‘Quantico’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 9, “Guilty”

November 30, 2015
QUANTICO - "Guilty" (Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse)
QUANTICO – “Guilty” (Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

Lakshmi’s recaps for “Quantico” episodes 1-7 can be found here and for episode 8 onward here, including her recap of the show’s most recent episode. Her recaps appear on Reappropriate every Monday morning! As with reading any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.

And… we’re back! We don’t know about you, but we were super antsy last Sunday without any ‘Quantico’ to look forward to. Fortunately for fans of television’s most confusing drama, Quantico didn’t lose a beat and dove right back into the action.

We start with Alex (looking fabulous in a long sleeve t-shirt and ever-perfect hair) in FBI custody as she awaits her first interrogation since her capture. But just as things begin to look interesting, we flash back to life during training academy.

Here are the most memorable parts of this Sunday’s episode.

Everyone fights over the right to interrogate Alex: It’s the battle of dueling interrogators. O’Connor argues to FBI brass that his team should be the one interrogating Alex, but he is quickly overruled by an order from the White House, which turns the operation over to the so-called High-Value Interrogation Group. Instead of being interrogated by agents she’d at least have the benefit of knowing personally, Alex has to face Griffin Wells, a notorious agent known for his tough interrogation techniques. “We studied your work at Quantico,” Alex notes.

Anne Heche returns to TV! Dr. Susan Langdon (who is played by Anne Heche) is a former FBI agent who is now making her name as a published author and quasi-self help guru. She’s also tapped with the task of leading this week’s training exercise, which is devoted to studying the minds of serial killers. Langdon also peppers her lecture with Oprah-esque affirmations. “What is your truest self?” she asks the recruits. “What do you really want?”

We’ve noted before that all of the recruits’ training exercises are rife with foreshadowing and this week’s was no exception. “Remember, you never really know a killer until you’ve caught them,” Heche’s character tells the class, a line that should have been mentally highlighted by all close viewers of the show.

Civil liberties really are dead, at least in this fictional world: It quickly becomes apparent that Griffin Wells is notorious for a reason. While real-life American investigators at least send accused terrorists to Guantanamo Bay before torturing them, Wells tortures Alex right in the middle of New York City. It was a brutal thing to watch; the viewer sees Wells grab and pull Alex’s hair, repeatedly threaten her and invoke her mother’s mysterious past. “What if [your mother’s] secrets come to light?” he hisses to her at one point.

Things get a million times worse when Alex is taken to another room and we see Ryan Booth handcuffed to the ceiling, his recent gunshot wound to his side exposed and repeatedly poked, punched and reopened. (Honestly, it all got pretty gross.)

“Please don’t kill him,” Alex screams at Wells.

“I’m not, you are,” he replies.

The torture finally stops when O’Connor and his team break into Wells’ makeshift interrogation room and forces Wells to stop.

The recruits play an unconventional drinking game: If there’s one thing ‘Quantico’ could certainly use more of, it’s scenes where the recruits are hanging out and simply having fun. This week we got a taste of that when the entire class hung out at a bar after training and played a really twisted Serial Killer drinking game (they took shots every time someone got the number of a named killer’s victims wrong.) Because this show is so action packed 95 percent of the time, the scenes where everyone is hanging out always take on a certain amount of poignancy.

Simon clearly doesn’t know when to stop talking: Need more proof that the FBI of Quantico-land is a deeply depraved, unethical place? It turns out that Anne Heche’s Dr. Langdon wasn’t much of an FBI legend. While analyzing his assigned serial killer, Simon realized that a bunch of things didn’t add up, and that Langdon put a man (who indisputably killed many others) in jail for a murder he did not commit.

Simon (for reasons viewers are probably quite puzzled by) decides to confront Langdon as the two share some snacks in a corner bar. Langdon, needless to say, does not take the news well and threatens to kill Simon on the spot, noting that they are out of view of the bar’s security cameras. In the belated reaction of the year, Simon becomes terrified and is certain he will soon be mysteriously killed by Langdon as she leads him out of the bar.

As the pair walks towards Langdon’s car, Agent Booth proves he’s the best of the bunch. He quickly stops Langdon and notes that it looks like she is pushing an unwilling Simon towards her vehicle. Looking Simon straight in the eye, he asks if everything is okay. (Simon it should be noted is too afraid to say anything, but his eyes clearly looked terrified.)

After THE MOST AWKWARD KISS EVER, Langdon lets Simon go, leading Booth to demand an explanation.

“I think you just saved my life,” Simon says simply.

Simon discovers the blue wall of silence: To say this episode was filled with discoveries for Simon is to put it mildly. Simon decides to tell the authorities that Langdon framed a serial killer for a crime he didn’t commit. Knowing Simon as viewers do, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, as he has a strong commitment to the truth. Simon shows just how naive he is when he is stunned that no one else at Quantico agrees with his decision. We are startled that he never knew that law enforcement tends to be very, very protective of their own. (Note to Simon: There’s even an  entire Wikipedia entry on this phenomenon.)

Alex is cleared! Despite the torture and interrogations, Alex finally convinces the FBI brass that she has been framed. But (this being Quantico) there’s a twist. Agent O’Connor notes that whoever is framing Alex probably has an elaborate plan in place that will lead the FBI to suspect her for the yet-to-be detonated second bomb. To that end he convinces Alex to plead guilty to the terrorism charges against her. Hopefully, this gamble will work.

Odds and ends:

Liam is spiraling out of control: We have to admit that we’re getting a little bit worried about Alex’s relationship with Agent Liam O’Connor (who you’ll remember was Alex’s father’s longtime partner.) Throughout this week’s episode we see Alex rescue O’Connor: she rushes to help him recover from his hangover when he drinks too much, and she rushes to the bar to stop him from over-drinking.

“I used to do this for my father all of the time,” Alex says at one point, a line that surely made many viewers wince. Later, during a heart-to-heart in a bar, O’Connor warns Alex about the dangers of the FBI life. “No matter what this job does to you, don’t end up like [your father],” he tells her.

Is Caleb turning over a new leaf? We have to admit that Caleb has been one of the least likable FBI recruits, but this week he was strangely… nice. During this week’s training exercise, Dr. Langdon made all of the recruits divide themselves up into teams. After seeing an uncertain Reina standing in the corner as she tries to work her way into a group, he instantly invites her to join him. It was a startling act of kindness from a recruit that can often seem quite selfish.

And a musical interlude: Our favorite line of the episode was the unexpected tribute to the late, great Joe Cocker as Alex and Ryan flirt inside the bar. “You like Joe Cocker?” Ryan Booth asks Alex a bit incredulously. (To which we reply: Who doesn’t like Joe Cocker, Agent Booth? We’ve been listening to all of his greatest hits while writing this recap.)

Lakshmi Gandhi
Lakshmi Gandhi

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.


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