What is the deal between Terence and Kyle? HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with ‘The Arrangement’s Michael Vartan about their connection, the fate of Terence and Deann’s marriage and more!
The Arrangement is halfway through its second season, and the stakes are higher than ever. IHM leader Terence Anderson is trying to take the Institute to new heights and keep his control over everyone around him, especially Kyle. Terence and Kyle’s relationship is one of the most puzzling since we don’t know what made them so close in the first place.
Well, the layers of their backstory are going to be peeled back this season, Michael Vartan told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. He teased that their connection will take an “interesting” turn. But what about Terence and Deann’s marriage? Now that Deann has opened up about her love for Mason, Terence and Deann have to figure out where to go from here. Check out our full Q&A with Michael below!
One of the biggest mysteries is Terence and Kyle’s connection and why they’re so close. Are we finally going to explore that connection in the back half of season 2?
Michael Vartan: Yes, a little bit. You’re going to find out on Sunday night [April 15], which by the the way, Josh gives the performance that is absolutely Emmy worthy. He’s fantastic. After we shot the scene, I gave him a hug and said, “Dude, it was such a privilege to be part of this scene with you.” You’re not going to be shocked because he’s a good actor, but he’s goes to a level that is so far out there and so incredibly vulnerable and wonderful. I think fans of the shows are going to have an “oh, sh*t” moment. There will be a little bit of a reveal of what he’s gone through in his past. Terence and Kyle have one of the most interesting relationships to me because they certainly have a big brother-little brother thing. They also have a father-son thing. Terence, I think, basically saved Kyle’s life when he was 18 or 19. He was probably going down a dark path and Terence took him under his wing and helped him right the ship. I feel like in a certain way Kyle is very indebted to Terence in that way. Also, I think Terence is vey cognizant of the fact that IHM, as much as it could possibly stand on its own now, Kyle being the face of the Institute for so long has helped develop it into what it is now. It’s a delicate balance because there’s true and real love and friendship and a really tight bond between them, but there’s also — I think in season one Terence even says this, “I love you but don’t make me choose between you and IHM because I will ruin you.” One of the things I love about our show is along the way there’s a scene between two characters and as an audience member you think there’s no coming back from that. Somehow they manage to come back from that. Maybe not patch up all the cracks in the armor, but do enough of a good job to carry on co-existing with one another.
With Kyle and Terence, do you think there’s ever a situation where their connection could be broken?
Michael Vartan: Their relationship is going to be tested again in a very big way in the next few episodes, and in a very interesting way. And once again in a way that you would think, well, there’s really no coming back from this. But is there? The way I see it, Terence is obviously older than Kyle and has been doing this for probably 30 years, Terence is a person whose real gift is to process and digest emotional and life situations that would be devastating to other people and make sense of them and move on. He’s done a lot of work on himself, and through the Institute, he’s created a curriculum where people can really aspire. I think Kyle, being younger, still has those moments that get the best of him and rattle him. Terence is always there to reel him back in.
Terence and Deann have been trying to reign Megan in and make her conform to what they want her to be for Kyle, but that’s sort of taken a backseat in the past few episodes. Will that Terence vs. Megan situation come back into play?
Michael Vartan: Yeah, I think that dynamic is going to be there throughout the whole season. Even if our show were to go 10 seasons, I could envision Terence and Megan having the same issues. I loved when Terence and Megan had their intense sessions and he completely manipulates her and turns it around to make it all about her father. Those scenes are so fun to play, especially for someone like me who has pretty much played a good guy for 30 years in the business. Just to get to play someone who is so flawed, well, not in his eyes, but he truly is very flawed, conflicted, and has many issues that he’s dealing with on a daily basis.
I feel like in the past episode when Terence found out that Deann truly loved Mason, he was genuinely hurt. Do you think Terence has ever felt that way for another person?
Michael Vartan: You’ll see a little bit of that in the upcoming episode. There was someone in Terence’s past. For Terence, I think they had their agreement. The funny thing between Terence and Deann is that if you were to ask who wears the pants in the relationship, I would say Deann. I think in a weird way Terence kind of assumes that their relationship is good. Lexa [Doig] and I joke all the time on set that Terence and Deann love each other as much as they can. But they have a relationship and I think Terence has kind of put that on the back burner and blindly trusted their relationship. There will be some interesting twists and turns towards the end of season 2. Terence is going to realize that maybe his wife wasn’t always acting with his or their best interests at heart, so that’s going to create some friction between the two.
What I love about your character is that the show could have easily painted you as the villain and made it very visible, but I find myself questioning whether or not he’s that bad.
Michael Vartan: It’s funny you say that because when I got the job Jonathan [Abrahams] and I sat down for a few meetings and talked about who Terence is. One of things that was important to me was not to make him a flat-out villain. There’s nothing wrong with that. Those types of characters are very useful in certain situations, but I wanted Terence to have a little bit of humility. I feel that 20-25 years ago when set out to start this Institute, he had nothing but good and pure intentions in mind. He really wanted to make the world a better place. He really wanted to help people achieve the best versions of themselves. Along the way, as money started coming in and the Institute grew and he gained more power and once Kyle got on board and there was a direct line to show business, I think he kind of lost his way a little bit and became power drunk. I think to this day Terence still really believes what the Institute is teaching. Unfortunately, the paradox, which is another wonderfully fun thing to play with Terence, as much as he believes in trying to help people, he’s also very willing to kill someone if they’re not going to fall in line.
It’s that and as much as Megan is against IHM and the way that they do things, it’s worked for Kyle.
Michael Vartan: That’s a great point because obviously Kyle and Megan truly and genuinely fell in love, and I think they still are. There’s still that connection, but it’s obviously being challenged by a lot of powerful external forces right now. The reason Kyle doesn’t tell Terence to go f**k himself because he loves Megan and wants to live by his own set of rules now… he does really benefit from what IHM has given him and he believes in the process. It’s probably pulled him out of a lot of dark places in the past. Of course, Terence uses that to his advantage because he’s a manipulative SOB. As dark and unsavory as this character can be at times, there is still humanity to him. He’s still a person and he was a child at one point. We haven’t really gotten into his backstory in terms of what happened to him as a kid, but you have to add some humanity no matter how dark the character.
I really love Terence and Deann’s complicated relationship. It’s so different and unique. Considering what Terence learned in the last episode, where do they go from here?
Michael Vartan: When Deann tells Terence about Mason, not only was she in love with her for a couple of years, she’s been in love with her since she was in college, you’re talking about 20-25 years of secretly still wondering and being in love with another person. For Terence, it really doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a man or a woman, it’s really about their betrayal of that agreement, and he was incredibly hurt. We shot that scene a few different ways. One in which he was very stoic and tough, and then did one take where I was a lot more emotional. But they were on set and in public so we agreed that Terence probably wouldn’t show his scars in that moment. I think what we ended up with was a nice balance of you could tell he was very disturbed and hurt. They have a lot of talking to do and forgiveness to try and come to. As the season progresses, you’ll see that is a main dynamic in their relationship that has changed everything for them. They’re no longer this team that goes off to do their separate things, but at the end of the day they reconvene and check in. This is a rift that might put the relationship in jeopardy if they can’t get over it. I think at some point it will come down to: can Deann truly do what she’s doing and function as a businesswoman without Terence? Can Terence just forgive Deann for this and move past it? If they were to break up, I think Terence would have a lot more to lose than Deann. I think Deann is on her way. Her career is on the rails now. She’s great at what she does. She’s smart and powerful. She’s a visionary. Terence is good at what he does but in terms of the void that would be left by that relationship ending, I think Terence would suffer from it a lot more than Deann. He just doesn’t know it yet. However, they might stay together and things could get even more complicated, which is what we all want to see.
I think they’re in a weird position because they just discussed kids.
Michael Vartan: It was really interesting when it came up in one of the episodes. I talked to Jonathan about it and I told him it was out of left field for Terence to want kids, and he was very clear about certain fundamental theories. This is not about having a sweet, loving family for Terence. This is truly about leaving a legacy and having someone carry IHM when he’s gone. Again, Terence is being very selfish and not giving his beautiful wife the mini versions of themselves. There is definitely ulterior motives behind it. He’s complicated guy, so I didn’t expect anything less.
For me, I also thought that when he almost died, that put his mortality into question. When you’re thinking about your own mortality, you’re thinking about a legacy.
Michael Vartan: The failed killing was definitely the launch point for him. For Terence and the way he operates mentally, if he were to die tomorrow, he’s leaving a pretty bit thing behind. I think, as you said, that traumatic experience really forced him to explore that notion of his own mortality and purpose here to a degree that he’d never gone before.