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Quantico: Can Alex ever stop the collaborators?

‘She’s found her footing, and she has to do bad to do good,’ EP Josh Safran teases

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Giovanni Rufino/ABC; Patrick Randak/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Alex (Priyanka Chopra) has infiltrated the collaborators, but at a great cost. This week, she prevented Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) from saving the collaborators’ targets inside the FBI in order to keep her cover intact, which caused President Claire Haas (Marcia Cross) to resign. Meanwhile, Clay (Hunter Parrish) and Shelby (Johanna Braddy) came up with a Hail Mary plan to bring down Roarke (Dennis Boutsikaris), only to have Raina (Yasmine al Massri) come in the way of them using Felix (Jon Kortajarena) to do so.

Still, all is not lost for Alex and the disbanded task force. Below, Quantico showrunner Josh Safran talks the heroes’ next steps and previews the upcoming, action-heavy episode.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This episode was about our heroes learning to play dirty and grappling with how far they’ve gone, which is why Alex and Ryan argue, along with Shelby and Raina. Will they ever see eye to eye?
JOSH SAFRAN: I don’t think so. Honestly, it’s not seeing eye to eye; I think those conversations are about the very core of those characters. Raina’s always been the most idealist of our characters, and Nimah’s a realist, and that’s what makes them both so great. I think if Nimah were there, she and Shelby wouldn’t have an argument. They’d be on the same side. With Ryan and Alex, I just think that’s honestly Ryan’s issue. Personally, I just think Ryan is wrong; he’s too much of a soldier. It’s an argument kind of like between a soldier and a general. Ryan is unable to think like a general.

Alex is able to see the big picture, but she’s still rattled by what happened. What can you tease about her mindset in the final episodes?
I think she knows she’s good at [what she does], but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel the emotional pain of what she’s done. The good news is with the collaborators, she now has a front-row seat to what they do next. The whole season arc for Alex has been, from the beginning, she’s been very uncomfortable with the moral gray area. Now, she’s found her footing, and she has to do bad to do good, but the question is, can she stop Roarke and whatever the collaborators are after? That’s what we’re going to find out.

Felix tells Clay he’s no better than Roarke. Do you think that’s true, and how is that statement going to affect Clay going forward?
So with Felix, when we constructed his character in the writers’ room, we wanted him to be the most honest character on the show, and he is, but we wanted the other characters to not believe that because in the spy world, honesty is still a facade. Felix is very clear that he believes in what Roarke is doing… He means everything he says, so what he’s saying [to Clay] is, “You manipulate just like every other politician, and I’d always said you were different from that.” I think that’s going to be very hard for Clay, but we will see Felix again, so you’re gonna see more of their dynamic. It’s not over.

And for Clay, yes, he definitely spirals out. He’s never been a civilian before, and you’ll see in the next episode the other side of his life to, I’d say, hilarious results… It’s the first time [he’s lived as a civilian]. He grew up with his mother being a senator and his father high up in the FBI, and now he’s nothing for the first time in his life.

Speaking of his mother, this hour ended with Claire’s resignation speech, concluding the short tenure of Quantico‘s female president. What went into writing that moving scene?
Beth [Jacobson] wrote that episode. We all talked about it, but she wrote it, and she had a strong point of view on Hillary [Clinton], so I think it just came from a really painful place and kind of flowed out of her. Marcia is also very connected to that, so I think it was just one of those things that just happened. It wasn’t originally going to conclude the episode — there was one more scene after that sequence that was Alex trying to rally the troops who were unable to be rallied because they had just suffered such a severe loss. … It still ended on a similar tone.

Last time we talked, you mentioned how Lorde’s new music helped with the sequence.
When I heard she had new music, I talked to our music supervisor [Jen Ross], and I was like, “Oh my God, can we get it?” Jen, who was also the music supervisor for Smash who used to pull all types of miracles for me, got the songs.  We knew what we had written, so when we heard a song like “Liability,” it was a no-brainer [where to include it]. It just fit into [the final scene] perfectly. Weirdly, “Green Light” doesn’t fit the opening of that episode perfectly, but it was a fun undercurrent for Shelby and Ryan that made sense.

Anything else you can tease about next week’s episode?
Our next episode is our big action episode, so there are a lot of fights. You get to see us use a hell of a lot of tricks to pull off a huge action sequence.

Quantico airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.