We will see how this goes. I have never really felt the need to stay on top of shows as they air, but I often drive by a billboard advertising Quantico. All I had to go by was that billboard and a radio ad, but it looked like an action-packed thriller with a female lead and that is the sort of television I like to watch. So, here I am writing weekly write ups of it.These will come out Sundays during the daytime before the next episode airs, just in case you need a recap of the previous episode.
Word of Warning: I suck at remembering names of characters, so I will refer to most side characters by their most obvious qualities or in-show nicknames. Whenever possible, I will use names, but don’t count on that being a regular thing, especially in the beginning episodes.
We open with Alex Parrish waking up on a pile of rubble that used to be a building in New York City. How she got knocked out on top of the rubble is a mystery, but so is the entire show at this point, so whatever.
Cut to the flashback! Because the only way to build interest in any action show whatsoever is to slam the audience in the middle of a mystery scene and then explain it throughout the rest of the episode. I am surprised I have yet to see a parody of this technique.
Alex Parrish returning from a morning job and hiding a plastic bag of Something Secret from her mother. She is packing to leave on a trip. Her Mom has her train ticket but Alex tells the taxi driver to take her to the airport. I would be lying if my first thought was “Train tickets are expensive, yo! You throwing away your momma’s money!” Assumably. But that is still a wasted train ticket.
On the plane, Alex meets Bluth. They determine that they’re heading to the same place and will probably never meet again, so after landing they bang it out in the backseat of Bluth’s van in a parking lot somewhere. And they were not in missionary position. Our leading lady has dark skin, an accent, and a kinky side. Score one for diversity.
Throughout this, we catch glimpses of several people who will be prominent characters later. I am calling them The Squad. There’s the Rich White Girl from the South, the Mysterious Muslim Lady from Ohio, and the Gay New Yorker who hires a dude to pretend to be his boyfriend for a single picture. All they’re missing is the funny black dude, but including that would be racist. Score two for diversity. As the recruits are swearing an oath at FBI Academy Orientation, Car Banger Bluth enters the auditorium last minute.
In the present, a team of FBI folks with vests and helmets point their guns (complete with laser pointer targeting) on Alex. An agent without a helmet or vest (he’s Important) approaches Alex and takes her ID from her jacket pocket. She says she was working patrol when the bomb went off. Her identity confirmed, he escorts her away from the blast zone. Since she was the closest person to it, she is the best witness. Intelligence reports it was probably an inside job, and it was probably one of the recruits of her FBI Academy class, and she has to start talking about her classmates to figure out the culprit.
At the FBI Academy, the recruits are led to a table with the files of their fellow recruits. One piece of information is missing from each folder. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick a folder of a fellow recruit, dig through their files, and find the missing piece of information about them. So recruits pick the recruit they either want to get to know or have a vendetta against (except for Alex. She has Bluth all figured out, allegedly). But Gay New Yorker picks the Mysterious Muslim Lady and Goldenboy, who got into the FBI through recommendations and not his own grit, picks his Mormon roommate.
There is a conversation with the FBI Vice Director, who is the Authoritative Black Woman, and her underling White Male, where they talk about the sexism of her not getting the Director job despite her stellar performance. This is not the first time a feminist issue has been addressed in the show, and it will not be the last. But it is worth pointing out that the underling did not change his clothes before coming back to work and they said he was at the bars late but is that really what he was doing? I have my doubts.
And the show goes back and forth between the present, where Alex is interrogated by the Asian FBI Dude and slowly realizes that she is suspect #1. Really, the odds are against her. She said she was working perimeter but was near the blast zone when it happened. She just happened to be ON TOP OF rubble when she should have been under it (in my opinion, but I would not put it past ABC to throw in some unbelievable stuff for the sake of Action and Plot).
In the past, the recruits slowly but surely discover everyone’s secrets. We learn that the Gay New Yorker went to Giza but secretly spent time in Palestine. Rich Southern White Girl is here because both of her parents died in 9/11 and the piece of metal she carries with her is from their plane. Goldenboy is really insecure, but that’s not really a secret so much as a potential character arc. Alex’s father was a drunk and her mother killed him in self-defense (more on this later). And then the Mormon dude killed himself in the interrogation room because Goldenboy, who picked him for the assignment, hinted that his secret was Really Bad and How Did he Get Passed the Background Check? Turns out while he was stationed in the Philippines, he got a teenager pregnant and had her get an abortion and the abortion killed her. And that slipped through the actual FBI background check.
Afterward, Alex approaches the director and admits that the whole truth did not come out during her interview. She reveals that she was the one to shoot her dad and then found his FBI badge later that night. She kept it secret the same as she is keeping her being at the FBI Academy secret from her mother. There is something there because we saw the director cut Alex’s interview short before the lie detector caught her. And then the director meets with Bluth in the next scene to reveal that Bluth is trailing Alex for some reason.
It turns out our Mysterious Muslim Lady has a twin, but showing the audience how that works is too much for this already really-full episode. Maybe next episode. Hopefully next episode. I want more of the Mysterious Muslim Lady named Nimeh.
In the final scene, Alex in the present is placed under arrest and escorted to a van outside the FBI’s temporary Command Center. She protests the whole way, but it turns out the Academy vice-president (the Authoritative Black Woman) knocked out the actual drivers to help Alex escape. She gives Alex the key to the cuffs and a disguise and some vague hints that Alex is actually innocent, that she is the scapegoat, and she will have to clear her name mostly on her own. Then the rest of the FBI finds out the van is compromised.
There is a small chase scene until the van rolls in the middle of a square. Alex escapes before FBI agents can arrest her again. We see her walking against the crowd of people with a bright FBI baseball cap but apparently it looks like a civilian hat because none of the agents notice her as she walks away from everything.
The show ends without solving any mysteries but promises more action next time.
Quantico airs Sunday @ 10/9c on ABC.