This Quantico review contains spoilers.
Quantico: Season 1, Episode 10
My first five-star review of the season! And with next week being the winter finale, fingers crossed Quantico can continue to bring it. But first, let’s see where we left off with the somewhat redundantly-titled 10th episode, “Quantico.” This is one of the best cases of the show’s two threads almost exactly mirroring one another:
Present: Even though the FBI has brought in Alex’s friends (Shelby, Ryan, Simon, Raina, Nimah, and Caleb) to help, they still suspect them of being the terrorists. Despite Alex’s protests, they keep surveillance on them.
Past: The NATs must vet the incoming class after them, but they’re too busy doing background checks on each other — notably, Vasquez and Simon.
“OH SHIT” was what I kept exclaiming during this episode. It was taut, just the right amount of thrilling, and somehow managed to dole out several reveals without treading the same ground twice.
Let’s start with the biggest character — Simon. Poor, misunderstood, self-sabotaging Simon. We already knew that he got kicked out of Quantico, but it was so upsetting to see that it was for the last reason anyone would’ve guessed. Not that he volunteered for the IDF, not his tearful confession that he unwittingly helped his rogue platoon leader interrogate (and much worse) innocent women and their husbands. No, it was the fact that he assaulted Ryan during the third week of training and it never got reported.
That was one of Simon’s many outbursts, but it came and went so quickly that I hardly remembered it happened. Still, it was one of several examples, and we can’t ignore how scary Simon is when he’s truly angry. Angry, and hurt — at this point in the flashbacks, we learn that he’s been drafting up plans for a big political statement to show everybody.
Which ties into the present: Simon admits to the group, “I’m the only one who knows the truth. I’m the one who planned Grand Central.” Kudos to the Quantico writers for letting us hang on those choice of words for an agonizingly long commercial break, only to learn that Simon didn’t actually set off the bombs: Whoever stole his plans did. Of course, it’s still insane that he thought that planting bombs under a mosque and a synagogue and basically setting up a city-wide (and perhaps worldwide) standoff would fix things. But that’s Simon — willing to go to dangerous extremes in the quest for what he thinks is right.
The rest of the reveals are much smaller by comparison, but they still packed emotional wallops. Raina falling for the leader of the terrorist cell was disturbing, but I hope the writers delve more into it so we can better understand the nuance. If anything, it’s an interesting way to align her with Simon and his sense of right. It also served to show us the difference between the sisters: Nimah will sleep with the cell leader, but Raina’s the naive one creating an emotional connection.
Vasquez’s fake scar makes sense; knowing that her baby daddy’s abuse was invisible, she needed a way to prove how dangerous he was. But leaving for Quantico has taken her daughter away from her, and (if I remember correctly) we don’t know if she has her back in the present.
No one seemed particularly shocked that Booth was an undercover agent, but considering the secrets already revealed in their class, it’s not that big of a bombshell. Of course, if he hadn’t made the comment about Simon shoving him against the wall — and him recognizing the soldier with pain in his eyes — then Simon wouldn’t have gotten kicked out. I love seemingly insignificant yet damning moments like this.
But Shelby. Oh, Shelby. I so wanted to believe that her half-sister was real; the two had vacations and cute giggly Skype dates, for crissakes! But we live in an age of dedicated catfishing and the long con, and Caleb’s hunch turned out to be right. The scene where he confronts the con artist and she immediately drops the act was awful enough, but then we see Shelby swallowing back sobs in the corner, and — oh, my heart.
I thought I remembered there being a mention in the present about something coming out about her parents after their deaths, which I don’t believe has been alluded to yet. So, there might yet be reason to not be on her side… but right now I am. Especially with her ending things with Clayton while under surveillance, i.e., very much on the record. Even with Marcia Cross next week looking all formidable as Mrs. Haas…!
Also, so many good back-and-forths this week, like Ryan and Alex (“I never said ‘I love you’ when I really wanted to.” “I never said it at all.”) and Raina to Nimah (“You wouldn’t understand. You never had faith in anyone.”).
Simon Asher: Not Guilty, but he gets chloroformed at the end of the episode by…
Elias Harper: Guilty! Unless there is some hell of an explanation for why this trainee-turned-lawyer-turned-terrorist(??) is involved.
Caleb Haas: Not Guilty. And again, gets the best line, to Nimah while she’s going on her rampage against Simon: “And why is that, Judge Judy?”
Clayton Haas: N/A, as he wasn’t in this episode.
Shelby Wyatt: Not Guilty… a conditional ruling, as we have yet to learn the truth about her parents.
Alex Parrish: Not Guilty.
Ryan Booth: Not Guilty, but damn son, keep your mouth shut about Simon’s anger.
Liam O’Connor: Not Guilty. I’m so done with him by now, though.
Miranda Shaw: Not Guilty.
Nathalie Vasquez: Guilty? She’s been getting increased attention, and we have no other contenders, so I’m gonna watch her more closely next week.
Nimah Amin: Not Guilty, but she’s got her biases, and that’s dangerous. Also, I can’t believe I haven’t been splitting up the twins yet.
Raina Amin: Guilty? I say only because of her attachment to the terrorist cell leader, but I’m not very sure about this one.