Quantico: Do the Right Thing (S1 E8 Recap)
Is Quantico becoming more coherent or have we just lowered our expectations? Sure, things still happen that make absolutely no sense, and the acting is an uneven mix of the bad, the very bad, the so-bad-it’s-camp, and Tate Ellington who appears to be in another classier show except when he tries to speak Hebrew. However, this week, the past and present storylines connect more clearly than they have before, which represents some kind of progress. While the show’s main gimmick continues to be 95% teasing us with bits of information and 5% something happens, the good news is that this week that 5% contained something big.
Let’s start with a summary of Academy Daze:
Because of Miranda’s Survivor-based approach, the herd has thinned and they are now “consolidating” the rooms. Alex’s new roomie is Nimah. Given that neither Raina nor Shelby was cut, does this make sense? If they wanted to separate the twins, wouldn’t they have put them in with people whose roommates left?
You read it here first last week: Raina lurves not-gay Simon, not-gay Simon who has it bad for Nimah – the tough one. Raina is not only lacking in the personality department, but it’s not clear where she stands on Israel, which might be a deal breaker for a
Mossad agent nice Jewish not-gay boy. Nimah tells Simon she’s not interested. Is she really not that into him or is she sacrificing herself for her sister? (Hint: Wasn’t she willing to protect Raina at the cost of her own life last week?) Rejected Simon then asks Raina if she wants to have tea because if you can’t be with the twin you love, love the twin you’re with. She also says no to him probably because dating the guy who has a big ol’ crush on your twin sister is NOT cool.
Caleb seems to want to take it to the next level with Shelby, if by next level you mean data-mining her phone and then ratting her out to the real FBI (not the academy). What’s she doing that’s suspicious? Wiring large sums of cash to Arab banks. Turns out there was a reasonable explanation. Shelby really has been supporting her Saudi Arabian half sister, and Miranda knew it all the time. So it’s all just a crazy misunderstanding that gets cleared up before anybody gets shipped off to Gitmo. For most people, having your fuck-buddy turn you over to the feds would be a deal breaker, but when Caleb tells Shelby his own deep, dark secret – his father rescued him from a cult – she gives the dolt one more chance. Shelby and Caleb forever, or until we find out what broke them up for good. But why was Caleb going by “Mark Raymond” in his flashback, and what’s up with his ridiculously large, extra-nerdy-with-no-irony eyeglasses? Did he get lasik as a college graduation present?
Remember how Booth drove away last week? Did you really think that was the last we’d see of past-tense Booth? Apparently he got as far as the front gate, then turned around because who needs “orders” or “assignments” when you’re an FBI agent? Booth has decided to stick around to keep Liam from messing with Alex’s head, and it looks like he and Alex are getting cozy again. So how does he wind up in the present with the truly awful terrible Vasquez?
The Nats will henceforth be allowed to leave
boarding school the Academy on nights and weekends. Shelby asks Raina if she wants to go out drinking with the gang. You’d think having a Saudi half-sister and speaking fluent Arabic she’d be aware that the girl in the hijab might not be in to drunken antics and hooking up with sailors.
What’s this week’s big lesson? They pair the Nats off. Each pair gets a separate case, which they soon realize are all connected and they must work as a team, etc. What’s the twist? The thermos full of ebola that they are looking for turns out to have been planted in Alex’s backpack without her knowledge, so be prepared or something.
The case also takes them out to the “real” FBI headquarters, where Booth uses his agent badge to get he and Alex into the files. They find a file for Alex’s mom, which connects her to the Pakistani intelligence service. Have they even clarified whether Alex’s mother is Hindu or Moslem? Later the file disappears and Alex confronts Liam. He ‘fesses up the FBI’s big secret: Years ago Liam and Alex’s father were undercover with “militias” and there was a terrorist bombing, which they and “dozens” of other agents somehow missed. Afterward there was a cover up. Her father couldn’t live with it. How does this relate to Alex’s mother being accused of working for Pakistan? Something, something, blah-blah-blah. Liam begs Alex not to turn the FBI upside down and cause a whole bunch of people who are now ready to collect their pensions to lose their jobs.
Simon is alone, reassembling his ass, which was handed to him in pieces by the Amin twins. He gets a phone call and speaks in Hebrew, which either means he is a Mossad agent or like most people who served in the IDF speaks Hebrew. They talk about the news – which tends to always look grim where Israel is concerned, so using phrases like “The violence will never end” doesn’t make you a bomber. Simon says he shouldn’t have come to Quantico. Nothing they say is all that suspicious, although it’s framed in an ominous way where we don’t see the face of whomever he’s speaking with, and that person is building or repairing some type of electronic thingie that lights up. Is it an Amazon Echo knock off, or it could it be a bomb? Let’s eliminate bomb right now because no way the Hebrew-speaking Jewish guys will turn out to be bad guys.
Miranda decides it’s take your troubled child to work day. This sort of works up until the point where Charley wonders if he could ever be an FBI agent, and she reminds him that he’s already ruined his life by making bad choices. Later, Alex comes over to hang out and talk to Miranda about the information she’s gotten out of Liam. Miranda asks her nicely not to blow the whistle, and she seems okay with this. But then Miranda goes to take a phone call, and the next thing that happens is Alex finds Miranda bloodied and badly injured. Miranda barely gets out the word, “Charley.” Wonder if she’ll make it. Oh wait, we already know she’ll be just fine. Unless she has a secret twin.
After the Bomb Timeline:
Liam is leading the person hunt. The FBI has surrounded a six block area in Astoria, Queens – conveniently located adjacent to the Kaufman Astoria studios. Alex and Booth have broken into an empty house where she has to get the bullet out of his gut with her bare hands. Fortunately, there’s some whisky that he uses to sterilize the wound because that’s a thing in movies and on television. She gets the bullet out without puncturing any vital organs. Looks like he’ll be just fine because bullets don’t kill people – not pulling them out like they were splinters kills people.
Shelby does not get shipped off to Gitmo in this timeline either despite palling around and colluding with an alleged terrorist, lying to the FBI, etc., etc. Daddy Hass asks her if she’s always been a terrorist or if Alex turned her because everyone knows how easy it is to catch the terror virus. Later, as in the past timeline, Caleb winds up with Shelby’s phone. His dad wants him to scrub the emails that show that she was his squeeze. That’s a nice normal assignment for a dad to give his son. Caleb reads an email with the subject line “Caleb” in which Daddy Hass talks about what a loser his son is and how she shouldn’t let her previous feelings for him get in the way of their affair because she needs a real man in her life. (The e-mail goes by fast, but it’s worth pausing to get a full sense of Daddy Hass’s sleaziness.) You know who’d really be good for Clayton? Vasquez because they are both terrible.
Shelby sees Caleb with her phone and asks him what’s up with that? Caleb tells her that her father is trying to erase all evidence of his relationship with her. She starts DEFENDING his father – the man who just called her a traitor to her country.
As for the rest of team-Alex, one of the twins and Simon get taken away. So unfair! And where’s the other twin?
Caleb may be having doubts about Alex’s guilt. He found an email from Daddy Hass’s secretary, something about someone using Alex’s badge to get in somewhere. But Daddy Hass insists that was just a glitch and has to go too because he picked it up from the hotel he was in with Shelby and if it becomes evidence the IP address will be traced and the affair will be become public. Therefore, go forth my son and destroy evidence because that’s the right move. Which side is Caleb going to pick? And will another email of Shelby’s, the one where she tells Daddy Hass that she’s still in love with Caleb make a difference?
Some wacky technical thing is happening where documents are suddenly all on the internet or something that doesn’t make any sense. Alex thinks it’s her friends the Unknowns, and she now has everything she needs to clear her name, so she invites them over to the little house in lockdown. They show up in an authorized FBI car because hackers have superpowers on television. How did they get into the FBI files? Easy, they figured out the password because that’s all you need! Really, FBI, don’t make it something so obvious next time! The Unknowns offer to smuggle Alex out of the country and into safety. She’s reluctant because having your freedom isn’t the same as being free or maybe it’s the other way around, but she’s running out of options. Then Alex’s gut and a tiny bit of evidence tells her that there’s going to be a second blast bigger than the Grand Central explosion. Given that not stopping an attack and then covering it up turned her father into a bitter abusive drunk, Alex can’t make that same mistake, so she gets on a helicopter with Booth, who still hasn’t died, but then she’s like, “Oh crap I forgot your meds!” and gets out. It takes off without her. She shows up at the operation headquarters, managing to get in without being shot on sight. She gives herself up and warns them about the coming attack.
What will the future hold now that Alex has given herself up? Will they start showing more present tense action and less backstory? Wouldn’t it be nice to have one episode where the Nats didn’t learn any lessons? Your thoughts, theories, and wild-card speculation are most welcome in the comments below.