Quantico Recap: My Enemy, Myself

Whoever is interested in taking down Quantico‘s Alex Parrish and her glorious mane has been at it for a long, long time.

That’s the key takeaway from this week’s episode, which reveals that Alex’s framers’ plan to ruin her life began even before she enrolled in the FBI Academy. I’d say that’s a chilling revelation that makes her situation seem even worse, but let’s face it: Proving her innocence is such a sissyphean task as-is, knowing that the frame-job has been in the works for even longer than originally thought seems like a mere dusting of dirt on top of Parrish’s giant boulder.

Also, Ryan calls Simon “creepy” in this week’s episode, and by the hour’s final moments, I’m hard-pressed to disagree. Read on for some highlights from “Cover.”

BONDING SESSION | At the Quantico-that-was (aka in flashback), we watch pairs of recruits get zip-tied together and jump in the pool: The objective is to free yourself and then work together to free your partner. Alex — who is inexplicably wearing a headband in the water — and Shelby are bound to each other, and they’re the first ones to complete the task. Alex cuts her hand on the binding, though; based on what we learn later, I can only imagine that those ties were made of shark teeth and obsidian.

Quantico Caleb Towel Season 1 RecapIn the locker room afterward, Alex teases Shelby about her late-night phone conversations and they both kvetch about Nathalie, who’s shooting them some very active bitch face from a nearby locker. Also, the guys do their fair share of snarking in their locker room, but I forget what they say because there are a lot of low towels and ripping abs (such as in the photo at right). Sorry; I’m only human. Anyway, keep this fun camaraderie in mind, because it’s going to go away in 3… 2.. 1…

PROFILES IN DISCOURAGEMENT | In class, Miranda lectures about the importance of profiling subjects. ” The evidence tells you how, the psychology tells you why,” she says. “Before you can know the enemy, you have to know yourself.” That brings us to this week’s assignment: The recruits are going to profile each other.

Or, that’s what Miranda wants them to think. Because when everyone has turned in hir or her work, the assistant director takes the best/most cutting bits from each — complete with the name of the person who made the observation —and compiles them into a one-sheet displayed for everyone to see. It’s like a soul-crushing Zagat’s guide to each recruit’s psyche; they’re understandably ticked off by their classmates’ observations.

Miranda all but twirls a mustache as she reveals that the true objective of the exercise is to have the recruits evaluate each other’s weaknesses and then submit the name of three people to cut from the program — and if they don’t do it, she’ll cut 10.

Quantico Season 1 Recap Alex Shelby SparringThis leads to much fighting, both physical (sparring class gets ugly, Simon chokes Ryan) and emotional (Raina and Nimah are split on whether or not to even stay in the program). Alex counsels everyone to stand together and just let Miranda make the cuts, but Simon sneaks down and is the first to give the assistant director his list. Sad trombone, Simon: The exercise was really really about being a team, and it reflects badly on him that he turned on his colleagues “when they need you the most.”

OOPS | Everyone makes up, and Alex confesses to Shelby that the file she’s been hiding is her father’s FBI dossier, which O’Connor gave her earlier and which she can’t bring herself to open. Shelby makes some very cryptic comments about her parents, whose death left behind a mess she was responsible for cleaning up, then urges her roommate to face whatever’s in the file.

So she does. And that means that Alex realizes her father was a special agent and a hero who saved lives, meaning… “I killed a hero,” she sobs into Ryan’s shoulder while O’Connor creepily watches from afar.

But wait, there’s heartache for all! Nathalie apparently has a kid whom her mean man (ex?) is keeping from her, Nimah deserts the program (and leaves Raina a mean note in her absence) and Miranda’s son is both scary and in jail — but it looks like he’ll be getting parole soon. (Side note: Those of you who guessed that she averted a school shooting/bombing he was planning? I’m thinking you’re on target.)

THANKS A LOT, MOM | In the present, Deputy Director Clayton, who is Agent O’Connor’s superior, shows up at the command center… and he’s played by Mark Pellegrino, proving my theory that THIS MAN IS IN EVERY SHOW EVERY WHERE. Clayton wants results, so O’Connor brings Alex’s mom Sita in for questioning.

Sita maintains that she and Alex haven’t talked since she graduated from Quantico, then she makes some rather interesting comments about the working relationship between Alex’s father and O’Connor, capping it by implying that she was covering for Liam the night she took the fall for Alex.

Miranda manages to slip her FBI minder for a moment in order to urge Sita not to give up on her daughter, but I think the biggest point this scene makes is that The Following and this show probably aren’t the kind of publicity the Bureau is looking for, eh?

Eventually, O’Connor gets Sita to admit that when Alex was living in India for a decade after her dad’s death, “we only knew where she was for nine” of those years. So she gives a press conference renouncing Alex’s alleged terrorist activities.

OR SO SIMON SAYS | Alex sees the news and cries at her mom’s betrayal, but she pulls it together because she’s got to figure out who in her class is working to destroy her. After bringing some C4 and a wire from her apartment to Simon — who is not an agent but instead is a tech entrepreneur — he grudgingly agrees to help her investigation. But, like Ryan, he says he has to make it look like she forced him, so the security footage at his work shows her pulling a gun on him and beating him down.

During their investigation, they realize that the framer(s) somehow put one of Alex’s fingerprints on the C4… but it’s an old fingerprint from when she first entered Quantico; she knows because the exercise in the pool left her with a scar on one of her fingertips. (See earlier comment: How sharp were those things?) That means that the people out to destroy Alex have been planning this for longer than she thought — and that means she has to include everyone, even Simon, in her search.

At least she still has people willing to help her, right? Wrong. When Simon steps outside to take a call from his “boss,” it’s really Clayton with this message: “Agent Asher: Slow and steady on this one. I’ll be in touch. Maintain your cover.” Simon, you fake-glasses-wearing little weasel!

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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47 Comments
  1. Leon says:

    Yikes, Alex has no allies.

  2. Alichat says:

    Ok, how many secret agent plants will we have on this show? Seriously. We are three eps in, and we’ve got three plants/spies/secret agents. It’s a little absurd.

    • Patrick says:

      The problem will be maintaining this in S2 and beyond. Barring some calamity, Quantico will get a full season order, quickly followed by a Season 2 pickup. Yay. I love the show. But maintaining a show with a bunch of twists is hard. Very hard. Tons of shows had great first seasons, only to collapse under the weight of the show.
      .
      I really enjoy Quantico. But, to me, the best part of the show are the flashbacks to training. Future seasons won’t be able to fall back on this, so I’m not sure how good the show will be at that point.

      • Rook says:

        I’ve had this thought too. I feel like if they wanted to keep the flashbacks going they could do the next season on a FBI mission where things went wrong and have them interrogating all who was involved.

        • Patrick says:

          Or have some current case/mystery that is dependent on what happened in an earlier case/investigation. But its going to mean many more/different cast members, and the chemistry is a huge part of this show.

      • Coal says:

        I think season 1 should have solely concentrated on the flash backs, then Season 2 on the aftermath after grand central station.

      • Mehvash says:

        Yes this is exactly what i was thinking and you put it much more eloquently than my “what the hell is season 2 going to look like”…I would hope that the show runners had some foresight..but given my issues with shows in the past (read: Lost) I don’t completely believe that show runners have fully thought out story boarded advanced seasons. it’s worrisome. i’m really enjoying this show..i thought i knew what was happening and they have me changing my theories weekly.

        • Patrick says:

          Agreed. In recent years, creative types such as writers and actors have bemoaned that suits for the networks want to know what future seasons will look like before shows get greenlit. And you pointed to the reason why. Lost. I loved the first year. IMO, the Lost pilot was one of, if not the, best episode of TV I’ve ever seen. It was great. But the writers had no idea where it was going. I’m sure they said, we’ll figure it out as we go. And they didn’t. OUAT suffers from this. It killed Revenge. HTGAWM is looking shaky, and is bleeding viewers, sustained only by the performances of Viola Davis. Scandal is showing the kind of cracks that could lead to a huge dip at any moment. So, yeah, I will enjoy this, but I have my hand on the ripcord, so-to-speak, starting next year.

          • Sheila says:

            True that, Patrick.

          • Mike M says:

            All that (well) said, Vince Gilligan has often said they very largely figured out Breaking Bad as they went, getting themselves trapped in dead ends and spending days in the writing room just getting a grip on any way to move forward. So it most certainly can be done, but you have to have the leeway from the studio, have very good writers, and without doubt the utterly most important thing is to totally lock down your continuity; as soon as you lose sight for a moment of anything that happened before you are dead in the water. It’s that last part where 99 out of 100 shows mess up.

      • Dave says:

        Yea they should of started the show with the training school and ended in the explosions. Season 2 would be after the explosion

    • Sally McLinn says:

      ^^ THIS. Each ep that I watched one of the recruits is a spy against Alex.

  3. CJ says:

    Re: the zip ties – ever cut yourself opening one of those impossible-to-open plastic casings that thumb drives and various other items are packaged in? The cuts from those puppies are no joke. Same with zip ties.

    This episode was a lot of fun. They’re really hammering home the point that no one at all can be trusted. It’s not the most realistic show in the world, but I am really enjoying it.

  4. Greg says:

    I enjoy the show, but they are going to have to cut down on the double agents… Alex needs some reliable ally, they cannot all be sketchy and double crossing her. It just becomes too much.

    • Patrick says:

      Are they double crossing her? They do have to make it seem like they are toeing the official FBI line. And they can’t be wishy washy when talking to the Feds. That one agent HAD to say she shot him. The creepy guy this episode was obviously a plant from someone. Either the DIA, NSA, or CIA has sent a plant into Quantico for some reason, and getting kicked out was all part of the plan. Even if both these guys are helping Alex, they have to appear as though they are not.

      • Sheila says:

        Agree. I think they are investigating Liam. The file he gave Alex could be fake. During training, Simon & Ryan didn’t know the other was also deep cover. Present day they must know because Ryan sent her to Simon. Just my working theory. Sad that Alex is in the dark. I felt so bad that Sita betrayed Alex. Alex killed her father to protect her mother, yet her mother turns on her. Ouch!

  5. I’m still watching but the show is starting to have no sense of reality woven in to the final product. (or maybe it never had reality as a plot inducer). It seems than this is becoming more and more a fantasy program. I agree that a potential Season 2 will be harder to piece together and may not be as frantic. Oh well, the Montreal area (yes, it’s filmed in Canada) will have some more $$$ flowing as Q will be renewed (including Obama’s picture, on the credenza) for 2016! But most of this cast will be replaced by others.

  6. Heather says:

    I was hoping Simon was actually a reliable help for her but if he’s in with O’Conner’s boss I doubt it at least Booth is lower down the line so it’s easier for him to sneak help to Alex.

    • Heather says:

      Unless O’Conner’s boss suspects him and Simon is keeping Alex safe from O’Conner. That would at least make all the double agent action that is going on different from each other

      • I was thinking the same thing. Otherwise, Simon would already have turned Alex in.

        • Patrick says:

          Only, they don’t want Alex, even though they think she’s the trigger man. Who they really want would be the people for whom Alex is working. They might give her enough rope to lead them to Alex’s masters.

  7. m3rcnate says:

    Ehhh. The show isn’t boring or anything but so far it is a pretty typical network TV show. I feel like if this show was on Netflix or HBO or FX the clues and hints and character twists would be so much more subtle. I mean I am to believe FBI agents in training at Quantico can have so many huge secrets? Most of the characters just seem so large, so blatant, so over exaggerated. I mean one characters parents died in 9/11, another killed her father (a highly decorated FBI agent), another is a under cover agent, another is doing a ton of lying & has some secret Gaza strip history, another has some secret so big he kills himself, etc etc etc. Everything is SO huge, so over dramatic, so melodramtic. We haven’t even gotten to the inevitable coupling hookups the teasers keep showing, and the love triangles (hell we know the main guy and the indian hook up, the teacher falls for the indian lead, and the harsh chick loves the main [marine] dude too) and that isn’t even half of the cast.
    .
    I also agree with the other comments on here, i don’t see how they keep this show up beyond this season. It is named Quantico, a training program for becoming an agent, so how can they keep that involved in the story after this season? How do they stretch this mystery and future mysteries? How do future mysteries not seem even more unrealistic?
    .
    I feel like this show will suffer like Prison Break did after S1. Once you leave the prison the concept suffers, and once they leave Quantico and solve this seasons mystery the concept suffers.
    IMO this show would have been great on cable where it could be more realistic and subtle and grittier, and maybe be a limited series (creatively from the get-go they create it as a 2 season show with specific plots and a specific ending planned).

    • Heather says:

      I agree that it probably would be better as a limited series. The creator promised that this ‘mystery’ will be solved by the end of season 1 so by stretching it out for a full season they are shooting themselves in the foot for season 2

    • Jim says:

      This show could follow much in the same footsteps as Grey’s Anatomy.

      • m3rcnate says:

        Which would be horrible, that primetime soap show is garbage and filled with love triangles and breaking up and getting back together and ghosts and melodramatic deaths, etc. LAME. Also Grey’s has the hospital to be in every season, where as Quantico…how do you keep Quantico in the show in season 2? 3? 4? It is a FBI training program and facility, once the agents are done being trained how do you keep that in the show?

      • Amy says:

        Agree with this. Keep a few of the same actors, kill of some and then bring in some new ones. Get new FBI/terrorist story lines, train new recruits.

  8. Eva says:

    Oh man, they almost had me convinced they were on a path to finding a nice balance for the show. Seemed like this was the episode the writers would finally show some amount of restraint in building plot twists over plot twists. And then there was the completely self-indulgent ending, because, apparently, there weren’t enough plot twists and mysteries in Simon’s story, so why not have him work for agent Pellegrino (in secret, obviously, because that’s what high ranking FBI agents during a terrorist crisis do — keep secrets from each other). Three episodes in, and I’m getting tired of plot twists on every turn, do they not feel confident enough in their writing to give as a breather once in a while? (and I don’t mean a mopey nighttime rendez vous between two pretty people about to fall in love; that’s not a breather, that’s blargh)

    • dan says:

      This was my thought exactly during last night’s episode, especially at the end. Have a little restraint; hold a plot twist (or four) until later in the season. Are there going to be this many twists every episode? I want to like the show, but I’m exhausted when its over. Everybody can’t be a double-agent who is secretly working for somebody else, can they?

  9. Sarah_ says:

    I actually like this episode..and we never know who can Alex trust because it looks like everyone is against her. I still have hope that Simon is maintaining a cover and helping Alex but who knows..
    I’m loving this series and the plot twist keeps getting deeper :)

  10. jm says:

    Lets say something new about last episode.

    The latina agent may be a douche but she was a bit labelled with her fight for her daughter.

    A nice twist was they got rid of Simon, and then he is a full agent now… it seems that he works for the devil… And he is everything but gay… that is his cover

    Golden Boy and Marine Guy are by far the most boring of all the bunch… self-indulgent and over-confident

    The muslim agent split was obvious… i wonder how it will be turnt that…

    I like the director, she seems to take care of her recruits… and she gave a good advice to Alex´s mom, but her mom has never, never liked her daughter. I wont be surprise if Alex is not even her daughter… but a nice… or she was in love with O´connor but Alex´s dad rape her…

    And finally we got the rich recruit… i have no enough details about her to have an opinion… we will se…

    Ah, about O´Connor… i have this feeling that he is Alex´s dad… who knows…

  11. Fred says:

    So many non sensical comments here, people just like to whine.
    “Not reality” “Real FBI is not like that” “Too many secret agents”….newsflash, if you want reality go watch c-span or discovery or whatever but TV series (thrillers in particular) are meant to have lots of twists and turns and many stray away from “reality”, so what. That’s what makes them entertaining and helps us forget the “reality” we live in at least for 60 min.

  12. Nan says:

    Way too many plots going on……it’s not enjoyable. I’ll give it one more week!

  13. Anna says:

    I guess Shelby wiring 1M$ to someone is a red herring: she can’t be the mole, can she? Liam’s in the clear and so are NIma, Raina, Nathalie, the Director seems to be involved in the bombing and the framing of Alex, Liam and Michael Parrish did something that shouldn’t be spoken of… One thing seems to be clear: some big shots of the FBI must be behind the bombing (use of government weapons like the wire, nuclear C4). They knew Alex’s whereabouts couldn’t be accounted for during a whole year so that made her the perfect patsy. I’m also pretty sure that we’ll find down the road that Liam and Alex’s father did something wrong and the person who is framing Alex, thought that when she learns of it, it could make her snap to the point of committing a terrorist act. Why? That’s the question. At this point, I don’t even think that one of the trainees planted the bomb. They’re just pawns. And yes, Simon Asher’s a creep. He’s the sociopath, not Caleb.

  14. kate says:

    I’m wondering if this is a bigger plan to set up Liam but he knows they are actively setting Alex up (because he sounds so silly when he lists off the evidence against Alex that someone has to say she really is the world’s worst criminal for someone as trained as you say she is) and Clayton, Simon and Miranda are working against him. Ryan and Shelby will probably be more reliable allies (based on their fighting in next week’s preview shows them fighting which usually means that will get resolved) and Ryan will take longer because Simon wasn’t wrong in his assessment of Ryan. It will take him awhile to realize he can’t trust. I can’t even guess about Raina or the blond dude whose name is slipping my mind.

  15. Fido says:

    Are we sure it was Nimah who left and not Raina ?

    btw: I am wondering if the one who was left behind will now have to pretend to be both sisters when dealing with her “handler”

  16. Sissy says:

    Alex’s mother turning on her makes me think that she has something to hide. What if Alex’s father isn’t really dead? His alleged “death” could have been a set-up/cover-up for something else.

  17. Captain Average says:

    Funny thing… I’m still wondering why O’Connor was recast. Dougray Scott was much better. Other than that, Quantico continues to be one of the best new shows of the season.

  18. Win says:

    I didn’t find Miranda’s son “scary,” just cold (perhaps understandably so).

  19. kpflat says:

    I am trying to overlook the horrendous acting ( especially Priyanka Chopra…..awful ) and get into the deeper story but, the show just isn’t written well enough to keep my interest. You can also give away some secrets without giving away the whole story, Homeland does it every week and that’s as good a show as there is on television. I think they should kill Alex off and make that part of the bigger conspiracy plot, it would give them a chance to go and get a quality actress to take over the main character role. Maybe Sarah Michelle Geller could be lured into this spot. Right now the show is just filler and as someone said, much like Prison Break, it will be tough to continue momentum through season 2.

  20. Kristen says:

    So, Simon is a secret agent. Still don’t understand what the fake glasses or fake boyfriend were for. Is he not really gay? Is he ashamed of 20/20 vision? I don’t understand. Don’t trust him, and I don’t like him.
    Glad to see the twins be split up. I was wondering how long they’d be able to pull that off.
    Really hope that Shelby will be one of Alex’s true allies, but with her wiring all that money at the end, it makes you wonder what she’s hiding.
    Can’t believe Alex’s own mother turned her in. The only one that has proved to be on her side is Miranda. I don’t even entirely trust Ryan at this point. I started to warm up to Nathalie during the scene on the roof, but she’s just focused on her own agenda. Alex has no one!!!! Ugh. Frustrating. Now the one person she THINKS she has is a lying weaseling snake!

    Mark Pelligrino is amazing though, and I love seeing him in yet ANOTHER show. :)

  21. Aelin says:

    So why exactly did Ryan have to help Alex by telling the FBI that she was the one who shot him? That made no sense whatsoever and they didn’t even try to come up with a reason for it. Why on earth couldn’t he say he didn’t see who shot him and still try to prove her innocence?

    I enjoy the show, even though it’s pure silly fluff, but they are going a little overboard with the “she can trust this guy – no she can’t – yes she can – no she can’t” stuff. It’s like some network exec said “We need more twists. Those cable shows everyone likes now always have lots of twists!”

  22. Carlo says:

    This is my theory. 10 years ago, Agent Liam and Alex’s father, good FBI agents, uncovered a dark secret within the FBI, perhaps a ring of bad agents, and Miranda was a witness too (Alex’s mom says so in the bathroom, to Miranda). That’s probably why Alex’s father, a decorated agent, Liam too, were drinking so much to forget what they had uncovered. Alex was sent away for her protection. Now that she’s back, Liam wants to protect her, so he sends an agent to infiltrate the trainee group. But the bad agents know this too, so they infiltrate the group as well with who knows how many people; I believe the guilty one isn’t a single person, but a group of people within the trainees, and they have set a trap for Alex, as she could likely pursue her dad’s work to uncover the secret. Now Clayton may be the leader of this bad group of agents. He may have asked Simon to infiltrate and try to find the “bad agents”, but I do not think Simon is in the group, so he may be on the fence, serving Clayton without clearly knowing why, while also wanting to help Alex. So I think we will uncover the bad agents one by one (all trainees here are very smart and talented, with various connections). Miranda knows they have been infiltrated, and knows about the bad agents, so she helps Alex. Liam in all this is just a pawn. If Clayton makes Liam and Miranda look bad because they have been infiltrated and one of their own bombed a major target, it’s a great way of trying to get rid of them from the FBI, and remove them as liabilities. Alex’s mom knows the secret. She probably tried to tell Alex’s father to expose the bad agents 10 years ago, but they argued and it became out of control. Anyways, just my assessment at this point.

  23. JC says:

    So, I’d definitely say Quantico is full of gaslighting. It’s messed up how the FBI gets her mom against her. Smart example of gaslighting. I keep wondering why each one of her fellow agents, like the guy who got shot, won’t stick up for her and say, “no, she didn’t shoot him”, etc. Unless there’s some twist of scopolamine or something.

  24. Sam says:

    Why was she crying about shooting her ‘hero’ dad? Yeah I understand even if you shoot the most evil person on earth, it’ll still be traumatic but a wife beater is still a wife beater.

    Whatever her dad did as an agent, he’s certainly no hero.