Quantico: Answer – One Man Enters, One Man Leaves (Recap/Review)

Quantico: Answer has a swings and roundabouts feel to it this week as one man leaves the training academy and another literally comes in out of the cold. Entering back into the madness of Alex trying to catch the ones responsible for the bombings and the deaths of Elias, Natalie and Duncan. At the end, Asher agrees to help, but can he really be trusted?

PRIYANKA CHOPRA

Quantico: Answer has a swings and roundabouts feel to it this week as one man leaves the training academy and another literally comes in out of the cold. Entering back into the madness of Alex trying to catch the ones responsible for the bombings and the deaths of Elias, Natalie and Duncan.  At the end,  Asher agrees to help, but can he really be trusted?

Back at Quantico, Parrish is bonding with Drew Perales (Lenny Platt), Raina and Nimah are drifting further apart and Raina mistrusts her sisters actions and motives and vice versa. Wyatt and Chang (Li Jun Li) continue to annoy each other and Caleb has formed an uneasy alliance with Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson).

At the academy the NATs question actors who play suspects who were never punished. The cases are unsolved and this is the candidates’ chance to see if they can  finish/solve these puzzles.  Meanwhile, Nimah impersonates  Raina and discovers a huge cache of weapons at a house in the suburbs. Haas is either working some sort of scam, or a bust on the side. Will Olsen catches Caleb “working” and he investigates.

Nimah meets a man in the house and he believe that she is Raina. As Nimah closes the door behind her, Raina sends a text to the man.

In the present, Miranda is trying to find out where Vasquez is and she approaches Ryan and  Nimah asking about the agent. So far, the only person who can answer that question  is Alex and she has gone to Vermont to meet with Simon.

Asher is in a bad place, before Parrish arrives, he places the barrel of a revolver in his mouth but is unable to pull the trigger.  Alex arrives.  They talk initially but their conversation soon turns into recriminations on Simon’s part and he tells Parrish to leave.

TATE ELLINGTON
TATE ELLINGTON

Grabbing a rife,  the former agent explains that he needs to hunt for food. Alex invites herself along. The two have a confrontation in the snow-covered woods. She reveals that Elias was telling the truth and that the people who killed him are now after her.  She also explains what happened to Natalie Vasquez (Annabelle Acosta). Simon offers to take Alex’s pain away and points the rifle at her.

At Quantico, Parrish asks Liam (Josh Hopkins) about the Chicago sting that went wrong and he reveals that a shipment of Panther Oracle  AR-15 combat rifles went missing when the operation went south.  O’Connor approved using the weapons in the operation and gave them to the cell. Alex tells Drew and it is revealed that his pregnant fiancee was killed by one of the missing weapons. He blows up at O’Connor in the middle of training. 

Before Perales erupts on the “stand” Wyatt and Cheng fall apart as a team when Shelby sabotages their testimony.  Afterward Cheng  angrily confronts her partner and tells Shelby  to never “screw” with her career again.

The moment Drew mentions the weapons Liam knows  that Alex has betrayed his trust and Perales ends up being washed out because of the information that Parrish passed on.  In the snowy woods, in the present, Simon seems ready to shoot Alex after she asks him to help her get justice by going after the people who have killed three of their number and countless civilians.

 LENNY PLATT, PRIYANKA CHOPRA
LENNY PLATT, PRIYANKA CHOPRA

Nimah and Ryan head up to Vermont to find Alex.  The twin explains what happened between Miranda and her and Nimah tells Ryan that they are all haunted by their actions and  beliefs.  The two agents arrive to collect Alex and she tells them that Simon is not the man he once was.

At the academy Shelby confides in Cheng about the half-sister scam and Cheng reveals that they left behind an aunt who, she believes, was put in prison after her family left Shanghai.  Alex questions Liam’s actions and they argue.

Olsen reveals that he knows of Caleb’s “alter-ego” Mark  Raymond, just after Haas calls him “Mr. Robot.” An apt comparison  although Will still seems more “Rain Man” than Eliot Anderson.  Miranda confronts Liam and reveals she knows he slept with Alex and she demands his resignation.

Simon sets his winter cottage alight and back at the academy Shelby calls Caleb/Mark and he is with the con-artist “half-sister” that Wyatt could not find. Olsen  takes a picture of the meeting with his cell phone. Booth calls Alex and the two mend things between them.

JOSH HOPKINS
JOSH HOPKINS

Asher arrives at Alex’s apartment offering help and somewhat suspiciously the burner phone that Parrish was given by the terrorists, rings.  Simon gives his medal of valor to Alex and when the phone rings, he plugs something into the device after telling her she can trust him.

The two main suspects are still Caleb and Simon although there is that female sounding voice on the scrambler.  Raina could be working with one of the two, although if she is in this  equation, Simon shoots to the number one spot of suspect.

Quantico has finally gotten serious. Gone are the “cutesy” physical attraction games that were so annoying and distracting at the beginning.  While these agents still look like they would be more at home on the pages of a glossy magazine or the catwalk the storyline, at least, has gotten grittier.

Priyanka Chopra let rip last week with some massive chops and the whole cast have clearly brought forward their ‘A’ game now that the series has gotten darker.  As usual, the show leaves the viewer fearing the next installment.

Drew, angrily firing his weapon at the range and Simon showing up to help Alex feel like forewarnings of more deceit and or death. While the episode was titled “Answer” the players are still quite some way from learning the one they all seek.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC.

Quantico: Alex – Standing Alone (Recap/Review)

After the events of the last episode of Quantico, where Elias Harper fell to his death and the FBI command center blew up injuring and killing a lot of the staff, including Caleb’s father (who was also sleeping with Wyatt).

PRIYANKA CHOPRA

After the events of the last episode of Quantico, where Elias Harper fell to his death and the FBI command center blew up injuring and killing a lot of the staff, including Caleb’s father (who was also sleeping with Wyatt) things have moved on. This week, Alex is facing a committee and testifying that she believes Harper was not acting alone. Parrish is the only member of the FBI who believes this and she faces opposition from every avenue.

Flashing back to Quantico and  the second half of their training, Alex and Shelby are struggling during P.T. and they decide to focus. Alex reveals that she has not spoked to Booth and Wyatt complains that bumping into her “ex” Caleb all the time is distracting.

As the trainees head toward their next lesson, they learn that the class above them will be competing with them over the next week. Liam O’Connor calls the completion their version of “Color Wars.”

The winning team choses five class members to send home from the loosing class. Parrish’s class must also compete in day-to-day assignments, things that include physical training and hand-to-hand combat. As each team works hard to defeat the other class, it ends in a tie with both classes meeting in a Hogan’s Alley hostage situation.

The competition does not go well for Alex’s class and they lose. The upper class “cheats” and Parrish, Wyatt and her classmates react badly. As a result, only three members of Alex’s class are sent home and two from the upper class are eliminated as a penalty for cheating.

Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis) then tells all the trainees that they will be working together for the rest of the course.

In the present, Alex continues to search for whoever was behind Elias Harper, who she believes was the scapegoat and not ultimately responsible. While there are many who are starting to support her ideas, her colleagues are all fighting her version of events.

Shelby Wyatt is, once again, angry with Alex as Caleb’s father is dead and her affair became public knowledge. Wyatt tells Alex she had to move back to Georgia to escape the paparazzi and that it is Parrish’s fault. Miranda’s son Charlie  is an uncooperative witness who does not want to talk to the authorities.

As the hearings continue, an old colleague of Alex’s; Duncan Howe, kills himself.  Just before jumping off a bridge, he tells the plainclothes cops to tell Alex what he said. Later it is revealed that Duncan told Parrish, via the policemen,  “he thought he didn’t have a choice.”

 ANABELLE ACOSTA, PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JACOB ARTIST
ANABELLE ACOSTA, PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JACOB ARTIST

Back at Quantico, the competing class members are antagonistic and spend much time playing mind games to put the other team off.

Alex testifies to the committee that she has changed her mind and no longer believes that Elias was a fall guy. Her colleagues are angry and Ryan angrily tells her that he is upset that she lied under oath.  Charlie finally talks about his experience but he does not know much.

After Parrish reverses her testimony, she gets harassing phone calls. One, however, is a scrambled call that appear to confirm her real suspicions and when she follows directions given by the caller she finds a familiar face waiting  for her.

Another storyline this week deals with Shelby Wyatt and Caleb being approached by the husband of  the con artist, who claimed to be Wyatt’s half-sister, and the man says she has been kidnapped.

By the time Quantico: Alex ends, the FBI agent is well and truly alone, except for her colleague who has mysteriously turned up. Parrish (Chopra) has all the people who helped her previously turn against her.

Mrs. Haas (Marcia Cross) looks neither pleased nor displeased at Alex’s change of testimony at the hearing.  One thing is certain though  Alex was right all along. Will anyone listen to her now?

MARCIA CROSS
MARCIA CROSS

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC.  The series has finally hit its stride and continues to pile on the questions and mystery. The show does have a cast who all look like they stepped from the pages of “Vogue” or “GQ” but the storyline is interesting enough to make that a secondary concern. Tune in and see some solid acting from some beautiful people.

 

Quantico: Inside – All Coming Together (Review)

Quantico: Inside has it all coming together for the midseason finale. The zooming in on Simon, Elias Harper being the wild card in the deck of suspects and a new suspect is provided via the flashback sequences over the “old” New Years celebrations brings things to a head.

RICK COSNETT

Quantico: Inside has it all coming together for the midseason finale. The zooming in on Simon, Elias Harper being the wild card in the deck of suspects and a new suspect is provided via the flashback sequences over the “old” New Years celebrations all combines to bring things to a head.

What the episode does not do, is give us the terrorist responsible for the Grand Central explosion and now the final bomb(s). We see the end of a “major” character, although latter peripheral who was upgraded would be more correct. It could well be that Harper did plant the first one, but…not likely.

Warning: If you have not watched the episode stop reading now…

Perhaps the most annoying thing about this Quantico winter break episode was the overkill direction given to poor Rick Cosnett, as Elias, when he appeared bloodied and “panicked” looking for Alex in command center. 

Last week, unless one was getting snacks from the kitchen or making a cup of tea, Harper was clearly seen slapping a hanky over Simon’s face whilst dragging him behind his door.  The point being that we know Elias is not a good guy. So when he shows up, looking bruised and battered (telling all and sundry that he was pushed in front of a car) we know something is rotten in New York.

Unfortunately, the actor then has to continually telegraph that his character is lying with a catalogue of “tells” like lengthy sidelong glances and avoiding eye contact.  His performance could be said to be taken from The Guide to Obvious Lying for Dummies. The actions of Harper literally scream, “I am lying!”

Later, when Harper allows himself to fall backward from  a window high enough from the street to guarantee his landing will resemble a huge smudge, Cosnett must have sighed with relief.  Director Thor Freudenthal deserves a huge slap on the wrist for that one.

There are a few other annoying things, not least of which the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Zeppo” riff.  In the Joss Whedon episode (written by Joss and directed by James Westmore Jr) Xander has a standoff moment over a bomb. When faced with certain death, Buffy’s guy pal says “I like the quiet,” and quiet is pointed out (stressed actually), as Simon holds a dead man’s switch in the hotel room.

Simon: “Blow it all up just so you can get some damn quiet…”
“You wanted them to find me. That’s why you brought them here before this bomb went off. So you better start telling the truth, or it is gonna get real, real quiet.”

Another thing that has to be mentioned is the fact that three trained FBI agents within arm’s reach of Harper allow him to fall to his death.  A real “what the fudge” moment. Granted it is shocking when Elias self-destructs rather than go to jail, but seriously?

MARCIA CROSS, GRAHAM ROGERS, JOHANNA BRADDY
Marcia Cross as the senator mommy…

In the flashback sequences, and later in present day, the appearance of Brie Van De Kamp, aka, Marcia Cross as Caleb’s senator mother was almost as shocking.  Cross has the ability to look colder than ice and quite fierce with it and her appearance in this episode is no exception. 

Away from this intrusion of an escapee from Wisteria Lane, Caleb (Graham Rogers) puts himself back into suspect status again.  Shelby (Johanna Braddy) comes out with her “cryptic” clue which feels like an over-obvious pay “attention to this one” hint:

“…you are willing to blow things up just to get people to see your truth..”

Like Cosnett with all his tells this screams out to the viewer that it must be Caleb.

But…

Consider this, since creator Joshua Safran has built his show upon the shifting sands of relationships, who does Alex meet at the flashback New Years party?  Ryan’s ex… This woman, who takes the time to tell Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) off is a former counter terrorist.  Add to the partial equation that the woman does not seem too friendly, apart from a pseudo ersatz display of bonhomie towards Alex initially and she makes a reasonable suspect.

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, ELIZA COUPE
Alex and the Ex…

Still, keeping with the overkill philosophy employed thus far, it is apparent that the real terrorist is Caleb Haas. The repeated reminders of his brainwashing at the hands of “The Cult” are not too dissimilar to your old college professor smacking the blackboard and bellowing “this will be on the test!”

(Or conversely metaphorically screaming at the viewer, “THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PLOT POINT!”)

Quantico may have left its more fanciful “dating game” approach behind and decided to become a proper mystery, full of paranoid government agents who are taught to suspect everyone, but it still has issues.  There can be, however, no doubt that something is pleasing the great public.

It could well be the gorgeous cast. The storyline is interesting but with all the flashbacks things can get lost. (I am still confused about the whole “Charlie/Miranda” plot thread.)  Plot threads aside, the introduction of a new suspect each week is going to run out of steam pretty quickly.

Hopefully on future episodes of Quantico directors will refrain from asking their actors to overact. Things are all coming together, although we still don’t know who is behind all the framing and the bombs, or the truth that Alex learns about Shelby’s late parents.  The series airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and see who is forced to overact next…

Quantico: Go – All About Sacrifice (Review)

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, YASMINE AL MASSRI, TATE ELLINGTON

In Quantico: Go, there are many revelations in the flashbacks to the academy.  Showing how Shelby meets Caleb’s dad, just how devious Liam O’Connor is and what the aftermath was of Simon discovering that Nimah was also Raina.  More is shown about Colby’s relationship with his father and more importantly, Vasquez’s scar, the one behind her ear, is fake as the NAT is seen replacing it while her lover is in the shower.

The theme, dealing with the training during the flashback sequences,  is one of sacrifice.  All of the trainees are at the mid-term point of their time at Quantico and exams must be passed.  One NAT is having problems, Vasquez’s squeeze, Brandon. Later, during the “classroom” exam, Fletcher turns out to be a “plant” who sets the other NAT’s up for their exam.

There are many things yet to be revealed from the flashbacks. Such as what happens to Simon that results with his leaving the academy in disgrace, or how Alex uncovers the truth (and what that is) about Shelby’s parent’s deaths. There is also nothing, as yet, on how Miranda Shaw is removed from her position.

In the present, Alex and Simon track down Raina and learn that the twins infiltrated a terrorist cell and that Nimah is trapped with the cell.  Vasquez, who discovered that her current lover Ryan is helping Alex, put a tracker on his jacket and then allows Shelby and Booth to lead O’Connor to Parrish.

Back at the academy, the test requires the group to “sacrifice” themselves. Simon, who is a  Jack of all trades type of guy, first attempt to unlock the door and then to disarm a bomb that Brandon left in the exam room. As he starts to make the device safe, the doors open and a lot of NATs run out.

RICK COSNETT, YASMINE AL MASSRI
Elias Harper (Rick Cosnett) freaking out…

The rest wait for the bomb to go off and later learn that because they stayed with Simon and chose to sacrifice themselves that they passed their mid-term exam, those who left, including Elias Harper, failed and will be sent home.

In the present, Alex and Ryan get away from O’Connor and Vasquez only to be stopped by the latter.  At the terrorist cell, Nimah and Raina flee as the terrorist leader begins shooting, one round catches Booth and after a tense moment, his girlfriend lets Parrish and a wounded Ryan go.

While Vasquez looks agitated, Booth’s jacket still has the tracker on it, so the agent may not really have had a change of heart at all.

There is still a lot left to be uncovered. For example, just what it is that Liam is so desperate for Alex not to find out. In the flashback sequences, after Parrish learns why Booth agreed to get close to her, she threatens O’Connor and he offers to give Ryan his badge back.

With Ryan now wounded and still wearing the tracker, it seems that Vasquez has set him up although why she opted to let Booth and Alex go is a mystery. As is the fake scar that Natalie places behind her ear, the same scar she was so eager to show off in an earlier episode.

The real bomber is still out there and Alex is now no closer to learning who that may be. Caleb is not such a hot suspect, but Vasquez is moving a bit closer to possible terrorist. The fake scar and allowing Alex to leave, points toward the agent hiding something and then hoping that police, who are still under the “shoot to kill” order take care of Parrish and her “former” lover.

O’Connor could also be behind the bombing after all  the man has secrets yet to be revealed and his displeasure at Alex definitely puts him top of the list in terms of framing the new agent.

Quantico is steadily improving its game. The show now has flashbacks that do much more than irritate and the storyline has less of a “The Dating Game” (or “Bachelorette”) feel and more of a tightened mystery. Although there are still a lot of relationships that are intertwining between the NAT’s and the new agents.

Simon still has a thing for one of the twins, Ryan still cares for Alex, Shelby has moved on from Caleb and is an affair  with Haas senior and Vasquez has been hurt by Booth’s helping Alex.  The series may have played too much on the sexual aspects of the show at the start, but it now seems that there was a method to Joshua Safran‘s madness.

Annabelle Acosta as Natalie Vasquez delivers as the least exposed NAT and later Special Agent on the show. A major player who is currently sleeping with Ryan (Jake McLaughlin)  she now seems a pretty good suspect that little is known about.  

ANABELLE ACOSTA
Vasquez sleeping with the enemy?

What is that fake scar about and was she really that jealous about Ryan helping Alex? Only time will reveal what is really going on with this woman.

The series airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and see if it Vasquez or O’Connor who blew up Grand Central and which one is framing Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) or if not either of them, who is. 

 

Quantico: God – Sex, Lies and Secrets (Review)

Yasmine Al Massri

In Quantico; God this week,  the series culminates in a maelstrom of sex, lies and secrets that suddenly plunge the NATs into some game changing events. A new suspect is revealed and the viewer learns more about Miranda and Charlie.  The focus, for this episode, is more about the “ago” and less about the now and Alex’s struggle to prove her innocence.  Each flashback tells more of the backstory of each NAT.

Simon’s fall from grace, Nimah’s exposure as twins, Shelby and Caleb’s relationship, Parrish learning about Ryan’s assignment to “watch her” all either come to light, or are in danger of being revealed,  in God during the Quantico assignment tied into the present crisis.  DITU (a part of PRISM) where the FBI actively spy on US denizens,  with the legal excuse of sniffing out terrorists, is the flashback training segment in the center and it ties in nicely with Alex’s present situation.

In the “now” Caleb Haas is the guy watching all the various feeds looking to find Alex in the pre-Grand Central explosion. He is also searching for something else;  Shelby Wyatt, who is having an affair with his father and he catches them together.

Everything, back during the training flashbacks, falls apart with the speed of  a runaway mine train.  Intimate (sexual) relationships, which are forbidden between NATs, collapse or become exposed, or (in Shelby’s and Caleb’s case) interfere with someone else’s trysts.

The show this week is all about trust, lies, secrets, relationships and fear of same. Miranda’s issues with her son Charlie have been in the background for a number of episodes and now has become a major plot point in the show. Shaw changes the NATs assignment from watching each other to surveilling  her life. This is a last ditch effort to find out what her recently released from “Juvie” kid is up to.

The young man was primed to be a “school shooter;” names on a list, guns collected and ready to go, before his mother turned him in.  Now he is out of “prison” and Shaw has him back home but does not trust him, nor does he trust her.  More secrets are exposed when she tells Charlie that his note with the names was destroyed by her. Miranda tells her son that had she not gotten rid of the list, he would still be in jail.

Shadowing  Miranda’s house, Alex and Ryan come unstuck when Liam, who is “helping” his former lover out by talking to Charlie, finds Booth listening in and he angrily confronts the agent he tasked to watch Parrish. Liam’s outburst is heard by Alex, who  drives off in the surveillance van and switches rooms with Vasquez.

Present day sees Alex asking Simon to bug Caleb’s computer at the incident room. She learns about Wyatt’s affair with Haas’ father and she finds footage of Nimah before the bombing. As a result of both these separate events, Caleb is no longer a suspect but “Nimah” is.

Back at Quantico “past,” Simon discovers that Nimah is in fact twins and gets accidentally knocked out and locked in a closet until Miranda can be found.  Caleb inadvertently messes up Vasquez’s love life, although she begins the groundwork to get together with Booth.  Liam continues to lie to Alex.

In the present day, Vasquez learns that Ryan has not been talking to O’Connor on his cell phone and turns him into Liam. She tells the man she believes  Ryan is helping Alex. What she does not know is that Simon and Shelby are as well.

Unfortunately, when Shelby sees the footage that Caleb put in the trash file, she confronts him about the affair with his father.  This may cause more damage than Ryan’s being rumbled by his new lover. Once Haas gets over his immediate pain, he will wonder why Wyatt took that moment to apologize about the affair.

According to  ratings, Quantico is picking up speed with the preferred demographic (19 – 45) and watching the episodes on offer, it is easy to see why.  Disregarding the “not so hidden” cheerleading of an organization that now watches American citizen’s every move…legally, the series offers beefcake, gorgeous gals and plenty of sex. Granted the sex is more often implied rather than shown, but is is ever present.

Show creator Joshua Safran still spends a lot of time moving between relationships of the great looking class of 2015 and the show’s plot line of “Who Framed Jessica Rabbit (Alex Parrish).”  Gone, for the time being is the almost frantic patriotism that indicates, overtly so, that it is okay to spy on our fellow man. 

This week’s showing off of DITU is as disturbing as the “feel free to turn in your neighbor, or family member” “red under every bed”  paranoiac rant. The very fact that nothing about our lives is really our own in this day and age  of modern technology and the Internet is unsettling and almost enough to convince even the most optimistic viewer that the US is heading for Stalin’s Russia.

Despite the alarm bells that this show sets off (To be fair, Quantico is not the only show to promote spying on the public…legally.) the series is getting better.  The flashbacks, which felt so disjointed and intrusive at the start, now have a discernible pattern. The characters have also  gotten that bit more dimensional.

The series is finding its feet, oh so slowly, and it is to the credit of the actors and the writers that the viewing of each episode is becoming more about finding out who is so determined to pin the explosion on Alex.  This FBI tale is an odd bit of entertainment, parts procedural (which the show does very well) and parts “Blind Date” set in an environment filled  with a bevy of beautiful people.

Thus far, the list of suspects, apart from Alex (Priyanka Chopra) is fluctuating. The last to appear is Nimah, who should be way too obvious to be a real suspect…or is she? Nimah is, after all, twins, recruited by Shaw. One is much more “fundamentalist” than the other so could this be the ultimate truth? 

Watching the show from day one, however,  there is the nagging feeling that Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkinsis behind all the framing of Alex, if not the explosions that leveled Grand Central.  Vasquez could also be a suspect, but her betrayal of Ryan may have much more to do with jealousy than anything else.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and join the growing numbers of 19 – 45 year-old fans who apparently cannot get enough of the show…or Chopra…