Quantico: They're on a (Simulated) Plane! (S1 E16 Recap)
Clue, Episode 16 of Quantico follows the same convoluted structure as on all previous episodes. The Academy story involves some gym or locker room scene offering us a glimpse of beautiful people wearing little or form-fitted clothing. There’s a “challenge” that somehow leads characters to reveal secrets, mostly snippets of backstory that either clear up some mystery and/or give us more reason to suspect them. Said challenge may also parallel the present tense story line. Say one thing for Quantico, it’s consistent. Even if it has the consistency of mush.
Let’s catch up with the present first:
We open with Hannah sitting across the couch from Alex and Simon. Have they turned this into a sitcom about young single FBI agents sitting around talking in Brooklyn?
“That’s a lot to process,” Hannah says, and thank god they cut out the five to ten minutes of exposition that probably came before! Hannah posits that following “the voice” as Simon and Alex call it, didn’t work out so well for Vasquez ad Elias, so she’s going to do the sane thing and “brief the director.”
Well thank goodness for common sense! Who knows what’s up with the pills they planted on Senator Haas? Maybe if Hannah acts quickly she can prevent a disaster.
Of course this being Quantico, Alex follows her all the way to command central or whatever they call the New York office, and by the time they get there, Hannah has decided to wait 24 hours, but she’s going to be giving the orders and Alex better listen, which given Alex’s rogue style is bound to work. Also Hannah says whatever is planned has something to do with the Senator, so they’re going to stay on her. Ryan sees them talking and comes over to Alex after Hannah leaves to yell at Alex whom he now thinks is a lying liar. He also mentions something about the Senator (and VP candidate) having to change plans and leave town that night. Did I miss the part where they explain why the FBI and not the Secret Service are the ones watching the vice presidential candidate? Oh never mind, this is Quantico, a show that might as well throw in a superhero or two because at least the Marvel-verse offers more consistent character development and plausible storylines.
Alex tells Hannah the part about Claire’s going to Ohio, which means that whatever is going to happen is going to happen soon – like maybe during the episode. Claire is speaking at Columbia University, although they didn’t bother with any exterior shots because the school probably said, “Quantico? Seriously?” and wouldn’t let them film there. The pills raise Claire’s body temperature leading her to have what looks like s a hot flash which is not that big a deal, but this causes Hannah to rush an EMT because Simon (working from Alex’s apartment) wasn’t quick enough to recognize te EMT using his special facial recognition software – unless Simon was just playing with her or is evil. Boy, Hannah’s face is even redder than Claire’s.
Then Claire yells at Miranda because the press is all over the FBI lady beats up an EMT story, so Hannah gets told a thing or two which doesn’t help her mood, so she goes over to Alex and starts shouting at her some more with long strings of words. When the phone of death rings, she grabs it and goes into one of those monologues that sound sort of Sorkinesque – if Andrew Sorkin were ten. The voice is like “Ha ha I laugh at those speeches you are always making,” the meta throws her off her game. Also the voice knows that she is in the “bullpen” which means OMIGOD the call is coming from inside the house! That rattles Hannah even more, which makes her willing to indulge this bullshit and allow Alex to follow the next step of the voice’s evil plan which involves putting something that looks like a SIM card (and Simon says is a SIM card) under a seat at the hall where Claire will be speaking. Somehow this also leads to Hannah ‘splaining to Alex about why she will guard and protect Ryan forever. She left him for a lady – realizing she could give her something Ryan never could (a vagina apparently) – but she will never let anyone else hurt him the way she did, and Alex already has.
Then after she storms off because she is always storming off, Ryan comes up again and starts yelling at Alex because he saw her put something under the seat and he thinks she is trying to set up Hannah whose back he will always have because blah blah blah.
Then Claire is giving a speech and Simon calls in and says it’s not a SIM card. It’s a “component chip” and it can knock out the power. Is Simon off his game this episode or is he EVIL?
Alex looks for it under the seat, but now it’s gone! The power goes out but OMIGOD the terrorists can track Claire because the pills raised her body temperature! Hannah fires her gun in the air to set off a panic because it’s not like the Secret Service wouldn’t rush the stage as soon as the lights went out, but oh yeah that’s in real life.
Hannah gets another talking to, which we don’t see but that’s fine because she can just tell us what happened, which she does in yet another monologue to Alex. She was in a room with a whole bunch of FBI big wigs including the director. Did she tell them about the whole conspiracy and cell phone of death? Nope. She realized that any one of them could be a terrorist, and she just kind of gave up, so this could dovetail with the Academy story line in which the recruits are put in an unwinnable situation. Alex even offers to go with her to back up the crazy story, but Hannah’s like nah I’ll just leave it to you to save the world, prevent the next attack, get a few more agents killed, whatevs. Not my problem.
Does that make any sense? Even if one or more of the mucky-mucks she was in the room with were involved, couldn’t she still have exposed the plot? Plus she’s now decided that Alex is the only one who can stop this because she is magic, and Hannah is only asking one thing, please keep her Ryan who can’t really take care of himself safe.
Then after Hannah takes off, Ryan comes up to Alex yet again – giving us deja vu all over again because we saw this fifteen minutes ago, and this time he tells her he knows she set up Hannah, and he’s coming after her.
Back in Williamsburg, the death phone rings. The voice tells Alex that they’re almost done but there’s going to be a final mission because sure evil digitalized disguised voices that give you orders always announce their intentions. Alex is confused because she thought the plan was to assassinate Claire and Hannah saved Claire by firing off her gun. But Simon realizes that the plan was a smokescreen. The Columbia lab, which we hadn’t heard about before, is under the very theater where Claire spoke and the lab was broken into when the power went out!
Because sure, if there was something important to guard in those labs no one would have been watching them because everyone would have been like, let’s go upstairs to watch the next vice president! Also how can you write a script that deals with something subterranean at Columbia University and NOT mention the damn tunnels? Columbia has a system of awesome spooky tunnels closed off to the public, including one underneath Pupin Hall where some of the Manhattan Project experiments took place, and who knows what could be have been left over there? Full disclosure: Your humble recapper’s better-half wrote a prize winning sci-fi novel where there is a time machine hidden down there. Others have suggested the tunnels are haunted by gremlins, ghosts of mental patients from back when the university was an insane asylum, and possibly a disgruntled professor or two or didn’t get tenure. In short, the tunnels would have been an awesome setting for an action sequence involving Alex and her crew hunting down and coming face to face with the true voice of death.
But they didn’t go there. However, Alex is thrilled with this new information and tells us what it means because we would not have been able to connect the dots ourselves – because there are no dots to connect. It means that this is the first real clue about what the voice has in mind! Which given that there are only two more episodes to the season might mean that they will milk this story into next year.
And now let’s delve into the past:
This week’s challenge takes place on a simulated airplane, which is really just a bunch of seats like on an airplane and who knows why the NATs all look awestruck when they see it. The NATS were told there are terrorists aboard and their job is to prevent an attack, but nothing they try works. Finally, Aspy Genius declares it a Kobayashi Maru situation – which admit it – you were thinking too. Granted, Kobayashi Maru was the elephant on the simulated plane and someone had to say it, but did everyone – even Miranda who wasn’t even there – have to keep repeating it like it was some ingenious insight, and not a trope?
Here are some other things that happened back in Academy Daze:
- Shelby reacts to the news that her parents are alive by having a lot of sex with Caleb. It’s not clear whether they are a couple again or whether she’s just using him, but Caleb feels used. Also she comes into his room and sexes him up while his roommate the Aspy Genius is asleep, which is just icky.
- Caleb it turns out is probably NOT evil. He is planning a mission to get to Systematics – the Scientology like cult he was in and find his friend “Ross Edwards” who disappeared. His father knows about this and is helping him. He is NOT secretly working for the cult – probably.
- Aspy Genius wants to help Caleb, who won’t be able to complete the mission because the new head of Systematics knows him, so Aspy Genius shows Caleb that he too can assume alternate identities because he’s studied social cues, and that’s what the creepy photos of everyone in his sock drawer were about – so get your mind out of the gutter.
- Also Systematics has a lot of money because “they own the rights to podcasting” because sure that’s the way the net works. I personally own the rights to the backspace key.
- Raina and Simon have been secretly seeing each other, but Raina finally confesses to Nimah and breaks up with Simon sort of.
- Alex keeps bugging Football about how he should be having “feelings” about killing the terrorist. She finally admits it was her issues causing her to be a buzzkill. There is still absolutely no chemistry between these two.
- Miranda gets put on leave but not kicked out of the FBI. (Charlie is going to live by the way.) Miranda gives an overly dramatic speech in which she not only references Star Trek via a mention of Kobiyashi Maru, but also pauses dramatically in homage to William Shatner.
- Liam who narrowly escaped getting canned is now in charge of training, and is bringing Ryan back as a teacher because it’s very important that Alex has had sex with all of her instructors.
Also has any one else noticed the way Brandon is there and not there? He’s the ultimate red shirt. He shows up at least once in “the past” of every episode, but so far not in the present ones. We never really get a sense of him as though they were setting him up as someone we weren’t supposed to be noticing. What’s up with that? Could he be … evil?