Last time on Quantico, Alex Parrish was framed for a terror attack on New York City. She managed to escape from custody with the help of Miranda Shaw, the former Assistant Director of the Training Division at Quantico. Someone who trained with Alex nine months earlier is the real terrorist and also framed her.
In this episode, “America,” Alex attempts to find concrete evidence to clear her name while also evading Assistant Director Liam O’Connor. Everyone has secrets on Quantico, so the terrorist mastermind could be anyone.
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Jealous … Party of One
We kick off with the applicants explaining why they want to work for the FBI. Alex tells the interviewer that she wants to protect America “at all costs.” Unbeknownst to her, Ryan Booth and Special Agent Liam O’Connor are watching the interview. Alex is Ryan’s “mark.” After he interrogated Alex about what happened to her father, she has been giving Ryan the cold shoulder.
Nimah and her twin decide who gets to leave the room and who has to stay hidden. Simon continues to befriend Nimah and even ordered orange flower water in case she is missing home. Meanwhile, former cop Nathalie Vasquez is aggressively trying to take over the top spot in every department from Alex. Nathalie isn’t shy about her belief that she is the best.
Shelby is a bit too vocal about not missing Caleb since he was kicked out. There is also a rule about hooking up with other trainees, and we all know that Alex and Ryan broke that rule on the first day. Nathalie is moving in on Ryan, but Alex tells her pals that she is more than happy to let him go.
Special Agent Liam O’Connor gives a lecture about terror attacks and stresses that it is the FBI’s job to foil the attacks before they happen. Enter the trainee analysts, who work at headquarters and fill in the pieces of information about what the trainees find and how it fits into the big picture. The analysts have one familiar face with them: Caleb.
The group’s next exercise is about stopping a terrorist plot before it happens. Life-size rooms have been reconstructed exactly as they were when the FBI raided them. Each location was the spot where a terrorist plot was hatched, and the trainees must divide themselves into three groups and decide which intelligence is important and which is meaningless to the planned attack. Oh, and they only have six hours to do it. Hey, no pressure!
Back at the training exercise, Alex asks Liam if he has found any information about her father yet. He responds that if he does, he will tell her.
Shelby is shocked that Caleb is back. He is playing it cool, stating that he decided to return as an analyst, but Shelby doesn’t buy it. She thought that maybe witnessing the suicide of a fellow NAT would have changed him, but it hasn’t.
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Assistant Director Miranda Shaw tells Liam that Ryan Booth is an undercover agent. She surmises that he is there to see how she is doing running things. Liam asks Miranda about a secret of her own: the twin Nimahs. Miranda avoids his question.
Later, Miranda has a chat with Nimah 1 and Nimah 2 (also known as Rayna.) They have to perform their duties exactly the same or someone will think that something is amiss. Miranda warns both Rayna and Nimah to stay away from the other trainees. If their secret is discovered, it will destroy the important assignment waiting for them at the end of training.
Sifting Through the Intelligence
At the training exercise, Alex thinks that e-mails between a hacker and his girlfriend are a valuable clue. She is correct — the hotel and plane reservations are a way that the hacker and his girlfriend are communicating in code. She also puts Ryan on notice that she is still convinced she was right about him from the beginning.
Elias Harper, from the analyst trainees, introduces himself to Simon and tells him that Simon is the first-ever gay trainee, and he is honored to meet him. A flustered Simon retorts that he wasn’t admitted because he is gay. Awkward!
Once the trainees identify where the attacks will occur, they must prioritize which is the most immediate. Yikes! Everyone loses in this round, except for Alex. She is the only one to figure out that all the information left in all three rooms is false. Liam tells the trainees that they need to “trust their gut.” I have a feeling that Alex took this lesson to heart. Alex is the first trainee in the history of the exercise to get it right.
The Truth Comes Out
Caleb confesses to Shelby that he didn’t choose to be an analyst — it was all he could get. He is the black sheep of the family because he didn’t make agent. Shelby tells him that he will get to be an agent one day. I feel that she is being overly optimistic.
Elias pulls Simon aside and asks him how he got into Gaza in 2011 without a Palestinian permit since there isn’t one listed in his name. Simon is pretty angry and asks Elias why he is being questioned. Elias is an attorney who loves poking holes in information. He wants to know how Simon got out of Gaza without a permit. Elias finally admits that he was hitting on Simon earlier. When Simon leaves the room to grab coffee with Nimah, Elias looks at Simon’s glasses, and they are fake. I don’t know about Elias — he seems pretty sketchy to me.
Ryan finally spills his guts to Alex and tells her that he was married, but it ended three years ago. So Alex was right about him, and he wanted her to know that. Liam also has some news for Alex: her father did work for the FBI.
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Alive If Possible
In New York City, at the scene of the Grand Central Station attack, everyone is feverishly looking for Alex. She hears Liam on his walkie telling the agents to take her “alive if possible.” Alex has to weigh in on this comment and states that Liam knows her better than anyone else. The good news is Ryan is in surgery and may be able to confirm Alex’s innocence. She maintains that when she left her apartment at 5am, it was empty.
Liam also has a few choice words for former Assistant Director Shaw and her role in Alex’s escape. There is clearly no love lost between them, and Liam accuses Miranda of being blind about her son. She counters with a comment about how Liam fell in love with Alex and she rejected him. Could Liam be framing Alex? Liam gets a call from Vasquez, who is at Alex’s apartment. Vasquez thinks that Alex must have a safe house nearby where she is hiding.
Searching for Clues
Alex checks out surveillance video of her apartment from a diner’s camera across the street. No one enters the building after Alex leaves, except for Ryan. When the waitress realizes that Alex is the girl exiting the building, Alex must incapacitate her. While everyone chases after Alex’s walkie that she planted on a delivery man, she finally slips into her apartment.
She surveys the scene and grabs some stuff to take with her. When she opens the door, Nathalie is there. They have a vicious fight, and Alex manages to lock herself in her bathroom. She sees a loose panel and kicks it out, escaping from the apartment into the next building. In a dizzying foot chase, Alex climbs up to the roof and then manages to hop from roof top to roof top with Nathalie in hot pursuit. Nathalie fires her gun at Alex, and Alex surrenders. She tells Nathalie that she is innocent and that she would not shoot the man they both love. When Nathalie hesitates, Alex disarms her and handcuffs her to a pipe.
Ryan is recuperating in the hospital and he calls a number on his cell phone. It is Alex. He states that he dropped by Alex’s apartment to apologize for what happened at Quantico. Ryan was let in by the super and didn’t see who shot him. He offers to help keep Alex off the grid while she tries to clear her name. He will have to make it seem like he thinks she is guilty.
Liam arrives and Ryan confirms that Alex was the person who shot him. That is all Liam needs to hear, and he orders that her name be released to the public.
I loved this episode of Quantico with all the twists and turns. I wasn’t surprised that Caleb was back, but I am curious about what Simon is hiding. I am looking forward to finding out.
Quantico airs Sundays at 10pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)