By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)
Lakshmi’s recaps for “Quantico” episodes 1-7 can be found here. Future recaps will appear on Reappropriate every Monday morning! As with reading any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.
“In light of recent world events, the following drama contains particularly impactful subject matter.”
Those words flashed across the screen in the opening moments of this week’s episode of ‘Quantico,’ a show that can be triggering at the best of times and becomes even more so in light of Friday’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. After all, it would be hard to fault anyone for skipping a show built around solving the mystery of who decided to blow up New York’s Grand Central Terminal after watching a weekend’s worth of news updates from France.
(It also should be noted that while CBS decided to temporarily pull new episodes of ‘Supergirl’ and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ because this week’s episodes had themes that closely resembled the events in Paris. Both ‘Quantico’ and ‘Homeland,’ two shows in which terrorism is a central theme, decided to stick with their original broadcast schedules.)
But back to our world of ridiculously attractive fictional FBI recruits. When we last left Quantico-land, Alex was struggling to lead Agent Ryan Booth to safety after he was shot while escaping a Queens row house-turned-terrorist cell. Sunday’s episode begins with a shot of an FBI control center buzzing with activity as they try to track Alex Parrish down.
Here are our biggest takeaways from this week’s episode (which, despite being titled “Over,” was even more confusing than the standard ‘Quantico’ hour.)
Nimah and Alex are roomies now! Now that all of the recruits know about the existence of the twins Nimah and Reina, the rebellious Nimah can finally let her hair down — literally. Nimah is no longer wearing her hijab and she and her head of bouncy black tresses have just moved into Alex’s dorm room. We like to think the pair will now have ‘best hair’ competitions before bed every night.
Simon and Reina try to get to know each other: Last week also saw Reina hesitantly introduce herself to Simon for the first time. Taking up where she left off, we now see the quieter, more introspective of the twins try to create a real relationship with her longtime crush. “I know you, but you don’t know me,” she notes. It quickly becomes apparent how little Simon knows the real Reina — all of his stories and memories turn out to be centered on her twin Nimah and not her.
Freedom from Quantico comes with a price: As always, this week’s training exercise also serves as a convenient way to foreshadow the terrorist attack to come. “We’re going to see how you fare solo,” Assistant Director Ellis tells the group. Can our heroine Alex survive completely on her own?
Alex proves that she can as the narrative switches to the present day, immediately after Booth is shot in the abdomen as they rush from the house in Queens. With only a semi-delirious Booth to guide her, she cleans the wound using a bottle of liquor and manages to take the bullet out.
There’s a major a security breach regarding the FBI’s computers: And, Alex is taking full advantage of it. Ryan wonders who could have managed to bring down the bureau’s computer system. “Whoever it is, they just gave me everything I need,” Alex replies. To sift through it all, Alex enlists her buddies from the social network Tor to help her find what she’s looking for.
But it turns out her new friends have other plans for her: they reveal that they can smuggle her out of the country. “You’ll be free!” one of the hackers exclaims. “Being free is not the same as having your freedom,” Alex snaps in return. Her position is clear: she’s staying in America to focus on finding out who executed the attack.
Will Reina always be the odd one out? As we flash back to training, we discover that Reina is still struggling to find her own identity. While Nimah blossoms as she gets the chance to show the world her true self, Reina withdraws. This is especially true as she observes how well Simon works with her twin (and she also sees the flirtatious manner he adapts while doing so.)
To her credit, Nimah herself also notices that her twin’s crush is always hanging around her and pointedly tells him to go away. “Reina lives down the hall, she likes you,” Nimah tells Simon sharply. (We’ve been pulling for Reina all season and hopes that one way or another she gets the happily ever after she deserves.)
Alex surrenders (sort of): After Alex decides to turn down her friends’ offer to help her leave the United States, she decides there’s only one thing for her to do — and that’s turn herself in to the FBI. She and Booth had realized that Grand Central might just have been a ‘trial run’ for a larger attack and that there was probably another bomb out there somewhere in New York City.
As Alex puts her hands in the air as agents begin to surround her, she warns them all that there’s a bomb somewhere in New York — but that she has no idea where it is.
We totally understood why ABC put that disclaimer up after seeing that scene. Don’t you agee?
Odds and ends:
I have to admit that the love triangle between Shelby, Caleb and Caleb’s dad is both gross and confusing and (because of that), I’ve been tuning much of it out.
However, Shelby’s big secret actually turns out to be pretty interesting. It turns out Quantico’s extremely wealthy resident Southern Belle has a secret half-sister in Saudi Arabia named Samar Hashmi, who was born during an affair her father had while working in that country. It’s her sister Samar whom Shelby is sneaking away to call in the dorm’s bathroom, and she’s also the reason Shelby secretly wired one million dollars to the Middle East. “It’s the least I can do after everything that happened,” Shelby noted after being questioned about it. (Samar apparently wanted to buy a house.)
We also continue to be confused by Alex’s parents and their backstory. “Your mother might be Pakistani intelligence,” Alex is told at one point. But… that makes no sense, for several reasons. The main reason is that it’s made very clear early on that Sita Parrish is an Indian national, and we are also lead to believe (because of Sita’s first name and other little things) that her mother is a Hindu. In another plot twist, we learn that Alex’s mother isn’t a Pakistani spy after all.
Also, in the saddest story line of this week’s episode, Miranda’s troubled son Charlie continues to be troubled and self destructive. Viewers were originally led to believe that Miranda and Charlie might finally come to an understanding. Charlie comes to visit Quantico as the recruits go through their training exercises and appears both engaged and interested in the work. But then things go downhill very quickly when Charlie asks if he could be an agent one day. (He can’t, he has a record longer than the average human arm.)
The next thing we know, Miranda is attacked that night by an intruder. When discovered by Alex, she manages to whisper the name of her only child when asked who attacked her.
Lakshmi Gandhi is a journalist and pop culture writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in Metro New York, NBC Asian America and NPR’s Code Switch blog, among other sites. She likes it when readers tweet her @LakshmiGandhi with their thoughts on Asian American issues and romance novels.