Quantico: Go -- And Do The Same Thing Again (S1 E7 RECAP)
As in every episode so far, this one will stick rigidly to the same formula. Important information will continue to be withheld, and pretty people will say words, sometimes loudly, to indicate emotion.
Later in the season, we’ll get more of Miranda’s backstory, and learn that when she wasn’t screwing around with Liam or stressing about her wayward son, she was watching reality television, and one day after a few glasses of wine with her gal pals Alicia, Olivia, and Annalise, she made a vow that if she were ever in charge of training at the Academy, she’d make it more like Survivor or The Apprentice. (Annalise, in particular, loved the concept!) Instead of choosing
contestants candidates on the basis of academic achievement, problem-solving skills, or previous law enforcement experience, she’d go for looks and interesting backstory. Then she’d make it a competition so only the “winners” would make it as “special” agents, and she’d throw in a few surprises like maybe Joe Millionaire isn’t really rich, or the goofy ginger isn’t Prince Harry, or the real Italian housewife didn’t just look black, but actually was black, but now back to this week’s episode.
Here are some things that happened before the inevitable test:
Brandon and Vasquez are sleeping together. We see Vasquez putting on her fake scar, but still don’t get an explanation of what that’s about.
Alex meets Caleb’s dad who is introduced as Clayton Hass, which solves the mystery of the man with no first name in the credits. Do we see the sparks when Clayton meets Shelby? Hard to tell when we’re blinded by the blond.
Daddy Hass offers Caleb a big fat bribe to quit the Academy if he messes up the next test. Seems there’s a ten thousand dollar a month trust fund waiting to be unlocked. Doesn’t Caleb come from a long line of FBI agents? Were these super corrupt FBI agents on a mob payroll?
Alex is bugging Liam’s office and overhears him talking about her and Operation Booth with Daddy Hass, but of course they only talk around whatever the big mystery is.
Remember how we left off with Simon trapped in the bathroom by Nimah, as Raina ran off to get Miranda? This week Simon and Miranda have a chat. Simon knows all about how the KGB used twins. (He knows this because he is a Mossad agent, a theory you will have to pry from my cold dead hands.) What he doesn’t understand, however, is why Miranda would risk her career on two inexperienced “girls” who can’t keep their door closed. Maybe because most people, even terrorists, KNOCK first. Simon is not only angry, but seems absolutely traumatized in a catfishing kind of way, which seems a wee bit hypocritical given what he did to poor Max a couple of episodes back. Miranda placates him by offering to strike his probation from his record. (But we all know from previous episodes that he’s still going to get bounced.)
It’s Too Late To Cram: Surprise Mid-term!
Miranda leaves a paper on everyone’s desk. That’s right, dead-tree paper because the FBI isn’t very high tech. Then Miranda leaves the room, which should be a clue that there’s some funny business about to happen. Everyone’s paper is blank. After some discussion, with Alex of course taking the lead (because she’s magic), they decide to explore the blanks as “evidence.” I think they may be mistaking “evidence” and “clues,” but they’re the FBI trainees and I’m just a spectator – with a dictionary.
They collect the papers and there is one less paper than the number of students. No one admits not getting a paper, and finally they look at the surveillance tape and find out Brandon was the paperless one. You remember Brandon, who we never saw until a couple of weeks ago but are seeing a lot of now? We’ll probably go back to not seeing him so much after this. Brandon makes up an excuse for why he didn’t say anything, then he has a meltdown and runs out of the room. The air-conditioning goes off, and the doors bolt themselves shut. An alarm sounds. Then Elias finds what looks like a digital timer under Brandon’s seat.
It’s too small to be a bomb, but these geniuses know something is up. Some students – like Alex – think it’s all a set up like the time before and the time before that, but Caleb is convinced it’s for realzies because he has PTSD from the Mormon incident. Vasquez, who first said that Brandon was “normal,” now recalls how strangely he’s been acting and how he took a long walk alone the previous evening. So they roll the videotape of the night before, and there’s Brandon, placing what looks like a bomb into the room’s automated controls.
So did I miss the part where we find out there are no cell phones allowed in classrooms? Is Quantico a dead zone? Seriously, none of them snuck in a phone? They’re all sleeping with each other in violation of the rules, but the phone thing is something they’re 100% in compliance with?
Alex is still leading Team This-Is-All-A-Test. Caleb is convinced it’s a real bomb. Alex concedes that even if it’s not, they need to disarm it to open up the doors or maybe to end the test. But who can disarm a bomb? Elias suggests that Simon is the man for the job. Even though he’s mostly with Team Alex on this, Simon is not 100% sure it’s a hoax. Simon touches something, and the doors click open, but the timer also starts counting down from fifteen minutes. Elias decides he has somewhere important to be and leaves, as do some of the extras. Our known cast all help Simon. The bomb is a very bulky thing with many wires, so it takes many hands. Those hands and/or assistant to the hands belong to Alex, Booth, Shelby, Nimah, Vasquez, Caleb, and of course Simon. Many others just standing around. Why don’t they skedadle? It’s not like Simon instructed them that standing there would blunt the force of the explosion. Wouldn’t the disarmers demand that they clear the area? Who needs an audience when you’re trying to disarm a bomb?
As the clock ticks down, there is more painful dialogue, like Simon talking about show tunes because he is still nominally fake-gay and therefore must fake-love show tunes. At zero, Miranda comes in and thanks them for their sacrifice. Wait a second. They didn’t all get killed back in the Academy? There goes my theory that there was no explosion because they all died and are in purgatory. The show only feels like purgatory.
After the Test
It turns out everyone who left the room failed and they’re going to get kicked out. So Simon goes to say good-bye to Elias because they are besties. Elias is peeved about going, but believes it’s right for him to get kicked out because he’s not a hero like Simon is. Then they kiss, which is a pity-kiss on Simon’s part, and he may have been faking the tongue.
Booth has spent much of the episode being a sad sack and apologizing to Alex for spying on her. She finally tells him to just stop. He doesn’t tell her what happened in Chicago, but fesses up it was “a blown sting” and people got hurt. He took the blame even though it was Liam’s fault, and Liam threatened to end his career if he didn’t spy on Alex. She decides to forgive him since he had no choice. But it looks like the nooky-times are still over.
One of the twins, probably Raina, tells Miranda they can’t keep their secret any longer and need to ‘fess up to the other NATs.
Alex confronts Liam, taking out the bugs she planted in his office. She tells him either he gives Booth back his career, or she keeps digging into Chicago and whatever it was that happened with her father.
Miranda does her usual wrap up in the classroom, explaining the point of this week’s tribulation. Something about “survival and sacrifice.” Welcome to Quantico, where every week is the koboyashi maru as programmed by Stanley Milgram on acid. Elias should be thrilled to be going back to the real world.
Shelby runs into Big Daddy Hass, who tells her what a screw-up his son is. He says Caleb is a danger to himself and others and refers to an event that could be the Mormon incident or might be something else that won’t be explained yet. Shelby doesn’t ask him for details, but instead tells him he’s wrong about Caleb.
By the way, the test was the NATs’ mid-term, but it was the ANTs’ final. The analysts all graduated (or didn’t) and left. Does this mean no more “boiler room” time for Caleb and Shelby? Nope, because (as we already know from the future) he’s been reinstated as an agent and will graduate with his class. Shelby’s words to Big Daddy did the trick.
Liam offers Booth his badge back. Booth walks away like he’s not going to take it. Then he drives away from the Academy, but not before taking out a photo of Liam and Alex’s father and staring at it for a second or two, so we know he knows more than he told Alex — but as per usual, we don’t know what he knows.
Miranda introduces the group to the twins. Nimah does NOT wear hijab, so now it’ll be easier to tell them apart – unless they want to screw with us (or Simon). Raina shakes Simon’s hand, but love is strange, so maybe it’s the mean one he really wants.
Après le Bomb
This week Alex is convinced that the twins, or one them, is the “real” bomber. Booth finds out where their last assignment was from Miranda, who is still being held.
Rainimah has infiltrated a terrorist cell living in a house in Queens. Dear Mayor DeBlasio: Please do not allow them to film here if they are going to malign Queens, which is mostly a place where immigrants leave the old animosities behind because they are too busy working twelve jobs and sending money home.
Simon and Alex find a twin alone in a house praying, so obviously Raina. They persuade her to listen to them by pointing a gun at her head. They tell her about the footage of her or Nimah at Grand Central. She’s relieved that Nimah was still alive three days ago when it was taken. She and her sister have been switching off undercover at the terror cell across the street. They’ve found out the group (Islamic State) are planning on bombing landmarks, but they couldn’t find out which locations. Wouldn’t the FBI have maybe raided them BEFORE they could set off the bombs anywhere? Isn’t the point of twins that one of them is actually calling the data in at all times, so wouldn’t someone at the FBI have said maybe we should go in before someone sets off a bomb off at some crowded location like Grand Central station?
Simon suggests Nimah hasn’t switched because she’s gone dark, terrorism being a virus you catch. Raina defends her sister. The curtains are closed across the street; Raina hasn’t seen anything indicating that Nimah is still even there, but Simon has brought his FBI thermal goggles. It might have been nice if they’d given the twins a pair of those things.
At headquarters, Caleb, who is not on Team Alex, is still reviewing footage. Shelby goes over to see what’s up. She gets thrown off her game by his telling her how his father is SOOO going to dump her and go back to his mommy. She tells him, “Good luck finding Nimah.” But he didn’t tell her he saw Nimah on the tape. He just said “an Amin twin.” Shelby can’t think of a good cover other than “No, you said Nimah.” Why didn’t she go for the obvious, and tell him, “I said good luck finding Nemo. Nemo because it’s a children’s film and you are SOOOO immature.”
She tells Booth she may have blown it so they leave. Vasquez, who’s been spying on them, confronts them, but she’s been instructed to get Simon WITH Alex, so she sneaks a tracker into his pocket and acts like she’s cool with his trying to save his ex. Then she goes to Liam.
The thermal images show a woman, probably Nimah, at the house. Simon and Alex are more convinced that Nimah is the traitor. There’s a very complicated forced switch involving Raina coming through the front door after a shopping trip because even in the middle of planning terror, chicks gotta shop. Simon grabs Nimah who climbs out of a bathroom window but doesn’t have time to adequately update her sister. So once she’s a across the street, and after Shelby and Booth arrive to tell everyone that the FBI will be there any minute, Nimah explains that she’s been getting busy (nudge-nudge wink-wink) with the terror cell leader, and that’s an assignment she couldn’t hand off to her pious sister. Also she was at Grand Central to look for herself for any signs that a bomb had been planted since they’d said “landmarks” but hadn’t specified which. Wouldn’t it have made sense for her to CONTACT her handlers and warn them of an imminent attack so that the appropriate agencies could have swept ALL the landmarks? Or maybe Raina could have checked while she stuck to the cell to see if the leader would whisper locations in her ear as he made sweet love to her?
Nimah demands that they switch her back in because the head terrorist will know something is wrong if he tries anything with Raina, and then Raina will die. Alex still doesn’t trust Nimah, but agrees that they can’t risk Raina’s life.
Given that we don’t know the end result in this timeline, there is actually a little bit of suspense here! Raina has a listening device, so they tell her there’s going to be another switch, but the cell leader has just barged into her room and told her they’ll all be leaving the country. Simon says even with the FBI coming, he’s not leaving ’til Raina gets out.
What’s the cell leader’s idea of a friendly hello kiss? It involves grabbing her by the neck, really hard. What a gem!
Nimah goes back out to make the switch because it’s not like the cell would have one guy watching the street at all times or anything. Alex warns Booth he needs to stay away from her because people she’s close to are getting hurt. She’s psychic that one! There are sirens, and then Vasquez and the FBI come through the door. The FBI grabs Shelby and Simon, but Booth and Alex escape because the FBI NEVER checks the back of the house. They go out a back window where they meet Nimah and Raina making the switch. But it looks like this time the terrorists got wise because the cell leader sees them and raises his gun, but surprise – no twin is killed (yet). It’s Booth who gets hit because he is a bullet magnet. And then the terrorists come out of the front of the house, guns a-blazing, and engage the FBI in a firefight.
Vasquez has a gun on Alex and Booth, but the rest of the FBI doesn’t notice because they’re fighting with the terrorists. Alex is willing to give herself up to save Booth. Booth begs Vasquez to let them go. Vasquez agrees and tells them to move, so Alex drags the possibly mortally wounded Booth away. But I’m sure they’ll reconnoiter with Simon soon and he was probably a medic in the IDF, so Booth will be fine.
Is anyone else getting tired of the same structure week after week? What about the plot craters, especially Booth’s NOT immediately getting medical treatment for a bullet to the gut? Your thoughts, theories, and spirited disagreements are all welcome in the comments below.