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!