[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Quantico. Read at your own risk.]
Caleb is alive! And he's not doing too hot.
The artist also known as Mark Raymond (Graham Rogers) finally appeared in the future timeline on Sunday's Quantico, after Alex (Priyanka Chopra) learns that the car Shelby (Johanna Braddy) was driving was rented under Mark Raymond's name. Believing Caleb is the key to The Voice's plan, she and Raina (Yasmine Al Massri) pull off a twin swap to get close to Claire (Marcia Cross), who takes her to her mansion, where Caleb has been doping up the past three months because Claire won't check him in to a rehab center until after the election. Alex gives Caleb a rundown of The Voice, and after initially refusing, Caleb sneaks out at the end to help her - and makes a furtive phone call. "She fell for it," he whispers. "We're on our way now. I'll see you soon."
Caleb's not in great shape in the past timeline either. Iris (Li Jun Li) finds Will's (Jay Armstrong Johnson) Sistemics book (again, these guys and their terrible hiding places) and incorrectly tells Shelby that Caleb is still in the cult and is now recruiting Will. Even worse — after Will rebuffs her concerns, she calls Sistemics and outs Will as FBI. Caleb tries to smooth things over by outing himself as FBI, but the Sistemics enforcers (who are dressed like they're in 1920s New York for some reason) orders Caleb to beat Will to a pulp. When Shelby shows up, the members drag Caleb inside the building.
Meanwhile, Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) has a terrible, no good, very bad day after she's found guilty of professional irresponsibility for her covert twin op. Thinking Liam (Josh Hopkins) was the one who called for her dismissal, she liquors him up for a quickie in a restaurant bathroom before secretly recording him saying that "Alex was a one-time thing." But when she presents the tape to Clayton (Mark Pellegrino), he brushes it off as vague ramblings of a drunken dude, spurring Miranda to give Alex a girl-power speech.
Who is Caleb talking to on the phone and why was the car rented in Mark Raymond's name?
Josh Safran: I am not going to answer that! [Laughs] I can say that it's not something you're going to have to wait to find out [regarding who he's talking to on the phone]. It's answered within the first 10 minutes of the next episode. A lot of things will be very clear by the end of the next episode.
Is Caleb actually a drug addict or is this a ploy to trap Alex?
Safran: He is an addict. That's real. You will see more of that and what happened to him after the bombing.
Alex is out and about a lot now. Even in the last episode, for suspected terrorist who was all over the news, how do the CIA operatives not recognize her when she and Simon go to the safe house?
Safran: We've actually had these conversations and as much as the world might believe that somebody who's been in the papers as a fugitive or a celebrity is instantly recognizable, it doesn't really happen like that in real life. It's much like when you walk into a restaurant and you might be like, "That looks like somebody, but I'm not sure." I mean, we all know Priyanka is the most beautiful woman in the world, but in talking to our consultants, [the bombing] was three months earlier, she testified. They might think for a second, "Wait, you look like that person," but they might not go, "You are that person." That's not the CIA's job to know what Alex looks like, especially after she's been exonerated. She's an FBI agent and she was introducing herself as someone else. That's also television's suspension of disbelief. I know you're hard on us on that type of stuff.
I just like giving you a hard time since it's such a crazy show.
Safran: And you're allowed to! It's just funny where some shows get a hard time and on, like, Grey's Anatomy, they put a cow's heart into a person's body and people are OK with that. [Laughs] You can be as snarky as you want. I get it. But we did ask our consultants if they might think it's her. But it's not like she's Jack Nicholson. And then we just ran from there.
So where is she off to now with Caleb? Can she go back to the headquarters? Ryan (Jake McLaughlin) is onto her now.
Safran: Well, Ryan has basically said, "I'm going to follow you," but he's not staking her out. But of course she's not going to bring Caleb to the headquarters, but she is going to bring Caleb to help her find Shelby. And since we have to shoot four days on set, it's going to lead her to a set, like her apartment in New York.
Are Shelby and Caleb finally going to see each other again?
Safran: They might. And if and when they do, I think their reunion will be surprising to both of them and the audience.
Where are Shelby, Will and Simon?
Safran: That's Alex's big concern. ... I'll tell you, while you may see one of the parties you just mentioned sooner than you think, you may never see the other two again.
Interesting. Is that because they're dead?
Safran: Well, I'm not going to answer that, but even though the future timeline takes place over six days in Season 1B, the clock is ticking and the longer they're out there, the more danger they're in.
I'm presuming Shelby is working for The Voice under duress, so is The Voice using Shelby because she hates Alex?
Safran: I don't want to say that yet because that answer will come very soon, but I do think that whether she's part of it or a pawn of it, the motivations are similar.
Can you say the same for Will and Simon? When Simon got in the car, that smile on his face was suspect.
Safran: I think Tate's just an amazing actor that people will never quite know where he stands as a character, but Simon is on Team Alex. That was a complicated look from him about not wanting to leave her alone and also knowing that even though he might be getting into a car that might lead him to his death, he still has a better chance of saving the world in that car than outside. ... They didn't see it coming that Simon would be joining [Will] in the car. Even though Simon and Will don't really know each other, they will now.
Ryan is hell bent on taking down Alex now. What's his next move?
Safran: All I can say is there is a scene between Ryan and Alex in the next few episodes that is so crazy - they really went for it. They go to a place that you don't expect your romantic leads to go. It's a very Mr. and Mrs. Smith moment.
Not By the Sea?
Safran: No, it's not. ... We made that joke. Did that joke air yet? We make a joke about By the Sea, so it's coming.
I love the pop culture shout-outs.
Safran: It's the Gossip Girl in me. It doesn't die!
Will we hear from The Voice again?
Safran: No. That was it. The phone is gone.
Is the next time we see or hear The Voice when you unveil their identity?
Safran: All I can say is, from here on out, pretty much the end of every episode is a big reveal. ... The end of the next episode, even though we don't hear from The Voice, Alex discovers The Voice's plan. I know some people are like, "I'll tune in to see who the terrorist or terrorists are in the finale. It doesn't actually lay out like that. You find out before the finale." There are many more steps than that. The end of next week really tells you what the plan is all along.
Let's talk about Sistemics, your not-so-thinly veiled version of Scientologoy.
Safran: [Laughs] Yes. That story wraps up next week. You will see inside the Sistemics building and you meet the head of Sistemics. ... There will be lasting effects from [the story]. Pretty much from now, you can see how everyone from the Quantico timeline ended up when we first met them in New York, so even though there's aftershocks from what happens in the next episode, it's not about Sistemics so much.
So Liam (Josh Hopkins) is going to listen to Clayton (Mark Pellegrino) and not look into Sistemics?
Safran: Yeah, Liam said, "Turn your head." I think what Miranda said at the end of the episode is what we're setting up and saying, which is the boys' party protect each other even if it's wrong to. One of the things the writers and actors are proud of is, the show really talks about these issues that plague women in these high positions of power, which is you can get there, but it's not over once you get there. It's a constant struggle and there's emotional fallout from that that tells you what you need to know for the future.
That scene told you why Miranda helped Alex in the pilot. And her speech to her was totally true because if Miranda were a guy and played that tape for Clayton with a woman in power on it saying she slept with a trainee, he would've done something.
Safran: Oh yeah, she would've been out in a second! But Clayton pays the price for it when a building collapsed on him. That's what we talk about in the writers' room. [Laughs] Ultimately, there's a moral objective about Quantico!
Are Shelby and Caleb done?
Safran: They are done, but he does something else that's even worse for her in Episode 20. And that's really what's the nail in the coffin.
Will we see Shelby's parents again? They are the worst parents ever.
Safran: You think so? Yeah, they are. [Laughs] You will see one of them before the season's up.
Could they be working with the terrorist since their software was used in 9/11?
Safran: Can't say!
Can we rule anyone out at this point as the terrorist? Some people are ruling Shelby out just because she's the driver.
Safran: I think the only people you can rule are Simon, Alex and Will.
Will we see Iris and Drew (Lenny Platt) in the future?
Safran: You will see one of them in the future. And there's a reason for it.
What else can you share about the finale?
Safran: It's been a whirlwind season, but everything does line up. That's the thing I'm the proudest of. When I pitched the show, I talked about using the timelines this way, which is different than Damages and How to Get Away with Murder. That's just plot on one of the timelines, meaning somebody's dead or who murdered somebody? We spend almost equal time in both and you get a 360-degree view of these characters. Even though the finale's action-packed and exciting and thrilling, it's also very emotional. At the table read, people were very moved.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.