Quantico: The Phone Call is Coming from Inside the House! (E1 S13 Recap)

quantico logoWith all the time switching last week’s recap gave me vertigo, or maybe that time travel disease Seven of Nine got on Voyager. So this week let’s keep the past in the past and the present in the present and stop with all the switching around.

Here’s what happened at Ye Olde FBI Academie:

We open in the gym with a reminder that the Newby NATS and the Old NATS are now one group, which must suck if you’re an old NAT and you just realized you’re spending a month more at the Academy than half of your class.

Model camp? Or FBI training?

Model camp? Or FBI training?

We get the usual quick take of things that may or may not mean something later. New blandly handsome white guy, with the none extreme undercut, is looking at a photo of a woman on his phone. He’s rooming with Brandon, another metrosexual nobody cares about. Raina is LYING to Nimah, who knows her honest sister is being uncharacteristically deceptive. Caleb who we all know could LITERALLY drive a person to suicide, and is probably evil, is rooming with the Aspy Genius, who has a lot of identical socks and below them a picture of Nimah. Ick! That’s kind of gross.

Can't be unseen!

Can’t be unseen!

Buzz cut handsome guy is also an ex-football player, and will henceforth be referred to as Buzz Football because this humble recapper isn’t paid enough to learn more names. After sending 5 MILLION dollars to her faux-sister’s “kidnappers,” Shelby finds out from the FBI that it was another scam, and she tells Caleb that she’s going to get the money back. The Asian woman is a Start Up Queen with a stalker sized crush on Caleb, which will probably culminate in a girlfight with Shelby.

Caleb prepped at Calvin Klein U.

Caleb prepped at Calvin Klein U.

Nimah confronts Raina about having secrets. Then Miranda talks to everyone about using secrets to get at people’s weaknesses and to make them do what you want. Also the NATS will now all define each other using the Meyers-Briggs assessment. Head-shots are handed out. Wait didn’t they already do something like this last week? Or three months ago? Or in every single episode?

Raina looks at someone's headshot, as her colleagues recreate a Benetton ad.

Raina looks at someone’s headshot, as her colleagues recreate a Benetton ad.

But that’s only the preamble. This time the challenge includes “field work.” They will all be dropped off at a DC bar populated by “corrupt congressman,” “ambitious aides” and other criminal types. Because sure it makes sense that a congressional representative would hang out at a bar known as a hang out for shady pols. Is it called The Shady Pol? Do they need passwords to get in like during prohibition? Is everyone in there wearing big hats and sunglasses? The NATS will have to chat people up, like they did at that corporate thing, and give them a card, and whomever gets their contact to call the number and be an informant wins the prize!

So let’s say the Huey Long Bar & Grill really existed, wouldn’t a bus load of extraordinarily good-looking people who nobody has ever seen there before be a bit out of the ordinary? Mightn’t people clam up like mollusks when said beauties start asking way too many questions like, “What’s your deepest darkest secret?”

Here is some of the shenanigans that went down at the Abscam Pub and Brewery:

In an attempt at bonding, Vasquez tells a congressional aide way too much about her ongoing custody battle.

But the aide only has eyes for Buzz Football, only it turns out he’s not interested in having some wide stance special time in the men’s room. He HATES Buzz Football because Buzz is suing the NFL. Though maybe there’s a thin line between love and hate because the two of them stare at each other pretty intensely. Wouldn’t being famous preclude a lot of undercover work? Also, do any of the recruits, besides Vasquez, have a background or any experience in law enforcement?

Then Alex makes a play for the aide, not by using her amazingly effective, “Lemme tell you five things, and then do you standing up or in a car” but instead she pretends she also hates Buzz Football, and teases him until he goes away. “Go away Buzz Football. We hate you. And by the way Congressional Aide, I am so hot for you.”

She admits to being a fed, and asks the aide if the two of them can help each other out by getting the goods on his rotten boss congressman, and he’s, “Sure lovely lady if you’d just make my DUI go away.” And Alex is like, “Done!”

OK. We know Alex is ambitious and doesn’t want to get thrown out of FBI school and all, but would she let this guy drive around drunk and maybe mow down children, and not blink? Really?

Meantime, Start Up Queen hones in on a hot guy bussing getting tips for bussing tables, which tells her he  has the low down on his clientele. She tries to entice him by speaking Spanish which he is too polite to tell her sounds like high school Spanish, plus he’s actually Portuguese, but it turns out he’s already made her for a fed. How? She came in with a bus load of extraordinary looking people who immediately fanned out to entice everyone into telling their secrets. Plus he tells her that a woman like her wouldn’t be “slumming with the bus boy.” ¡Por el contrario! Any quasi-straight woman would be into the bus boy if he looked like the love child of Penolope Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal, with Antonio Banderas’ old haircut, which he totally does — especially with beer-goggles. He’s happy to cómo se dice play boll if she’ll do something for him. Start Up Queen looks at him all, “Baby, you know I’d do something for you,” But he’s not talking about making the hot Latino sexytimes. He needs her help with “customs” by which he means what? Bringing in some mate de coca for his abuela? Bringing in kilos of heroin? Human slavery? Who cares if it means Start Up Queen wins the challenge? So hell yeah, she says.

Scoping out the bartender, Nimah and Aspy Genius are discussing Raina’s Myers Briggs and why she is lying to her sister. Aspy Genius is playing this so stereotypically aspy, including the robert-voice that the Asperger’s Liberation Society should picket. How exactly does someone with no social skills get into the FBI? Even Allegiance, a pretty ridiculous show that lasted all of six episodes had its aspy  CIA analyst genius able to sort of pass for normal if you didn’t press it. Then again, this is Quantico so Aspy Genius could be faking it like Fake Gay Simon was.

Miranda and Liam are there too. Miranda is watching Liam watching Alex and reminds him how much trouble an instructor would get into for screwing around with a trainee. Liam is like, “Yeah, that would be a total dick move. What kind of idiot would do something like that?”

Then ha-ha Alex and Start Up girl both get busted and scolded and TOLD a thing or two because their marks were really agents and they were the marks, and seriously what the hell were they thinking making deals on a first date?

Back on campus, where the bathroom door is always open, some creepy FBI dude approaches Vasquez as she’s walking around in a towel because there is an obligatory towel/shower scene in every episode.

Finally, her own shower scene. That's gotta be good for the character, right?

Finally, her own shower scene. That’s gotta be good for the character, right?

Is she getting kicked out of the academy for some minor infraction that will make her bitter and cause her to turn? Nope. Soft-hearted Miranda gives her a leave to go straighten out the custody issues, but she’ll be able to return to training because it’s not like those things ever take time. Hugs!

Alex and Buzz Football have a heart to heart about why the hell is he in the academy anyway, and has something to do with his innocent girlfriend – soulmate, love of his life, etc. getting killed in the crossfire of some ATF/FBI/Chicago police super screw-up – hence the photo he was looking at earlier. So he joined the FBI because he blames the FBI for his girlfriend’s death – and of course he got in. Later, Alex is looking up the details on the intertubes and guess what? Liam was involved! Man, between that and the whole brouhaha with Alex’s dad,  sleeping with recruits, trying to get Alex kicked out, etc. this guy really shouldn’t have a job. Later, Alex shows up in Liam’s office to ask him to get Ryan’s dog tags back to him, and Liam is all like, “Are we going to talk about New Year’s Eve?” And Alex’s answer is, “Nope.”

The next day Miranda explains the point of the exercise to the class. “Trust requires vulnerability on both sides.” Huh? Wasn’t the whole point NOT to make stupid deals when you don’t even know if the informant knows anything worth knowing?

Start Up girl who overheard something, but not everything when Shelby was talking to Caleb about Croatia, gives Shelby the name of the guy who runs the internet in Croatia, because sisters before man- hos or maybe there is no “I” in team.

Aspy Genius doesn’t just have a picture of Nimah in his sock drawer. He has pictures of EVERYONE which is somehow less creepy, and he puts a big red “x” on Nimah’s picture.

Nimah looks at Raina’s laptop and it sure looks like Raina has been chatting up online terrorists (although we know that maybe she’s just investigating the intell she got from Charley, right?) Then Nimah sees Raina leaving a house and some guy is touching her hand – which seems highly unlikely if that guy is a fundamentalist and they aren’t married because religious Muslims aren’t that touchy with people of the opposite gender to whom they aren’t hitched.

Hand holding before marriage. Frowned upon by fundies.

Unless they got secretly hitched, unlikely.

Even though they’ve had their differences, Alex gives Vasquez a big hug before she leaves, and Vasquez tells Alex that she (Vasquez) will always be better at this stuff than Alex.

So, now it looks like Aspy Genius and Buzz Football are up to something, but wasn’t the big winter finale reveal that Caleb’s the evil one?

Now here’s what happened in the present:

Vasquez tells Alex she must have been drugged, like Alex was when the vest was put on her. She now know Alex’s was right. Also she uses the “I’m better than you” line again. And maybe the bomber wasn’t a member of the class but Ryan, or Liam or Miranda or ANYONE.

Alex has been ordered by the phone calls to get into some server, but she’s been demoted by Ryan’s ex-wife Hannah and will be “down in operations” until Hannah is sure she really meant her own denunciations of the conspiracy which everyone thinks is all about Alex being an attention whore.

It's nothing personal. I just hate you.

It’s nothing personal. I just hate you.

Also Alex has to cause some distraction so that the big bomb Vasquez is wearing doesn’t set off the metal detector. Then Vasquez has to lift a card from Ryan’s wallet, and Alex has to get Hannah’s thumbprint so they can get inside the server room, which is what they must do to keep Vasquez from blowing up.

But even if they can get in, they’ll be seen, so they need to get everyone out, so it’s time to call in a bomb threat. On the way out, Ryan seems to notice that something missing from his wallet or maybe he notices that Alex hasn’t left the building, and wouldn’t there be security cameras?

It turns out the voice on the phone wants some intel emailed, and to keep Vasquez from getting blowed up they send the email but with a ping so they’ll know the location where it was opened. OMIGOD — It was open IN THE BUILDING! But it looks like the terrorists don’t know they pinged because the magically disarm the suicide vest. Mightn’t this be a good moment to tell someone what the hell is going on? But maybe not because they don’t trust anyone.

Ryan confronts Alex, telling her he knows she did the bomb threat and she really has to stop being paranoid because it always helps when you tell paranoid people they are paranoid.

Alex and Vasquez run off to some abandoned metro station because that’s what’s now pinging. There’s a folding table with a couple of chairs and a laptop but nobody else is there. Vasquez goes to the laptop. Alex gets a call from the terrorists but she can’t get a signal so she walks around until she can, but when she picks it up, it seems to set off the lap top which was really a bomb, and it looks like Vasquez got blowed up, and Alex just runs straight to Ryan’s apartment because now she totally trusts him. She hands over her gun and tells him “This has to stop,” but before she can tell him what happened it’s that damn phone again and this time she’s gotten a photo and it’s of OMIGOD her and Ryan. The terrorists are in the house! So she runs away and yells into the phone begging the voice not to hurt “them.” She’s told she has to follow instructions or others will get hurt.

Good-bye Vasquez with your fake scar and sour demeanor. We didn’t really like you, or know you, or care that much about you, but surely your story-line deserved better and somewhere in Texas your little girl will now be raised by her son of a bitch father, and Ryan dumped you because Alex is magic.

So who did it? Who is the voice on the phone? In an episode named Clear things are muddier than ever. Everybody is still a suspect. And it looks like each week they’ll continue the pattern of introducing or focusing on a new agent in training with “secrets” that make him/her look suspicious and then we’ll move on. The problem is the more characters they introduce, the harder it is to get us to care who did it or who gets blown up, and it’s beginning to feel likely that when the season finale roles around the resolution will feel like a cheat.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Quantico

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  • sousaphone93

    My theory was that Raina was the voice on the phone and was pretending to be helpless. But that plan is obviously shot now unless Raina did manage to sneak away under a trapdoor when the bomb went off.