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: 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: Guilty – Wait a Minute…What?

ANNE HECHE, YASMINE AL MASSRI, PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JAKE MCLAUGHLIN, TATE ELLINGTON

Quantico: Guilty follows up nicely from last week’s episode of Over. Oded Fehr turns up a an interrogator for HIG (What ever that stands for), Anne Hecht (in what could be seen as a sort of skewed type casting) plays an M.E. who Simon turns in for falsifying evidence and Alex pleads guilty to the charges read by a grim faced judge…Wait a minute…What?

The show was doing well, with its mystery of who set up Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) with a long list of suspects, each more convincingly laid out than the previous.  Caleb Haas, Liam O’Connor and the rest were all prime suspects and now, after a “last minute” save by Liam, Alex is free from uber baddy Griffin Wells (Fehr) and Ryan has been saved from another double-fingered invasion by the president’s interrogator. 

Caleb, turns out to have been a “good guy” all along and he discovers the missing link that helps to get Alex off the hook.  The Nimah “twins” work to help prove what Haas Jr has found is correct and it is all “happy families” by the end of the impromptu investigation by the “we believe Alex team.”

However…

Liam, who still seems pretty dubious as “hero” tells Alex that whoever framed her needs to believe that she has rolled over and confessed. Parrish being behind bars will trick the real terrorist into making a mistake and will lead the authorities to the other bomb.  In the flashback sequence, where Simon (Tate Ellington) almost gets an air bubble injected into his spinal cord by Dr. Langdon (Anne Heche), he turns in the M.E. for falsifying evidence.

This must be what leads to his being dismissed by the bureau, who have already proven that they will close ranks to protect their own, and the “teaser” is that Asher, speaking in Hebrew (?) meeting with the bomb maker and gets a parcel from the man. Add to this action his anti-FBI and American rhetoric and it looks like Simon may be the terrorist who framed Alex and then helped to clear her.

W…T…F?

Or in polite parlance…Wait a minute chaps, something is not adding up here. Granted, it appears that everyone in this foray into FBI training and after is not who they say they are. On top of all these hidden agendas and fictitious backstories as well as mighty suspicious secrets, we have Caleb’s father who is about as pure as the driven slush and Liam who seems to be conveniently crawling back into the bottle when Alex learns the “truth.”

There is also the flashback portion of the show, with Dr. Langdon bringing up “blind spots” (a pretty important plot point in present day Quantico) which is meant to make Simon seem guilty as hell.

Sidenote: Both Oded Fehr and Anne Heche knock it out of the park with their guest roles.  Best bits of the episode’s storyline came from these two performers’ portion of the show. 

ANNE HECHE
Anne Heche as Dr. Langdon

The clincher, in this “cliffhanger” is Alex pleading guilty to all the charges levied.  Okay, Liam has apparently talked Parrish into going for the feint, where she stays “locked up” in order to expose the real bomber, but pleading guilty, in court, in an orange jumpsuit will result in jail time sans bail (If we are to assume anything even closely resembling reality.) effectively taking her out of the search for the real terrorist. Not too mention gumming up the legal works for a long time when, and if, Liam sets matters straight. In the real world, despite the reason, someone would be in serious trouble.

Granted, Quantico is not “real life” but as the creator opted to set the show in a real world institution/organization (the FBI) certainly more than a nod to procedure and  training at the academy is required.  We all love a mystery, but this one is beginning to resemble a kitchen sink drama where everyone and everything, including the thing we hand wash our dishes and delicates in, has been thrown into the mix.

Leaving the overly long list of suspects, some of whom have been cleared…maybe…Alex pleading guilty makes the suspension of disbelief that bit more difficult to maintain.  So too, is the idea that Simon is the terrorist.  Out of all the suspects being trotted out (like a game of Clue (Cluedo) on steroids or LSD – “It was Col Mustard, Miss White, Rev Green and Professor Plum in the library with the spanner, axe, pistol, pipe!”) the most likely one, at this juncture,  is Caleb’s daddy.

This man is so desperate to have his personal emails, and Shelby’s remember, scrubbed that he even asks for one that could clear Alex to be taken care of as well. Later, the agent who sent him the message is found dead, sans phone.   The philandering husband, father and FBI bigwig should be immediately placed in the number one spot of suspect by the viewer and the “teaser” about Simon disregarded completely.

Still, the title says Guilty. So the plot of Quantico must follow the formula and place Alex in that status. Although with the current storyline Parrish has been considered guilty from minute one so is this a case of redundancy in title cleverness? She could also be incarcerated with a  plea of “not guilty” so what the heck is going on, why the overkill?

With one episode left and the first episode in 2016 being titled “Inside” it seems that this thread will run its course and Alex will go to prison, on remand till her trial, and that everyone who matters will know that she really is innocent.

Sure…

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC and is suspension of disbelief is a problem…give this one a miss…Sorry Joshua Safran you lost me on this one.

 

 

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.