Quantico postmortem: Could Shelby be the culprit?
Shelby’s the driver of the van that picks up Will and Simon — but could she be a bigger part of The Voice? Caleb is nowhere to be found in the New York timeline this week, but plays a pivotal role in the past — will he factor into the story in a major way? Alex loses Team Alex — how will she cope? And most importantly: Border crossing as a test for NATs — real or fake? (Either way, it turns them into would-be criminals, which is great training for the future terrorist or terrorists.)
Quantico showrunner Josh Safran answers our burning questions from the latest episode below:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, Shelby’s part of the plot. What can you tell us about what this means? Is she more than just a driver of a van and the driver of the entire terrorist plot?
JOSH SAFRAN: All I can tell you is that the audience won’t have to go very long before seeing her again and learning a bigger piece of the puzzle. We were very excited about that moment for a very long time. When we came up with the arc for the second half of the season, we laid this out very neatly, and we always knew it was coming. The answers to Shelby’s position will be clear in two weeks.
In other words, she’s either on Team Voice, or she’s been manipulated into working for Team Voice.
You will get your answer to that in two weeks. But I will say that I think The Voice has many facets.
Why Shelby, of all the NATs?
Shelby has had the most interesting fall. I know we haven’t seen some of our characters in the future, but you saw in episode 12 she was disgraced, she left the FBI, she went home to run her family business. I think that she really has lost her dreams and is back sort of living her parents’ life. So to see her here, you kind of understand how she could have gotten to this position is all I’ll say.
In the Quantico timeline, we saw that her parents made weapons systems software. Will that tie into the terrorist plot at all?
Even as far back as the pilot, we knew that her family were defense contractors or [something in] that form, so that’s always been a part of the fabric of the show. If that is involved, you’ll have to wait and see.
Shelby reunites with her parents in a hotel in Canada. Did you ever consider a different approach to this meeting?
No, it was always going to be that we knew that they couldn’t come into the country, and we knew that Shelby couldn’t leave the country because she’s in the FBI Academy. When we spoke to our FBI consultant, we learned that they learn to deal with borders and customs, so we used those two things to make them meet in a safe place.
What should we take away from the scene?
I know it’s kind of crazy and feels like it’s convoluted, but follow the money. The money [the parents] take with them has been in place for a while, and this is its end point. We thought it was the money Mark Raymond put in the bank in episode 11 and then was used to get safety deposit boxes that would then be turned into bombs, and instead, we realize that Mark Raymond was going to give that money to Systemics, and instead of giving it to Systemics, he’s using it to pay off Shelby’s parents. So it’s an interesting little arc there that tells you that Caleb is most likely not the bomber, if you thought he was, in episode 11.
So that means Caleb definitely isn’t the bomber, because the money wound up in Shelby’s parents’ hands?
It tells us that Caleb is most likely not the bomber. In the very next episode, you see a surprising new side to Caleb; so for right now, it looks like he’s not the bomber.
Is actual border crossing something trainees have to do?
No, but it is based in fact. Like what we always do, we take something that we learn about or we read about and we TV- or movie-ize it, and so they learn about human trafficking, they learn all that stuff and they’re taught with some practical examples, but they’re not taught to get themselves over the border. We just thought that was fun.
Let’s move on to Simon. He’s proven himself valuable to Team Alex, but now he’s gone. Will we see what’s being done to him, and to Will?
Poor Simon… If you see Simon again, you will not see him in a good way. You don’t go off as a terrorist and get put up in a suite at the Four Seasons. It’s not gonna go well for Simon or Will.
How will this affect Alex? She’s lost her teammates.
She’s alone and Team Alex is gone, so she’s also in a bad way. She turns to an unlikely ally for help, whom we have not seen in season 1B yet in an episode.
Now, in the Quantico timeline, Nimah and Raina just pulled off their biggest switch yet. How did you put that together?
They do. It’s like a heist… There’s a really great storyline coming up for them where they start to realize that they’re actually only being prepped to do one thing, and even if it’s to do one thing well, all of the agents are being prepped to do many things, and that’s going to pose a little bit of a problem for them. Right now, they are truly excelling at what they’re going to be doing in the cell.
What can you tease about the next episode?
The answers to what happened to Caleb and where he’s been all this time and if he’s okay will be in the next episode. There are also some really fun sequences, because the NATs have to look into each other for security clearances. You cannot get your badge until you have security clearance. You can get into Quantico, but security clearance tells you what level you can achieve in the FBI, like can you see classified files? It happens late in the game, so we learn all about our NATs’ pasts and a few surprising things pop up for more than a handful of characters.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.