Quantico: Everyone Hates Alex (S1 E12 Recap)
Welcome back to Quantico — back to constant time shifts to keep us from noticing that for every two minutes of action there’s fifty minutes of nothing, but who cares when everyone is so pretty and there’s always a locker room and/or wrestling scene?
Our new present is 3 months later, but the past seems to pick up where we left off. Got it? Given the forgettablity of most of the characters, you may feel disoriented for the first couple of minutes, trying desperately to remember which twin was wearing the hijab, or what the names of those blond people were – you know the ones who looked enough like brother and sister to give their sexytimes scenes an added touch of ick – especially when it’s revealed that in the future she’ll be doing his daddy.
But then the haze begins to clear and details flood back mostly because they keep slipping reminders into the dialogue. The twins even refer to each other by name – like they might even get confused. Characters’ dirty secrets are shouted out by rivals: Yo, Vasquez! Gonna give me a fake scar? If you don’t remember who’s who, or what’s what, just wait for it. At least 60% of the episode is catch-up and the rest is confusion.
Alex is no longer a fugitive. She’s now testifying before (a) a tribunal (b) congress (c) who the hell knows but it seems to be happening in New York. She tells whomever that she doesn’t think Elias Harper was the lone terrorist and mastermind behind both the Grand Central bombing and that other one what took out all the FBI agents, including Caleb’s father, the husband of Caleb’s mother – the democratic vice-presidential candidate. Senator Hoss is also in the courtroom and she really wishes Alex would just SHUT UP so they could all move on because everyone else is sure Elias did it because there’s no evidence to support the theory that he didn’t. Plus it sure sounds like him once they remove the voice distortion from the tape of the 911 call with the “tip” about a Quantico grad being involved. But remember, Alex has the magic gut that’s never wrong, and Alex’s gut tells her that Elias wasn’t lying to her in that hotel room when he told her he was forced to do what he did and then he jumped out the window.
But no one else believes her – except maybe us because finally we know more than the FBI does. Or do we? In the last scene of the fall finale episode we saw a flashback where Caleb, wearing his Clark Kent glasses, uses his alternate identity to get a safety deposit box at the bank on the first floor first floor of the building that would be the site of the second explosion. Sure looked like he was casing the joint. Or was he? Is he the mastermind or the Manchurion candidate? A lot of time was spent trying to make different characters look guilty and then there always turned out to be some completely reasonable explanation (or not so reasonable explanation) for their actions. Could he be an innocent dupe?
Where’s Caleb now? Nobody mentions him and we only see him in the Academy Daze portions. . For all we know, he could have died in the second bombing or disappeared. Or maybe his mom knows what he did and got him locked away some place.
Speaking of Academy Daze: One random day in training Vazquez, Shelby, and Alex are doing sit ups and talking talking about boys because the FBI training facility is summer crime camp for impossibly good-looking people with the hormones of teenagers. We’re reminded of these very important plot points: Ryan went back to his real job, Shelby and Caleb are broken up, and Vasquez and Ryan aren’t a thing yet.
Also in the past, Charlie who has recovered from his injuries is now being asked a lot of questions about his kidnapping, but he’s telling his mother and a token plus-sized woman agent that he doesn’t remember anything. Yay diversity casting! Prior to this I wasn’t sure if anyone over a size twelve even existed in this universe.
Did you know that there were different “classes” at the Academy at the same time, like the one that started one month earlier, and is now being introduced to us, which means now we’ll have more characters and backstories to deal with? This week we meet the newbies who are actually oldies compared to our newbies. Let’s just call the slightly upper class the B-team, and refer to our guys as the A-team.
Meantime, in the present tense, Vasquez knocks on the door to Alex’s new place which she got because maybe having your old place turn into a crime scene makes it feel less homey. Also it’s in Williamsburg where anyone over forty needs a passport so that should keep Liam from stalking her. Vasquez is not there to beat her up due to romantic rivalry, but has dropped by to help us catch up on the plot. Here’s what we learn: Alex has been on leave for the past three months because she was traumatized by the whole Elias jumping out of the window and then the building blowing up and killing 32 agents thing. Vasquez has not been on leave, and is mostly there to yell at Alex for still believing that Elias wasn’t acting alone.
Then some guy jumps off a bridge but before he does he tells the cops to deliver his message to Alex. Couldn’t he have sent a text? If we can’t remember who he is, no need to worry. It’ll be explained later.
It’s challenge time back at Ye Olde FBI Academie. The stakes? Five cadets from the losing team will be voted off the island. Sure why not recruit people and make them pass background checks, and quit their jobs, and pay for them for months of costly training, so you can eliminate them like on Survivor? Also we learn that the B-Team is filled with billionaire corporate CEOs, rocket scientists, and other people who probably wouldn’t be joining the FBI, which might be a dream job – but mostly for people who already have a background in law enforcement, and actually need to work for a living. Both sides try to psych each other out by making snarky comments about their opponent’s backstories – thus giving us the backstories for the new characters, and reprises of the “old” characters’ backstories. That’s one way to dump us some information! There is also a scene where Caleb and some new Simon-lite who we are told is “literally a rocket scientist” have to practice their hacking skills, and we LITERALLY see two guys trying to out type each other (which is even less exciting than it sounds).
The twins (and by that I am not referring to Priyanka’s breasts but to Nimah and Raina) each want a crack at trying to get Charlie to give up his kidnappers, so Miranda grants them immunity from the upcoming challenge to try their best at getting a surly teenager to talk.
Caleb and Shelby still have to do something about Shelby’s fake sister who was scamming her. Wasn’t it over when Caleb did his little sting operation? Apparently not.
Remember how old-present tense Shelby had a severe haircut and was really mean to Alex because of some crap from the Academy that wasn’t explained yet, and also because she thought she was a terrorist? But then she realized she wasn’t a terrorist and joined team Alex? But then when Alex did surveillance on her and discovered the affair with Daddy Hoss, Shelby hated her again? Now her hair is growing out and she hates Alex more than ever. Thanks to the second bomb and the demise of Daddy Hoss, everything went public and now everyone on the planet knows she was sleeping with her boss, the husband of the vice-presidential nominee, which makes Shelby like Monica Lewinsky if Bill Clinton then got martyred. Shelby has left the agency, and left her lovely town house in New York City. How will she ever survive without her job? Oh that’s right, she has a corporation to run and the townhouse is probably worth at least 20 million.
The guy who jumped was hacker Duncan Howell, no relation to Thurston, who was one of The Unknowns, and helped Alex.
Miranda and Liam are now testifying. Their bad,they missed Elias’ “grandiosity” and his hatred for the agency, which he had fought in court like a hundred times before they let him into analyst school. Like they say, those who can’t, teach. Plus Liam throws Alex under the bus claiming her continued refusal to accept that Elias acted alone is “delusional” but sort of their fault too because the FBI pushed her too far by trying to track her down like a rabid dog and tacking on the we-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-due-process shoot first order.
Miranda then tries to tell Alex that Liam’s statement was meant to back Alex “in a way,” but like the Earl of Grantham might have said, not in every way. Also Alex is convinced that Duncan Hines the hacker and cake mix, was also manipulated into suicide, and somehow this relates to Charlie, but we won’t find out how yet because that’s how the show rolls even though withholding information and suspense are not necessarily the same thing.
Nimah, the tough sexy one without the hijab goes to talk to Charley like he’s twelve years old and he laughs at her. Then, Raina tries, and she hits pay dirt as they bond over who scares white people more – a black youth or ANY woman wearing a hijab. Raina wins! She gets Charley to give her some first names, all of which sound like members of a boy band – Derrick, Justin, Shane and Brian (he’s the cute one.) But she keeps this from her sister because as Mary Crawley said on another show – sisters have secrets!
And YES I do intend to make all the Downton Abbey references I want!
This week’s challenge is even more confusing than these things usually are. It’s Hogan’s Alley with hostages, but is one team agents and the other hostages or are both teams competing to get to the hostages first? Plus Caleb is manning a computer even though he’s no longer demoted to analyst. He does remind us that he’s no longer an analyst, but learned mad computer skills in analyst school, which may be important later. There’s some kind of an ambush of “our” team, and accusations by our team that the other team cheated. This leads to three people we don’t know getting cut from “our” team because they lost, but two people getting cut from the other team, and then just like what happens on reality television after an elimination, Team A and Team B now have to switch dorm rooms and move in with each other, and everybody will train together. Your humble recapper, however, is refusing to learn any new character’s names until I can at least remember the names of the existing characters. What was the major life lesson? “Criminals play dirty.” Remember that! It might or might not have something to do with the case.
Back in the enhanced further forward present: Alex is sitting at a bar and when the inevitable man comes on to her she plays that “five things” party trick on him, which really isn’t as cute or impressive as she seems to think it is and has very little to do with why the menz want to do sexytimes with her. Actually, it’s kind of obnoxious, but being hot she can get away with it, and soon she’s in some corner of the room, sexing up the guy, but then she suddenly stops. Was she questioning her life choices? Nope. She was in that bar, waiting for that guy, because he’s some telecommunication bigshot, and she was specifically there to lift his key-fob, and this has something to do with the guy what killed himself. I mean Duncan, not Elias or maybe both of them.
How do we know she stole the guy’s fob? Ryan comes over to her apartment to explain it to us, uh I mean her, and also to tell her how terrible she is for not moving on and accepting that Elias is the guilty one. This is why everyone is mad at her, except a lot of the public who thinks she’s tres cool with the conspiracy theories. Also Ryan broke up with Vasquez, so he’s single, ladies! And he insists Duncan did not kill himself because he was being manipulated, but because he was about to go to jail for several years for his hacking activities. In case we forgot, Alex mentions that Duncan helped her figure out there’d be a second bomb attack.
Alex goes to a hearing and says, “Sorry.”Everyone else was right and she had it wrong. Elias acted alone. There is no evidence otherwise. Time to move on. Now the Alex fans in the public are mad at her for backing down, but all of her FBI colleagues are still mad because they don’t think she really meant it. Ryan is angry because she “lied.” Shelby is angry because she is a really angry person, who holds Alex responsible for her own bad choices and someone should really tell her that. Simon is upset, but he just walked out so we don’t really know why, but I’m sure he’ll explain it to us later. Vasquez shows up to announce that Alex has now been reinstated.
Back in the past, Caleb and Shelby go to meet some guy named Khalid who claims to be the husband of Shelby’s fake sister. He says there were other people behind this, and she started conning Shelby when she was very young, and she was forced into this, but then when she stopped – after Caleb exposed her – she was kidnapped. Khalid wants their help. Do Shelby and Caleb believe him? It’s not 100% clear, but maybe this will keep them working together a while longer.
Alex in her lonely present day apartment gets a phone call and just like in a horror movie it’s coming from a strange burner phone that SOMEBODY LEFT IN HER APARTMENT! Run Alex! He could still be in the house! No, he’s not in the house, but he is pretty creepy. The voice is distorted and he says he’s the one she’s been lying for all along.
In the Academy Daze, Caleb gets a new roommate – it’s the weirdo rocket scientist guy he was competing with before.
Caleb has traced the emails that Shelby’s faux-sister sent her contents. The contacts were coming out of Croatia. Raina seems to be using the information she got from Charley to reach terrorists on line, and she still isn’t telling Nimah, but I’m sure it’s all perfectly innocent, even though later we’ll see her visiting a terrorist in the hospital.
Some tough Asian woman on Team B, seems hot for Caleb. Girlfight! Girlfight!
Some guy who’s moved into Ryan’s room, finds his dog tags and gives them to Alex.
Liam calls Alex but she ignores his call. She’s following orders from the distorted voice, which leads her to some location. Vasquez shows up and is walking toward her. Suddenly Vasquez opens her coat. She’s wearing a bomb vest! The D-V tells her “You weren’t a terrorist before. Now you’re going to be.” This is not followed by an evil cackle, but it’s so over-the-top it might as well be.