When we last left Quantico, it wasn’t looking too good for Simon. Realizing that his plans for a bombing were taken and implemented, he turns down Alex‘s offer to help her find the real culprit and was immediately chloroformed by Elias upon entering his house. With this the last week before the winter break for the show, let’s see how it all plays out.
The Past: The majority of the past this week deals with the holidays. We see Nimah, Alex, Shelby and Natalie all staying behind for the holidays, before Caleb invites Shelby and the girls to the holiday party at the family mansion. Alex is missing Ryan even though she made peace with him leaving and when Natalie shares an app that will block her idea, she calls but hears a female voice in the background.
Upon arriving at the party, Alex meets a blonde woman named Hannah (Elize Coupe), who seemingly has the perfect life as an agent with a husband who does the same thing. Eventually we learn that her husband is actually her ex-husband Ryan and that they’re undercover as a couple at the party. Ryan and Alex admit they’re feelings, share a kiss, but Ryan chastises her for not knowing what she wants. She storms out and latter Hannah tells her that she knows all about Alex and that Ryan’s heart is broken and that there’s nothing served if Alex attempts to pursue anything if they can’t be together. She eventually turns to O’Connor, who confides that Ryan is a good guy and that she should not be ready to admit defeat.
Elsewhere, Caleb introduces Shelby to his mother Claire (Marcia Cross), but is suspicious when mommy and daddy are all of a sudden friendly to each other. Later Shelby and Claire have a heart-to-heart in which she asks if she should fear Caleb. Claire reveals that she should fear what people can do to him and explains that she and her husband disagreed how to handle freeing him from the cult. In the process, Caleb no longer trusted her and her relationship with Clayton fell apart as well.
Later in the evening, Caleb learns that his mother is on a short list for Vice President and feels that this is why the sudden desire to give the marriage a second chance. He then puts mom on blast in front of dad, revealing that after years of trying to get back on track with their marriage, her true motives may be more politically driven. A downtrodden Clayton stands by while his wife gives a speech and Shelby, noticing this, storms out and catches a ride back to Quantico. Upon returning, Caleb tracks her down and she reveals that she does love him, but feels that he’ll hurt her over and over because he’s the type of guy who prefers to “blow things up” rather than let people figure things out for themselves, a reference to his interference in discovering the ruse that was being pulled on Shelby by her supposed half-sister. After the split, we see Caleb posing as his Mark Raymond alter-ego from when he recently re-infiltrated the cult going to a bank building and opening an account, then remarking how close it was to Grand Central.
The other major development from the past was Nimah catching Shaw working and sleeping at the office after Charlie’s attack/kidnapping. Nimah urges Shaw not to lose her humanity and questions if it’s possible that what she believes about Charlie isn’t true. By the end of the episode, a beaten and bruised Charlie is found on her porch, which would seemingly support the idea that he had been kidnapped.
The Present: Elias shows up bruised with a story about how he was suspected something was wrong and that he was pushed toward a bus. It turns out that Simon’s bomb-making friend Oren was also run over by a bus. Elias, along with Alex, Nimah and Natalie, start their investigation with Simon because he was the lone person without a tail. They find a room with a computer that seems laid out for a frame up, at least that’s what Alex thinks. They eventually find blueprints of a building and a donor list, which leads them to a hotel. Upon searching, they find Simon in a room strapped to a chair with his hand taped around a trigger. Simon reveals he’s not sure how he got there or what the trigger is, but he can’t let go for fear of what will happen.
With Natalie, Nimah and Alex all pointing guns on Simon, he begins to reveal he had nothing to do with it and starts putting together what might have happened. He asks Alex how they knew to look for him, which has everyone looking at Elias. One by one, Alex, Nimah and Natalie soon figure out that Elias is behind the whole thing and when Simon threatens to let loose of the control, he confesses his involvement.
It turns out that Simon was contacted by someone who knew that he had tampered with evidence in a case and blackmailed him into working for the terrorist. His job during the first attack was to deliver Alex on the day of the attack, not knowing the full extent of what was planned. He was also contacted with one more task to plot. Elias revealed that he had three options — come clean, carry out the attack himself or frame Simon with the idea that the investigation would lead to him and he could get the FBI to stop it. He chose the latter.
Eventually the NATS figure out that the bomb is located in a boiler room and with little time to spare, they diffuse it. Ready to take Elias back to headquarters, he steps away from the trio and reveals that he feels he was trapped with no options, but now he’s no longer scare and proceeds to jump backward out of a window, killing himself.
Meanwhile, back at the headquarters, Claire arrives and immediately runs into Shelby. Shelby apologizes, but Claire says she doesn’t mind sleeping with her husband, but will make her pay for hurting her son.
With the bomb diffused, Alex tells Simon he can let go, but when he does, there’s a big explosion. We soon learn that the hotel was a decoy and that the bomb that went off was in the converted FBI headquarters in the bank.
Instead of the suspects, let’s look at the questions that will need to be addressed upon the show’s return in March.
- Elias is a terrorist, but are we to believe that he was acting under orders or was he the primary person involved? What were his motivations to carry out such an act? And is it coincidence that a note he left for Simon earlier in the year matched the same message sent to Charlie on his home computer?
- Caleb is looking very guilty after using his alter-ego Mark Raymond to open an account in the bank building where the bomb went off and remarking how close it was to Grand Central. Is he merely attempting to right past wrongs by taking down the organization that preyed upon him in his youth or does he still have sympathies to the group and is using his FBI access to pull off the attacks, frame his classmates and possibly punish his parents.
- Who survived the blast? We know that Simon, Alex, Nimah and Natalie are safe. We assume that Ryan is as well as he was in the hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds. We can assume that Shaw and O’Connor are fine as they were at the other bomb site. We do know that Shelby and Claire Haas were in the building. We don’t know about Clayton Haas or Raina, who was mostly absent during this episode. And given the spring preview trailer which shows Nimah in shock, you have to worry about Raina.
- If Ryan is undercover with Hannah in the past timeline and Alex is letting him go, how and when does he hook up with Natalie?
- What happened to Brandon? He’s never shown in present day, but is supposedly Natalie’s guy at Quantico.
- Who would have access to start the frame-up of Alex prior to her entering Quantico? That would seemingly rule out most of the NATS with the exception of Ryan who was undercover and perhaps Caleb who potentially would have had access via his parents’ pull. But we might be looking at Shaw, O’Connor, Clayton Haas or the newly introduced Hannah and Claire Haas in the back half of the season.
- What about Charlie? Once taken by a cult and seemingly kidnapped for the same reason, could Charlie have keys to where this is all going?
We’ll be back in March when Quantico resumes. But in the meanwhile, ponder whether or not Elias acted alone and let us know your theories in the Comments section below.
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