This week, Quantico really delved into relationships, from Alex and Ryan’s relationship imploding to the beginning (and potential end) of Simon and Nimah. And then there’s the oh-so-complicated family affair of Shelby, Caleb, and Caleb’s recently revealed father. (Spoiler: It’s Clayton!)
In a chat with EW, showrunner Josh Safran talks about everything that went down, and reveals what’s next for everyone involved.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The lesson of the week dealt with surveillance, but up until now, the NATs have either had to investigate each other or work with fictional scenarios. Why was it important for Miranda to train them by using herself as the target, and what does she gain from having all of them know about her and Charlie?
JOSH SAFRAN: I think her point is that you can’t hide secrets from each other — you shouldn’t try to and you shouldn’t believe that you can get away with it, so be an open book and show everything to each other so that you can’t be compromised in any fashion. The assumption is that they’re going to look into each other for this exercise as well and Miranda says normally that’s true but she’s going to do it differently. It would’ve normally been a standard look deeper into each other without Miranda deciding to change it this time.
Was it a part of her plan to have Liam not know about the exercise, and therefore reveal to Alex that she’s been watched by Ryan?
No, she believed that Liam had left the house because she told him that he could leave before she went in to the classroom and told them to look into her. So yes, I think she did believe that she could talk to him about it later. She wanted to see where Charlie would go if he thought he wasn’t being watched and she also at the same time wanted to let everybody that she’s aware that she has these secrets and she doesn’t believe that you can keep them, nor should you.
What are the consequences of Alex discovering Ryan’s identity? I’m wondering if this will send Alex reeling the way she did after learning her father was a hero.
It sends her reeling because of the fact that he lied to her but she’s not going to hit the emotional dark places that she did when learning about her father. She was just finally starting to get to trust somebody in a romantic way, which she hasn’t done maybe her entire life, and just got the same lesson that she felt was always what she learned, which is you can’t trust anybody. If anything, it’s going to just make her double down on her focus on being an agent and push all other things to the side. But of course she’s not done looking into it. She still wants to know why. So that will drive her but it doesn’t send her into a dark place, doesn’t send her reeling in that way.
One of the key relationships the show has been exploring is the one between Shelby and Caleb, and it’s fascinating to see both the beginnings of their relationship in the Quantico timeline and the end of it in the New York timeline. How have both characters changed each other in between?
Well that’s very much the story that we’re going to tell. It’s not so much the case of Alex and Ryan getting together in one week and then the next week her discovering his identity. Caleb and Shelby, we’re going to be watching their relationship as it grows in the present while also watching how broken apart it is in the future, so there’s a bit of tragedy in seeing that slow-motion inevitable car crash. That is to say you haven’t yet seen how one is going to affect the other because that’s the story that we’re telling.
Is there hope for Caleb/Shelby shippers to get their happy ending?
I don’t want to say one way or the other but I will say that we are very intent on exploring that relationship completely, and it’s not something that’s going to twist away any time soon. Their relationship in its many forms is a solid throughline for the remainder of the season.
On a personal note, I adore Mark Pellegrino, so the more we get of him, the happier I am.
That was the kind of thing where we knew when he joined the show in episode 3 that he was Caleb’s dad, and we just made sure that they just called him Clayton, they never said Deputy Director Haas, which they would’ve said in real life. They all knew where the story was going, even if you look back at his interactions with Shelby in the last episode, it’s all there. It’s been fun for him to play, so I’m excited that now that the cat’s out of the bag with both his relationship with Shelby and his relationship with his son that we will get to see more of Mark.
The story of Nimah, Raina, and Simon got really juicy in this week’s episode, culminating in Simon being locked up by Nimah. How will all three characters’ outlooks changed based on this development?
I know the show does a lot of exhilarated storytelling but also at the same time, we wanted to show the audience that we weren’t going to drag out things that seemed unlikely to be dragged out for a long time, so obviously the twins couldn’t hold their secret for long and so now I think you’re going to see the fallout of that and how Simon deals with it and how it affects the twins to be seen for who they are. Obviously Simon’s okay because you see him in the future, but something happened between him and the twins so I think we’re going to get some more of that.
Where do things stand with Miranda’s plan for the twins at this point?
That’s going to be in jeopardy now that Simon knows. That’s a story line that you’re going to be seeing next week.
Does Alex actually trust Liam?
No. That was all cover so that she could get him to think that she was letting it go so that she could survey him, so that he felt comfortable enough. She doesn’t trust him at all. She’s learned the lesson that no one says what they mean and now she’s going to listen in deeper.
I love that the people who are the best at discovering secrets are also the biggest liars.
That’s basically what the show’s about. It is fiction. We’re not making a blanket statement about the FBI, and as fiction, I think it is very much important to say that what the show traffics in is that you can be searching for the truth in your professional life and in your personal life be hiding it at the same time. The best liars are often right in front of us and you can’t tell. That’s where the show’s going — we’re going to start exposing everybody’s lies much more quickly I think than people imagine. It’s not a show that’s looking forward to dragging out that stuff. And also our team has pretty much come together in the future, we’ve seen everybody in the future with the exception of Nimah and Raina who you’ll see next week, so once that happens, suddenly the two timelines kind of mirror each other more succinctly.
Anything else you want to tease for next week?
Next week’s episode is really intense. It is more suspenseful than usual. Because all these secrets have been revealed, that sends everything careening towards each other on both timelines. It’s a very tense episode with a bunch of action in it and a lot of great emotion and really, you learn the final pieces of where everybody was on the day of the bombing.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.