Monday, October 12, 2015

Quantico 1x03 "Cover" (It's A Matter Of Trust) [Contributor: Meredith]

Original Airdate: October 11, 2015

Wow. What a change of pace to be reviewing a show I actually enjoy! When I casually tweeted to our fearless leader Jenn that I would be able to watch Quantico live last night –– as opposed to my usual late watch on Mondays –– she almost immediately told me I could fill in for her review. Amazing! After snarking my way through four episodes of Heroes Reborn, this was a breath of fresh air.

Quantico is my favorite new show of the season. Despite the fact that I write for a television-centric website, and engage in online fandom extensively, I actually don’t watch that much TV. Being a busy, full-time working mom doesn’t leave a ton of time to do that. But Quantico grabbed me with its season premiere, and now I’m hooked. The fast-paced, exciting, super-suspenseful, twisty-turny plot is only amplified by the ridiculously attractive, chemistry-laden, strong ensemble cast, led –– of course –– by the stunning and talented Priyanka Chopra (Alex Parrish.)

Last night’s episode, "Cover," was no exception to the rule the show established with its pilot. This episode moved fast, with dozens of shockers, surprises and questions.

Let's indulge in a brief recap, shall we?


In the flashbacks, the cadets are getting closer to one another, establishing camaraderie and friendship and trust –– especially between Shelby/Alex and Simon/Ryan, the roommate duos and counterpoints to each other. Shelby is the blonde-haired, blue-eyed all-American girl to Alex’s ethnic, less-pageanty, and more guarded agent. Meanwhile, Simon is the (possibly) gay, kinda skinny, quirky guy to Ryan’s total alpha-male soldier –– or so it all would seem, right now.

The friendships between these core four seem inevitable, but then an assignment that calls on the cadets to profile each other gets in the way of all the burgeoning trust when everyone has uncomplimentary things to say about their new friends. Once the profiles are complete, the trainees are tasked with voting out who they each consider the weakest three in the group.

In the end, Simon appears super shady, as he is the first one to go vote others out, while Alex makes a rousing speech asking everyone to stick together and refuse to comply. Simon gets a reprimand, but everyone else stays. To conclude the flashbacks, friends make up, one of the twins leaves, Simon really is super shady, and Alex begins to open up to and trust Ryan, turning to him for comfort when she learns new information about her father.


Ryan seemingly enlisted Simon to help Alex, as she shows up at his work and he makes reference to a phone call from the other man. It would appear that Simon was –– at some point –– kicked out of Quantico training. And he now works for a tech start-up. He helps Alex examine the evidence that she took from the apartment next to hers. But just as the two seem to work on figuring out what the wire means, Simon sets off an alarm, which makes us assume that he turned her in.

Not so, he claims. Rather, he wants to make it look like he was helping her under duress, so that when he tries to exonerate her, everything appears to be legit. Or so he says AGAIN.

When Simon accepts a phone call at the end of the episode after meeting up with Alex to help her, that phone call is from the FBI director, who calls him Agent Asher and tells him to stick with his assignment.

Okay, so it looks like in the present-day, we really have no clue what is going on with Simon. Meanwhile, Alex’s mother has been brought in for questioning. And despite an inspirational speech from Miranda about supporting her child, Alex’s mother goes on TV and claims her daughter may –– in fact –– be a terrorist.

Some interesting new points of information that were expanded upon or newly-acquired this week in the present-day: Miranda’s son is in prison for something, and she apparently turned him in. Nathalie has a child who is being kept away from her for reasons unknown to us. And there is history between Liam and Alex’s father, who was apparently a decorated FBI hero. Oh, and Alex spent ten years in India after her father’s death... and one of those years she is unaccounted for.


What this show continues to deliver on in spades is questions. Questions, and then little reveals that just bring up more questions. And I LOVE it. I love not knowing who to trust. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next. I love hearing theories and discussing on Twitter with other viewers. I feel engaged and involved and intrigued and I love it.

However, I'm not going to say that Quantico is a perfect show. Occasional cheesy dialogue and over-acting aside, the show would benefit from making better use of Rick Cosnett. When you cast someone like Pretty Ricky –– as many of us call him –– you use him! And though I understand the point of the "who can I trust"-ness of it all, it would be kinda nice to give Alex at least one person we know for sure is on her side.

But apart from those small issues, the show really is fantastic, and this week’s episode was just as good as the first two. In fact, I would say the premiere was the best so far, followed by this episode, and then last week’s. This week’s episode had the right pace and the right amount of flashback versus present-day –– because, to be honest, right now the flashbacks are far more intriguing than the present day. But towards the end of this episode, the present-day action definitely started to pick up, as well.

One of the things I like most about this show is that it really focuses on the ensemble. While the overarching story is Alex’s –– and obviously most of each episode is dedicated to her trials and tribulations –– each episode also tells us more about the other characters. We got little glimpses of Miranda and Nathalie and Raina/Nimah this week, for example, but the focus was most definitely on Simon in "Cover." Both in the flashbacks and present day, his story –– and all the accompanying questions –– were front and center. And boy, are there questions.

Is he really gay? What was he doing in Gaza? Why was he kicked out of Quantico? Why is he secretly working for the director, and is he on Alex’s side or not? And perhaps most suspicious of all... how does he keep resisting Pretty Ricky’s advances? I’m excited for episodes focused on all the other characters as we move forward, and to watch how they interact with Alex and each other in past and present, while slowly chipping away at all the questions. There isn’t a single cast member who doesn’t interest me. I want to know everything about everyone.

Moreover, the chemistry among all the actors is palpable. Even just the friendship scenes –– I had a moment where in my notes I ask if Alex and Shelby are just being friendly, or are they flirting? And my answer to myself was: it doesn’t matter! I like it all. And don’t get me started on Alex and Ryan –– Chopra and McLaughlin have phenomenal, understated chemistry that oozes with UST (unresolved sexual tension) and I must have tweeted or written in my notes at least five times that I’m desperate for them to break that tension soon... if you catch my drift.

Another thing this show does well? Diversity. This is not your typical white-washed, token person of color show. The main cast includes at least three people of color, mostly women, as well as two gay characters. And the show passes The Bechdel Test often –– where two women are onscreen engaging in dialogue that has nothing to do with a man. Though Alex’s name could have been something more in line with her Indian heritage, the fact that she has an American father probably had much to do with that. Diversity is done so well on this show that it may actually be the least realistic thing about it (which is saying a lot), because I wonder if the actual FBI recruits and promotes this many women of color, and openly gay men.

Whether realistic or not, the diverse cast and mysterious, energetic plot have this viewer engaged and in it for the long haul. Every single story intrigues me. Everything is an illusion, and all we really know as viewers is that we really don’t know anything at all. But I want to know more about everyone and everything. So bring it on, Quantico!

Odds and Ends:
  • I do not trust the Golden Retrievers. 
  • Also, “the Golden Retrievers” is my pet name for Shelby and Caleb, the two blonde-haired, blue-eyed, “American as apple pie” characters, who are clearly on the path to coupledom and also my first choice for the actual terrorists.  
  • So, like, is Simon gay? Or is he pretending? And if so... why? And when did Simon become the shadiest character on this show? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. 
  • Speaking of shady, Liam is super shady. Just, like, always shady.
  • Did Liam feed Alex a bunch of lies about her father, with the endgame of getting her to fall on Ryan? But why? 
  • The gratuitous locker room scene in this episode is FINE BY ME. I may watch it again. For reasons.
  • So... does Simon or does Simon not have a piece of evidence that exonerates Alex? Because her fingerprint without her scar that she recently acquired seems pretty strong evidence to support her claims of innocence, does it not?
  • I really don’t like Nathalie, but the last scene of hers, crying and asking to talk to her child, tugs at all my mama heartstrings. I’m sure that was the point. THANKS SHOW. 
  • I really want Alex and Ryan to kiss. And more than kiss.
  • Have I mentioned I love this show?
  • Ugh, Simon. But yay Simon? But ugh Simon? I JUST DON’T KNOW. 
  • Okay but that last Ryan/Alex scene was a perfect time for a kiss. 


Post a Comment