Compartmentalizing, thy name is Alex Parrish.
The Quantico FBI agent who ended last week’s episode screaming and crying so hard Ryan thought she might wanna spend a little time in a psych ward has — apparently — bounced back from watching her colleague and former classmate Natalie get blown up in a fiery conflagration. And with her stuff seemingly together, Alex spends most of this week’s hour efficiently reeling one friend back in at the same time she pushes another one away.
Mad coping skillz or seriously disturbing character insight? If the show keeps its promise and reveals the terrorist by the season finale, I suppose we’ll find out eventually.
Elsewhere, Nimah learns what Raina is up to and we get a very intriguing (though even more confusing) window into Caleb’s master plan. Read on for the highlights of “Answer.”
IN WHICH ALEX WORKS A SOURCE | During a tactical driving lesson at Quantico, Alex tells Drew that she suspects Liam was involved in Alicia’s death, and she thinks she can get the older man to talk to her about it. Drew initially turns her down harshly, but then acquiesces because he wants “closure.” Meanwhile, I want the epic braid Alex sports for much of the Quantico scenes in this episode; somewhere in Arendelle, Elsa’s like, “Damn girl.”
After a classroom lesson that involves suspect interviews — and Alex uttering the ironic line, “The FBI doesn’t frame people” — Trainee Parrish visits Liam’s office and ever-so-casually turns the conversation toward the failed Chicago raid he and Ryan led. The quick version: The FBI sold a specific type of gun to a militia group in order to gain access, but it all went bad and they had to storm the group’s stronghold unprepared. The group and the guns were gone, he tells Alex, but no one died — and rookie agent Ryan took the blame because Liam would’ve been in much bigger trouble if it were pinned on him.
DREW GUNS FOR LIAM | Alex happily relates all of this to Drew when they’re in class later; she says Liam couldn’t have been involved in Alicia’s shooting, because his op didn’t have a body count. But when Drew hears the type of gun the older agent sold to the militia, he goes cold and harsh with Alex. As we learn when Drew and Liam get into it in front of the entire class, Alicia was killed by that exact type of weapon (a Panther AR15 rifle) during an armed robbery on Chicago’s L train. And she was pregnant, and she was his fiancée.
The argument continues in O’Connor’s office, but Liam refuses to accept blame for Drew’s loss. In fact, he doubles down: He calls Drew a “crusader” whose actions suing the NFL and now causing trouble within FBI agent training prove he’s a loose cannon who’s not fit for the bureau. “You are done at Quantico,” Liam spits. And while I know I should react to that, I’m too distracted by another related development: When Alex confronts Liam about Drew, we get confirmation that Parrish and O’Connor slept together on New Year’s. By the way, Miranda knows and asks for his resignation. “I’m not protecting you this time,” she warns him.
IN BAD COMPANY | After a lot more skulking about on Raina’s part, Nimah tails her sister and realizes she’s spending time with a very sketchy/possibly terrorist group. Nimah even dons a hijab and pretends to be Raina to get inside the group’s house… where she finds a stocked arsenal and accidentally runs into a member as he’s arriving and she’s leaving. She gets out safely by pretending to be her sister; too bad Raina texts the man a moment later, apologizing for not being able to show up.
Back at Quantico, the truth comes out: Raina is working undercover, OK’d by Miranda, to infiltrate the group that kidnapped Charlie. But Nimah still doesn’t believe her sister is telling her everything.
TRIPLE-CROSSED? | After overhearing a call between “Mark Raymond” and the cult to whom he’s transferring $5 million, Will confronts his roommate, who puts him in a chokehold and vows, “You will not mess this up for me.” I give Mr. Robot credit, then, when he follows Caleb to a diner and gets photographic evidence of Shelby’s ex meeting with — and exchanging an envelope with — her faux half-sister Samar/Haifa. (P.S. Samar/Haifa wired him the money he’s giving to the cult. The plot, it thickens, eh?)
SIMON SAYS | Alex spends the present-day portion of the episode in a remote part of Vermont, where Simon has holed up and shunned humanity after losing his job(s). If you thought he was weird before, the months since the bombing have given him too much time to ruminate on his part in the deaths of so many people. Basically, he feels so guilty that he contemplates suicide every morning and then berates himself for not being able to go through with it.
Alex ostensibly is visiting to deliver his medal for pulling victims out of the wreckage of the second bombing, but she’s really there to enlist his help again. They go hunting (um, OK?), and he’s so angry at her for telling him to take his hand off the detonator in the hotel room, at one point he aims his rifle at her.
When Ryan and Nimah trace Alex’s cell and drive SEVERAL HOURS to check on her (I’m just saying, a call first wouldn’t have hurt anyone), she meets them in front of the house, solo, and announces that Simon is “not the man we knew.” But that appears to be a smokescreen: Back in New York that night, after a sweet phone call with Ryan, Alex answers a knock at her door and it’s Simon, who has torched his house (!) and says, “You can count on me, Alex, no matter what.” He also informs her he’s got a plan to handle the terrorist manipulating her, and when the baddie calls, Simon plugs some doohickie into her phone and confidently tells her to answer.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about the fact that Natalie took an emergency leave just before she died? What did you think of the episode on the whole? Sound off in the comments!