ABC/Giovanni Rufino
Shirley Li
February 20, 2017 AT 11:00 PM EST

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk!

With nine episodes left to go in the second season of Quantico, the crisis in New York wrapped up with a devastating twist: Lydia (Tracy Ifeachor) uploaded one of the hard drives she had kept hidden from the terrorists, and Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and Alex (Priyanka Chopra) couldn’t stop her in time.

Because those hard drives contained U.S. surveillance data, terrorists (and terrorist wannabes) now have an essential tool to coordinating attacks, so in response, President Claire Haas (Marcia Cross) created a joint task force — consider them the A-Team of agents — to look into who’s accessing the data and figure out a way to prevent their plans. The lineup: Alex, Ryan (Jake McLaughlin), Nimah (Yasmine al Massri), Shelby (Johanna Braddy), and Dayana (Pearl Thusi). The predominantly female crew will have to report to Caleb (Graham Rogers) — yup, that Caleb, who was put through the ringer in season 1 and sidelined for much of season 2.

EW spoke with executive producer Josh Safran about the episode for intel on what Quantico‘s heroes will face next, as events finally merged into a single timeline.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When Claire says they’ll report to her son, she means Caleb, right? So he’s definitely coming back?
JOSH SAFRAN: 
He is coming back. I can’t say when exactly, but yes, he is back.

Anything you can tell me about his character, where he’s been, how he’s changed?
Nope. Sorry… I can say that he is appearing for more than one episode in the back nine, but I can’t say anything more than that.

Walk me through Claire’s plan. She wants this team to stop the information on the drives from reaching terrorists, but they have to track who’s accessing the drives before stopping their plans?
Right. It’s basically the drive of America’s surveillance for the last several years has been released. The people behind the AIC wanted the drives for themselves, but they weren’t able to at the G20 because our guys got there first to stop them. Now that it’s out in the world, we have to monitor and see who’s accessing it because that’ll lead us to who those people behind the AIC are before they do something worse.

Did the AIC ever have an actual name? 
No. It was just that Lydia’s group was not the AIC. Lydia’s group was just CIA black ops that’s totally sanctioned by certain people inside the CIA. And the AIC is not a term you’ll ever hear again — I think it’s said, like, once. It’s not about the AIC moving forward, it’s about all of the people in different positions of power that created the AIC.

But is it fair to say that Lydia was part of the AIC in the end?
It’s not actually. It’s funny, there was this weird thing where [the network] asked for one line to be removed, but I feel like that one line would have answered [that question]. She says, “I am not and I never have been,” but she just agrees with what they were trying to do. She understands what the AIC are talking about, but she’s not a member… You know the “Bernie [Sanders] or burn it down” people? She’s not pro-Trump, she’s [Bernie or bust].

How did you choose those final members of the task force, aside from Alex?
Shelby has always been a great FBI agent. She was running Alex and then she was undercover with Léon, so she’s a good fit. Ryan is a former FBI agent and now a CIA operative who is also close to the mission and knows the president and Keyes and the CIA. Dayana has been a badass CIA operative for a while — when all is said and done, she was actually undercover inside [the crisis zone] to try and help, and she saved the day in a way by saving Will. Nimah is there as a warning to not become the thing you’re hunting, so Nimah is not going to like that very much, and nobody else is going to like that she’s there. That’s a story moving forward, and that’s it right now… That’s not the full lineup yet — there’s somebody missing.

What are some of the other dynamics among this team aside from Nimah’s struggle?
Alex and Ryan have finally gotten to a good place, and yet once again, here they are without the other one knowing and they’re forced to work together, so we’ll definitely see them figure that out. Obviously there are some bumps they have to discuss. As for other dynamics, there’s definitely a very key dynamic that is the biggest dynamic and the one that everything springboards off of.

Who chose this team: Caleb or Claire? Or someone else? Who’s making the calls?
It is Claire, and that is also a story. Somebody is not going to like the fact that Claire made decisions without asking them.

Will we see Harry again and find out what happened to him?
Yep, you’re going to find out in the next episode what happened with Harry when he went back to the MI6. Everybody’s back but not for all episodes… You will not see Miranda for a bit, but you will see Miranda again.

Tell me more about Harry’s breakdown in this episode. It’s been a long time coming, so what did you want to make sure people got out of his devastating fall?
This episode was about the cost of doing what these people do. For Harry, the realization that he has nothing to leave to anybody and nobody to leave it to, and also knows that he can’t get the revenge he wanted on Sir Lawrence Bishop because Sir Lawrence Bishop is actually not a bad guy — there’s a gray area — I think [because of all that] in this episode Harry’s deciding to embrace the gray area and try to make real connections. But even that is denied him by Sebastian.

And what about the Halls? Is Lydia now at large? 
I’m not going to say what’s going on with Lydia, but I will tell you that Owen is still in prison. You’ll find out in episode 14 [what happened to Owen]. It takes place a few weeks later — it’s not like we’re jumping in time. Things will be exactly as we left them at the end of 13.

What can you tell me about the villain of these nine remaining episodes? Will we see a new villainous group or single villain?
They are after the people responsible for putting terrorism out in the world and all that implies, be it financially, be it legally, be it in the use of the media. So there isn’t a big bad but there are several big bads that they are gonna be hunting down.

The back nine is in very many ways a different show, but it is still what Quantico has always been in that it’s about people who work in the government trying to protect our country in ways in which their personal intersects with the professional. It still has a lot of energy and a lot of action in it, but it is more like the pilot at Quantico than anything else. And it’s also a little bit like Gossip Girl, so I’m curious to see how that plays.

Quantico returns Monday, March 20, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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