Quantico: Caged Heat (S1 E20 Recap)

quantico logoWe may be inching up on the season finale, but that doesn’t mean we’re getting closer to coherence. This week it looks like Ryan, who’s been acting suspiciously, might be innocent, but Drew (aka Buzz Football) is looking pretty guilty. However, it’s the show’s MO to cast aspersions and then give us perfectly reasonable explanations for characters’ actions whether it’s Simon’s confessing to building the bomb, Caleb doing bank business under the Mark Raymond identity, Shelby’s driving a get away car etc. So who knows? Maybe Drew’s voice on the phone of death, wasn’t really his voice or maybe there was a gun to his head. Maybe Miranda is behind everything, or Nimah got roped in when she was out drinking with the boring dude she thought was her contact.

We open with Ryan trying to find and arrest Alex either because he thinks she’s crazy, or guilty of something, or because he is evil and is trying to stop her. He busts into her apartment and finds Caleb in a blanket watching television and eating a bowl of cereal because heroin withdrawal is like that sick day you took because you were feeling like maybe you were coming down with a cold.


Shelby is still at the FBI with nobody realizing she’s on Team Alex. Alex herself is out doing stuff. Will is in the hospital with radiation sickness. Simon is still missing. Shelby, being the brains of this operation has found another “unknown male” with radiation sickness in a hospital. Could it be our boy?

Wait a sec. How many ways of getting radiation sickness are there? Wouldn’t it be a really big deal as in bring in an entire army of homeland security if someone showed up with a case of?

What’s this week’s sexy NAT training? Cage fighting! It’s Alex versus Ryan. How hot is that? Nothing is sexier than a man getting a woman in a choke hold! Everyone notices and comments on how much the fighting resembles the lovin’ as Alex and Ryan go at it because this is junior high school. Alex definitely seems to be trying to get back with Ryan because on Quantico you never really break up with anybody. Is Ryan putting her off? Does he maybe have something to tell her? Start Up Queen who is generally a stone cold bitch because this show is not afraid of cultural stereotypes snaps at Alex about not wasting her time since Buzz Football left. When did he become one of the people she vigilantly protects? She’s also super mad that Caleb is back in training since she still thinks he’s a nutty cultist who beat up Will. Shelby is now applying for jobs in America’s favorite rust-belt cities – Detroit and Buffalo so she can be next to Canada and visit her parents, who are major criminals who faked their 911 deaths, and neither she nor any of the NATs she’s shared this with see this as a HUGE ethical dilemma that could maybe get them pushed out of the Academy if not indicted?

What’s this week’s challenge? The NATs will shadow real agents in real field offices who will also be evaluating how ready they are to work.

Back to the present: The unidentified man in the hospital who is not being guarded or questioned by anyone important despite having been exposed to a massive amount of radiation which you can’t really get from an accident at your dentist’s office turns out to be none other than Buzz Football, who points the finger at Ryan, whom he says he saw with a handcuffed Will. He also claims that after being kicked out of the academy he went to work at a private security firm despite having a tremor signifying worse to come and then he started getting phone calls to run errands for a certain Voice of Doom who threatened to kill his sister and her kids if he didn’t do its evil bidding, which included gathering information about train routes and such, and he didn’t report it because he knew that the voice was coming from inside the FBI. He  has some alleged decoding software that will help determine who the real voice of doom is and gives a flash driver to the gals who just hve to stick it on an FBI computer. Shelby is totally ready to buy Buzz Football’s story because after all, unlike Ryan, he never lied to Alex – as far as she knows.



It's not like I ever lied to you before, except about my little condition.

It’s not like I ever lied to you before, except about my little condition.

In the past the recruits  (the only ones we care about plus Brandon) arrive for training at the Richmond office. Raina and Nimah as usual have a special challenge and will be doing the ol’ switcheroo. They have to find a contact who knows about them and let the contact know they know it’s him or her. And if they do this thing they will get their dream job chasing the cell what shot up Quantico, and if they don’t they won’t even get Poughkeepsie.

So far the show has implied that Poughkeepsie, Buffalo and Detroit are all uncool places where you don’t want to be assigned. Why does Quantico hate the real America?

Caleb and Shelby are assigned a file room. Brandon (there for his customary two minutes) Start Up, and Alex all have to make cold calls which is not a thing that anyone does anymore because thanks to caller ID no one but assorted very lonely old people answers the phone to strangers. but Alex spends most of her time trying to find out what really happened with Ryan in Chicago, as the agent she’s assigned to (Jordan) knows enough about that to think Ryan is a total screw up.

Nimah and Raina of course have some special assignment that involves their switching. We bet it will become awkward because it always does.

Because Alex is magic, she naturally gets a lead on the thing they’re calling random strangers about. She and Jordan go out to interview Scott Walker who is NOT the governor of Wisconsin. We know he’s whacky because he’s worried about hormones in milk, but somehow Jordan completely misses the signs and stops Alex before she can ask any questions.

Back in the present, Caleb is being all “I’m a snarky bad-boy” while Miranda is questioning him. But then Miranda and Ryan get distracted because there’s smoke coming out of the computers – which is something Shelby is doing because she now controls the screens. They are so distracted that fugitive (again) Alex manages to sneak into the FBI to mess some more with the computers using the flash drive or whatever the gizmo was that Buzz Football gave her.

Over in the past, Start Up and Brandon go out to check on Walker themselves. Only, first Caleb and Start Up have a chat about what he’s doing still working for the FBI and also about how he’s the one writing Shelby letters from her parents who really aren’t that into her and just want her money. Why would Caleb do stupid shit like that? Why would he do it and confide to Start Up?

If you think THAT doesn’t make sense, wait there’s more! For some reason, Raina now has it in her head that the guy Nimah was flirting with is their contact, and Nimah is like, “Yes of course he is! Why else would he flirt with me? D’uh!” So she outs herself and of course he’s like “Ha-ha, I heard of Miranda’s twins! What a dumb idea. Now I’m going to call up the counter-terrorism lady and tell her not to hire you.” Therefore ipso-facto Nimah agrees to go out drinking with him and see if she can “change his mind” perhaps by using her vagina.


Even more stuff that doesn’t make sense: Jordan accuses Ryan of having been turned by the Muslims in Afghanistan’s because that’s a big problem we have with all those guys in the military who convert to Islam and become terrorists like Sgt Brody. Ryan is like   “I went to Afghanistan because I love my country” and Jordan says isn’t that what the terrorists are always saying, “Make America great again.” So is the show calling Donald Trump a terrorist? Certain pissed-off conservatives seem to think so, but I think the show is just spewing randomly like the Donald himself. Besides, how is it that none of the FBI dudes and dudettes recognize that Jordan’s accent is 100% poutine. He sounds like Pepe Lepew trying to do his best surfer dude. Clearly the guy is a spy from the CSE (the Canadian NSA that we recently learned learned exists from an episode of The Good Wife).

In the present, Ryan catches up with Alex and the confined space of a glass office which is a lot like the glass cage we saw them in earlier in the episode, and sure enough things get physical in a fisticuffs kind of way.

Sometimes he doesn't know whether to shoot her, or punch her, or kiss her and in what order.

Sometimes he doesn’t know whether to shoot her, or punch her, or kiss her and in what order.

Strangely, they keep talking in the midst of this, and Alex realizes that he really thinks she had something to do with Natalie’s disappearance and doesn’t know that Natalie is dead, and therefore he can’t be the Voice of Doom, so Buzz Football was lying. Alex starts to explain – while they are still beating each other up – that they’ve all been taking orders from a mad man by which maybe she means Buzz Football whose brains got scrambled in the NFL, and also that there’s another bomb out there, and then she knocks him out because she can’t let him stop her and in addition to being magic, Alex is also stronger than any man.

During the Academy Daze, Brandon and Start Up go to check out Scott Walker based on Alex’s tip. It turns out that Jordan not only thought Scott Walker was guilty but he was previously convicted of possessing child pornographer – which in real life is something you get locked up for forever and constantly watched after that, and you’d think Jordan might have said something about that to Alex before she basically sent her friends into peril but maybe it got lost in translation. In any case, Mr. Walker winds up holding a knife to Brandon’s throat. Will this be his red shirt moment? Or is that impossible because he is the real Voice of Doom?

Ryan arrives on the scene in time to save Jordan who has just saved Brandon. Then Ryan finally tells Alex more of the Chicago story. Ryan was supposed to work a shift, but Liam called and said he’d cover for him as this was when Ryan was all sad because Hannah was leaving him for a woman, but then Liam got drunk and forgot to show up and that’s why Buzz Football’s girlfriend died.


Start Up of course tells Shelby that Caleb has been writing her letters posing as her parents because her parents are just awful people. The good news is she finally picks up a phone to rat out her parents to the FBI. The bad news is the person she rats them out to is Clayton, and she’s more alienated from Caleb than she’s ever been.

Nimah comes back from “drinks” with the agent who wasn’t their contact, but she’s clutching her stomach and there’s definitely something she isn’t telling her sister.

In the present, Ryan and Miranda are looking for Alex. Then there’s another message from the Voice of Doom who this time sounds exactly like Buzz Football but your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not that means it is Buzz Football (who went AWOL from the hospital). The message is to get behind the wheel of Ryan’s Tacoma which is in the parking garage under the building and drive it or Simon will die and a bomb will go off, but of course there’s a bomb in the car. Alex gets in just as Ryan and Miranda have tracked her down to the basement. She’s heading for the garage door when we cut out.

If Ryan had been a real New Yorker he would have taken mass transit.

If Ryan had been a real New Yorker he would have taken mass transit.

Wackiest Toyota product placement I’ve ever seen!

So where does this leave us? Is Ryan exonerated? Is Buzz Football evil or just confused? Is Liam evil or just really incompetent? This much I’m certain of: Next week the NATs will undergo some exciting physical training that may involve speed, heights, and maybe some form of martial arts. There will be a scene set in a locker room and/or shower. The twins will have another twinsy thing to do. The NATs will discuss which cities would be cool to live in and which would suck. And a bunch of things will happen that don’t make much sense and we couldn’t have guessed.

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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