I’m always impressed with the subtle ways in which Quantico contrasts its two stories. For instance, this week the trainees finally get the freedom of nights and weekends off, but in the present the noose is tightening around all of them.
Present: With all of her fellow agents and accomplices in custody, Alex has only Ryan and her Unknown friends to help her… but should she leave the country? And after Unknown hacks the FBI, Caleb is tasked with deleting sensitive emails that might help exonerate Alex.
Past: The trainees get to visit the Bureau for the first time, where they are each tasked with a piece of a practice case.
Quantico was really strong last week and this week–and while it was mostly due to some more dramatic twists, there were a handful of deeply grounding emotional moments.
At Quantico, the NATs get to rearrange their living quarters, with Alex and Nimah bunking together; Shelby and Vasquez timing their sexcapades with Caleb and Brandon so they can all be happy; and Simon and Raina living together?
That part was unclear, but what is clear is that they’re finally trying to get to know each other. The problem is, even though Simon had sex with Raina, he’s attracted to many parts of Nimah’s personality. However, Nimah, seeing how upset Raina is now that the two of them inhabit the same space, told Simon to back off. (Didn’t stop her from going out for late-night drinks with Shelby, though.)
Of course, right as their assignment is to combine work on multiple cases into one massive case, is when the trainees have reason not to trust one another, or the Bureau. Caleb is suspicious of Shelby and her half-sister in Saudi Arabia (who only Alex knows about), while Alex uses her time at the Bureau to steal a file on her dad and Liam regarding a bombing in Omaha in the 1990s.
Yes, Alex is back to her reckless ways. I don’t know why this rubs me the wrong way; probably because I’m a commensurate rules-follower. But of course, her zeal is what makes her an interesting TV heroine. Liam catches Alex stealing the file and sets her up to “lose” the training practice, in which she accidentally brings “ebola” inside the Bureau. It’s a low blow, a shitty humiliation made strangely prescient considering where everyone is at now.
The only people who get a lot of play in the present are Alex, who has to perform field surgery on Ryan, and Caleb, who gets stuck cleaning up the FBI’s messes after they get hacked. I have to say, this show is doing a lot to win me over to Caleb. He’s stuck between trying to help clear Alex’s name, and keeping his dad’s name out of the press if the media catches wind of his and Shelby’s affair–partly for his mother’s nomination, but really for her feelings.
Yet, we learn, Caleb’s relationship with his father is even more complicated: At 17, he got wrapped up in an organization that avoids the title of “cult,” and his dad literally stormed the premises to get him out–not to mention scrubbing that from his files. It kills him, he tells Shelby at Quantico, that the last time someone cared for him the way he hopes she does, they were lying to him, to use him. And why does he then attend a Scientology (not name-dropped, but obvious) meeting under a false identity? Is it cathartic, or is he getting pulled back into that world? Finally, present-Caleb discovers that Shelby was going to break up with his father because she still loved Caleb, so that’s interesting.
The Caleb reveal gave me some feels, but the moment that hit the hardest was with Miranda’s son, Charlie. She brings him to the Bureau to observe her trainees, and this is the brightest we’ve seen him all season. But when he gets up the nerve to ask her if he could ever be an agent, and she fumbles her way through explaining about background checks and mistakes that can’t be reversed, he jumps off the roof. It’s the kind of soapy twist I should have expected, but it still hit me hard. I’d hoped for redemption for Charlie, but he must have thought there was no hope left.
Speaking of parents and children, Alex discovers the truth about her father: He, Liam, and other agents failed to stop a bombing in Omaha, which killed 204 people, and covered it up. Though they claim it was to protect the reputations of every agent, it’s still a selfish move. But in the present, Alex does something incredibly selfless by turning herself in to the FBI… because she thinks there’s another bomb somewhere in the city!
This week’s lesson that every piece of evidence is just part of a larger puzzle got me thinking: Could the episode titles be part of the mystery? Could they be scrambled and rearranged to make some message? Run – America – Cover – Kill – Found – God – Go – Over… So far all I have is “found God,” but it’s something worth thinking about.
Simon Asher: Guilty? He closed the episode out having a very suspicious conversation with someone who looked to be making some sort of tech.
Caleb Haas: Not Guilty.
Clayton Haas: Guilty. There’s another reason he wants Caleb to delete those emails, aside from hiding his affair.
Shelby Wyatt: Not Guilty.
Alex Parrish: Not Guilty.
Ryan Booth: Not Guilty.
Liam O’Connor: Guilty? His setup of Alex during the training exercise does mirror her getting framed. Or it could be he’s just wrapped up in this because of his wounded pride.
Miranda Shaw: Not Guilty.
Nathalie Vasquez: Not Guilty.
Nimah and Raina Amin: Not Guilty.