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: 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: Cover – Trust No One (Review)

JOHANNA BRADDY, PRIYANKA CHOPRA

Quantico with its new episode Cover proves that the verse is getting a little more convoluted and that Alex should trust no one, even her mother has turned against her. The flashbacks are, it seems, starting to “catch-up” although the whole “terrorist under every bed” schtick is getting old. As Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers) says in the locker room scene:

“Hey, really cool spy training. What’s next? How fast you can close a sandwich in a ziplock bag?”

Last week saw Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) learn that her apartment was full of incriminating evidence and she barely escaped being caught. She is still on the run and turns to Simon Asher  (Tate Ellington) who is no longer with the bureau, having “washed out” of training, for help. 

The flashbacks show the NAT’s training during the psyche portion of the syllabus.  The emphasis is on each trainee learning what their fellow NAT’s weaknesses are. After an exercise where they must list each “down side” the trainees are told by Miranda Shaw (Aunjanue Ellis) to chose three NATs to be kicked out, or Miranda will choose 10.

Simon votes someone out, the only class member to do so (although the entire class sans two were getting ready to do the same) and is formally reprimanded by Shaw as a result. This is apparently the first step to Asher being “kicked out” although, as we learn later, Asher is not really out of the program, nor was he, apparently, ever really in it.

Quantico may be tightening up its storyline, oh so slowly, but it still requires a huge suspension of disbelief, all these pretty people all deciding to become FBI agents and most, apparently, with ulterior motives for joining.

It was hard enough to swallow an ex-marine undercover agent keeping an eye on Alex Parrish but now there are two. Booth (Jake McLaughlin) getting shot obviously necessitated the use of Asher, but wait… How can he be undercover when he got booted from the program? 

There appears to be too many devils hiding behind every rock in this show. Between the paranoiac rants of a bomber under every bed, turning on your neighbor, or family, and the total amount of “undercover agents” all out to get new agent Parrish this one is a tough sell.

The show may eventually find its feet though. This episode, with the new and improved “narrative” at the open by Chopra about her character, feels smoother and better paced. This could be down to the writers’ vision coming closer to fruition or the series could now be coming together, i.e. flashbacks now equalling more clarity versus an excuse to see the pretty kids playing at FBI training.

Quantico still suffers from too much information and plot devices in too short a time.  With all the “game changing” twists thrown at the viewer it is difficult to maintain too much interest in the characters on offer. Each one has some sort of secret.

“Poor little rich girl” Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy) electronically transfers a million dollars toward the end of Cover. Viewers also learn that Ms. “Heartless” Vazquez has a husband (ex?) that is keeping her away from their daughter while she is training.  We also find that Simon Asher is also an undercover agent, along with Ryan Booth. 

At this rate, it is beginning to look like the only NAT who is not some sort of experiment (Nimah and Raina played by Yasmine Al Massri), or an undercover agent for some reason, is Alex Parrish whose job is to be a scapegoat for some terrorist activity. In this episode it is shown that she has been targeted since she arrived at Quantico. 

Mother Parrish tells Liam O’Connor, who she knows already, that Alex went missing for a year…

Thus far Quantico, despite a high rating in IMDb, is still struggling to convince or to overcome its breakneck pace of divulging “secrets” and plot twists. Like the pilot, the episodes are too short for all the information that the show’s creator Joshua Safran is shotgunning at the audience. 

There are glimmers of possible greatness, over and above the cheesecake factor of the entire cast, performances that shine and actors that are struggling to get over a sense of truth with their character.  While this new series is not everyone’s cup of tea, it may eventually get to point where it starts to entertain instead of merely frustrate.

Priyanka Chopra is the brightest spark in this show (followed closely by Johanna Braddy) and her first move to break into the American market may be hindered by an obtuse plot line and too many pretty co-stars.  Quantico airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in for the eye candy and the multitudinous plot threads being machine-gunned at the viewer.