This week’s Quantico marks a pretty low point for Simon (and remember, this is a guy who’s already admitted to faking gay and hating coffee.)
The hour is filled with painful revelations for the faux-spectacled NAT. In the past timeline, he’s outed in front of the class as having taken part in some questionable IDF questioning — and as soon as he’s dried his shameful tears, he’s bounced out of the program for his dust-up with Ryan a few weeks back.
Then in the present, Agent Asher confesses that the Grand Central bomber used a plan he designed while he was a NAT — though he never intended for as much carnage/destruction. And then something really puzzling/scary happens at the end of the hour, making this Simon’s absolute worst day ever.
Read on for the details of what happens in “Quantico” (yeah, that’s the name of the episode, too).
SCAR PUPIL | A morning combat-training session pits two NATS against one — because “Bad guys don’t play fair,” Miranda reminds everyone — meaning Ryan and Alex have to wrestle Natalie and Brandon and Caleb must take down Shelby. When the guys pull punches with Ms. Wyatt, she yells in frustration, “Will one of you come at me?” (The fanfic almost writes itself!) And when Alex pins Nathalie, she notices the fake scar behind Nat’s ear peeling off.
When Alex confronts her adversary, Nathalie angrily tells her to mind her own business. So Alex enlists Special Agent Booth help (namely, his access to the FBI database) in order to dig up some intel on their classmate — though they find out about her restraining order against her daughter’s father, they don’t do anything with the information… yet Nathalie discovers their investigation and is ticked.
All of this dovetails with the week’s assignment, which has the NATs doing background checks on potential members of the next incoming class, just like the previous class did for them. (Side note: I’m starting to understand how Suicidal Mormon got through the screening process last time around.) Nimah decides to do a little extracurricular work by poking around in Simon’s background, and… well, we’ll get to that in a minute.
So when Liam and Miranda call an emergency meeting of the new agent review board — or NARB — more than one NAT is worried this means he or she is going home for good.
BUSTED!| It turns out that the NARB is focused on Nathalie, because a field counselor also saw her peeling scar during the workout. Long, sad story short: Nathalie’s boyfriend was abusive, but not in a way that left physical scars, so she faked one to convince a judge to grant her a restraining order and custody of their kid.
“Technically, you didn’t lie. You withheld,” Miranda observes, then retires to discuss Nathalie’s future at Quantico with the rest of the board. But Nimah decides that it’s the perfect time to out Simon as a sadistic monster. “Simon Asher is a war criminal,” she says, but he argues that he was just a translator for the Israeli Defense Forces. But the twin presses, and Simon starts crying.
He says that he excelled at getting close to women who could then be lured into interrogations about their husbands’ whereabouts — and it turns out that his platoon leader had gone rogue, making the questioning particularly horrible. “I wanted to do good. I really wanted to do good,” he sobs in front of his entire class while Nimah sneers.
Thank goodness Ryan is there to divert attention by outing himself as a full-fledged FBI agent, and then going on to give one mother of a motivational speech that bucks up both Nathalie and Simon, saying they’ll be kickass agents one day. Unfortunately, his talk also references the time that Simon pinned him against the wall…
… and that memory becomes Simon’s undoing. The NARB rules that Nathalie can stay, though she’s on probation. But Simon is out (!) for attacking a fellow NAT. “If you cannot control your anger, you cannot serve,” she informs him. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” he says, gobsmacked.
SIBLING FAKERY | Remember how Clayton warned Caleb that Shelby’s half-sister isn’t who she says she is? Shelby catches her boyfriend trying to investigate the matter and lashes out at him for doubting the only family member she has left. He admits that it’s unlikely her sibling is fake, given their long relationship — “nobody catfishes someone over 15 years,” he notes — but he sparks enough doubt in Ms. Wyatt that she agrees to help prove him wrong. Sadly, when Caleb videochats Shelby’s sister, it takes all of two minutes to get her to admit that she’s swindling Shelby. On the other side of the room, outside of the webcam’s scope, Shelby sobs upon learning that her only remaining family member actually… isn’t.
And as Ryan leaves for his assignment in Los Angeles, he and Alex dance around vocalizing their feelings. It’s cute. “I’ve never said ‘I love you’ when I really wanted to,” he says. “I’ve never said it at all,” she replies.
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS? | In the present, Alex is back at FBI central, poring over the tons of surveillance info coming into the office — after all, she’s tracking every single member of her class. Unbeknownst to Shelby, Caleb, the twins and Simon, she’s tracking them, too.
The cameras catch Raina visiting the terrorist leader from Queens in the hospital and kissing him on the head — something her sister reams her for when she returns. “You wouldn’t understand. You never had faith in anyone,” Raina counters, after saying some vague but worrisome stuff about the leader’s passion for his cause. But that little revelation is nothing compared to Simon’s meeting with Oren — the Israeli bomb guy — and then disappearing. When he comes back to Alex & Co., he knows exactly what they’re going to find out about him, so he beats them to the punch by announcing, “I’m the one who planned Grand Central.”
Before you collect all of your winnings from picking Simon in your office’s Quantico bomber pool, hold up: Simon planned the bombing, but he didn’t carry it out. He designed a simultaneous bombing of an NYC mosque and synagogue — after a bomb threat would’ve cleared everyone out, of course — as a statement that “peace is the only way out.” Um, OK?
HELLO AGAIN| But Simon intentionally threw some flaws into the plans, he tells his former classmates and Miranda. “Somebody stole my plans, fixed the flaws and used them for themselves,” he tells them. And with that out of the way, Simon and the rest of Alex’s classmates tell her she’s a garbage person for tailing them and walk out on her.
Alex meets Simon at his home later that evening and makes an impassioned, in-person plea for him to keep helping her. He turns her down quickly, then enters the house… where Elias (!) chloroforms him (!!). Wait, wasn’t Alex chloroformed on the morning of the bombing, too? IS ELIAS THE BOMBER?
Sadly, we’ll have to wait until next week — the fall finale — for some answers. Until then, hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode!