Quantico: Still Crazy (S1 E22 Recap)

quantico logoWe should have known there’d be a twist in the Quantico season finale, but who could have predicted they’d kill off the one character we actually cared about?

Yes, I’m talking about poor tragic Simon. Simon who was gay for a minute, but never really. Simon who didn’t actually need glasses, but totally rocked the sexy nerd look. Simon with the Yiddishe cup who had mad skilz in marksmanship, bombmaking, bomb-defusing, and just about everything else bomb related, but was damaged goods because he’d been forced to be a honeypot for the ladies in Gaza and had seen terrible things. Simon whom your humble recapper was convinced had to be working undercover for the Mossad. And who knows with this crazy-train show maybe he was? Maybe he knew exactly how to escape from the car and swim to safety before the bomb went off. Maybe his death is the final fake-out, and his still being alive will be the big reveal of early next season. Let’s hope so! Or start a petition drive.

RIP Simon (if you're even really dead). We'd love to have tea with you some time.

RIP Simon (if you’re even really dead). We’d love to have tea with you some time.

But first, remember how Simon’s original bomb was never meant to work and had design flaws? Simon said someone must have fixed those flaws. Do we really believe that Liam could have been that person? Could his ineptness really have been that much of an act? A master puppeteer pulling off two bombings and getting a couple of geniuses to build him a nuclear bomb? Was the show inspired by that ancient SNL sketch with Phil Hartman as Ronald Reagan where he played him as polyglot policy wonk who just pretended to be befuddled?

The true inspiration for the mastermind pretending to be an idiot.

The true inspiration for the mastermind pretending to be an idiot.

Apparently that’s pretty much what they did, except that even as a super-villain Liam is kind of a screw-up. We start back in July 2015, when Liam’s kvetching to Miranda about getting blamed and fired for Chicago, but didn’t we hear earlier that Liam made Ryan the fall guy for that? Miranda offers him a job training recruits because she’s all about the second chances. But what does he start doing on day one? Setting up tiny cameras and bugs in all the recruits’ rooms. We watch a montage of Liam eavesdropping, going through files, keeping a copy of Alex’s fingerprints, and then moving on to post-graduation activities like fixing and planting Simon’s bomb, kidnapping Alex, planting her on a rubble heap, shooting Ryan etc.

It was through his surveillance that he found out about Simon’s fake bomb plan. But what would he have done if there was no fake bomb? If only there’d been one of those before I kill you I’ll tell you everything super-villain speeches in which Miranda could have asked some questions. Speaking of Miranda, why let Ryan and Miranda live long enough to be blown up at Quantico? He had to transport them bound and gagged and get them into a room at the Academy without any guards or anyone noticing. Is there a secret passageway like the one in the US Embassy in Pakistan we saw on season four Homeland?

But we’ll return to that later, now let’s travel back to that point in the past where the NATs are gearing up for graduation day. Ryan and Alex discuss their two week long dirty weekend that will commence shortly after the ceremony, but not before because screwing around with your instructor is only something you’d do on New Year’s Eve after breaking up with your boyfriend whom your instructor sent to spy on you. This week’s locker room scene feature beefcake instead of cheesecake. It’s Brandon and Caleb in towels. The NATs pose for graduation photos that look like glamour shots wearing their best prom clothes. Shelby calls Clayton with whom she’s now on a first name basis to find out why his stalker cult member son is back in the Academy. He assures her Caleb will always be restricted to a remote desk job where he can’t get into any trouble, and also they’ll have plenty of time to talk about this later when she’s working for him. The twins lament that they’ll have to “switch” even on graduation day, and they wonder if Miranda will be there.

Liam breaks Alex’s heart by mentioning that Ryan will be going to Texas, and not DC which in the world according to Quantico is twenty minutes from Manhattan. Of course we now know that he was telling her this because he’s EVIL and not because he’s a dope with a big mouth who can’t read the room.

In the present, Simon, Alex, and the twins (aka the Scooby Gang) are all trying to figure out where the nuclear bomb is even though Nimah is still being mean to Simon on account of war crimes. Then Liam walks in to take charge and tell them they have to find Miranda and stop her before the next bomb goes off. It has to be her because she’s missing and the bomb is missing, therefore ipso-facto logic!

Everyone buys that except Alex who’s like “Why would she frame me and then free me?” But Liam mansplains the whole thing. The FBI killed her son. (Did I miss Charlie’s being dead during a bathroom break because last I heard he was only wounded?) . She faced the horrors of a glass-ceiling on account of lady-parts. According to Liam, Miranda wanted to destroy the FBI and grow a new one “in her image,” apparently one that was a bit more feminine.

An FBI where portraits of patriarchy are replaced by Georgia O'Keefe paintings of FLOWERS. What did you think it was?

An FBI where portraits of patriarchy are replaced by Georgia O’Keefe paintings of FLOWERS. What did you think it was?

On graduation eve, the NATs and their teachers go to their favorite bar for a big blow out PAAR-TEE because no one knows how to party like an FBI recruit. Liam and Claire are having a drink together and if that caught your attention because we’ve never seen them looking so buddy buddy before, it’s for a reason. Ryan realizes that Alex knows his not going to DC. He tries to explain why he hadn’t thought to mention it before, but to her it’s another example of his dishonesty and a final straw, so they break up again which explains why he turns to Vasquez. Will they break up and get back together a hundred times next season too? Caleb and Brandon sing Karoke together, and the shippers start writing fanfic.

Or they could start a boy band.

Or they could start a boy band.

Shelby calls up the San Diego office to find out about Caleb’s new job. She discovers he has a corner office, and is really angry because that’s the kind of petty drama queen she is, so she loops in Claire who promises to demote her son.

Back in the present, Liam has stored a wounded Miranda in his car which is parked in the FBI underground garage. He overhears a Scooby Gang member say, “If only Miranda would turn on her cell phone for even a second, we could find her.” So he sneaks down to the garage to retrieve the phone. He didn’t take her phone? Kind of a rooky move for a master criminal, ne pas? When he opens the trunk, Miranda has just managed to get it out and is about to turn it on – not an easy thing to do when you’re bound, gagged, and wounded. Meantime, Ryan has checked Miranda’s apartment and found a tiny camera there. He realizes that if Miranda was the big bad, why would she have been watching herself? He knows something is going on so when he runs into Liam in the garage having a suspicious conversation with the trunk of his car, and asks him what’s up.

Upstairs the gang is watching Claire calling Alex Parrish the real hero on television. Yay vindication! Apparently the public hasn’t been informed that the nuclear device was stolen and could go off anywhere anytime. Simon and Shelby both report that Miranda couldn’t have been the voice of doom because she was on airplanes with no WiFi and conferences where everyone saw her when some of the calls were made. Then Alex notices that Ryan is missing and was last seen in the garage, and she realizes that Liam is gone too.

This is getting exciting, so let’s break up the pace with some idiotic hi-jinks from the past. The NATs are supposed to hand in those fetching blue shirt and the comfy pants ensembles they wore all through training, only Alex keeps a pair because she’s a rebel. Shelby tells Caleb “Ha ha I told your mom and now you don’t have the corner office because I hate you.” Liam tells Alex that he has “plans” for her which sounds even more creepy if you don’t know he’s a super-villain

In the present, Alex is snooping around Liam’s New York apartment which he has even though he mostly works out of DC. Why not keep two residences when apartments in both cities are so affordable? His daughter stops by and tells Alex that her dad said she could crash there because he was going to be in DC that day. This proves to Alex that Liam is GUILTY and Liam is probably going to blow up Quantico, which is having another graduation. Alex calls Shelby to share this news with the rest of the Scooby Gang.

Simon’s is all “This is my fault.” Jews, always with the guilt! Also he and Will helped build the bomb instead of telling the Voice of Doom just kill me. Shelby is now back to flirting with Caleb because they are meant to be the most annoying couple on television ever.

There’s some voice over of Liam speaking at the six-months ago graduation. Maybe if they spent less money on the fancy climbing walls and simulated airplanes they could pay an honorarium and get a celebrity. What’s he saying? Sorry, I fell asleep. He didn’t have to use a bomb. He could have kept speaking and bored them to death. We know it’s the graduation of the Scooby NATs in the past because we see our them in the audience in their fancy clothes. It’s a little confusing, as in the present tense the Scooby Gang has now made it from New York to Quantico in the usual record time to look for the bomb. How’d they manage the 300 mile trip? Plane? Train? Hoverboard? No apparently they hopped into Ryan’s suburban and took a shortcut that cut out 280 miles.

Given the importance of FINDING THE BOMB wouldn’t they have alerted others in the FBI who might have been closer or could have maybe even headed Liam off?

Nimah finds Miranda and Ryan bound together in one of the empty classrooms. Ryan tells her Liam has the bomb. Alex and Ryan kiss before they go off to save the world. Liam starts talking to them through the loudspeaker. He talks about all the bad stuff the FBI did going back to the J. Edgar Hoover days and how the institution must be destroyed. He sounds like a complete and total madman. Then he comes in and puts a gun to the back of Ryan’s head. Ryan tells Alex to take the shot, but ha-ha what will it matter when the bomb goes off? Liam goes on with the talking and tells Alex how her father was a good man who wanted to come clean but Clayton stopped him. He goes on about wanting to bring about change. Ryan who would probably rather die then keep listening to this, yells at Liam for being a lying and letting others take the blame for his own failings. Liam pushes Ryan away and both Ryan and Alex shoot him dead.

The Scooby Gang find the bomb, but it’s going to go off in less than five minutes. Simon says he can’t stop the flux capacitor, but he can remove the dilithium crystals. Then the rest of the Scooby Gang look away for five seconds giving Simon enough time to run out to the car with the bomb and take off. He calls them from a car and tells them he won’t have time to defuse it, and the only way to save the world is to drive into the river because then there won’t be any fallout.

Your humble recapper is not a nuclear scientist, nor is she planning to spend more time researching this than the writers apparently did, but it seems unlikely this is a nuclear bomb in the sense of zombie apocalypse and The Day After. It’s more a “dirty bomb” – the kind of plutonium infused easy to build device that we’re terrified the terrorists will someday get a hold of because they probably will someday. (Sorry to be a drag.) The reason why we tremble at that prospect is because such a device would not only kill a lot more people than the usual pipe bomb, it would also spew radiation all over the place. Dumping the payload into the Chesapeake Bay where the water flows into the Potomac and eventually the Atlantic Ocean might keep some (but not a lot) of the radiation from the air and prevent many deaths due to the explosion, but it would still be enormously bad and have a major lasting impact – but of course this is a fantasy where the laws of physics don’t apply, and water will drown out the radiation.

Simon talks to the gang as he drives to his doom, and many tears are shed.

The next scene is Simon’s funeral. There is a coffin, but it’s closed, either because Jews do closed casket, or there wasn’t much of him left, or HE’S NOT REALLY DEAD but on a super top secret mission for the Mossad! Will shows up and jokes about how he’s fine except for the threat of cancer due to his radiation exposure. What a funny guy! Apparently the CIA doesn’t still want to keep him locked up forever even though he just built a nuclear bomb because a mad man asked him to. Miranda shows up on crutches, but she’s finally gotten a promotion and is now the deputy director. However even  she can’t get Alex’s badge back. Huh? What? Didn’t Alex help save the world? Aren’t Deputy Director Miranda and Vice President of these United States, Claire Hass her biggest supporters?

Speaking of the VP, Alex has a little chat with her in which she tells her she knows she was never on blood pressure medication, and therefore she colluded with Liam because the bombs would have reminded everyone of her 911 heroic past, and also as Alex explains so we’ll get it, the nuclear device that she was driving around with was never supposed to go off, but Alex was supposed to land in jail forever and be held responsible, but then when Claire called Alex a hero on national television that was the part that drove Liam over the edge, and so he decided to set the bomb off at Quantico.

Claire as mud.

Claire as mud.

Could we walk this back a bit? First, does anyone other than Frank Underwood scheme this hard for the number two spot on the ticket? Second, sure Marcia Cross played Claire as likely evil, and she certainly had motive for taking out Clayton, but Caleb was also in the building when the second bomb went off. Would she really have taken a chance on taking out her baby boy? Also if the plan wasn’t for the nuclear device to go off, and Liam improvised because he got pissed at Claire for helping Alex, then when and how did the trigger and timer get set, not to mention how does one man manage to steal a nuclear device? Did they just leave it lying around an evidence room? And finally, given how totally bananas all of this is, wouldn’t Claire just have told Liam he was INSANE?

Claire doesn’t admit to anything, but doesn’t deny it either. She’s basically ha-ha, you aren’t in the FBI therefore no one will ever believe you and you can’t prove anything. But then the joke’s on Claire because it turns out Caleb is right there and heard her being evil.

Alex gives up her beautiful apartment and goes back to stay at her mom’s in Oakland now that they’ve completely made up after her mother’s “my daughter is totally a terrorist” press conference. Alex is out jogging when she’s invited or forced into the back of a big black car where some official type in a suit named, Matthew Keyes, hands her his card. Your humble recapper was watching this on a tiny screen and didn’t get a screenshot, so she can’t tell you whether the card said CIA, or NSA, or UNCLE, or SHIELD, but it was probably one of them, and the episode ends before Alex can say “Yes” to the new gig, but given that the episode is called, “Yes” she probably does.

So is there going to be another season of Quantico? Unavoidably. But if Alex is no longer even in the FBI, will it still be called Quantico? And how will it even involve ye olde academy daze? Will it still have the same vertigo-inducing structure? And what about the locker room scenes? But more importantly, will you be watching? And if you, are you interested in taking over the recap duties?

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

    I watch the show, I read your recaps, I watch the show again, and reread the recaps and Quantico still doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m debating whether season 2 is worth it.

  • Vanessa

    Just watched the 2nd part of season 1 yesterday and I’m so confused. I also must have been in the restroom when Charlie died. Last I heard he was “in a hospital bed, unconscious.” Also, what ever happened with the break in the at Columbia lab? The named a whole episode after it, clue? Did I miss how that was connected to Liam? I also don’t see the connection they tried to put together between Claire and Liam. Poorly thought out plot twist that lost us all. And finally, I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I didn’t see what they card said, lol! But, I was thinking cia and now season 2 is her investigation the fbi, basically season 1 all over! Oh and I also don’t think Simon in dead…