Quantico Recap: Secrets and Allies

We’re only two weeks into ABC’s Quantico, but I’ve already got a sternly worded warning for the series’ Powers That Be:

Don’t you dare make protagonist Alex — even inadvertently — somehow involved in the terrorist plot she’s racing to uncover.

Why? Because, aside from young Agent Parrish, there is no one and nothing to trust on this show — and trying to figure out the hidden agendas of all the dashing would-be bombers simultaneously is downright tiring.

Is that Nimah in this scene, or her twin sister Raina? Is Liam’s endgame so secret, even he’s not in on the plan? Why does Caleb have a Facebook page under a different name? How does Shelby keep a side-ponytail looking so fresh after a morning full of training? And why do Simon’s fake glasses make him seem so sinister?

Meanwhile, in the present, fugitive Alex seems to have gained an ally… or is he? (Side note: I feel like you could add “… or is s/he?” to pretty much any sentence in this recap, and it would remain accurate.) Read on as we review the major developments in “America.”

BACK FOR MORE | Though the hour’s action hops between the present-day bombing aftermath and the Quantico training period, we’ll talk about the past first and the present later, cool? We see snippets of entrance interviews, prior to the recruits’ acceptance to the FBI academy. It’s all America this and patriotism that, and we’re introduced to a recruit who wasn’t part of the core group last week: Nathalie Vazquez, a former cop with a scar behind her ear and an obsession with besting Alex at everything — including grabbing Ryan’s attention. During Alex’s interview, Ryan and Liam watch from behind a two-way mirror. “That’s your mark,” Agent O’Connor informs him.

Quantico Caleb Returns RecapCut to Week 2 of training, with its requisite shots of the very fit recruits sweating it out in very tightly cut t-shirts. (Like, ridiculously tight, right?) “It’s like we have the Olympics every morning and we have to pass the bar every afternoon,” Shelby complains. She’s supposed to be exhausted, but she looks like she just walked out of a Neutrogena ad. She says she doesn’t miss Caleb — the cocky kid who watched his interrogation partner blow his brains out in the last episode then left the program — and airily reminds everyone of the no hook-ups rule… which means she and Caleb are 100 percent going to hit it, because he’s back!

The “golden boy” returns as an analyst trainee for the week’s assignment, in which the recruits partner with analysts to search recreated terrorist hideouts in an effort to identify and stop attacks before they happen.

NEEDLES IN HAYSTACKS | Elias, an analyst trainee who’s gay, immediately sniffs out Simon as same and tries to make friends, but Simon is put off by the guy’s strong approach. (Side note: With those cheekbones, who wants to bet that Elias’ secret is that he’s actually part of Dancing With the Stars‘ Hough family?) Elias later does a little digging and finds out that no one with Simon’s name has gotten official paperwork to travel to or from Gaza in the last several years; he then realizes that Simon wears prescription-less glasses (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and gives the whole situation a rather brutal side-eye.

Anyway, Alex is the only one who eventually figures out that the terrorist exercise was a ruse: Agent O’Connor was the real (practice) threat, and he left surreptitious clues in each tableau to point only the savviest of recruits his way. While Parrish is basking in admiration from O’Connor and Assistant Director Shaw — and glorious, envious bitchface from Nathalie — Booth approaches her to admit that she was right about him when she said he was a broken, divorced mess of a man from Hawthorne. But did she really have him pegged… or is this just another lie to get close to her for mission purposes?

Quantico Caleb Returns RecapMISCELLANEOUS/MYSTERIOUS | Also to be filed under “Shady, sketchy and/or huh?”: Is the person with whom Shelby converses in a foreign language at the end of the episode the same contact she wiped from her phone at the beginning? Why is Nathalie pasting on a fake scar? What’s up with Caleb — or it is Mark? — and his social media persona? And what does Liam refer to when he tells Miranda, “These people have no idea what you did two years ago. You saved their lives”?

Oh, and because I couldn’t figure out where else to fit this in: Nimah’s twin is named Rima, and the ladies are part of an experiment headed up by Miranda Shaw. Liam totally knows about the whole thing, but Miranda also is aware that there’s a full-fledged agent in her program. And Liam and Miranda both know that the other knows.

PRESENT, TENSE | OK, time to deal with Alex’s severely screwed situation in the present. The FBI has found what looks like her go bag (change of clothes, many IDs, gun, etc.) — cementing their suspicions that she was behind the Grand Central bombing — and has taken over her apartment, so she scoots to her neighborhood to review some security footage from the restaurant across the street. The tape shows Alex leaving that morning, then Ryan showing up… and Nathalie arriving much later, after his shooting.

After a bit of subterfuge that draws the FBI away from her apartment — wouldn’t they have left at least one person to keep an eye out? — Alex goes home, but Nathalie returns and the two women duke it out. Alex winds up locked in the bathroom, where she realizes that someone has busted through the walls separating her building from the next one. She climbs through the hole and sees a LOT of explosives, literally with her name on them, in the otherwise empty flat now adjoining hers.

But there’s no time to tarry, because Nathalie chases her up onto the roof. They race across rooftops until Vazquez starts shooting, and that’s when Alex tries to reason with her by asking, “Why would I shoot the man we both love?” Interesting. When they tussle once more, Alex winds up handcuffing Nathalie to the roof and running off, saying, “I’m really sorry about this.”

Meanwhile, Ryan has survived his surgery and is up for a chat, so he dials back an “Unknown” caller and gets Alex’s burner phone. He says he was at her place to apologize but got shot by whomever opened the apartment door. She tells him she’s being framed, and he agrees to help but says he’ll have to act like he thinks she’s guilty. So as the episode ends, O’Connor releases Alex’s photo to news outlets, who caution that she’s a dangerous, on-the-lam threat to America.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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65 Comments
  1. Cobra says:

    This is easily the best new show of the season. I’m completely hooked.

  2. JPMD says:

    Personally, I love a show that makes you ‘watch’ and this one has it, in spades ….. all sorts of possible twists and turns which will make it that much more fun to enjoy . . . certainly on my do-not-miss list.

    • Patrick says:

      ABC is learning a valuable lesson. They want people to watch a show live, because that makes advertising on the show more valuable. To get people to watch live, they are including a bunch of twists, because that gets you to watch live for fear of missing out on discussions or hearing spoilers. Eventually this sort of storytelling burns itself out because its unsustainable, a la Scandal, and soon HTGAWM, but you can build enough of a fan base to keep the show going through the rough patches.

  3. Fred says:

    This show has “HIT” written all over it! So good, it felt like 5 minutes instead of an hour.

  4. Tanner says:

    Such a good show so far!

    Couple notes: they didn’t release her photo, only her name and a description. It would have been to easy to release a photo ://

    Also did anyone catch (in the present time) Miranda call out Liam for being in love with Alex!! Interesting.

    • OA says:

      Wait! She called him out for being in love with one person and being rejected by another. It automatically gave me the vibe that they meant Liam had been with Alex’s father – not with her.. which would be a little WTF because they already made it clear he had been sleeping with Miranda? And it seems that the promo for next week supports this a little.

      • Hanna says:

        Wow, I didn’t catch that; I automatically assumed they were talking about Alex. Btw, Miranda’s exact words were “Tell me something Liam, when you look at her, what do you see? The recruit you fell in love with, or the terrorist who rejected you?” That’s very interesting if it’s her father they talked about, and that would also mean that Alex’s father was a terrorist. And it makes sense that they weren’t talking about Alex; since Miranda thinks she’s innocent she’d never call Alex “a terrorist”.

        This is a show you have to actively watch, in order to catch all these little clues. I like it a lot, despite its many flaws.

  5. Juan says:

    Definitely my favorite new show this season. Great episode

  6. Anna says:

    How come Miranda could figure out that Ryan is an undercover FBI agent but not know, that Liam was at one point, either Ryan’s training agent or supervisor? What the heck do they have in their files? Don’t they run thorough backgrounds checks on people? How can dear Caleb get in and out of Gaza without the FBI’s recruiters not knowing that there was something wrong with its travel documents? C’mon, the guy is supposed to have gotten some security clearance before being accepted in a federal agency training program. He must have been vetted thoroughly by someone… I hope. Yes, he does look sinister and the guy’s obviously not gay.at.all. He’s got a crush on the 2-in-1 Palestinian-American girls.

    • Rook says:

      I think you mean Simon getting in and out of Gaza, but if Elias was able to figure it out on the FBI database there is a good chance the FBI already knows this and have questioned him.
      Did anyone look to see if Natalie still had her “scar” in the present time?
      Plus I also agree that Simon faking it, I do hope he hooks up with Elias though….

    • John NYC says:

      Liam could have been assigned Ryan by whomever higher up is managing this.

  7. Lauren says:

    I think Miranda’s son organised a terrorist attack/school shooting against the school students that they were looking at. I think she saved their lives by helping to put him in jail, and he is who they were talking bout when they mentioned him being due for parole.

  8. Jeremy says:

    It won’t be the arab twins… the outrage if they were the terrorists would be crazy… my bet is on the kid who didn’t make agent and is now an analyst

  9. Jazz73 says:

    Elias is Rick Cosnett. He was on Beauty & the Beast, and most recently Flash. Both for one season. Hopefully this will go for more than one season. And that he survives. Since Elias is actually gay and Simon is faking it for some reason.

    • Lauren says:

      Why do you think he’s faking being gay? Nimah said in ep 1 that she’d talked to four of his exes. That seems like it’d be hard to fake. I think the photo with that random guy was more about wanting to put that photo on his desk – to make people think he’s taken? Not sure what his motive is but I’m pretty sure he is actually gay.

      • John NYC says:

        All four of his “ex’s” said he was a virgin, so not all that difficult to fake; a couple of dinner’s and shows and then “I’m not that into you” and move on to the next.. And it was clear the guy who’s photo he’s displaying on his counter had never seen him before they met on the street and was simply answering some sort of ad, and was surpassed by the selfie smooch.

        Plus he’s being written as way too interested in the twins, sure maybe just cultural curiosity as supposedly prompted his trip to Gaza, but maybe not.

    • Kim R says:

      I got the impression when he faked a social media picture in the first episode, that he was faking being gay as well, for purposes we have not seen yet. I assumed to totally remove himself from who he really is.

  10. S says:

    Love this show. One question: how do you call back an unknown number?

    • Anna says:

      If you register a number you do know under “Unknown number” in your contact lists. Just a trick to fend off nosy ppl.

    • John NYC says:

      Hit “reply”, the contact name was unknown” but the number was thereby wasn’t a caller id blocked call just one not in his contacts list.

      • John NYC says:

        The medical person told him he’d been receiving a lot of calls and that one “unknown” was listed in his “recents” list.

    • Gavn says:

      That’s what I was wondering. How do you call a block number. But if you are a Secret Agent then they have lots of trick. She hid her number by saving it as a block number.

      • Gavn says:

        I meant he hid her number.

      • John NYC says:

        It wasn’t a blocked number, just an incoming call not already in his contacts list. So it showed up in the “call log” as a name “unknown” rather than having the contact’s name displayed.

        Calls I don’t answer get listed just like that and the medical person had said his phone had been “ringing off the hook” so he had a big list of recent unanswered calls, all with names except for the one “unknown” with only 0.01 listed as the duration while all the rest were close to a minute so they probably left voicemail.

        • Anna says:

          Interesting, who’s your carrier? So calls you don’t answer get listed as “unknown” or calls from people who aren’t in your contact list?
          Besides, why would he go straight for the “unknown”, hit call/yes if it wasn’t an incoming call not already in his contact lists? Numbers unknown from the called person, either show up as blocked numbers (if they’re) or a string of digits. Obviously, he knew it was Alex since they didn’t exchange greetings and went straight to the point. She called from the burner phone hid in her appartment. I think the number was already in Ryan’s contacts lists under “unknown”.

          • John NYC says:

            The phone display was titled “call log”, so it was a call log of the calls he’d missed. It was the only “unknown” so perhaps he expected she’d try to get in touch with him and would use a burner phone for the purpose, so his phone wouldn’t have a burner’s number listed (which is the point). Plus that was the only call with an immediate hangup: the call times were shown, so perhaps that also gave him the clue it was her. As it was the only unidentified call: maybe he was just hoping it was her and not some cold call for upgrading his dental coverage?

            That’s not a function of carriers, it’s a function on smartphones such as the one he’s shown using. And yes, when the name of the caller is unknown they get labeled “unknown” in the name field.

  11. Alyse says:

    They’re making everyone look suspicious. If it’s one of the main recruits then it probably will be Caleb or Shelby, which would suck because I like them both!

    • Patrick says:

      I think they are setting them up as obvious red herrings. I think its the African American lady director. She’s been demoted, her son will probably not get parole and die in jail, or get parole, get out, and die in another plot. Leaving her bitter.
      .
      I think Simon is a Mossad plant trying to infiltrate the FBI and spy for the Mossad. He’s posing as homosexual to make him all the more “attractive” as a candidate to the FBI, which is always looking to diversify.
      .
      I think Caleb will turn out to be some sort of guru analyst that turns into a superstar. Shelby is probably speaking Arabic to a friend who is overseas, spying for this country. The friend can only speak Arabic or their cover will be blown. Shelby can’t do the same because of her looks (not a whole lot of skinny, blue-eyed blondes running around the middle east), and is doing the only thing she can to take part in the war on terror.
      .
      The Twins are part of a long term plot by the FBI to create TWO agents and only 1 paper trail. It will make undercover work a lot easier.

  12. Gavn says:

    Love this show.

  13. PC4eva says:

    I’m loving this show!

  14. Ben says:

    I hate that I’m so invested in this show -_-

  15. Joe says:

    I think the terrorist is actually Simon. He wears fake glasses and suspiciously spent some unrecorded time in Gaza. I don’t even think he’s gay at all. He never slept with any of his supposed ex-boyfriends, he got that guy in the first episode to pose for a picture so that he would have something to put on his table in his room at Quantico, and how he deals with Elias when he is flirting with him. He also seems way too into spending time with Nimah (or is it Rima I can’t really tell)?

  16. The pilot was awful IMHO, but the episode seemed pretty good. The lead, Priyanka Chopra is superb!

  17. VJ says:

    I really like this show which is great, because I feared I really wouldn´t. Recent tv seasons I caught myself fast-forwarding through a lot of shows, but with this show you just miss to much secrets and twists. Hopefully the ratings hold up. Would be a bummer to see it get cancelled.

  18. royalti says:

    please tell me in not the only one who noticed the name NIMAH AMIN is an anagram. for those who don’t know what that is. just flip the name around. spelled backwards is the same. i think that ties into her being a twin somehow.

  19. Sarah_ says:

    Great episode and I’m loving Alex storyline and Liam seems a bit to enthusiastic to apprehend Alex on being the bomber…and like Miranda said: He was rejected by her so his personal feelings on the matter make him not such a reliable person to run this operation.
    I’m glad Caleb is back and what secret is he hiding..
    Simon seems to be a two-faced liar and a creepy one at that.

  20. Linda says:

    I’ll give this show one more hour and if I still have to read all the blogs and comments to figure out who is who and what is going on I will be done with it. I wanted to like it.

  21. Joelman says:

    Second week harder to follow than first. Hard to follow all the convolutions. Please don’t make it TOO hard to follow.

  22. Elise says:

    My guess are: Shelby and Simon. Simon was investigating Shelby. Shelby’s story about 911 is a ruse.

    • John NYC says:

      It may not be her motivation but such a prominent family being lost on one of the 9/11 aircraft is too easy to confirm to be a ruse itself.

  23. Elise says:

    My guess: Shelby and Simon. Shelby’s 911 story is a ruse.

  24. Steph says:

    Isn’t weird that there is another FBI agent named Booth on 2 different shows?? Are the writers lacking that much imagination in names?

    • John NYC says:

      Foreshadowing crossovers? Two FBI agents with abusive fathers? What are the odds. Maybe the niece hasn’t fallen far from her Cousin Seeley’s tree?

      (and yes I know they’re not on the same network).

  25. Randy says:

    I haven’t been able to figure out what is going on in this show! Too confusing! I think I’m done with trying. Looked promising too!

  26. Sandy says:

    Really starting to like this show

  27. John NYC says:

    As some one who likes puzzles entertainingly presented I’m really liking this show.

  28. swati says:

    Love the show so far, however some things seem off. Why is Alex risking to be close to the FBI and call Liam to only tell him she’s innocent without giving him any proof. If he had to believe that Alex was innocent he would have done so earlier. Why didn’t she wash off the blood from her hand! Why didn’t she tell the restaurant owner that it’s her who’s coming out the house and the suspect is Booth or someone. Are security feeds that easily available? Where did all the other people working there go? Why didn’t this lady go away too (Alex could have just said that the suspect is armed and dangerous and that she should go home as well)? Was the phone call from Liam just conveniently timed that Alex happened to be hiding near the staircase and she could get inside her house? Why didn’t she take pictures of her house before leaving? What if she just took wrong things with her? But maybe she can spot something in the photographs later. Her escape from her house was so conveniently timed with her finding “hidden” exits from there: if Natalie was a tad faster, she would have arrested Alex. FBI trainees were supposed to find needles in a haystack and also find clues in what Liam had said during the exercise. And then ALL of FBI but the former assistant director believes that Alex had all the equipment in her house.

  29. cjcampbell08 says:

    I love this show sooo much!! I wish I could binge watch!

  30. Lizzie says:

    Can they knock it off with Alex always being right and the rest of the characters being incompetent idiots? It is annoying and getting to the point of being unwatchable.

    • John NYC says:

      She is surrounded by people with secrets she has no clue about, Fake gay with fake glasses Simon? TWINS! etc., she got banged by the agent assigned to con her, she missed major construction into her own bathroom, they delivered pallets of explosives right next door: in her name!

      When she’s right, she’s right, but the rest of the time she’s oblivious…

  31. David H says:

    Odd that the teacher tells them in training to work the evidence and see what is and is not there & go with your gut but is so quick to think she is Guility which makes me think he is the guilty party. I think there is more than one setting her up.

  32. Janie says:

    Love the show but why did Booth have to pretend like he saw her in the apartment.. How is that going to get the FBI off her case. Wouldn’t it better to say he didn’t remember or it wasn’t her?

  33. Janie says:

    Also.why are they living in their own apartments when it is only 9 months later.. how long do they stay in the dorm? I would think a year at least