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: Quantico (Review)

Looking at the title of the following episode of Quantico, which is a bit of spoiler; Inside, it is apparent that they do not catch the real terrorist before Alex’s time is up. Quantico continues to trot out the same old new suspects.

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JOHANNA BRADDY, ANABELLE ACOSTA

Looking at the title of the following episode of Quantico, which is a bit of spoiler as it is called  Inside, it is apparent that they do not catch the real terrorist before Alex’s time is up. Quantico continues to trot out the same old new suspects. Although there is a pop goes the weasel moment at Simon’s house at the end of this episode that is surprising.

After taking ages to even itself out, Quantico has finally settled down into a mystery of  almost epic proportions. 61 suspects, more betrayals than even Julius Caesar experienced on that fateful day in March and more reveals than an Amsterdam strip club.  The show began not really knowing what it wanted to be.  A crime drama with more beefcake and totty than the average viewer could shake a taser at.

The women and men; all beautiful specimens who apparently could not wait, to bed the objects of their desire.  Although two, Alex and Ryan got a head start before the first class at Quantico began.  The series has since  been settling down with less emphasis on all the pretty people who want to be the next “big thing” in the FBI and more on paranoia of one’s fellow man, or woman, and how no one is what they seem.

Secrets make the world go round on Quantico.  Simon was a man who lured women into an Israeli organization to be tortured, and worse. Vasquez  wears a fake scar to remind herself of who she used to be.  Shelby Wyatt has been conned for years by a woman claiming to be her half sister, and then she goes on to have a affair with Simon’s father.

These more  “sordid” hidden pasts are joined by Ryan Booth’s being “special agent” sent undercover  to get close to Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra).  Miranda’s son was imprisoned because he was caught before shooting up a school. Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkins) is an alcoholic who worked with Alex’s father (who a teenaged Parrish shot to death) and the two of them screwed up and allowed a number of innocent people to be killed in a terrorist attack.  

All these hidden agendas and buried skeletons in, apparently, every NATs life make the suspect list even longer for who really planted the Grand Central bomb and another explosive device  that Alex believes it still out there.

Quantico is an odd duck. It combines crime with drama and throws in enough romance, failed relationships and suspects, with an axe or two to grind,  that it feels a little like a daytime soap with prettier actors and a better written plot.

To be fair, creator Joshua Safran is busily ripping back layer after layer of cover ups, lies and past crimes of each of the “main” NATs while pulling us ever closer to the present and the frame up of Alex.  Vasquez is revealed to be a former victim, Simon a “war criminal” and Shelby…

Wyatt may be the most interesting of all once we finally learn the truth about her dead parents. Something that Parrish discovers and becomes  the final straw that ended their friendship back in Quantico as NATs.  Now of course all the “friends” who came to Alex’s aid in the present are feeling betrayed and hard done by.

TATE ELLINGTON
Tate Ellington as Simon Asher

We learn that Simon developed the plan adopted for the Grand Central bombing and that Shelby is once again furious with Alex  but this time for learning about her affair with Caleb’s dad.  Raina and Nimah are at odds as the “virgin” still believes the wounded terrorist that her twin slept with is an idealist and not a murderer.

While Asher still looks pretty good as the main suspect, the re-emergence of Elias Harper (Rick Cosnett) looks to lead the investigation in yet another direction. By the time  that Harper shows up, Alex is once again isolated from everyone who aided her. 

As the next episode suggests Parrish must end up behind bars, all the better to draw out the suspense of who really blew up the FBI agent and Grand Central.  Tate Ellington as Simon rocks it as does Annabelle Acosta as Vasquez in this episode. Chopra as Alex maintains that high level of commitment she started the series with.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC and the show is starting to come together…finally.

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…

Quantico: Kill – Deception Everywhere (Review)

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JOHANNA BRADDY

The flashbacks this week on Quantico segue way into the episode perfectly. Kill, aka Deception, picks up pace and puts Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) on the “shoot to kill” list after news that she has taken  a second hostage. In the NAT backstory, this episode sees the trainees learning about hostage taking scenarios and we learn how one exercise seriously upsets Alex. 

During the flashbacks, it is shown that Liam O’Connor (Josh Hopkins) after offering to help Alex learn the “truth” about the father she shot and killed, is now out to have her removed from Quantico. In the NAT scenes Booth shows that he would rather support Alex than help O’Connor kick her out and Shelby Wyatt  (Johanna Braddyand Alex become close friends.

In the present, Shelby and Alex are not close, after a huge falling out, not covered in flashbacks yet, when Parrish learns the “truth” about her friends parents.  Booth is helping Alex, despite appearances to the contrary and Ryan even pushed Simon Asher into not betraying Parrish.

Back in training, the NATS  learn all about hostage situations and participate in exercises aimed to teach the trainees teamwork and how to make snap decisions. In the second scenario, a driven Alex, freezes after images of her mother and father replays in her mind. Her inaction gets Ryan shot and then she takes a shot from a hostage. O’Connor tells her off and suggests she leave Quantico.

When Parrish starts to do just that, Booth and Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis) talk the upset agent in training out of leaving and O’Connor is furious with Ryan.  Shaw is busy in the flashbacks, she also talks Nimah out of leaving the experimental “twins as one agent” test she is working on.

Simon comes close to turning Alex over, until Booth intervenes. Asher and Parrish go to Shelby Wyatt’s house, one of many apparently, and the agent comes home. Guns are drawn and the two women reach a stalemate until Ryan shows up and disarms Wyatt. Taking Asher away, Shelby begins fighting Alex and the two have a protracted struggle for control until Parrish finally overpowers the other agent.

In Kill,  by the end of the episode Alex is forcing Shelby to tell her about the primer found in her apartment, which is manufactured by Wyatt’s company and Ryan is telling Simon off for almost turning her in.   The show still has a few rough edges, for instance the flashback sequences, but the pace is picking up nicely and as pointed out earlier, the backstory is matching the storyline.  One problem that still remains is the huge amount of players who have hidden agendas and who are not what they claim to be.

For a show about an FBI devoted to protecting the average American from terrorism from within, an amazing amount of trainees have ulterior motives and secrets that should have been caught. For example, the Mormon chap who shoots himself, and an agent,  when Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers) bluffed the trainee into believing he had learned about a death he was responsible for. 

Another “implied” secret is the one that Shelby Wyatt is  apparently hiding about  the real story behind her parents death, presumably it is not connected with 9/11 at all.  Although this has not been spelled out for the cheap seats just yet.

The actors all continue to deliver, despite the script not following a clear logical progression of storyline.  When Alex chooses to leave Quantico after the hostage “deaths” in training, the sudden change in her mood and attitude are illogical. One moment she is “on point” and in charge almost daring her team to keep up and the next she is in tears.

Certainly the file on her father has caused her problems but because of the limited time given each flashback, it is hard to track. The Simon Asher backstory, with analyst Elias Harper picking at the man’s credentials is interesting but also disturbing. Harper comes across as a combination of jilted lover and xenophobic patriotic zealot.

The storyline now has given Alex Parrish the added burden of being instantly shot by the police. This has increased the pressure on her to find who really blew up Grand Central and who is framing her for the terrorist act.

There are some moments of truth in the show. Shelby finding out about Alex shooting her father from Ryan who thought she already knew and the two women bonding in their shared room.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC.  Tune in and see if the series ever gets the formula just right or continues to flounder. Thus far, the show is a little hit and miss but still has potential, see what you think.