Quantico: The 10-Second Rewind Fake-Out (S1:E2 RECAP)
This week starts with brief bits of things we didn’t know before about our NATS. Are these clues? Evidence of deception? Relevant in the slightest? Who knows. But the show is telling us are important! because they are presented in ways we can’t miss. Shelby arrives by limo to her FBI interview – because only the little people drive to their own interviews – but first deletes an Arabic phone contact. Next, there’s a NAT we didn’t meet last week, the tough Natalie Vasquez – some combo of the glam of Jennifer Lopez and the tough street savvy (she’s an ex-cop) of Michelle Rodriguez. The camera does a close up of a scar behind her ear. What could the scar mean? Beats me, but we’re forced to look at it. Then, there’s Simon choosing a pair of glasses. Please raise your hand if you sussed out last week that Simon was faking the gay. Now sit down and shut up because the show was punking us. We were supposed to have figured it out – even though none of the allegedly brilliant NATS (or their keepers) did. In case we missed it last week (due to multitasking at critical moments), this week they’ll make the deceptions of Simon even more explicit, including that he is fake-visually impaired.
Now/then, we’re in Week Two of FBI trainting. Physical training. The main takeaway: Alex is good at many things. Vasquez is better at some of them. All that tension! In training, Vasquez flips Alex, but will there be a real girlfight before our episode is up? You bet.
What is this week’s lesson at Quantico? The FBI’s role is to PREVENT tragedies, not to clean up after them. So the NATS will be looking at re-creations of the residences of people who may or may not be planning to blow something up, figure out whether or not there’s a real threat, and try to stop it. Also, in addition to agents in training, there are analysts in training. Analysts are presented as important but lesser beings who don’t go into the field. Sort of like the lab rats of CSI. Agents are the rock stars; analysts, despite whatever experience or specialized training they bring, can only stand in awe and “help.”
Back to the present: Miranda is under arrest for her role in Alex’s escape AND somewhere along the line she became a “former” assistant director. We learn this from her dialogue with Liam, who’s arresting her. We also learn that she has a son who is or was in some kind of big trouble AND that Liam fell in love with Alex – or at least that’s what it looked like to Miranda. To anyone in Camp Miranda-Did-It, this son thing is HUGE.
Back in the past, guess who shows up as an analyst-to-be? If you guessed Caleb, that blond bit of beefcake who they gave way too much attention to for him to have been a one-off, you’d be right. He tells Shelby it was his choice because being an analyst is tots cooler than going out into the field. But then, when it’s time for the “agents” to go to the “crime scene” and he gets stopped at the door, he looks like his puppy just died.
Another analyst-in-training is Elias Harper. Elias is a hottie with some nicely groomed facial hair, and he’s gay. Naturally, he’s eager to meet Simon the first openly gay agent-recruit in the show’s parallel universe. (In the real world, the FBI has been okay with the gay for a while.) When Elias approaches Simon, instead of acting like a red-blooded single gay man in his twenties and immediately looking for a discreet place to make the sexy time OR at least flirting the crap out of the situation – Simon appears to be mildly appalled.
While it’s clear that Simon isn’t what he seems, is Elias? He’s asking a lot of pointed questions about Simon’s adventure in Gaza. Like how’d he get in, given that there’s no evidence he had the necessary authorization from the Palestinian Authority? You’d think the FBI would have looked into that one pretty thoroughly. It’s Elias who gets a look at the eyeglasses Simon happened to leave lying around and notices they are fake. And just to make sure we got that, we hear his thoughts: “They’re fake!” That wasn’t clunky or unnecessary at all!
Back to the present: Booth is not dead. He’s in surgery, and the FBI is trying to “triangulate” a signal from Alex’s walkie-talkie because sure she’d keep it with her, just like she’d make sure to leave all the evidence in her apartment and not disappear after the bombing.
But enough of 2015 or 2016 more likely, let’s return again to nine months ago. It’s the Miranda and Liam show. She thinks Booth is there from the agency to spy on her. He lets her think that. He knows about the twins – but she doesn’t tell him what that’s about. Speaking of which, Miranda has a chat with the Nimahs. They need to “match” each other so people don’t suspect, even though the fact that one is right handed and one is left handed – something only Simon has noticed – should be a pretty big clue. The problem is they are as different as classic television’s Patty and Cathy Lane, except back then we could always tell because Patty’s hair went out in a flip.
One likes Simon because he reminds her of “people at home” (probably because he is one), and the other thinks Simon is a creepy stalker. However, thanks to Simon’s noticing, they now both have their headscarf tied in the same direction and are both wearing make up, so while I know Raina is the one with the big crush on Simon, I’m not always sure Raina is Raina.
In the present, Vasquez is checking out Alex’s apartment, which you’d think would have tons of yellow tape around it, plus the presence of at least some of New York’s finest guarding this very important crime scene and keeping the nosy neighbors, press, and homeless people looking for shelter out, but nope.
Vasquez does report to Liam that the whole thing looks like a “dry run” or “not real.” She seems perplexed by this. Apparently, they don’t teach the word “staged” at Quantico, and she never ran into a staged crime scene in her policewoman years. Alex, meantime, is hanging out across the street at a cafe, where she’s trapped the barrista in a room so she can look at the security footage – which conveniently shows the entrance to her building. The only one she sees going in is Booth.
Back at Quantico, the training exercise is over. It turns out that Liam was “playing” both their instructor and the terrorist. Alex was the only one who knew it was him and that there had to be a “twist.” Why? Because her “gut” told her so. Miranda says in all the years they’ve been doing the exercise, Alex was the first one to get it right. What’s the lesson? Don’t trust authority. Evidence can be spun. Who knew the FBI was a hotbed of conspiracy theorists?
Does this mean the show is totally punking us? There is NO mole among the recruits? There’s a reasonable explanation for all the suspicious actions of Liam and Miranda? And maybe the whole attack was just a bad dream?
Fugitive Alex goes back to her apartment. Vasquez isn’t there any longer. Alex opens up her medicine cabinet and notices a whole in the wall going straight through to another apartment, which somehow the FBI missed earlier even though the shared medicine cabinet is a feature in many New York City apartments going back to at least the 1970s.
Alex goes through to the other apartment, but the FBI has figured out where she is. Vasquez is on her way. Yay GIRLFIGHT! And it’s on a roof. We also find out that BOTH Alex and Vasquez may have been in love with Booth – unless Alex just said that to momentarily throw Vasquez off balance – which it does. Alex not only knocks down Vasquez, she manages to cuff her wrists around pole. .
Back in the past, it’s time for fibs, lies, untruths, and some possibly useful information for those of us still trying to “solve” the puzzle:
Having seen Caleb’s disappointment at not being able to follow the agents-in-training, Shelby confronts him. He admits that being an analyst was his only option, and it only happened because his sister felt bad for him and called a friend – because, sure, that’s how the FBI works. We’ll soon learn that he’s still lying when, a few moments later, he flips through the phone and we find out that he’s really a nerd – you can tell by the big glasses. AND his name isn’t even Caleb.
Speaking of sexy-nerd glasses. It looks like Simon may have taken his glasses off on purpose to see if Elias would look through them because now we get a flashback of him watching Elias looking at them from the hallway. What’s the most logical explanation? He wanted to see if Elias was spying on him. But then why leave something that was going to be suspicious?
Booth has made amends to Alex for his rough treatment of her during the “interrogation” by now telling her she did get her initial “facts” about him right after all. But we know he’s still lying about everything.
Shelby not only has Arab phone contacts, but is heard speaking in some foreign tongue on the phone. What was she speaking? Logically Arabic, but with her delivery, it could have been Swedish.
Natalie’s scar – that’s fake. We see her apply it. Why on earth?
Liam tells Alex that her father really was an FBI agent, but that’s all he knows for now. Given the whole spying on her with Booth, he must know a lot more. But is the mystery of Alex’s past even relevant to the bombing in the present?
Liam (a pretty slippery operator, just saying) brings Miranda coffee, and they chat some. She again talks about Booth’s being there to spy on her. Liam does nothing to discourage that notion, but says nobody appreciates what she did two years ago, which seems to have something to do with possibly stopping her own son from blowing something up. Something BIG, but maybe not too big, because he’s up for parole in a couple of years.
Fugitive Alex has reached Booth by phone. He’s conscious after surgery. Not only conscious, but in amazingly good shape for someone who was “bleeding out” a few hours ago. He tells Alex the super let him into the building. He was coming to apologize for what he did to her in Quantico. He opened the door and just saw a flash of the muzzle. He also tells her to trust no one, and then he says something that should make Alex think he meant that ironically: He tells her the only way he can keep the FBI off her tail is to convince the FBI that she’s guilty.
“Couldn’t you just tell them it definitely wasn’t me?” she fails to say. Instead, she’s totally okay with this plan.
Booth barely has time to hide his phone when Liam comes into the room to ask if he saw who shot him. He tells him that it was Alex. Liam releases her name to the press, and Alex is still running around being a gorgeous five-foot-nine South Asian woman wearing an FBI cap whose face is plastered all over the internet and television.
So, any theories about why someone would fake the gay? Or a scar? Or pretend NOT to speak Arabic? More importantly, do we care yet?
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