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.
Jenn’s Note: Apologies to all regular readers of these recaps. I was traveling this weekend and due to travel issues was unable to publish this recap until today. Thank you to Lakshmi and her readers for your patience.
If you’re like us, dear readers, then you are still processing Sunday’s mid-season finale of ‘Quantico.’ We’d been eagerly anticipating episode 11 (which was titled ‘Inside’) all week because the show’s Twitter accounts had been promising all week that the bomber we’ve been wondering about for months would finally be revealed. So the big question of course was: did the show deliver on its promises?
The answer? “Sort of.”
Over the course of a jam-packed hour, viewers witnessed the death of a major character, saw another character almost get successfully framed, got our fair share of quite a bit of relationship drama, and — oh yeah — saw a twist ending like none other in the history of the show.
Here are our biggest takeaways from this week’s episode.
Alex is skeptical about the state of the investigation: We begin with Alex once again in federal custody, as she continues to be under arrest to throw off the real bomber. For the first time though, we see that Alex is getting restless and isn’t sure they are getting any closer to finding the real mastermind.
For his part, Liam tries to assure her that the FBI is always on the lookout. She’s not buying it.
“The standard, ‘if you see something, say something?” Alex asks him sarcastically. “That’s not going to cut it, Liam.” (As an aside, we wonder if Alex has ever seen the excellent video for The Kominas song of the same name. You can watch it here.)
What are you doing New Year’s Eve? We’d forgotten that Nimah and Alex are roommates now and they had a nice bonding moment early in the episode. Alex laments the fact that all of them may be stuck on Quantico’s campus on New Year’s. “I don’t know about you but for a lot of people New Year’s Eve is special,” Alex tells Nimah. (We leaned forward a bit when she said this. Would Alex and Nimah start talking about how in many immigrant families (particularly South Asian ones) New Year’s Day is a big deal and involves lots of food?
Answer: No. (Sigh.) Hopefully the show will finally have Nimah/Raina and Alex talk about their shared immigrant experience sometime in the future.
What becomes of the broken-hearted? There were lots of sad, poignant moments throughout this week’s episode. We saw a sad Nimah pass by Simon’s now-completely empty former dorm room and gaze inside sadly. “You still miss Simon, don’t you?” Alex asks Nimah quietly. “Don’t tell anyone, but I miss Ryan too.” (We’ll find out just how much she misses Ryan in a bit.)
“I guess no matter who you are or where you come from, the holidays will still get you down,” Alex concludes sagely.
The girls have a weekend filled with bonding: For reasons we don’t quite get, none of the lady recruits of Quantico decides to leave campus for New Year’s weekend, even though they are all free to do so. (All of them mumble excuses about not wanting to return to their families or childhood homes but… couldn’t they have gone somewhere else? Count that as another one of the mysteries of Quantico.)
Regardless of why they all ended up staying in their dorm, it was a lot of fun seeing them let loose and act their age and have fun together. Of course, this being ‘Quantico,’ relationship drama was never far behind. Shelby keeps obsessively checking Caleb’s Instagram feed, while Alex has to be forcibly prevented from drunk dialing Ryan several times. Alex finally caves after Natalie teaches her how to make a phone call from what looks like a blocked number.
As you can probably imagine, this was a BAD idea. Ryan does pick up, but Alex is too nervous to say anything right away. Worst of all, we soon hear a mysterious female voice in the background, asking Ryan who was calling. (Cue Alex quickly hanging up the phone.)
Flashing back to the present day was a lot less pleasant: It was sad to leave all of that nice girl talk to return to the current day, where the FBI is on the hunt for Simon and the clues he might have to the bombing. When they finally find Simon he warns them to stay back, he has his hand wrapped tightly around a detonation device for a bomb and says that he doesn’t know what happened or who set it.
Simon then tries to explain to Alex and the others that he woke up tied to the chair they found him in and had the detonation device taped to his hand. But, he warns, the tape is wearing off and he’s afraid the bomb will go off and kill them all.
“Somebody’s framing me,” he tells Alex (who he rightly judges to be his only ally.) The others scoff at him and try to get more information about the bomb out of him, but he continues to proclaim his innocence.
Simon points to the culprit: “How did you find me?” Simon asks Elias, as he deliberately looks past everyone else in the room. Elias starts talking incoherently for a bit, but Simon starts piecing together all of the clues that point to Elias being the bomber.
Finally, Elias breaks down. He says he’s being blackmailed by someone who knew he was falsifying information in his court cases and in order to protect his professional reputation he caved into the blackmailers demands. (Note: This is SO weird in terms of being an explanation for assisting a terrorist.)
“The blood of 133 people is on your hands, Elias,” says Alex. But, it turns out, they haven’t heard the worst of it. Elias reveals that the terrorist called him again yesterday and said he had one last task for him.
Alex and the others are justifiably incredulous. Why didn’t Elias go to anyone in the FBI for help? Neither they or the viewer get any sort of explanation for this — and it turns out that they never will. Instead of helping the FBI solve the case, Elias takes the cowardly way out. He backs up against a huge wall-sized glass window and falls to his death.
Caleb lives in Hogwarts: We have to admit that Caleb was on point with his one-liners throughout this week’s episode. After he realizes that Shelby decided to stay at Quantico for New Year’s, he heads back to invite her to his parents’ annual New Year’s Eve party. Shelby happily accepts — on one condition: Nimah and Alex have to come along too.
The three recruits then accompany Caleb to his mother’s elegant Georgetown mansion. “Welcome to Hogwarts,” he tells Shelby as they are ushered inside. We quickly learn a bunch of things about Caleb’s family life, chief among them that 1) his mother is Marcia Cross, 2) she’s randomly friends with Ben Carson, despite being a Democrat, and 3) his mother may well soon become the next Vice President of the United States. (As you can imagine, all of this was quite a bit for Shelby to absorb at once.)
Alex meets the other woman: Ever the Tracy Flick-style networker, Alex knows how to chat up the most interesting people at this elegant New Year’s Eve party. A stunning blonde woman approaches her and happily shows her where to put her coat and they (of course) start talking about their careers and interests on the way to the cloakroom. Alex perkily introduces herself as “Alexandra” and explains that she’s a Quantico recruit. Our mystery woman (whose name is Hannah) says she works in national security and reveals she works closely with her husband. Alex is all admiration and gushes over how nice it is that there are women out there who have high-powered careers as well as happy relationships. (We can all see where this is going, can’t we?)
Alex and Ryan meet again: Despite being a guest at a party filled with DC bigwigs, Alex finds herself missing Ryan again and decides to call him. She then hears his cellphone ringing not far from where she’s standing at the party. She then sees him with Hannah and realizes he’s with his wife again. Naturally, she is devastated.
“She’s my ex-wife, we’re still friends,” Ryan tries to explain to her and then they get into an awkward and painful conversation about the state of their relationship. He kisses her, she breaks away.
Hannah stands up for her ex: As soon as Hannah herself put all of the pieces together about Alex’s identity, she starts kicking herself for not figuring it all out sooner. “He’ll think seeing you at this party is kismet, fate,” Hannah tells Alex. “You broke his heart. He doesn’t not heal fast.” (It’s at this point that we realize that we really like Ryan’s ex-wife. May we all have someone in our corner as much as Ryan’s ex-wife is in his.)
Liam and Alex are red flag central: We aren’t really sure why Liam drove Alex back to Quantico after the New Year’s Eve party, we just know that we instantly began getting a bad feeling about it. Liam tries to talk to her about Ryan and Alex’s trust issues, but Alex isn’t having it. Instead, Alex says she is bored and doesn’t want to return to her dorm. “Take me somewhere!” she demands of Liam. (If Liam had any sense, he’d say no. Alas, they drive off together and we flinched.)
Wait, is Caleb our new suspect? Caleb had been acting strange throughout the episode. Finally, Shelby confronts him about his behavior, especially in regards to how he always wants to control people’s reactions and shape his parents’ relationship. She then brings up the fact that Caleb joined a cult (remember that?!) when he was in his teens and that he’s pursuit of the truth often hurts others. Is this a clue? We’ll have to wait to find out.
Has the bomb been detonated? After Elias’ suicide, the team realizes that they have to scramble to figure out where the bomb is before there are any more casualties. Working as a team, they finally figure out that they bomb has to be submerged in water in order for it to have eluded all of the bomb-sniffing dogs and other investigators that have been patrolling the hotel for days. They race for the boiler room to see if there is a bomb hidden inside there. The bomb squad rushes to disable it and does so successfully. It should have been a major victory for everyone in Quantico-land, except…
No, (not all) the bombs have been detonated. Just as our team is breathing a sigh of relief that another terrorist attack has been averted, they suddenly hear the ear-shattering sound of an explosion. They rush across the street to see that the building across the street. “There was another bomb,” someone says in disbelief. “That was the command center [referring to where the rest of the FBI agents were working out of]. Was everyone still inside?”
We have no idea who was in the command center when the bomb went off or what condition they are in now. And OF COURSE this is the point at which our episode ends.
Odds and Ends:
Entertainment Weekly’s Dalene Rovenstine wins the prize for tweet of the day for asking the question viewers have been wondering about since ‘Quantico’ began:
— Dalene Rovenstine (@RealDaleneR) December 14, 2015
Also, this tweet made us laugh:
Am I the only one that thinks that the most shocking thing about this episode was finding out that Caleb's family are Democrats?! #Quantico
— Marie I. Pelissier (@Is_Pelissier) December 14, 2015
Goodbye for now, dear readers. We’ll be back on March 6 when the show returns from break.
Read More: We Asked Young Muslim Women to Weigh in on “Quantico’s” Hijabi Characters (Lakshmi Gandhi for NPR)
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.
Learn more about Reappropriate’s guest contributor program and submit your own writing here.