Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quantico 1x08 "Over" (Starting Over) [Contributor: Meredith]

Original Airdate: November 14, 2015

Everything is a lie. Or at least, that’s what I think this week’s episode was trying to tell us.

I’m going to make a bold statement here, and say that I think this week’s episode was the weakest of the season so far. Quantico was trying so hard to wrap up storylines and take them in new directions, that it left this viewer feeling disconnected, uninvolved, and the most disinterested I’ve been while watching the show. I can’t even tell you with confidence what this week’s theme was. Something about lies, teamwork, and connecting dots?

In one of the opening scenes, Nimah tells Alex that “you can sell any lie, if you have enough help.” I’m pretty sure this line was major foreshadowing. For what? I don’t know. But I’m very much expecting more twists and turns as the season progresses. However, this week, those twists felt contrived rather than natural.


The NATs are tasked with an assignment that seemingly separates them all into different areas, as they realize that they will not in fact remain working together forever. However, the actual point of the exercise is for them to discover that they are all working different parts of the same case, so they have to come together to stop a terrorist attack discreetly and without causing panic. They are not good at doing either of those things, as the very public, panic-inducing chase in the park demonstrates. They catch the guy, but it turns out he was a decoy and the real bad guy slipped right past them (figuratively speaking, because this is all an exercise.)

Meanwhile, relationships are changing all over the place. Caleb and Shelby are good, then bad when they discover they’ve each been keeping secrets — her a secret Muslim sister, him a membership in a cult — then good again, as Female Golden Retriever almost admits she loves Male Golden Retriever. Simon isn’t sure which twin he actually likes, as he spends time getting to know both of them. Raina seems jealous of his interest in Nimah, while Nimah, at first into his attention, later pushes him back to Raina, who by then is no longer interested. Alex and Ryan seem as close as ever, begging the question: just how did he end up with Natalie? Together, Alex and Ryan work together and discover the truth about her dad and Liam: that they covered up a major screw-up when they were working together. Miranda confirms this, in a private conversation with Alex at her house. However, the flashbacks end with Miranda getting attacked and Alex finding her. The finger may be pointed at Miranda’s son, but I have a feeling that’s just a red herring. Oh, and Simon is shady again.


Ryan and Alex take shelter in a conveniently empty house as the FBI closes in, and Alex has to do field surgery to get the bullet out of Ryan’s side. It’s gross and I turned away. Then, her friends from the Unknown show up to help them, having hacked into the FBI and gotten ahold of all the files on the case. Despite warnings that they need to run, Alex takes time to pore over everything, and discovers evidence she knows will exonerate her because of the wire. But the FBI doesn’t know about the wire. So they won’t know this evidence exonerates her.

Shelby, Simon, and Raina are brought in for helping Alex. Caleb and his dad fight about Shelby, and the elder Haas asks Caleb to scrub both his and Shelby’s emails. In doing so, Caleb discovers that his father was aware that someone used Alex’s credentials to access the FBI a few days before the attack. There’s tons of relationship drama with the Haases and Shelby, and at the end Caleb reads an email where Shelby admits that she’s still in love with him — causing Caleb to question everything.

Ryan and Alex — with the help of the Unknown — flee, and arrive at a helicopter. Alex loads Ryan in, and then with a forehead touch worthy of any ‘ship, she tells him she needs to go get his meds from the car. Alas, not true, as Alex sends Ryan to apparent safety...

... and she turns herself in to the FBI, shouting about another bomb.

This episode felt a bit off. Old storylines that we thought were dead were resurrected, new twists were thrown at us out of nowhere, strange love triangles abound, and relationships felt forced and rushed. It’s clear in both flashbacks and present day that Ryan and Alex care for each other deeply — so where does Natalie fit in? And as for Shelby and Caleb, it just seems a bit fast for them to be almost dropping the L-word, when just an episode or so ago, they were having no-strings-attached fun. Don’t even get me started on the Raina/Simon/Nimah thing because I don’t know what to say.

Now, to be fair, Alex turning herself in is a solid plot twist, but I do wonder how quickly the show will allow her to be exonerated. It’s in a tricky place now where if it happens too fast, it’s as though the first half of the season was for naught. But if it doesn’t happen fast enough, how do the writers keep the plot moving forward?

The pacing this week felt off, too. I felt that the transitions were a bit abrupt, and I couldn’t really get into any of the stories. Everything felt rushed, as though they had too much they wanted to get done this episode, and important scenes or lines were perhaps cut?

I’m excited to see what happens next, and I’m not going to give up on an otherwise strong show because of one episode, but I definitely think this week was not the best we’ve seen from Quantico. Next week promises more twists, and the return of Pretty Ricky as Elias, so that in and of itself gives me hope for improvement.

Odds and Ends
  • Seriously, this group sucks at discreet. Those earpieces in the park were the most obvious things I’ve ever seen. 
  • Why does Alex go to Miranda’s house for their chat? 
  • Liam calls Alex out for surveilling him and threatening him. So why hasn't he gotten her kicked out yet? Or why hasn't she gotten HIM out yet, now that she has some answers about her father?
  • So why aren’t Alex and Ryan together in the flashbacks? I thought she forgave him? Or are they together? I can’t even tell.
  • We went a whole — what — three pisodes where Simon wasn’t the shadiest guy around?
  • No but really, this Raina/Simon/Nimah triangle? Do not want. 


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