Hoo boy, the Quantico writers learned something from the How to Get Away With Murder crew about throwing in some last-minute curveballs. A decently exciting episode, Quantico 1×11 “Inside” ramped up the action right at the end with a couple of figurative shots fired (or bombs triggered), but we won’t see the fallout until March 2016. So, in the meantime, let’s look at where things leave off.
Present: Alex, Nimah, and Vasquez find Simon captured in a hotel room, with his hand wrapped around a trigger. Elias, who helped lead them there, tries to deflect the blame but is obviously complicit in this trap.
Past: Having eschewed family occasions for staying at Quantico, Alex, Shelby, and Vasquez join Caleb at his family’s annual New Year’s Eve party.
Let’s start off with the Quantico portions. Showrunner Joshua Safran compared this week’s episode to Gossip Girl, and there’s certainly romantic and professional intrigue in a lavish party that everyone dresses up for. But the biggest reason for this narrative detour is to for Alex and Shelby to exorcise their boy demons.
Alex runs into Ryan, who’s not in LA as he’d said, but is undercover… with his ex-wife. The wonderful Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings) plays Hannah, who is basically Hannah’s idol and gets to spend the next year with Ryan—too bad all he’ll talk about is Alex. I really enjoyed the scene between these two, as Hannah admitted to feeling some jealousy and having her own bias for Ryan and Alex not getting back together, yet said so straightforwardly. According to IMDb, she’ll be appearing in 1×12 in March; I’m excited to see her get more screentime. But can we talk about how creepy it is that a crying Alex goes running to Liam’s car? We see in the present that he fell in love with her, and I’m starting to worry it’s not entirely one-sided.
Shelby and Caleb have been a bit awkward since last week’s heart-wrenching scene in which he revealed her half-sister to be a con artist, but ironically it’s his family that drives them further apart. Shelby and Claire Haas have a great moment in which Shelby asks, “Should I be afraid of Caleb?” “You should be afraid of what other people can do to him,” his mother says with the gravity of someone who’s seen it. Groups like the cult the Haases had to rescue him from will take advantage of him. He’s also capable of ruining things from the inside out, as Shelby learns when he reveals that the only reason the family is reunited is because Claire is running for Vice President. I have to imagine that Claire didn’t intend Shelby to cut ties with Caleb and then sleep with Clayton… as she tells Shelby in the present, she’s going to ruin her for what she did to her son.
However, these relationship issues take a back seat to the stark reality of another bomb! I’m glad it didn’t take the agents too long to realize that Elias was working for the terrorists. Though in typical Elias fashion, it was to cover his own ass (in this case, he had falsified evidence as a trial attorney), and he atones by tripping himself out a window. Sigh.
Also, after everything we’ve seen this season, it’s a really bad idea to put a trigger in Simon’s hand, what with his talk about being able to just blow all the bad stuff away. Which makes it even more awful that, after the FBI defuses the bomb in the hotel and Alex tells Simon to let go of the trigger, a third bomb goes off! And it’s at the FBI command center. Oh shit.
The overarching theme of this episode was good people being forced to do bad things. Simon made the plans for the bomb, but only ever wanted to use it as a warning. Elias—well, he’s not a good person, so let’s skip him. But what most fascinated me, for a frustratingly brief ten seconds, was Caleb wearing his fake Scientology glasses, touring the FBI command center before the first bombing! For the last time before March, let’s look at our possible suspects. This episode really reshuffled the deck, in a way that gives us plenty to ponder for the next three months.
Simon Asher: Not Guilty, but you know he’s going to feel guilty for unintentionally triggering the FBI bomb.
Elias Harper: RIP.
Caleb Haas: Guilty! But it’s unclear what the Scientology-like cult has to do with this; if he’s using them as a deep cover to root out other terrorists, or if we’ve lost him. This episode laid out so many arguments for how malleable Caleb is.
Clayton Haas: Not Guilty, unless he needs to protect Caleb.
Shelby Wyatt: Not Guilty… a conditional ruling, as we have yet to learn the truth about her parents. (Still applies.)
Alex Parrish: Not Guilty.
Ryan Booth: Not Guilty.
Liam O’Connor: Not Guilty.
Miranda Shaw: Not Guilty.
Charlie Shaw: Guilty? His kidnapping and return seems suspicious.
Nathalie Vasquez: Not Guilty.
Nimah Amin: Not Guilty.
Raina Amin: Not Guilty.