharing that not coloring his hair “didn’t feel right." He joked, "Anything less would be uncivilized.”
“It was either commit completely or have this fake thing on your head. And for me, it just felt like it would pull me out of the scene,” he explained, adding that he didn’t want to think about fidgeting with a wig or getting too into a scene and pulling his hair out.
It was, after all, Esteban and Gabrielle's chameleon characteristics, as well as their flashy ways of going incognito, that drew Soria to the story — so he committed to the process.
Soria also loved how the couple affect every character they encounter.
“What they do can impact a domino effect to all their lives. As you see in episode four, you already see how it’s gotten Max and Ani involved and they’re not after them — but (now) they’re already in the mix,” he said, addressing how Esteban and Gabrielle immediately stoke Max and Ani’s relationship woes.
Esteban and Gabrielle remain committed to finding Megan. “Right off the tip we get Cassie at the hotel in Berlin. So we’ll do whatever it takes to get to Megan and that makes us a bit of a wildcard and you don’t know where we’re going to come up next," he said.
With that in mind, Soria said “to expect the unexpected” in the upcoming episodes of "The Flight Attendant," which concludes on May 26.
“There’s a lot of twists and turns in this show. And you really don’t know what to expect. I think (that’s) what keeps people coming back,” he said.
Soria suspects that people will get more invested in all the characters’ storylines this season, just as he did.
“As I was reading the scripts, I found myself not waiting for my next scene, not for the next time I was going to see Esteban,” he continued. “I was really invested in the read and invested in these other characters because it’s so well written. And I was interested in seeing where they were going … So that’s testament to the writing.”
“The Flight Attendant” airs Thursdays on HBO Max.